The "Read by Grade 3" law inspired our district to examine our elementary English Language Arts curriculum and the supports and services we offer our students in Clarkston. First and foremost, we partner with families to foster a love of reading!
We provide Read-at-Home plans for every K-3 student in our district, offer summer reading and writing camps, and develop Reading Growth Plans for young readers who require additional support. One of our innovative initiatives for students on Reading Growth Plans and all incoming kindergarteners is our “Tips by Text,” weekly text messages to parents to help their children grow as readers.
We have also created Opportunity Blocks in the elementary school day to allow for targeted small group and one-on-one reading interventions. Additionally, students benefit from the support of literacy coaches in all of our elementary schools who collaborate with grade-level teams, and special education and support staff to strengthen students' understanding of reading, writing, and word study.
Clarkston Community Schools embraced a "Whole Child" culture long ago, and we have made it our mission to put the well-being of our students, staff, and families first. As educators, we know that the stress of grade retention can negatively impact a child's mental and social development. Research also indicates that following grade retention, initial academic gains often prove to be temporary and the same struggles return. Our best thinking as a team of seasoned educators and administrators has led us to take a strong position against third grade retention on the basis of M-STEP performance.