Alliance's literacy proposal included strategies for three year olds through twelfth grade.
Implementing the new Striving Readers Grant strategies began by providing
intensive literacy training for staff including the Five Essential Components of
Reading Instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development,
reading fluency and reading comprehension strategies. The next step was an
analysis of the curriculum to close potential curriculum gaps between instructional resources and expected student outcomes.
Each grade band has developed an action map which is based on trend data and appropriate for the grade level. The mid-year assessment data have revealed
positive gains in student reading growth. All grade bands improved more
than 50% at the mid-year assessment, and two of the grade bands improved
greater than 100%.
According to Chris Gibowicz, Alliance's Curriculum Director, "Our students are benefitting immensely from the Striving Readers Grant; the advantages from the extra instructional coaching for our teachers are helping to support the students and their individual learning needs."
The Striving Readers Initiative was not the Alliance City School District's first effort towards improving literacy outcomes for their children and youth. The district has implemented high quality preschool programs for three and four year olds as well as a strong parent engagement program called SPARK. The Alliance SPARK parent partners - who provide in-home training with families - meet regularly and share strategies and resources to support the families they serve. Their proactive strategies are paying big dividends as shown in Alliance's Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) data. The assessment (completed with children upon entry into kindergarten) reveals that Alliance outperforms other districts with similar demographics on the KRA.