2017-10-09 / Front Page

Elementary school prepares for third-grade reading law

By Ste ven Kovac
810-452-2684 •

BROWN CITY — Brown City Elementary School (BCES) is moving rapidly to be ready when the strictest terms of Michigan’s new Third Grade Reading Law kick in at the start of the 2019-20 school year.

At that time the law (MCL:380.1280f of 2016) will require that students not reading at grade-level at the end of third grade be retained in third grade.

The measuring stick will be a state assessment test. If a third-grade student taking the test is determined to be one year or more behind in reading, that student will not be allowed to advance to the fourth grade.

Experts in elementary education acknowledge that the ability to adequately read after third grade is a key predicter of a student’s future academic success.

Once identified as being behind, the child will receive intensive help to bring him up to speed. By statute, no child will be required to repeat third grade more than once.

Brown City Elementary Principal Sean Hagey told The Brown City Banner, “We went beyond the law’s requirement that every K-3 student be tested within 30 days of the start of this school year. We opted to test all of our K-6 students as part of our on-going interventions program designed to help meet the needs of our struggling students at all grade levels.”

Hagey explained, “Since we did the screening through the accepted Dibels Next test, we were able to identify the students needing extra help. Pursuant to the law, we then sent letters to the parents of our K-3 students advising them of their child’s difficulties.

“Our intent, which coincides with the intent of the new law, is to maximize the effort to help the student not just at school but at home also,” said Hagey. “Part of the new law requires that Read-At-Home efforts be encouraged. This is something we’ve done informally for years, but now it has a new urgency because of the law behind it. Of course, parental participation is voluntary, but it is strongly recommended.

“With parental help coupled with our interventions we will see the number of these students decrease. We are acting now so that when our youngest students hit third grade they will be reading at the thirdgrade level,” said Hagey.

“Our staff has done a tremendous job of understanding the law and gathering all the data to better serve the needs of the students. Each day they are looking for ways to improve instruction, as well as target a student’s individual needs. Everyone at BCES has jumped on board and hit the ground running when it came to the implementation of the 3rd grade reading bill.”

On Monday, Oct. 9, at 6 p.m. in the elementary school computer lab, an informational meeting will be held for the purpose of explaining to parents the impact of the new law and to review the mandated Individual Reading Plans which must be created to help each struggling student.

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