At the start of this school year, 45 percent of the students at Riley Elementary School were reading at their grade level. The staff hoped to improve those numbers by 2 percent by the end of the year.
They saw 5 percent improvement in just three months, Principal JoAnn Blevins told the school board on Thursday.
Although they are celebrating, the staff hopes to see even more improvements in reading and math.
Using the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), children are tested for proficiency in reading and math. A student who is caught up and doesn’t need extra help is in Tier One, a student that needs some help is in Tier Two, and a student who is struggling and needs even more help to master the skill is in Tier Three. The 5 percent increase Riley teachers saw was in the number of students whose reading skills were in Tier One.
Riley has 365 students in pre-kingergarten through grade 6. It is a migrant population and 76 percent of its students are English language learners. In 2015 and this year, 94 percent of the students received free or reduced-price lunches based on income guidelines.
MTSS involves various interventions for students who need help mastering a skill or subject. The Kansas Reading Roadmap program includes an after-school program called Families and Schools Together. This fall 12 Riley School families spent one evening a week for eight weeks attending FAST programs. The 3-hour meetings included dinner and activities.
Riley’s Family Support worker Michelle Daniel reported that at the end of the eight weeks:
• 43 percent of the teachers with students in the program reported improvements with prosocial behaviors (behavior intended to help others)
• 80 percent of parents reported their relationship with their child improved
• teachers reported an improvement with attendance and homework completion
•100 percent of parents reported their child improved relationships with other children
• 100 percent of parents reported an increase in relationships with other parents at school.
KRR Coordinator Bryan Stacey said an after-school reading program is fun but productive. “The environment we try to create is a very fun learning environment,” he said. Looking at some of the improvements made, “I was amazed.”
Beth Rein, the Student Support Team coach, said she is pleased that KRR grant money will allow the district to offer summer school again this year. The emphasis will be on math, phonics, enrichment and community involvement.
“I was devastated last year when we didn’t have summer school,” Rein said. This year’s program will also make use of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) kits, and there will be educational mini-field trips on Fridays.
Benches for Lincoln Elementary
In addition to the building reports, the school board had a few items of business on Thursday.
The board approved Lincoln Elementary School Principal Misty Straub’s request to submit a grant application to Champlin Tire Recycling Inc. in Concordia for 50-50 funding of six 6-foot benches for the school grounds. The total cost is $1,614 and includes free delivery of benches made with recycled rubber. The Lincoln Parent Teacher Organization will pay the remaining 50 percent of the billing, or the entire amount if the school doesn’t get the grant.
The board also approved the resignation of Chris Battin, marketing teacher at Great Bend High School and the boys varsity basketball coach.
A licensed teacher appointment was approved for Cody Carlson as an In-School Suspension (ISS) instructor at GBHS. Carlson will also be an assistant coach.