DPS creating Read by Third Grade community task force

Photo courtesy of the Dearborn Public Schools Two Maples Elementary School kindergarteners at look through books during reading time. Dearborn Public Schools provides extra reading instruction as early as kindergarten for struggling students. The district invites the community to join its new Read by Third Grade task force.

Photo courtesy of the Dearborn Public Schools
Two Maples Elementary School kindergarteners at look through books during reading time. Dearborn Public Schools provides extra reading instruction as early as kindergarten for struggling students. The district invites the community to join its new Read by Third Grade task force.

DEARBORN — Dearborn Public Schools is creating a parent and community task force to look at the Read By Third Grade law scheduled to take full effect next year.

Under the law, any third-grader who is considered more than a year behind in reading must be recommended to repeat the grade.

The task force will allow the community to learn more about the complicated law and offer input on how the district addresses it.

“The goal is to strengthen the planning process and to ensure that the community is informed and engaged in the success of every student,” said Jill Chochol, executive director of Student Achievement for the Edsel Ford Feeder Track. She also is spearheading the district’s Read By Third Grade initiative.

Since the law’s passage in 2016, DPS administrators and teachers have worked to ensure as few students as possible are held back. Reading instruction and extra assistance have increased for lagging students, starting as young as kindergarten. Teacher training has become more focused, and additional summer and after school programs were added.

Community members who are interested in participating on the committee may sign up at the district website, www.dearbornschools.org. The website also has a link to a blog where the district will provide updated Read By Third Grade information as it becomes available. Visitors can subscribe to the blog to stay up to date.

Current second-graders are the first students who will be retained under the law. Those recommendations will be based on their spring 2020 Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress.

The Michigan Department of Education has yet to define what it will consider a year behind grade level. About 56 percent of the state’s third-graders were considered “not proficient” on the 2018 M-STEP.

There are several reasons students could be exempted from repeating third grade such as as newer English language learners, special education students, students who show they are proficient in reading via a different standardized assessment, those who have previously repeated a grade, and children who show they are at grade level in math, science and social studies.

While the district has increased its instruction efforts, having parents and the community involved is critical to each child’s success, Chochol said. On an individual level, getting children off videos and video games and into any kind of book, or even just engaged in conversation and hands-on experiences, are critical to language development.

“As in all things, Dearborn Public Schools needs the support of families and the community to help us help students reach their full potential,” Chochol said. “We are looking for that support for individual students and as a community on the Read By Third Grade task force. Together, we will address the changes brought by this new law.”

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