Concerns about student performance prompted changes in reading instruction in some MPS classrooms. In the last month of the school year, administrators ordered that the Read Well® program no longer be used as the primary reading curriculum in elementary schools.
"It is a resource like a textbook is a resource," said Vickie Holloway, Interim Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Support Services. "And that is the way it should have been utilized."
Holloway admitted that some teachers weren't using it that way. Her office reviewed the matter after parents complained the use of Read Well® was affecting their child's grades and putting them in jeopardy of being retained.
"It was kind of glaring to see how a particular child could have had all passing grades up until that point and all of a sudden now, I'm failing," Holloway said.
But according to Holloway, Read Well was never intended to be used as the main curriculum even though was mentioned in the system's Grade Promoting and Retention Police handbook.
Her review prompted the memo clarifying the policy. In an accompanying email obtained by WSFA 12 News, Holloway said: "Read Well" will be removed from the GPR as the primary curriculum for K-1 and will be available as a resource for intervention as needed for identified students."
The change was made for the final nine weeks of the school year.
State Senator Dick Brewbaker said some teachers brought concerns to him about the timing and their impact.
He cited the example of one class where a quarter of students were receiving low or even failing grades in reading. After the change, every student was considered proficient and the lowest grade was an 85.
While Read Well® will no longer be used as the primary curriculum, Holloway said it will continue to be used as an intervention resource.
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