Decas Elementary teachers target reading skills with new program

By Matthew Bernat | Sep 06, 2017
Photo by: Matthew Bernat Decas teachers Darlene McQuade, left, and Jennifer Medeiros discuss the success of the Summer Boost program on Wednesday.

In an attempt to bridge a reading skills gap between kindergarten and first grade students, John W. Decas Elementary officials will expand a program that provided impressive results this summer.

On Wednesday, School Committee members learned that the Fall Boost program will be piloted in four Decas classrooms. The program is similar to the Summer Boost program, a 26-day “intensive literacy” program using a variety of methods to improve reading comprehension.

Results from the program impressed both teachers and School Committee members.

“I believe in this program,” said Jennifer Medeiros, a kindergarten teacher. “I’ve been teaching for 19 years, and this is the first time I’ve seen something this effective.”

Medeiros, along with Decas teacher Darlene McQuade, both led the program this summer that saw 24 students participate. McQuade said activities that engage students in different ways, such as eye tracking exercises, memory mapping and identifying sounds and letters, were used.

The Summer Boost program was announced in June after results from literacy data had School Committee members shaking their heads in disbelief at a huge jump in reading test scores. Members said keeping the program going was a good move.

“This has the potential to be the most important presentation I’ve seen in a decade,” said committee member Geoff Swett, adding that higher reading scores are shown to reduce drop out rates. “Where was this program a decade ago?”

McQuade said much has changed in education over that time. Specifically, expectations for first graders have risen.

“Twenty years ago, a student didn’t have to be able to read when they left kindergarten,” she said.

Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Shaver-Hood noted that administrators will assess students who participate in Fall Boost against those who don’t, looking for changes in test scores as well as discipline and attendance rates.

“We expect to see a positive impact on academics and how that will permeate throughout the school,” said Shaver-Hood.


Comments (1)
Posted by: Peaches0409 | Sep 07, 2017 16:03

Wow!! These results are incredible! I love seeing such great things happening in our schools!

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