Starside celebrates reading success
When students and their families lined up last Thursday outside the doors of Starside Elementary School, they were waiting to celebrate reading.
The students were there for Starside's eighth annual read night and eager to take part in the activities and games that encouraged reading and pick up books as prizes to take home.
But this year there was an added reason to celebrate at Starside. Read night came on the heels of preliminary results from state assessment tests that indicated the school achieved the scores needed to meet standards set by the No Child Left Behind law, or adequate yearly progress. Last year, the school failed to meet AYP in reading, and reaching that goal this year proved to be more challenging as AYP standards are to be raised every year until 2014 when 100 percent of students must be proficient in reading and math.
This year, third- through eighth-graders had to achieve a score of 69.5 percent or higher for the school to achieve AYP in reading and 66.8 percent to achieve AYP in math.
Starside Principal Paula Hill said she attributed the increase in scores to efforts made by the staff to identify students struggling with reading early on.
"Classroom teachers looked at data from state assessments ,and MAP assessments started last year," she said.
The Measures of Academic Progress tests that the school began implementing last year predict which students will struggle on state assessments and identifies the area where they need the most help, Hill said.
"It definitely gave us the right direction as far as exact skills each individual child needed," she said.
Results from the MAP test last year were on target as it identified students who had lower scores on the state assessment test the year before, Hill said. Teachers also are able to receive results from the MAP test within 24 hours so work can immediately start with students who are struggling.
Starside's read night also was the beginning of the schoolwide reading incentive, reading specialist Tana Priddy said.
Each child has a reading goal of 15 minutes per night for a total goal of 400 minutes in one month.
For fifth-grader Valerie Portillo, 15 minutes a night is nothing.
"I read one hour every night," she said. "My favorite book is 'Because of Winn Dixie' because I like animals and it has to do with a dog."