Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542
Kisha Verdusco at 313-873-4546
Students in grades pre-K-6 at four Detroit Public Schools will get tutoring help, new educational materials and problem -solving skills this fall as part of the Detroit pilot of the Success For All reading program, which aims to ensure every child reads at grade level.
SFA is a researched-based, comprehensive school improvement program that uses a cooperative team approach at every level of a school building — from students to principals — to raise achievement. Its unique approach includes a variety of instructional techniques, professional development for teachers and staff, frequent assessments of student progress and an online data tracking system that allows teachers to quickly respond to students’ educational needs.
Chrysler, Edison and Oakman elementary schools and Murphy Elementary-Middle School will pilot the Kindercorner, Reading Roots and Reading Wings literacy programs starting in September.
“Literacy skills are absolutely critical to every aspect of learning, which is why there is such a strong emphasis on this area in the district’s Academic Plan. It’s also why we’re happy to be one of the districts participating in a nationwide expansion of this program,” said DPS Chief Academic and Accountability Auditor Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “This program has a proven track record of raising reading proficiency in other urban school settings, and we expect the same here in Detroit.”
The $1.28 million five-year program will eventually serve 10 schools and is being implemented with stimulus funds through the Investing in Innovation grant from the U.S. Department of Education as well as matching funds from the Kellogg Foundation.
Students are grouped by reading level, not age or grade, meaning a teacher may have second, third and fourth-grade students in the same class. This approach allows teachers to focus on getting all students on the same page at the same pace. Students’ skills are reassessed every quarter, and their grade-level grouping can change based on their performance each quarter. The entire instructional and administrative staff also comes together each quarter to assess their building’s progress.
“We’re focused on student engagement and increasing student involvement in the instructional process through cooperative learning and fast-paced instruction,” said Success For All CEO Nancy Madden. “We are changing how the material is presented and how that material is processed.”
Research has shown that students in SFA’s reading program were at least one grade level ahead of peers who were not exposed to the program. In addition to increasing reading achievement, schools with the SFA programs have fewer students repeating grades and fewer students going into Special Education.
Lisa Enoch, a coach who has been trained and certified by SFA, will work with the principals, teachers and staffs at Chrysler, Edison, Oakman and Murphy to implement the program. Another coach will be added when the program expands.
Based in Baltimore, Maryland, Success for All operates in more than 1,000 mostly low-income schools nationwide. That number is expected to double thanks to a $50 million grant from the Investing in Innovation program. Detroit, Atlanta, Phoenix and Philadelphia are among the partners in the program’s national expansion.