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Summer program would help struggling Eastland K-2 readers

Published: Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 6:31 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Feb. 17, 2017 5:58 a.m. CDT

LANARK – Young Eastland students who have significant trouble reading might get some extra help this summer.

The School Board heard Tuesday about a proposed remedial summer reading program for K-2 students.

Research shows that not being able to read at the proper level by third grade can have long-term effects, impacting when a student graduates, Eastland Elementary School Principal Angela Mahoney said.

Data from spring 2015 to spring 2016 indicated that only 16 percent of Eastland students in the bottom 25 percent of reading skills were meeting their reading growth target. Likewise, only 40 percent of students with individualized reading programs were meeting their reading growth target.

The remedial program also would help combat ground lost during summer break. It would be mandatory, as would parent involvement, and run for 4 hours a day from July 5 to Aug. 4.

At present, the proposal calls for a class of 12 or 13 children, with three certified staff and a driver for transportation. The projected cost would be $13,983.

“We want to keep it small right now and make sure it’s working right, and work with kids who are at the lowest level,” Mahoney said.

The board will hear more information at its March 13 meeting.

Character counts

Board members also heard a presentation from Eastland Elementary counselor Jessica Peugh and Eastland High counselor Anne Pilgrim about the district’s character education program.

At the elementary level, students receive a mix of class lessons and curriculum, presentations by Riverview Center’s Mount Carroll office, goal-setting, and more. Earlier this school year, sixth-grade students volunteered their time at the Feed My Starving Children charity in Schaumburg.

“That went extremely well,” Peugh said. “The kids said they want to go back again.”

At the junior and senior high school level, topics continue and grow more in-depth, such as discussions of safe dating and drug awareness, and college and career fairs.

The work is having an effect. Pilgrim said a study from the University of Chicago and the Urban Education Institute rated how supportive an environment various schools are, with 100 being the most supportive. Eastland rates at 65, compared to 54 for similar schools and 48 statewide.

NEXT MEETING

The Eastland School Board next meets at 6:30 p.m. Mar. 13 in the Eastland Elementary School media center, 601 S. Chestnut, Shannon. Agendas are available at eastland308.com, under the "board of education" link.

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