Hundreds of students left behind in reading intervention program

Hundreds of students left behind in reading intervention program
December 06 07:25 2017 Print This Article

Charleston County School District (CCSD) implemented a comprehensive literacy program in January 2010 after the Post and Courier published an article stating that one in five 9th graders were reading below the 4th grade level. Implementing this literacy program was expensive. Master Reading Teachers were hired and trained. Literacy kits were purchased, and progress was made. After the district faced an $18 million shortfall during the 2014-15 school year, funds for the literacy program were cut by one- third.

Lowcountry Source has heard from teachers and parents about the lack of reading intervention teachers in elementary schools. Students are tested each year and placed in one of the following three categories:

Tier 3 Student reads between the 1st and 10th percentile.
Tier 2: Student reads between the 11th and 24th percentile.
Tier 1: Student reads between the 25th and 99th percentile.

Currently, only Tier 3 students are guaranteed a spot in the reading intervention program. Many Tier 2 students are wait-listed because the schools are only budgeted for one or two reading intervention teachers, and they have only enough capacity to serve the Tier 1 students.

One parent of a 4th grader contacted Lowcountry source, frustrated because her son tested at the 13th percentile and is wait-listed. He received services in the 2nd grade and made great progress. He ended the 2nd grade at the 21st percentile. As soon as he tested higher, he was pulled from services. He received no remediation in the 3rd grade and had a tough year. At the beginning of 4th grade, he tested at the 13th percentile and was wait-listed. There is only one reading interventionist at the elementary schools he attends, and no 4th graders are receiving services. His mom is fortunate enough to be able to hire a private tutor, but she shouldn’t have to.

Success in education hinges on being able to read. Reading intervention should get a top priority in the overall budget. Lowcountry Source recently reported on the top-heavy bureaucracy in CCSD. The highest paid teacher is ranked 301 on the list of top salaries. Lowcountry Source recommends moving some of the 75 Calhoun bureaucrats back into the classroom and providing the vital reading intervention needed for CCSD students to be successful.