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Board of Education officials review reading improvement program

November 28, 2000

Board of Education officials review reading improvement program



Washington County Board of Education member Mary Wilfong requested at Tuesday's work session that board members receive quarterly individual expense reports.

She said the reports would help the newly elected school board members.

Washington County Board of Education administrators reviewed the school system's 2000-2001 Middle School Literacy Initiative, a program put in place to improve reading.

Sherry Purkey, supervisor of secondary English, said so far the school system has seen improvements on the middle school level.

The board reported that 89 percent of sixth-graders passed the Maryland Functional Reading Test, up from 83 percent the year before. At Boonsboro and Clear Spring middle schools, 100 percent of eighth-graders passed the test.

"This is really what people want to know," School Board member B. Marie Byers said.

Purkey said the program involves a lot of aspects, including a computer mini-lab for reading, after-school intervention, development of literacy resource teachers and a staff read-around, in which student writing is passed around and read by the same group of teachers who then comment on the pieces.

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Board member Mary Wilfong expressed concern that after-school intervention might not be effective for students who come from troubled homes or who don't have the transportation to get to school after-hours.

"I have a concern that people who need it aren't participating," she said. "They're already on their way down."

Wilfong also suggested that the board give a presentation on the initiative to Washington County Commissioners.

"This is exciting stuff, and this is where it's happening," she said.

- Tara Reilly

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