I’m sure you heard, but there’s this whole pandemic thing that has kind of forced everyone’s life and academic progress into a tailspin.
We have some pretty dismal reading data. And sashaying into that already disappointing development comes Virginia House Bill 410. This (new!) bill requires school boards to enact policies regarding reading data and interventions. Essentially, students who fail a reading screener and who do not already have an IEP have to receive an intervention in addition to their core instruction. Most kids took assessments they’ve never seen before, through an ipad, after a devastating, life-altering summer that lasted about five months. Uh, a lot of them failed.
So HB410 translates to about 30 percent of our students school-wide needing both Tier 1 instruction with a classroom teacher and intervention time with a specialist. Did I mention that we have shorter school weeks and school days?
So we sat with the data. Tumbled around all the reasons the data looked the way it did. It didn’t change the fact that we have many kids who aren’t very good readers. Yet. Our job became clear. We had to get to work on the yet.
So we decided. We would cut time from writing and gift it to reading.
Writing is flying, freedom, justice. Writing is life changing and democracy saving.
But reading, reading is breathing.
I hated that I had a part in the decision to reduce writing instruction at my school, but if I had to, I’d do it again.