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Education

State provides addition to third-grade reading guarantee

2/13/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Becky Tompkins

Ohio public schools are now required by state law to make sure students are proficient in reading by the end of the third grade.

According to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), the third-grade reading guarantee requires — with a few exceptions, such as students just learning English or special-education students — that children who do not pass a third-grade reading proficiency test will not be promoted to the fourth grade, starting this year.

The Akron Public Schools (APS) Board of Education had the first of three readings Feb. 10 on a new policy that revises the guarantee slightly.

Assistant Superintendent Ellen McWilliams said the state is adding an alternative assessment to the Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA) test in reading. The district will be able to administer an additional new reading test for students who have not passed the OAA, she said, but school officials don’t yet know what that test will be.

The APS policy revision is just to bring the district’s policy language in line with the state changes, she said.

Mary Outley-Kelly, executive director of elementary schools, explained the ODE is adding an opportunity for summer promotion of the students in question.

The students who do not prove proficient on the OAA in spring 2014 may take the test again in summer 2014, she said. The window to give the next test will be July 7-11, she said.

Results should arrive by around Aug. 15, she said, in time for students who pass to enter fourth grade.

In other business, the board approved the school calendar for next year. The first day for students will be Aug. 26, and the last day of school for them will be June 4, 2015. Winter break will run from Dec. 22 through Jan. 2.

The calendar dates were chosen by a majority vote of all APS employees, according to Superintendent David James.

The board also accepted numerous donations made to individual schools and groups. Project RISE, which helps families experiencing homelessness, received 100 First Night buttons from the Downtown Akron Partnership and dolls, blankets and bags, which promote early childhood literacy, from Michelle Walters for the Love & Learn Doll Project.

Eileen Burg donated $1,000 to the AkronReads Program in memory of H. Peter Burg.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Feb. 24 at 5:30 p.m. at the Sylvester Small Administration Building, 70 N. Broadway St. in Downtown Akron.

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