School board OKs 3rd-grade reading policy
by Lindsay Field
lfield@mdjonline.com
December 14, 2012 01:23 AM | 2931 views | 5 5 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — While Cobb school board members spent nearly 30 minutes talking about their concerns regarding a third-grade literacy policy developed by Vice Chair David Morgan, the group still voted unanimously to implement it next August.

During last month’s work session, Morgan proposed a new policy to help third graders who struggle with reading.

“If a child is not a proficient reader by third grade, the likelihood of them graduating significantly drops,” Morgan said about his research into graduation rates.

Board members Alison Bartlett and Kathleen Angelucci said they wanted to ensure it didn’t replace or duplicate any current policies, but Chief Academic Officer Amy Krause said it would just be another resource to identify struggling readers.

“We had some concerns initially, but in working with legal counsel and staff, this is something we can live with,” Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said. “We certainly honor and support the intent.”

Morgan said, “My goal was to make sure we catch the issue early enough that when they are in the eighth and ninth grade, we aren’t scrambling around trying to figure out how to make sure a kid is ready to graduate in a few years.”

The state currently looks at third grade students’ Criterion-Referenced Competency Test scores to see if there are any issues, but Morgan said the addition of this policy, which will determine literacy based on national tests, will bolster the district’s abilities to identify reading troubles.

“This creates a more rigorous process to implement an early intervention program … (that) addresses issues that commonly plague students who don’t graduate,” Morgan said.

At the close of the discussion, Lynnda Eagle, who represents northwest Cobb, said she believed this initiative could be something where the state takes the lead from Cobb on and thinks it’s “very important that the superintendent and staff are willing to take a chance.”

Thursday night’s meeting, which lasted almost three hours, was the last one for both Bartlett and Eagle, who were first elected to the school board in 2008.

Bartlett was voted out of her west-central Cobb seat by first-time candidate Brad Wheeler in November, and Eagle decided not to run for re-election. She will be replaced by Randy Scamihorn, who is also a first-time candidate.

Scamihorn and Wheeler will be sworn into office Jan. 9.

In other business, the board also unanimously approved:

* A $9.8 million Request for Proposal with Yancey Bus Sales of Austell to purchase 97 72-passenger conventional buses; three 72-passenger buses with lifts; and 15 48-passenger “exceptional child” buses with lifts.

Funding for this purchase will come from SPLOST III funds, an Environmental Protective Division and Georgia grant and the state Department of Education;

* To extend an award for construction time and materials to SouthCore Construction Inc. of Kennesaw and Triad Construction Company of Atlanta between Dec. 14 and Nov. 30, 2013. Funding will be provided through SPLOST III and the countywide building fund; and

* To extend a Request for Proposal for network data cabling and wireless infrastructure to NetPlanner Systems Inc. of Norcross between Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2013. Funding will be provided by SPLOST III.
Comments
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Third grade!
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December 14, 2012
By third grade, it is still late. You can't just ignore the education missed in first and second grade. This is when the very foundations are being laid. If a child is not learning to read he needs to be identified and someone needs diagnose the cause of the problem and do something to help! And this does not mean turning the child over to a computer, it means one on one. There is no quick, easy way if a child is that far behind. This problem is of major importance, so why is it taking so long to do something about it?
Reading Mom
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December 14, 2012
I so agree, Third grade! 3rd grade is too late. About 20 years ago, I was teaching 1st grade in the state of Illinois. I had a Reading Improvement teacher in my classroom for 1/2 day every day of the week. 1st grade is a more appropriate grade for this so you can get the students reading on or above grade level that year. Help them to gain strong reading skills early on and then they will be ready for content reading in 3rd grade.
glad to see it...
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December 14, 2012
2 down, maybe now we can restore the far superior balanced calendar
Cobb Dad
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December 14, 2012
Hopefully they won't take us down that road again. This board has more important things to decide other than another stupid calendar switch.

Again, anyone with intellectual honesty knows there is no proof that the calendar has any real influence on learning. I have been involved in education for over 28 years and it is just one of the latest trends.

The pro balanced calendar people want fall and spring vacations. The traditional calendar people would like to keep their kids from frying on the school bus in early August.

I would hope our upcoming board will keep focused on the important issues. A real revolution would be to free up the teachers to teach instead of saddling them with so much BS paperwork that is passed down from each of the created levels of our educational system.

no cobb dad
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December 15, 2012
you have it wrong, the pro balanced calendar folks know it is superior and by far the most preferred, the "unbalanced" calendar folks only want it for sentimental reasons...
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