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December 1st, 2017

“By the end of second grade, 91% of my students met proficiency on the spring reading assessment;  the highest proficiency rate I have had as a classroom teacher.”
— Lacee Peterson

 

I am a second-grade teacher, with a Master’s degree in elementary reading comprehension.  I work in a K-12 school and have been teaching for 13 years. Each year I meet a new group of second graders, eager to learn and explore the world. My students are delightful, resilient kids,  each of them with unique qualities and capabilities, in and out of the classroom.  They have the potential to create productive,  meaningful lives for themselves and I open the doors to my classroom every morning knowing my work is an integral part of building a strong foundation for their future. Reading is the cornerstone of this foundation.

Reading well means learning well. Reading well predicts future success so  identifying and supporting students who are struggling to read is one of the highest priorities in my classroom and in my school district.

Last year, my second grade class was 60% female, 40% male with a Hispanic population of 30%. When my students took their fall reading assessment, 37% of my 2nd grade students scored benchmark; the remaining 63% did not meet proficiency.

You can imagine my concern when I reviewed the test results.  Research tells us that children who read widely and often develop higher-order thinking skills and create a passion for reading and life-long learning. Reading helps them to see a world in which they can aim for the stars and achieve their dreams.

It was time to get to work so that my kids could not only read alongside their peers but enjoy the magic of exploring and learning.

My school district requires classroom teachers to write a literacy plan for any student in grades kindergarten through second grade who did not score proficient on the fall reading assessment.  With this mandate and my students in mind, I developed a literacy plan for those who scored below benchmark and used the Mileposts program as the platform for developing, managing, and administering their reading plans and follow-on interventions.  

When my district adopted Silverback Mileposts, we were able to upload our Literacy Plan, fully customized for our district needs. Since I already knew what our plan required and how it was to be administered, it made my work much easier and more efficient. This gave me the opportunity to spend my time where it mattered most, with my students.

Teachers understand that the right data matters. It matters, even more, when I have the ability to take action on it in a way that helps my students. Our Literacy Plan includes administering additional diagnostic assessments to identify further where the lack of reading skills was for each of my students.  With insights gleaned from the data gathered, I was able to edit and add their plans and then ensure that instructional interventions were designed and put in place to offer my students skills which they needed to attain proficiency by the end of second grade.  

Using Mileposts, I was able to document each intervention as well as the accompanying progress monitor. This gave me the ability to determine whether there was progress and at what level as my kids continued on their journey towards proficiency and, hopefully, ultimately the joy of reading.  

We realized more and more the powerful tool that we had in Mileposts and decided to also make it our central communication platform.  As a teacher, it was easy to input and document the classroom interventions and progress monitors for my students. From there, the reading specialist, building principal, and district curriculum director stayed informed about which strategies were being used to meet the needs of the students through Mileposts. Interventions which took place outside the classroom were documented by specialists in Mileposts as well.  With this centralized hub, everyone involved in our students’ success, was able to access and use the same information to make sure we were doing everything possible to help them achieve their literacy goals.

By the end of second grade, 91% of my students met proficiency on the spring reading assessment;  the highest proficiency rate I have had as a classroom teacher!

Each week as I would progress monitor my students I had Mileposts open and shared their progress or their struggle to improve.  This program was a pivotal component to the success of my students; they wanted to see their graph in Mileposts. They tried to make progress, and their own success empowered them.

Having our parents involved in their child’s literacy plan was another key piece for us. The student plan was shared with parents during our parent teacher conferences.  We went through the assessments, instructional interventions, and goals for the student.  They were informed of the journey we were taking during the school year and I sent updates home to them through email and also made phone calls home to celebrate the progress that was being made with their child in the classroom.

And then it happened! All of the planning, work, and encouragement paid off and we saw the results. By the end of second grade, 91% of my students met proficiency on the spring reading assessment;  the highest proficiency rate I have had as a classroom teacher.

By efficiently and effectively using our District Literacy Plan customized in Mileposts,  I was more intentional as a classroom teacher.  The progress monitoring tool gave me the information I needed, every day, to determine if the student and I were closing the gap in their reading.

 


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