Literacy skills growing

Northgate’s youngest students are responding well to a literacy program introduced in 2016, according to the principals of Avalon and Bellevue elementary schools.

Bellevue Elementary principal John Primrose and Avalon principal Joe Peacock told the Northgate School Board Monday that the Wilson literacy program implemented in 2014 is now showing results, as demonstrated by the students’ DIBELS scores. The DIBELS program administers a series of short tests that measure how well students have adopted the skills necessary for literacy, and in doing so also identifies students who need more help.

Peacock said that test scores place students in one of three levels of proficiency: intensive, which requires the most intervention by educators; strategic, which indicates the student has almost mastered the skills but needs a bit more work; and core, which indicates proficiency in the various skills.

The program focuses on students in kindergarten through third grades, Peacock said, and scores show the students steadily improving. Some 55 percent of kindergartners were at the core level in 2014, Peacock said, with that percentage growing to 71 percent in 2018.

Likewise, the core ranking grew from 54 percent to 72 percent for first graders, 67.4 percent to 75 percent of second graders, and 64 percent to 82 percent of students in the third grade.