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Local Literacy Plan

Minnesota legislation for Reading Well by Third Grade requires all public school districts and charter schools to post a Local Literacy Plan on the district webpage. The Local Literacy Plan serves as a guide as each district works toward meeting the requirement of all students reading well by the end of third grade. This is a required component of each district’s World’s Best Workforce Plans. This page outlines in more detail the specifics of South Washington County School District’s Local Literacy Plan.

For questions, further information, or to comment on any part of the District 833 Local Literacy Plan, please contact: Traci Newhouse, Elementary Literacy Coach, at 651-425-3664 or tnewhous@sowashco.org.

In order to prepare all students for college and career readiness, the goal of South Washington County School District 833 is for students to achieve grade level proficiency or higher by the end of third grade. To meet this goal, our focus is on increasing the rate of literacy acquisition in reading and writing by third grade for all students. We will increase the percentage of students of meeting spring state proficiency targets in third grade from 65.0% in the Spring of 2013 to 75.5% in the Spring of 2017, a total increase of 10.5% and an annual increase of 2.6%. Current progress toward this goal is posted here.


Definition and Assurance of Proficiency

Students receive daily instruction in a comprehensive literacy program that includes reading and writing workshops. The workshop model provides standards-based instruction in both whole group and small group formats. Regular assessment is used to monitor student progress. Students who need additional instruction and/or time to be successful are provided with intervention support. More information can be found under Intervention and Instructional Supports.

The definition of proficiency in District 833 is outlined in the following table:

Grade Level

Assessments

Proficiency Level

Kindergarten

 

Benchmark Assessment System (*text level)

Dictation Sentence

Letter Identification

Letter Sounds

Concepts about Print

Phonemic Awareness (initial sounds, blending, segmenting, rhyming)

Level D

 

30/37

50/52

22/26

13/14

 

80% accuracy on each skill

First Grade

Benchmark Assessment System

(*text level)

Level J

Second Grade

Benchmark Assessment System

(*text level)

Level M

Third Grade

Benchmark Assessment System

(*text level)

Level P

Fourth Grade

Benchmark Assessment System

(*text level)

Level S

Fifth Grade

Benchmark Assessment System

(*text level)

Level V

(*Text level indicates the level of text complexity at which reading accuracy, fluency and comprehension are all within satisfactory range.)


Student Assessment Process

All students in grades K-3 are screened for reading proficiency three times each year. Diagnostic assessments are administered as needed to students who are not proficient in order to identify instructional needs. Teachers regularly monitor the progress of all students, and monitor progress of students performing below proficiency levels most frequently. More information about the assessments used with students at each grade level can be found in the Grade by Grade Assessment Plan.


Grade by Grade Assessment Plan

Kindergarten

Fall Screening:

  • Letter Identification: To determine which letters the child knows.
  • Letter Sounds: To determine which letter sounds the child knows.
  • Concepts About Print: To identify which print concepts the child understands.
  • Phonemic Awareness: To identify how the child is able to hear and manipulate sounds in spoken words.
  • Record of Oral Language: To identify children with potential low language skills.

Winter & Spring:

  • Benchmark Assessment System (Text Reading): To identify the level of text the student is able to read and understand, and to note what the student is able to do as he works through the text.
  • Dictation Sentence: To assess the child’s ability to hear and record sounds in words.

First Grade

Screening, Fall, Winter, Spring:

  • Benchmark Assessment System (Text Reading): To identify the level of text the student is able to read and understand, and to note what the student is able to do as he works through the text.

Diagnostic Assessments: Used when more instructional information is needed:

  • Dictation Sentence: To assess the child’s ability to hear and record sounds in words.
  • Phonemic Awareness: To identify how the child is able to hear and manipulate sounds in spoken words (initial sounds, blending sounds, segmenting sounds, and rhyming).
  • Letter ID/Letter Sounds: To determine which letters and sounds the child knows.
  • Concepts About Print: To identify which print concepts the child understands.
  • High Frequency Words: To check for automatic recognition of the most common words that appear in all texts.

Second Grade

Screening, Fall, Winter, Spring:

  • Benchmark Assessment System (Text Reading): To identify the level of text the student is able to read and understand, and to note what the student is able to do as he works through the text.

Diagnostic Assessments: Used when more instructional information is needed:

  • Letter Sounds: To identify which letter sounds the child knows.
  • High Frequency Word list: To check for automatic recognition of the most common words that appear in all texts.
  • Primary Spelling Inventory (Words Their Way): To determine the child’s stage of spelling development.

Third Grade

Screening, Fall, Winter, Spring:

  • Benchmark Assessment System (Text Reading): To identify the level of text the student is able to read and understand, and to note what the student is able to do as he works through the text.

Diagnostic Assessments: Used when more instructional information is needed:

  • Primary Spelling Inventory (WTW): To determine the child’s stage of spelling development.

Fourth Grade

Screening, Fall:

  • Benchmark Assessment System (Text Reading): To identify the level of text the student is able to read and understand, and to note what the student is able to do as he works through the text.

Diagnostic Assessments: Used when more instructional information is needed:

  • Elementary Spelling Inventory (WTW): To determine the child’s stage of spelling development
  • Benchmark Assessment System (Text Reading): Administered winter and spring to students reading below grade level. To identify the level of text the student is able to read and understand, and to note what the student is able to do as he works through the text.

Fifth Grade

Screening, Fall:

  • Benchmark Assessment System (Text Reading): To identify the level of text the student is able to read and understand, and to note what the student is able to do as he works through the text.

Diagnostic Assessments: Used when more instructional information is needed:

  • Elementary Spelling Inventory (WTW): To determine the child’s stage of spelling development
  • Benchmark Assessment System (Text Reading): Administered winter and spring to students reading below grade level. To identify the level of text the student is able to read and understand, and to note what the student is able to do as he works through the text.

K-5 Progress Monitoring:

In all grades, running records of the student’s text reading are used to monitor student progress. All students are monitored regularly, with students performing below proficiency levels monitored more frequently.


Parent Notification and Involvement

Parents and families are informed of student progress at regularly scheduled parent/teacher conferences during each school year. In addition, parents will receive a letter from the school principal at the end of the year, notifying them of their student’s progress and listing ways they can help support their child’s literacy development.


Intervention and Instructional Supports

Children do not all learn at the same rate or on the same schedule. It is for this reason that South Washington County Schools rely on informed teacher decision-making within a reading and writing workshop model rather than on pre-packaged, one-size-fits-all instructional programs. [For more information on our reading and writing workshops, see Curriculum and Instruction System. Many children will benefit from additional time and instruction tailored to their needs. The table below provides more detail on intervention supports we provide when needed:

Tier I (Core Instruction)

High-quality instruction for ALL students within reading workshop

  • Short, focused whole-group instruction on grade-level standards
  • Flexible small-group instruction based on reading level (guided reading groups) or strategy (strategy groups)
  • Regular individual conferences and formative assessment
  • Independent practice: reading, writing, and word work

Tier 2 (Group Interventions)

Small-group lesson or individual conference in addition to Tier I instruction

  • Within literacy block
  • Provided by classroom teacher or specialist

Tier 3 (Intensive Interventions)

Small-group lesson or individual conference in addition to Tier I instruction

  • In addition to literacy block
  • Provided by specialist
  • Reading Recovery
  • Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI)
  • Other specific intervention (e.g.,  Read Naturally, Benchmark Phonics, Options Comprehension Strategies)

Reading Recovery

 

Reading Recovery is a short-term, early intervention program designed to help the lowest-achieving first graders develop effective strategies for reading and enable them to read within the average range for first grade. Students who participate in the Reading Recovery program receive an individual lesson for thirty minutes each day in addition to the regular classroom literacy instruction. The lessons are individually tailored to each student, and instruction is provided by a certified Reading Recovery teacher. Reading Recovery students participate in the program for a period of 12 to 20 weeks. Students who successfully complete the program demonstrate evidence of independent strategic reading and are able to participate in classroom reading instruction at appropriate levels for their class. Then the program is “discontinued” for that student and another student enters the program.

Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI)

 

Leveled Literacy Intervention System (LLI) is a small-group, supplementary literacy intervention designed to help teachers provide powerful, daily, small-group instruction for the students performing below grade level. Through systematically designed lessons and original, engaging leveled books, LLI supports learning in both reading and writing, helps students expand their knowledge of language and words and how they work. The goal of LLI is to bring students to grade level achievement in reading. The intervention is from 14-24 weeks in length, depending upon student needs.


Professional Development on Scientifically-based Reading Instruction (SBRI)

In the South Washington County Schools, we believe in investing in our teachers. We have created a staff development model that ensures that all teachers have access to a high level of professional development in literacy, in order to ensure highly qualified teachers in every classroom. We believe in job-embedded professional development that ensures teachers receive ongoing, day to day instruction in best practices. Below are some of the ways we work at ensuring high quality instruction in the classroom:

  • Reading Specialists: Each of our elementary buildings employs a licensed reading specialist. A major responsibility of the reading specialist is to provide coaching support to teachers to ensure that high quality core instruction and intervention is happening daily, in and out of the classroom, to meet the needs of all students.

  • Professional Learning Communities: In addition to our job-embedded coaches, each of our buildings meets in regular monthly PLC’s. The focus of these PLC’s is outlined in our “Effective Teaming Framework” where reviewing student data is a focus.

  • Student Achievement Specialists: Our full time, and part time, Student Achievement Specialists offer support to ensure that teachers are effectively using data to guide instruction.

  • Data and Assessment Teacher Leaders: Our part time Data Assessment Teacher Leaders help collect and organize school wide data to ensure that our buildings meet their reading ATPPS goals.

  • Literacy Training for New/Probationary Teachers: Classes are offered to new and probationary elementary teachers that focus on each of the components of a Comprehensive Literacy model of instruction. These classes are also open to continuing contract teachers as a refresher. Additional classes and workshops are available to all teachers during the year to ensure that all teachers are kept abreast of best practices in literacy instruction.

District 833 School Board Strategic Objective #3 – Performance Excellence: Systematic processes for continuous improvement are embedded in all aspects of the district in the pursuit of performance excellence. 3.1 All schools and departments in the district will demonstrate performance excellence through deployment of continuous improvement practices.

District 833

Literacy Staff Development Plan

for Probationary Teachers

Year 1

September - Literacy Instructional Framework overview

October - Introduction to Writers’ Workshop

November - Introduction to Shared Reading

December - Introduction to Managing Small Groups

Year 2

Writers’ Workshop: Narrative

Primary grade or Intermediate grade focus

Shared Reading

Primary grade or Intermediate grade focus

Managing Small Groups

Teaching Small Groups I

Primary grade or Intermediate grade focus

Year 3

Assessment

Teaching Small Groups II

Primary grade or Intermediate grade focus

Writers’ Workshop II

Primary grade or Intermediate grade focus


Curriculum and Instruction System

E-8 Language Arts Instructional Framework:

Curriculum is defined in the South Washington County School District as an instructional framework guided by the Minnesota State Standards and benchmarks while creating critical thinkers, readers and writers. Curriculum is everything that impacts learning -stated or unstated, within our school community.

  • Grades K-2 Time Allotment = 150+ minutes  
  • Grades 3-5 Time Allotment = 120+ minutes
  • Grades 6-18 Time Allotment = 60 minutes

Read Aloud/Interactive Read-Aloud

Teacher reads aloud from multiple texts for a variety of purposes to support learning. Read aloud provides students with a model of how proficient readers think, exposes students to a variety of different genres, builds vocabulary, and helps support curriculum in a whole group setting. (5-10 minutes)

Mini lesson/Shared Reading/Focus Lesson

Teacher provides interactive, whole group, explicit instruction at grade level. These lessons present essential grade level reading and writing skills to all learners based on the Minnesota State Standards and Benchmarks. (10-20 minutes)

Guided Practice (Reading and Writing):

Reading: The teacher uses a Gradual Release model to guide students’ use of appropriate reading strategies and skills. The teacher uses a variety of grouping strategies and/or one-on-one conferencing to provide support as students develop critical thinking skills. Students are reading books at their instructional level and learning strategies to navigate through challenging text. (Reading 20-30 minutes)

Writing: The teacher uses a Gradual Release model to guide students through the writing process while asking students to write for a variety of audiences and purposes. (Writing 20-30 minutes)

Independent Practice (Reading and Writing):

Reading: Students read a variety of different genres for a variety of different purposes. Students read on their own or with partners and read for pleasure or to practice the skills learned. Students read books at their independent level and are offered opportunities for self-selected and/or teacher-guided choice. Independent Reading takes place during the guided reading block when students are not in meeting with the teacher. (20-40 minutes)

Writing: Students write a variety of different genres for a variety of different purposes. Students write on their own or with partners and write for pleasure or to practice the skills learned. Students are offered opportunities for self-selected and/or teacher-guided choice. Independent writing takes place during the writing workshop when students are not in meeting with the teacher. (20-40 minutes)


Student Support System for English Learners (EL)

Every student who has a language other than English listed on their home language survey is evaluated by English language teachers. Children who qualify are offered English Language support services. All EL students are assessed annually to determine progress and eligibility. Classroom teachers consult with the English language teacher for instructional support. Cultural competency training is available through the professional development catalog.


Communication System for Annual Reporting

Data from the screening assessments administered at each grade level (see Grade by Grade Assessment Plan for assessments used) is used to determine proficiency. Results are posted annually on the South Washington County Schools website on the Research, Evaluation and Assessment page. The results are also reported to the MN Commissioner of Education annually.

Data from diagnostic and progress monitoring assessments are used by grade level teams in their Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) to identify instructional needs and to monitor student progress toward proficiency.

The District 833 Local Literacy Plan is reviewed by the District Data and Assessment Committee (DDAC), the Advisory Staff Development Committee (ASDC), and the Curriculum Advisory Council (CAC) for accessibility of information, usefulness of documents, support provided for implementing effective strategies at home, and effectiveness of support provided to implement required elements of the plan.

For questions, further information, or to comment on any part of the District 833 Local Literacy Plan, please contact:

  • Traci Newhouse, Elementary Literacy Specialist
  • Teaching and Learning Services, South Washington County Schools
  • 651-425-4065 or tnewhous@sowashco.org