RISC August News - Education

RPS to Pilot Proven Reading Program

On September 4, when Woodville Elementary's classrooms fill up with backpacks, books, and bright-eyed kids, the school will also be opening a new chapter in reading - with a pilot of Reading Mastery!  This fall, children in Kindergarten, First, and Second grades will learn to read using a program proven to help students across all backgrounds read on grade level.

Reading Mastery, which falls under the umbrella of Direct Instruction programs, has shown impressive results for decades across the country and in Virginia. From 2009-2012, Buckingham County Public Schools implemented Reading Mastery and saw reading scores jump from 45% to 98% in 2 years! Recently school districts across Virginia adopted Reading Mastery, including Buckingham, Lancaster, and Culpeper Counties. 
 
Woodville Elementary's principal visited City Springs School in Baltimore, MD with RISC leaders in January 2018 to see the program in action. In addition, Richmond's new Chief Academic Officer has extensive experience with the program and stated that every high-poverty school district she has worked with, from Texas to New York, has seen success with Reading Mastery. 
 
With Woodville currently unaccredited in reading, and only 32% of students reading on grade level, we are excited for the potential this change will bring for children in Richmond's East End. Dr. Epp, the Chief Academic Officer of RPS, invited RISC members to visit the school in September to see the program in practice. After 4 years of visiting Baltimore, we are thrilled at this development!  
 
RISC's Education Committee will continue to monitor progress and work toward expansion with RPS leaders, as well as continuing to press Henrico County Public Schools to pilot the same program in the county's East End. The past 18 months of working with Richmond have not been without obstacles - despite City Council and School Board members approaching RISC to work on reading, we faced consistent challenges due to administration turnover. In all, we worked with 3 Chief Academic Officers and 2 Superintendents and were told it would be best to wait until 2019, when the new leadership settled in.  
 
But because we persisted, over 100 children in our city will not have to wait any longer for the resources they need to read! Hallelujah!
 
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