Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

November 5, 2012

Iowa Department of Education director visits Moravia schools

By Krystal Fowler - Lifestyle editor
Daily Iowegian

CENTERVILLE — Moravia’s new K-8 emphasis on reading is drawing the attention of state education leaders.

Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass visited the school district Tuesday, Oct. 23 to get a better idea of the strategies being implemented to try and raise the reading skills of students.

The techniques have only been in use since the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year, but according to reading specialist Julie Sealine, the transition has been going smoothly.

Students in grades K-8 are given 90 minutes of reading instruction in the morning, but the administration has put in place a focus on differentiated instruction.

Differentiated instruction focuses on each students skill sets and abilities.

In a student’s regular classroom there is 60 minutes of reading instruction delivered by their regular teacher.  Even in this setting, students are given instruction in small groups based on  their strengths and weakness.

The next 30 minutes builds upon the first 60 minutes of instruction, with students splitting into groups and given interventions or accelerated instruction from different teachers based on their skills.

Students can even be grouped outside of their grade level, with say second and third graders being grouped together. The focus is on meeting the individual students learning needs.

If a student needs further instruction they are then scheduled individual or small group time with reading specialist or special ed teachers.

The teaching staff is getting used to the new teaching techniques and teachers take turns rotating into other classrooms to observe and give feedback to their colleagues.

Glass visited with students and staff as he toured the school and praised the new program during the round table discussion afterwards.

“They’re on the cusp of something great here,” said Glass. “The community should be very proud. There’s a lot of progressive thinking here.”