School board briefs

September 21, 2005|by KAREN HANNA

Reading curriculum helping preschoolers

A relatively new reading curriculum is helping Washington County 4-year-olds learn to read, Salem Avenue Elementary School pre-kindergarten teacher Sherry Koogle told the Board of Education Tuesday night.

Koogle, who spoke during a presentation about a reading program developed by Children's Literacy Initiative, said from the first day of school she has used a word wall to build students' vocabulary.

"And the third day (of school), I had a little boy who was able to tell me, 'That's the title,' and it has just snowballed from there," Koogle said.

Linda Katz, executive director of Children's Literacy Initiative, a nonprofit Philadelphia organization that promotes reading in grades pre-kindergarten through three, showed the board charts documenting the success of a three-year-old program that emphasizes the teaching of literacy through vocabulary. The more words children learn at an early age, the better they do academically, Katz said.


According to information provided by Katz, by the end of last school year, 88 percent of Washington County's pre-kindergarten students showed mastery of concepts of print, which include the idea that books are read left to right, top to bottom. Ninety-three percent of black students, and 88 percent of white students and students who qualify for free and reduced-price meals - the most widely used indicator of poverty - demonstrated mastery of the concept, according to information presented by Katz.

Policy on information requests discussed

According to public information officer Carol Mowen, Washington County Public Schools has received about 14 formal requests for information in the past 14 months.

The Board of Education voted 6-0 Tuesday to approve on first reading the school system's first written policy regarding records requests.

Board member Wayne D. Ridenour was absent.

According to Mowen, the policy, which would go into effect if it is approved by the board on second reading, pretty much mirrors the practices the school system has used in responding to requests for information. The policy stipulates the school system should allow people to inspect any public records at any reasonable time. The school system can require people to file their requests in writing, but its responses must not exceed 30 days.

Mowen said after the vote that former chief legal counsel Tammy Turner helped craft the 10-page policy.

"We didn't have a policy. We needed one," Mowen said.

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