Improved literacy rates for LPSD


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June 9, 2015 8:15 AM

From left, Grade 2 students Myah Diehl and Pheonyx Pewapsconias, along with superintendent of curriculum and instruction Trisha Rawlake and Grade 2 student Kenzie Krull, read together at the Jack Kemp Community School library.

The Lloydminster Public School Division is celebrating improved literacy rates in Grade 1 to 6 classes across the division.

“This is a big deal,” said Laurie Gareau, Grade 2 teacher at Jack Kemp Community School. “We are happy, always, to celebrate reading achievement, happy to celebrate all students and their excellence that they can achieve.”

As of March, nearly 80 per cent of LPSD students in Grades 1 to 6 were reading at, or above, grade level. In particular, Jack Kemp experienced the greatest increase. Between October 2014 and March 2015, the school’s literacy rate skyrocketed 9.6 per cent to 71.43 per cent.

“All due in part to the wonderful team that we have working together,” said Gareau.

The team, which meets about once a week to review and plan reading interventions for students, consists of classroom teachers, an educational support teacher, a targeted skills teacher and a literacy coach.

Back in August 2014, the LPSD announced that it would bring in three literacy coaches to work with teachers and students beginning in September of the current school year.

“We talk about who needs what at what time, and then we figure out a way to provide (students) with teacher time to deliver the things that they need to meet their needs,” said Pam Rivett, who coaches literacy at Jack Kemp, as well as Rendell Park Elementary School.

As a literacy coach, Rivett is tasked with supporting teachers and formulating intervention strategies to help students achieve higher reading levels.

“Could be small group work where you might target how to solve words,” said Rivett. “Or it might be small group work where you might target how to develop some comprehension skills.”

Or it could be the use of mixer groups, an approach that Jack Kemp took great advantage of throughout this school year.

“We have students from my classroom and the other Grade 2 classroom together with a teacher and some other support in that classroom to help broaden their learning,” said Gareau, who also attributed part of the success to the team-oriented culture of the Jack Kemp staff.

“The students are viewed as our students, they’re not just my students that I have in my classroom,” she said.

While the LPSD and its teachers are pleased with the latest statistics, Gareau says that they aren’t ready to stop here.

“We just keep climbing,” she said. “That’s the goal, that’s the hope.”

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