This is the inaugural year for this and the Special Education Early Intervention programs, based at Ridgemont Elementary, which help 502 students showing low literacy skills, particularly for those in the Willowridge High School feeder pattern.
At the pre-K level, the program began with 55 students showing 56 percent phonological awareness. The number of students is now at 72, and the awareness has increased to 80 percent. Two bilingual students started at the beginning of the year at 3 percent phonological awareness, and now there are 54 students at a 79 percent awareness, according to data presented at the Feb. 11 Fort Bend ISD board of trustees special meeting.
Measuring numeracy, monolingual students increased their proficiency to 91 percent from 80 percent, while bilingual students are now at 88 percent from 52 percent, said Stephanie Williams, executive director for teaching and learning for the school district.
Among students in the program with disabilities, they are also showing mastery of skills such as cooperation, spontaneous vocalization and social interaction in the middle of the year. In most cases, the students advanced their skill abilities, which also include recognizing letters, numbers, colors, shapes and sizes.
In addition to typical classes, students in the two programs receive STEM and arts integration courses as well as music therapy, said Venitra Senegal, instructional officer for the Early Literary Center.
Teachers in the program also have specialized development, including 90 minutes of learning time and team-building exercises.
One of the goals of the Early Literacy Center is for first-graders is to achieve a reading level that enables them to transition to the reading screener. So far this year, 15 first-graders have already made that transition, Hill said.
Another is to engage the community. Senegal said teachers began the year doing a walk along the Willowridge High School feeder pattern to introduce themselves to parents and students. They also encourage parents to regularly visit the school and participate in reading to their children’s class.