Nettleton Third-Graders Lead County in Reading Assessment

Courtesy of the Monroe County Journal: May 20, 2015 By Alice Ortiz NETTLETON – The Nettleton Primary School third grade scored 98 percent on the state reading test throughout initial reports, but a retest on Monday boosted the school to 100 percent. By the initial scores released a couple of weeks ago, only four other elementary schools in Northeast Mississippi had higher scores than Nettleton’s 98 percent score. Nettleton Superintendent of Education Michael Cates said he was very pleased with the results and felt they were definitely going in the right direction. According to Nettleton Primary School Principal David Tutor, who has been at the school for six years, he implemented Common Core standards in kindergarten and first grade in the 2011-2012 school year, and added second and third grade in the 2012-2013 school year. “We knew this was coming, and knew we had to be proactive,” Tutor said. “We can’t do as we’ve always done and expect results.” Beginning in the 2013-2014 school year, Nettleton completely changed the way it taught and assessed students. Personnel designed and implemented standard-based grading where students are assessed based on mastery of standards as opposed to traditional subjective numeric grades. All of this information can be found on the school website. In the 2014-2015 school year, Nettleton purchased STAR 360 through Renaissance to use as a universal screener and progress monitoring tool. Students scoring below the 40 percent on the STAR were identified and pulled three times a week for reading instruction with the reading interventionist, Dawn Harrell. The students were also invited to attend afterschool tutoring one day a week. Those...

Local Districts See Reading Improvements

Courtesy of the Hattiesburg American: By Ellen Ciurczak May 21, 2015 Kindergarten sure has changed, and the release Thursday of the results of Mississippi’s first statewide assessment of learning in kindergarten proves that. “It used to be that kindergartners learned their colors, learned their name and took naps,” said Teresa Jenny, Lamar County School District’s federal programs director. “Those days are gone.” The results of the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment show the majority of the state’s youngest students made significant gains this academic year. More than 40,000 kindergartners from 144 districts took the STAR Early Literacy exam in the fall and again this spring. The average score for fall was 501. For spring, the average score climbed to 680. “These scores show that teachers have been equipping children with the foundational reading skills that are needed to progress in school,” said Kim Benton, chief academic officer for Mississippi Department of Education. “Schools and teachers have been effective at helping students who start school unprepared to exit kindergarten with beginning reading skills.” The idea behind the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment is to get kindergartners started with reading skills so they will be reading proficiently in third grade. Then they will be able to pass the third-grade reading assessment and move on to fourth grade. Jenny said Lamar County kindergartners were taught such skills as phonemic awareness and how to write a paragraph. “If you expose children to this, they can do it,” she said. Lamar County kindergartners scored 532 in fall 2014. That score improved to 697 in spring 2015. “Our kindergarten teachers have been working very hard in getting our kindergartners ready to...