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Some Schools Attack Illiteracy; Arizona School Uses Reading First Grant to Attack Literacy

Note: Is it possible that anyone--teacher or reporter--actually believes this that "Assessments will show educators how students learn and how they respond to the curriculum, month to month."

But the admission that the Reading First approach "attacks literacy" is right on target. So is the premise that the government wants this to be a model for the nation.

BUCKEYE - Rainbow Valley Elementary School is set to overhaul its reading program, thanks to a Reading First grant it won this week.
Under the grant, which comes as a result of the federal No Child Left Behind Act to raise education standards, Rainbow Valley will receive $190,000 annually for the next three years. The Buckeye school plans to hire two new specialists, intervene with underperforming students and buy curriculum materials for its K-3 program.

"It's going to allow us to really attack literacy," said Pete Turner, superintendent of Liberty Elementary School District, which includes Rainbow Valley.

The school plans to hire someone whose sole responsibility will be assessing students' reading skills. Assessments will show educators how students learn and how they respond to the curriculum, month to month. Teachers also will be able to see each student's strengths and weaknesses, Turner said.

On the 2002 Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards tests, 72 percent of Rainbow Valley third-graders tested at or above reading standards. The state average was 74 percent.

"We still have kids that are below grade level," Turner said. "That's not acceptable."

District Literacy Coordinator Denise Gray said the money also will allow the school to further its staff development. Officials are looking for a reading coach, who will help teach teachers.

"Three years from now, we hope to be a model, a model for the state, a model for the nation," Turner said.

— Katy Scott
3-year grant will help Rainbow School boost reading levels
Arizona Republic
March 29, 2003


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