Title I Reading Services Key to Student Success
A priority for Beavercreek City Schools is helping its youngest learners develop basic reading skills. In addition to daily classroom reading instruction, the district utilizes federal funding and district funds to provide Title I reading instruction for struggling readers in all six of the elementary buildings. This targeted assistance helps identified students make progress in the critical reading skills necessary for student success.
At the beginning of each school year, students in grades K-2 are evaluated to determine eligibility for Title I intervention services. Students who meet established criteria receive additional small group reading instruction five days per week. When students meet grade-level reading expectations, they no longer receive the supplemental Title I reading instruction and other students are selected for intervention. The effectiveness of Beavercreek City School’s targeted assistance Title I program is reflected in the Third Grade Reading Guarantee (TGRG) statistics on the district’s state report card. Ninety-nine percent of the students in Beavercreek passed the state’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee requirements.
For those students with the greatest need for reading support, Title I services also provide a more intensive program known as Reading Recovery, which is a short-term intervention that strives to accelerate the student’s reading progress. These students receive a half-hour lesson each day for 12-20 weeks with a specially trained Reading Recovery teacher. Thirty percent of the students who received this intervention earned promotion to fourth grade based on the 2019 fall assessment. Mandated school closures prevented spring testing; however, district data indicated the majority of these students had a readiness for promotion.
Critical to the success of the district’s Title I reading intervention program is the seven highly trained Title I teachers, each one certified in Reading Recovery. BCS is unique in comparison with other districts in our region; by requiring Title I staff members to be certified in Reading Recovery’s data-based, intensive intervention program. “Most preservice teaching programs do not thoroughly train teachers on research-based strategies to support struggling readers,” according to the district’s Title I Coordinator, Ruth Wiley. The Reading Recovery training for Title I teachers at Beavercreek City Schools, in conjunction with each teacher’s dedication to their students, is making a difference. “These teachers are like the Navy Seals of literacy intervention; they complete extensive and ongoing professional development which enable them to implement targeted and precise reading intervention strategies to meet the individual needs of our most at-risk students,” Wiley said.
The federal government provides Title I funding to public school districts based on the number of families who qualify for free and reduced-price meal benefits. For many districts, that is advantageous, but for Beavercreek City Schools, it presents a challenge. Despite having students who need reading intervention at all six elementary buildings based on current federal funding levels, only four of our elementary buildings qualify for Title I targeted assistance funding support. To offset the need for intervention support at the additional two elementary schools, Beavercreek City Schools has used district funds to pay for the reading intervention teachers at those schools. “We are fortunate that the district continues to recognize the importance of early literacy intervention despite the lack of sufficient federal funding,” Wiley shared. She suspects that many families who would qualify for meal benefits do not fill out the required paperwork, and therefore, critical funding is lost.
The continuation of Title I services not covered by federal dollars is in jeopardy if the district’s pending May 4 levy fails. The effects could be catastrophic for those early elementary students struggling with literacy skills. As it currently stands, Valley Elementary and Trebein Elementary will lose Title I reading services, despite a continued need for early literacy intervention at those schools. According to Wiley, the biggest window of opportunity for kids to successfully learn to read exists in kindergarten through grade 3. As students leave that window and progress through grade levels, the chances for success diminish.
To see what families are saying about the district's Title I reading services and its Title I reading teachers, please click here.