Students’ reading levels improve
More than 35 elementary students throughout the Park City School District are enrolled in the AmeriCorps Literacy Program, which helps students whose reading level is on or below par for their grade by providing them with one-on-one tutoring sessions two days a week. According to Kelly McCulley-Miko, AmeriCorps Literacy Coordinator for Parley’s Park and Jeremy Ranch Elementary School, the schools’ reading specialists look at students’ literacy scores before referring them to the program.
"They send us students who are falling below the benchmark in their grade. I have more kids that we’ve pulled into the program so now we’re looking for volunteers," she said, adding that volunteers will be trained on how to measure a student’s comprehension, how to help them sound out words and how to make sure their fluency rate is going up.
"The one thing I see with my kids that really can’t be measured is that they are excited to come down and read with their tutors," McCulley-Miko said. "They used to not be excited because they were struggling, but now they are waiting for their tutors. To see a struggling reader excited about reading is encouraging."
Trailside and McPolin Elementary School AmeriCorps Coordinator Lorraine Stuecken has about 22 students enrolled in the reading program between the two schools. The AmeriCorps coordinators also work closely with the schools’ teachers, who let them know what reading level the tutor and student should work toward.
"We’re seeing our kids improving and moving up in the reading levels so we can gage how the students are doing now since the fall," McCulley-Miko said. "We keep track of how many errors the student has, we test their fluency, and then we decide if they get moved up or stay at that reading level."
According to Parley’s Park Reading Specialist Tracy Bowers, the school has several reading interventions during the day, but some students require extra help in reading. She said right now there are six Parley’s students in the program.
"When we look at our test results we see some growth there," Bowers said. "The tutors are great though because it’s really hard for the student to not be focused because the tutor is right there. They do a great job selecting books that the students will like and be interested in. Kelly works with me to get books that are appropriate and not too hard for them and the relationship they develop with the ladies that are here reading with them is great."
A portion of their responsibilities through AmeriCorps includes collecting and reporting data on students’ reading scores, tutoring students during the school day, and completing 50 hours of community service in a 10 month period, McCulley-Miko said.
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The planning committee and the newly formed task forces will continue to work on the master planning priorities and will present to the Board of Education at its meeting Dec. 17.