November 13, 2004
The Alaska Department of Education & Early Development, Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes and the Dillingham School District are working to implement the model that has been successful in the Pueblo (Colorado) School District. Four staff members from Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes are in Dillingham working with students and training school staff. The initiative will take as long as five years to fully implement. The comprehensive design of the project includes a variety of reading and writing programs, and a math program.
The Pueblo School District 60, in a seven-year collaboration with Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, successfully took a high minority Title I school district from the lower ranges of performance on state measures of reading to one of the highest in the state, according to Paul Worthington of Lindamood-Bell, a private research company from California. "This is unique in that while certain schools have achieved this kind of progress it has not been done at a district level," Worthington said.
Title I schools have large numbers of economically disadvantaged students.
When he learned about the success of the Pueblo project, Alaska Education Commissioner Roger Sampson surveyed Alaska school districts to determine if any were interested in implementing the comprehensive district reform model. Dillingham Superintendent LeRoy Key said he was. "This reform project is critical for Dillingham students to be able to meet reading proficiency standards at all grade levels. Our district is committed to the success of the project and in supporting the intensive teacher training and individual assessment and instruction for students," Key said.
The Department of Education is encouraged by the success achieved in Colorado through the model. Commissioner Sampson said, "This project is very important to Alaska as we implement our standards-based reform initiative, which has a strong emphasis on reading and writing. We have developed student standards in those subjects. We test school students in those subjects at every grade level beginning in the third grade through high school. We require students to pass the high school exam before they can earn a diploma. The Dillingham School District, the State of Alaska and Lindamood-Bell are establishing an education model that is outstanding in its comprehensive nature. What we learn through this project could be instrumental for the state and other school districts in terms of making major gains in student achievement."
Costs of the project are being borne by Lindamood-Bell and the Alaska Department of Education. The Dillingham School District devotes time and staff to the project and purchases materials.
The comprehensive district reform developed by Lindamood-Bell applies scientifically based reading research initiatives into an aggressive professional development approach where the development of language processing skills are taught throughout the curriculum at all grade levels.
Traditionally, reading is taught developmentally in elementary schools only, and not in secondary schools. "This research effort incrementally changes the structure of how language processing skills are developed for students within schools, allowing for all students, who have needs in the area of reading, the opportunity to receive the instruction they need," Worthington said.
Key components of the program include:
"The processes being researched and designed by Lindamood-Bell meet both the remedial and developmental needs of students in all grades, at all levels and seek to make sure that no child is left behind," Worthington said.
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