DEARBORN — Dearborn Public Schools is creating a parent and community task force to look at the Read by Third Grade law scheduled to take full effect next year. Under the law, any third grader who is considered more than a year behind in reading must be recommended to repeat the grade.
The task force will allow the community to learn more about the complicated law and would offer input on how the district addresses it.
Since the law’s passage in 2016, administrators and teachers in Dearborn Public Schools have worked diligently to ensure as few students as possible are held back. Reading instruction and extra assistance have increased for lagging students, starting as young as kindergarten. Teacher training has become more focused and additional summer and after school programs were added.
Jill Chochol, executive director of student achievement for the Edsel Ford Feeder Track, said the goal is to strengthen the planning process and to ensure the community is informed about every student.
Community members who are interested in participating on the committee are encouraged to visit the district website at www.dearbornschools.org to sign up. The website also has a link to a blog where the district will provide updated Read by Third Grade information as it becomes available. Visitors can subscribe to the blog to stay up to date.
The current second graders are the first students who will be retained under the law. Those recommendations will be based on their spring 2020 Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP). However, the Michigan Department of Education has yet to define what it will consider a year behind grade level. About 56 percent of the state’s third graders were considered “not proficient” on the 2018 M-STEP.
There are several reasons students could be exempted from repeating third grade, such as as newer English language learners, special education students, students who show they are proficient in reading through different standardized assessment, those who have previously repeated a grade and children who show they are at grade level in math, science and social studies.
While the district has increased its instruction efforts, having parents and the community involved is critical to each child’s success, Chochol said. On an individual level, she said it is critical to language to get kids off videos and video games and into any kind of book, or even just engaged in conversation and hands-on experiences.
Chochol added that the Dearborn Public Schools needs the support of families and the community to help the district help students reach their full potential. Together, they will address the changes brought by this new law.