UNION COUNTY — Students at all five of Union County’s elementary schools will get some help with developing their reading skills from the new reading coaches the district will hire with funds allocated by the state.
Superintendent Dr. Kristi Woodall said that the district has been allocated funds for four full-time reading coaches and one part-time reading coach for its elementary schools. Woodall said that the funds were allocated through a state program that assists districts where a sizable portion of its elementary students fail to meet standard on the reading portion of the PASS Exam.
“The state looked at historical PASS data and for each elementary school in which 20 percent or more of the students scored Not Met on the Reading and Research Test in the most recent year for which data is available, the whole district will receive money for a full-time reading coach,” Woodall said. “For each elementary school in which fewer than 20 percent of the students scored Not Met we’ll receive money for a part-time reading coach.
“Four of our elementary schools — Jonesville Elementary, Monarch Elementary, Foster Park Elementary, and Lockhart Elementary — each received a full-time reading coach allocation,” she said. “Buffalo Elementary School received a part-time reading coach allocation.”
Woodall said that the allocation for a full-time reading coach is approximately $62,000 for salaries and benefits. For a part-time reading coach, the allocation is approximately $31,000.
The job qualifications for the reading coaches according to Woodall include an extensive background in early literacy. She said that the persons who will be filling those positions are “master teachers” who have previously worked for the district in the Reading Recovery Program.
“We are very happy to have that level of expertise available,” Woodall said. “These master teachers will well serve our young readers and will be able to model effective strategies for their fellow colleagues.
“Their focus will be on early literacy to have students reading on grade level by the third grade,” she said. “This is a primary indicator of high school graduation.”
The four full-time reading coaches are Dena Addis, Patsy Farmer, Miriam Benjamin, and Crystal Bryant.
Woodall said the four full-time coaches and the part-time coach, who she said will be named later, will begin work on Aug. 11.
In addition to the reading coaches funded by the state, Woodall said the district has been able to hire three curriculum coaches through the federal Title I program.
Woodall said the curriculum coaches will be assisting students in the areas of math, science, English, and social studies.
The curriculum coaches are Jan Carter, Susan Gilstrap, and Rhonda Hollingsworth.
Woodall said that the reading coaches and the curriculum coaches will not only help the students, but also provide support for the classroom teachers and help develop ideas to make the educational process more effective.