ISD working to strengthen early literacy skills

MANISTEE — Over the course of the past several years early literacy has become a major focal point for all Michigan school districts.ISD

With the addition of the Third Grade Reading Law, where students who are not reading at that level will be retained, the need for good reading skills has become essential. The Manistee Intermediate School District brought on Shannon Fuller as the Early Literacy coach to work with the area K-3rd grade teachers on improving those student reading skills.

Fuller told the Manistee ISD board recently that she works with teachers on the Essential Instructional Practices, which are 10 research supported  instructional practices that should be used in every classroom every day.

“A big part of my job is to focus on early literacy K-3,” said Fuller. “What we are working on with the teachers is the core standards and how they are teaching it with these practices.”

She said professional learning sessions are also being held to address certain reading needs.

“We also held a professional learning session here at the ISD for small group reading instruction,” said Fuller. “We had 11 teachers come after school for those sessions. It gives our small school districts who have one kindergarten teacher a chance to collaborate with other kindergarten teachers.”

She said in November and December they are hosting writing instruction sessions. In those sessions they are taking what curriculum they have and aligning it with the standards to be able to use rubrics and a certain research based process for writing.

“By having these professional learning sessions it gives the opportunity for our small districts to collaborate with teachers that teach the same grade level,” said Fuller. “The third grade reading law require schools to provide professional learning and this is a way for them to get that.”

Fuller said they also have the early literacy coaches network that includes herself, Jennifer Cordes from Kaleva Norman Dickson, and Theresa Moore and Mary Tasloff from Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy.

“We are working together to go through some coaching modules and supporting each other through coaching professional learning,” said Fuller. “There is a coaching model put out by the Michigan Department of Education. We are working through that.”

Fuller also spoke about the Third Grade Reading Success Network consisting of principals and literacy leaders, which meets monthly. The group is provided with updates and new information from the Michigan Department of Education and Early Literacy Task Force that they take back to their respective districts.

Fuller also informed the board that in November she will be representing the Manistee Intermediate School District General Education Department at the Science and Literacy — Explorations into Integration Conference in Ann Arbor by Michigan Mathematics and Science Network.

“Literacy and science consultants will have the opportunity to explore the connections between elementary science and literacy,” said Fuller.

A report was also delivered by general education director Lisa Lockman. She informed the board more data will soon be available for parents to view on their child’s schools.

“Starting in January, the popular Parent Dashboard for School Transparancy (www.MiSchoolData.org) will include a new feature that demonstrates each school’s ‘Points of Pride,'” said Lockman. “This feature relies on information that schools voluntarily submit through Entity Master.”

Lockman said schools can continue to submit or update data throughout the year and regular updates to Points of Pride are planned to start next spring.

Another area Lockman touched on was the project to help local districts with Social Emotional Learning.

“We are giving principals and superintendents tools, resources and professional learning to bring back to their districts and deliver to their staffs around appropriate strategies for teachering students with social emotional learning in mind,” said Lockman. “Our goal is to support their learning on an ongoing bases, and we expect implementation of these strategies with monitoring by the administrators.”

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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