School board approves reading programs purchase

The Huntington County School Corporation Board of Trustees has approved the purchase of two extensive reading programs, System 44 and Read 180, that Superintendent of Schools Tracey Shafer says will help the corporation reach a goal.

The purchase was approved during the school board's meeting on Monday, Aug. 24.

The goal, Shafer said, is that 90 percent of students will be reading at grade level by 2012. Currently, only about 85 percent of HCCSC are reading at grade level
System 44 is designed to build foundational skills to help students reach a Lexile score (a measurement of reading abilities) of 400. That is the score needed to participate in Read 180, said Chuck Grable, assistant superintendent for instruction.

System 44 will be in place at Crestview Middle, Lincoln Elementary, Salamonie (middle school grades), Riverview Middle and Huntington North High schools.

The system is a software support system for the students, Grable explained after the meeting.

Read 180 will focus on upper elementary to high school levels as well. The board agreed the program was piloted successfully at Crestview last year, with funding provided through grants.

This program will consist of 90 minutes of instruction that will be split into three parts, Grable explained. Components include direct instruction via a teacher, independent or group reading and working with the computer software.

The two programs will serve the 80 lowest-scoring readers at the schools; 60 for Read 180 and 20 for System 44. Included students will be both special education and those students on the fence who need extra help, Grable explained.

Grable said stimulus money from Special Education and Title I is available to put toward the purchase, which will cost about $226,835 for three years. The annual fees after the three years are $2,100 per building every year, or $6,000 per building for three more years.
This will give the corporation an opportunity to expand assistance to other buildings, Grable added.