Teresa Smith

East Bernstadt Independent principal Teresa Smith discussed achievement gaps, goals and targets for reading and math proficiency during a special-called meeting with the Board of Education on Tuesday, Sept. 30.

“We’re required by KRS 158.649 to report to the board on achievement gaps, t argets and an action oriented plan by Oct. 1,” said Superintendent Vicki Jones.

According to Smith, two groups are being targeted for improvement: students with free or reduced lunch and special education students.

“East Bernstadt Independent is seeking to increase their reading and math proficiency from 25.4 (percent) to 65.4 (percent) over a four year period in our two target groups,” Smith said. “There are several strategies in place. I think we’re making great progess; we always have room to grow but our school and staff is dedicated. We’re moving forward.”

Some of the strategies outlined by Smith included integrating TI-15 calculators into math instruction at the beginning of third grade, emphasizing small group instruction and using other technologies in the classroom daily.

Other items included intervening with the bottom 10 percent of each grade level, as well as implementing computer-based and individualized learning programs.

For reading, the principal explained the benefits of parent-oriented evenings, including “Family Reading Nights” where parents join East Bernstadt students to provide reading support and training.

One of the items on Smith’s list is to utilize a seven-year GEAR UP grant to target reading, math and science assessment in first through seventh grades. The program serves an entire grade level of students by following them monitoring their progress in school. A hired academic specialist outlines and monitors benchmarks.

Moreover, an AmeriCorps employee will be put in place in the 2015-2016 school year. The employee will only cost East Bernstadt $5,500, earning the independent school 1,700 hours worth of service. Parts of Smith’s plans include assigning the AmeriCorps worker to math interventions in third through fifth grades.

“It’s a really good program — I’ve worked with them several times at Cold Hill,” Jones said. “They can be here with us as part of the summer reading program, work events at night, ball games — anything to be there and be available for kids.”

The East Bernstadt Independent Board of Education typically meets the second Thursday each month in the school’s library at 5 p.m.

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