Dear Green Acres Families,
Elementary school has changed. When I was in school we learned to cut straight lines and primary colors. We learned how play games and walk in a line. We also spent time in the Library learning how to read on our own. Times have certainly changed…
Today, learning has been influenced by Psychology and Science. Take reading for example. Our Kindergarten students are taking part in a new program. Not only do students learn letters but they also learn each sound associated with the letter. Once we have taught the basic letter names and sounds we move on to phonemic segmentation. Segmentation is basically the ability to break words up into individual parts (notice we teach to add the sounds up and break them down, too). Segmentation is an essential skill in writing, too. From there we also work on word reading fluency. We are, during this time, also teaching sight words. Word reading fluency then moves into Passage reading fluency. The importance of fluency is very clear. Being able to read words, phrases and sentences smoothly, while understanding them as expressions of ideas is paramount to academic success. Then there is vocabulary. Without a solid foundation in vocabulary all other parts of reading would be jeopardized. And finally, there is Reading Comprehension. This is simply the understanding of text and message. In reality, however, this understanding comes from the interaction of written words and their articulation with knowledge (which is very different than learning).
The Kindergarten team was trained in a new program that we are implementing at the Kindergarten level. Our Kindergarten students made the biggest gains in reading for entire district from Fall to Winter. Even though we have, historically, had the lowest scores for readiness. We did this even though we had only an average of 90%of attendance in the Kindergarten classes (the State expectation is at least 95%). Think of the gains we could have made if all the students were here all of the time! If your child misses a day, they miss too much.
We no longer use the worksheets to teach. We might, from time to time, use them to reinforce a concept or idea but they are not used to teach. We have interactive lessons that require attendance. We cold call students to keep them engaged in the lesson and learning. We present problems that change and become more complex. We group students according to specific skill deficits. If they are not here for assessment it is difficult to determine their needs. Please help us help your child secure a better future with a rock solid education.
Speaking of assessment, the OAKS is nearly here. OAKS is the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. It is a VERY important test. This assessment is able to predict, with a great deal of reliability, a child’s likelihood of graduating from High School. If a student exceeds on this test at the 3rd grade, they are 90% likely to meet on the high school portion in the 11th grade. If a 3rd grade student simply meets benchmark in reading then they only have a 50% of meeting in the 11th grade. Like I stated, this test is VERY important.