Staff Writer

Findlay’s school board heard a proposal on ways to improve literacy at its Monday meeting.

Stephanie Roth, director of elementary instruction, suggested hiring paraprofessionals who would work on phonics and fluency with kindergarten and first-grade students during “guided reading” time.

Currently during that time, in addition to independently reading, students rotate through literacy activities, stations, and time with a teacher in small groups.

The paraprofessional would be directed by the teacher, “who has the skills and knowledge and knows what the kids need, based on the data,” Roth said.

Roth also proposed hiring paraprofessionals for each primary building to run a Read Naturally program for first- and second-graders who are not on track. Read Naturally is an online program to improve fluency, she said.

Her third idea is to create a summer reading program aimed at students who are not on track in reading, and/or who are economically disadvantaged. Those factors combine, with students who are economically disadvantaged experiencing more of a summer slide, or loss of progress, than students in higher-income families, Roth said.

Ideally, there would be one teacher for every 15 students in the program, Roth said.

Providing transportation would be key, because “students won’t come if we don’t transport,” she said.

The district could implement all three ideas, some of them, “or you could do these things in certain buildings where they’re needed the most,” Roth said.

Separately, Superintendent Ed Kurt received an Exemplary Leadership Award from the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, presented by BASA Deputy Executive Director Dave Axner.

One superintendent from each of 10 regions receives the award.

“I hope you know you have a really good superintendent,” Axner said.

He added that at BASA committee meetings, when Kurt speaks, “everybody just stops” to listen, because while “he doesn’t speak out all the time,” his contributions are valuable when he does.

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