"Reading well by third grade is one of many developmental milestones in a child’s educational experience. Literacy development starts at an early age and is the basis for all academic success. Reading well by grade three ensures that a student has a solid foundation of literacy skills to continue to expand their understanding of what they read, make meaning, and transfer that learning across all subject areas. Instruction that provides the basis for all students to read well by third grade and beyond will help close the achievement gap and ensure that all students are ready for the demands of college and the workplace. From cradle to career, a sustained effort to create quality literacy environments in all of our schools and programs from birth through grade 12 promotes academic success."
-Minnesota Department of Education
MN Statute 120B.12 states that a school district must adopt a local literacy plan to have every child reading at or above grade level no later than the end of grade 3. The literacy plan must include a process to assess students’ level of reading proficiency, notify and involve parents, intervene with students who are not reading at or above grade level, and identify and meet staff development needs.
The literacy plan provides an overview of how the Owatonna Public School District plans to work to improve the academic achievement of all students by identifying needs, implementing research-based interventions, engaging in on-going study and self-reflection to improve the shared practice of teaching, and involving parents in a joint partnership to actively respond to the needs of our children .
- Our District
- Strategic Roadmap
- Statement of Goals
- Core Beliefs in Literacy
- Curriculum & Instruction
- Instructional Practices in Literacy
- Writing Workshop
- District Literacy Assessment Process
- District Early Literacy Multi-Tiered Systems of Support
- Equity and Access
- District Early Literacy Professional Development
- Parent Notification & Involvement
- Communication System for Annual Reporting
- 5,000 students enrolled
- 375 certified teachers and support staff
- 194 students receiving early childhood education
- 21 languages spoken by students and families
- 27% of students of a race other than white
- 30% eligible for free or reduced lunch
Owatonna Public Schools recognizes the need to meet the demands of our ever-changing world. Our Strategic Roadmap, World's Best Workforce Plan, and Local Literacy Plan are all focused on ensuring all students learn at high levels.
Every Learner, Every Day.
Owatonna Public Schools inspires a community of learners with equitable access to high quality, innovative learning opportunities ensuring all students are college, career and life ready.
DISTRICT CORE VALUES
* Build and Nurture Relationships
* Growth Mindset
* Challenge the Status Quo
- 21st Century Learners
- Safe and Caring Community
- High Quality Teaching and Learning
Statement of Goals
Belief Statement from the Minnesota Department of Education
Reading well by third grade is one of many developmental milestones in a child’s educational experience. Literacy development starts at an early age and is the basis for all academic success. Reading well by grade three ensures that a student has a solid foundation of literacy skills to continue to expand their understanding of what they read, make meaning, and transfer that learning across all subject areas. Instruction that provides the basis for all students to read well by third grade and beyond will help close the achievement gap and ensure that all students are ready for the demands of college and the workplace. From cradle to career, a sustained effort to create quality literacy environments in all of our schools and programs from birth through grade 12 promotes academic success. - MDE
Statement of Goals
Read Well by Third Grade is one component of the Owatonna Public School District’s comprehensive effort toward its goal of having all students be at, or above, grade level reading proficiency. Progress toward this goal is monitored using data from Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment, FASTBRIDGE AdaptiveReading Assessments, and measures of reading fluency including foundational reading skills. The Owatonna Public School’s annual measurable goals have been established for continuous and substantial progress to achieve proficiency. Our annual goals can be found in our World's Best Workforce plan.
Core Beliefs in Literacy
Literacy is the cornerstone of all learning. Supporting the development of capable readers and writers at every level is our goal as educators, parents, and as a community. The beliefs of the Owatonna Public School District in literacy are grounded in research-based best practice instruction and the use of valid, reliable assessment.
- Literacy is the foundation for life-long learning.
- Literacy encompasses listening, writing, reading, speaking, viewing, and is embedded throughout all learning.
- Balanced instruction of reading includes phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension and is research-based.
- Differentiated instruction is vital for all students to meet individual needs.
- All students need access to challenging, authentic reading experiences using a variety of text and genres.
- Reading is an active, participatory process between text and reader.
- Parents, teachers, and the community play an important role in developing successful and self-motivated readers.
- Student instruction is based on best practices, standards, and formative classroom data to ensure reading success.
Curriculum & Instruction
The Owatonna Public School District is dedicated to providing all students with the educational foundation necessary to succeed in school and life. To ensure student success, the district sets high standards that are reflected in what is taught in each classroom. The intended curriculum, or the written curriculum, is what we expect each student to know, understand, and be able to do in each curricular area and at each grade level. Our intended curriculum is driven by state standards, national standards, and local practices.
The K-6 curriculum is aligned to and supports the Common Core state standards. The Owatonna School District utilizes enduring understandings to allow for the delivery of essential content. These standards are aligned vertically. Learning targets have been derived from these enduring understandings, describing specifically what a student should know and be able to do as a result of daily instruction or learning experiences. In addition, curriculum maps for language arts (grades K-5) organize content in a sequential & research-based manner, while still allowing for differentiation models to be implemented in all classrooms.
Instructional Practices in Literacy
Goal: Students develop reading strategies and skills to construct meaning and use reading as a tool for learning and communication. Students read and write for sustained periods and explore different genres and formats for a range of purposes.
Building Communities of Readers and Writers
Students are given opportunities daily to experience a variety of highly engaging fiction and nonfiction texts for a variety of purposes. Each literacy opportunity is intentional and specifically taught in relation to levels of support and building a community of readers and writers.
Interactive Read Aloud (Whole Group)
- Teachers read to students and model literacy skills and strategies through diverse texts. All students have access to the text as it highly supported through the classroom teacher reading aloud. With teacher prompting, students take on the active role of listeners, thinkers, and responders. Processing with one another through turn and talk or small group discussion allows students to be social with their thinking and learning during Interactive Read Aloud. Teachers support opportunities for thinking within, beyond, and about texts through think alouds and discussion questions.
Shared Reading (Whole Group or Small Group)
- Teachers and students engage together in text through Shared Reading. Books are above students reading levels, stretching them to think about texts in new ways. On the first read of a story, the teacher models fluent reading and thinking about the new text, inviting students to think and process their thinking at intentional points. Students have the opportunity to join in for a part or all of the text in subsequent readings. Shared reading lays an important foundation for small group and independent reading through intentional focus on how print works.
Reading Minilessons (Whole Group)
- Reading Minilessons offer a concise and focused lesson on something specific to students’ reading at a point in time. The teacher presents specific, explicit instruction to help students become independent readers for life. Reading Minilessons fall into the categories on Management, Literary Analysis, Strategies and Skills, and Writing About Reading. Each lesson within these four categories presents an inquiry based approach to students discovering something students can practice and apply during their independent reading.
Phonics Word Study (Whole Group, Small Group, Independent)
- Principles of phonics and word study are taught within nine categories including early literacy concepts, phonological awareness, letter knowledge, letter-sound relationship, spelling patterns, high frequency words, word meaning/vocabulary, word structure, and word solving actions. Students are guided through a brief minilesson, focused on an inquiry based approach to discovering patterns and how language and print work. Students are then given an opportunity to apply what they have learned in a connected activity individually, with a partner, or in a small group. At the closure of the lesson, students come back together to share out their learning.
Guided Instruction: The purpose of small group reading is to help students develop new reading strategies and use them flexibly. The ultimate goal is to prepare students to use reading strategies independently. Groups are formed based on instructional reading level and/or common needs (strategy usage) and are flexible; that is they change as student’s needs/abilities change. Small group reading gives teachers the opportunity to observe students as they process new text, so they can plan instruction based on student need. The selection of text is a key factor.
In kindergarten, most students will be ready to participate in small group reading before the year is over. Kindergarteners able to apply phonics skills and sight word knowledge are ready to start small group reading. Generally, it is reasonable for teachers to begin to pull together small groups by January.
Small Flexible Groups can be:
- Guided Reading - Using a teacher chosen text, the teacher works with small temporary groups of students to develop their processing strategies as they read a variety of increasingly challenging text
- Needs-based - Teachers differentiate instruction for students based on formative assessments
- Strategy Group - Lesson with student’s independent text
Independent Practice: Students need time to read text daily to explore a variety of different texts independently. Independent reading enables students to develop fluency and stamina as readers, strengthens their use of reading strategies, builds background knowledge in content areas and promotes a joy for reading. Independent reading gives students the opportunity to connect what they have learned to their own reading and writing about texts. Teachers support students in using strategies to find books that they can read successfully and are of interest . By the end of kindergarten, students will read independently for at least 15 minutes each day. As students progress through first and second grade they should be reading a minimum of 20 minutes. By third through fifth grade, students should be reading independently for at least 30 minutes daily. These minutes are cumulative and do not have to occur all at once.
Independent reading gives the following opportunities:
- Students read on their own, or with partners for the purpose of practicing skills and strategies appropriate for the book they are reading.
- Students have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of independent materials with monitoring and support from the teacher.
- Teachers confer weekly with students to facilitate individualized instruction.
Students develop writing strategies and skills, learn about the writer's craft, and use writing as a tool for learning and communication through Writing Minilessons. Writing Minilessons are brief, focused, explicit lessons that help children/students understand and expand on the characteristics of effective writing and nurture their ability to write with purpose, imagination and voice. Each minilesson engages children/students in inquiry that leads to the discovery of a general principle from The Literacy Continuum. They explore different genres and formats for a range of purposes and for a variety of audiences.
- Shared Writing: Teacher and students create a piece of writing together. The teacher acts as scribe to support the process.
- Interactive Writing: Teacher and students compose and construct text while sharing the pen.
- Independent Writing: Students compose and construct text independently using words and/or pictures based on their developmental level.
District Literacy Assessment Process
Assessment of and for learning is at the core of our learning community framework. Assessment systems must, first and foremost, place the learner at the center of attention. Our assessed curriculum is composed of a balanced assessment system designed to measure student learning of essential standards. Our balanced assessment system provides a variety of assessments and strategies to show evidence of student growth and achievement, and to engage students as active participants in their learning. The Owatonna Public Schools assessment system incorporates state-wide testing, local standardized testing, and classroom level assessments and observation to provide a complete profile of student achievement. Assessing with a system requires that teachers embed assessments into their day-to-day practices and use tools and techniques to support learners, monitor progress, and inform subsequent practices. Our balanced assessment system is predicated on two things: (1) a clear-eyed vision of what the expected learning outcomes will be and (2) a method of communicating those outcomes to students in a way that is understandable to them.
Screening measures, by definition, are typically very brief assessments of a particular skill or ability that is highly predictive of a later outcome. Screening measures are designed to quickly sort students into one of two groups: 1) those who require intervention and 2) those who do not. To sort students into these two categories, a screening measure does not need to be very comprehensive, it merely needs to focus on a specific skill that is highly correlated with a broader measure of reading achievement and that results in a highly accurate sorting of students.
All students in Kindergarten - 5th grade will be screened for overall reading performance three times each school year. The specific assessment used varies slightly by grade level. In Kindergarten and grade 1 universal screening assessment is a composite measure of component early literacy skills (four of the following each screening period: concepts of print, onset sounds, letter names, letter sounds, word segmenting, nonsense words, sight words, and oral reading fluency).
ISD 761 has established benchmarks for each season of universal screening for each grade level. These benchmarks are predictors of a student’s overall reading performance. They are one type of indicator of whether a student is “on track” to be reading at grade level expectations. Students who perform below target scores on these measures may qualify for additional support through our Response to Intervention model.
K-5 Universal Screening Benchmarks
Students with scores at or above the indicated cut score for risk may be considered to be “on-track” for grade-level progress in reading. Scores below the targets may be considered at “some risk.”
Screening measures are similar to that of taking someone’s temperature. If he/she has a fever it tells you there may be a problem, but does not tell you what the problem is. To successfully fix the problem, a doctor must determine the root cause of the fever. Diagnostic assessments are used in the problem solving process to more precisely identify where a student’s difficulties lie. When a student’s performance is below a fluency benchmark score, that performance could indicate issues anywhere in the reading process. Responding immediately with an intervention targeting fluency may not address the root cause of the problem. A diagnostic such as the PRESS Decoding Inventory may indicate a more fundamental reading skills.
Efforts to Identify Dyslexia
FASTBRIDGE earlyReading in K-1 and CBMReading, aReading, and AUTOreading data in grades 2-5 will be analyzed to identify students who possess characteristics of Dyslexia. Students will be referred to our Child Collaboration Team. Evidence-based interventions will be implemented and progress monitored. A student who does not show timely, appropriate response to the intervention is administered a diagnostic assessment by a team designated to problem solve at the building level. Students who show strong tendencies for Dyslexia will receive an intervention such as HillRAP or prescribed PRESS intervention.
Monitoring student progress toward instructional objectives is an effective and efficient way to determine if the instructional plan is working. Ongoing progress monitoring allows teachers to make data-based decisions about the effectiveness of their instruction. Instruction can be modified or changed in a timely manner instead of waiting months to find out whether the student reached the goal. When teachers use student progress monitoring data to inform instruction, students’ learning improves (Fuchs, Deno, & Mirkin, 1984).
Students who are receiving interventions will be progress monitored with Fastbridge assessments. All students who are receiving strategic (Tier 2) interventions are progress monitored at least every two weeks. All students who are receiving intensive (Tier 3) interventions are progress monitored weekly. The type of progress monitoring tool depends on the type of intervention the student is receiving. For phonics and phonemic awareness interventions letter sound fluency, phoneme segmentation fluency and/or nonsense word reading fluency are used to monitor progress.
Balanced Assessment System
Our balanced assessment system can be found here.
District Early Literacy Multi-Tiered Systems of Support
The Owatonna Public Schools continue to define, develop, implement and evaluate multi-tiered intervention systems for students needing additional support in the area of literacy. Intervention programs are designed to supplement core instruction to help all students read at or above grade level. The key elements of Tiered Systems of Support are multiple tiers of increasingly intense evidence-based interventions matched to student need. The tiered supports fall into three levels: core instruction for all, strategic instruction, and intensive instruction. This tiered system is intended to provide a framework of instruction to meet the needs of ALL learners and is not intended as a method for identifying referrals to special education. A variety of interventions are available to students not reading at or above grade level in Kindergarten through Grade 3.
Tier 1: Core Instruction –Universal Intervention
Core instruction is intended to meet the needs of 80-85% of the student population. Only once a strong and well targeted instructional core is in place, can we begin to build interventions that will serve as truly supplemental and supportive instruction. Within core instruction, all students receive high-quality, evidence-based instruction through a balanced literacy framework. All K-5 students are screened three times per year to establish an academic baseline and to identify struggling learners who need additional support. Interventions are provided by the classroom teacher in the regular classroom based on formal and informal assessments.
Tier 2: Strategic Intervention
Students not making adequate progress in core instruction with classroom differentiation/intervention are provided supplemental support in learning essential core standards (critical enduring understandings). Targeted interventions are provided for 20-30 minutes at least 3 times a week in addition to instruction in the general classroom. This setting provides more time, explicitness, focus, and opportunities for students to learn essential core standards. Progress is monitored by formative assessments and analyzed twice a month in PLC teams. Interventions are modified if necessary and students who continue to show little or no progress are then considered for more intensive interventions.
Tier 3: Intensive Intervention
At this level, students receive intensive support designed to meet significant gaps in foundational skills and accelerate growth. This additional intensive instruction is delivered in a small group or one to one setting for 10-30 min. at least 4-5 times a week. Progress is monitored weekly to determine the impact of the intervention. A minimum of six data points are collected before evaluating a trend. Interventions are modified if necessary and building-wide problem solving teams collaboratively analyze challenges of students who continue to show little or no progress to determine next steps.
Early Literacy Decision Making Process
Decision making teams at each site use the PRESS process to guide literacy interventions. The literacy level of the student guides where the team starts on the flow chart. The team gathers evidence or conducts assessments to determine where the student is in regards to their literacy levels. This process is used to target and align interventions to student need.
Equity and Access
Owatonna Public Schools inspire a community of learners with equitable access to high quality, innovative learning opportunities ensuring all students are college, career and life ready. Today’s students are increasingly more diverse in their cultures, languages, abilities, interests and learning styles. As educators we are held accountable to ensure that all learners achieve state standards. Thus we must create classroom environments where student differences are supported and celebrated so that all students have the best opportunity to learn. We use the Culturally Responsive Educator Framework (CREF) . The CREF is aligned with equitable strategies as part of a district-wide response to the need for culturally and linguistically responsive instruction:
- Cultural- emphasizes the human purpose of what is being learned and its relationship to the students' own culture.
- Equitable- respectful learning environments in which students’ racial and ethnic diversity is valued and contributes to successful academic outcomes.
- Achievement- includes multiple ways to represent knowledge and skills and allow for attainment of outcomes at different points in time.
- Responsive- through positive relationships, rigorous learning experiences are created involving higher order thinking and critical analysis.
Simply put, CREF is responding to the cultural diversity of students within instructional activities. To accomplish this teachers must be culturally proficient in relating to their students. This knowledge of students is incorporated into curriculum, instruction and assessment in order to meet the needs of all learners.
We believe that the collaboration of classroom teachers, special education teachers, EL teachers, intervention teachers, teaching and learning coaches, Talent Development coordinator, and administrators is paramount to the success of all of our learners. Together, we can support our students in their varying needs.
We will address academic language with all learners. Academic language is a meta-language that helps learners acquire the 50,000 words that they are expected to have internalized by the end of high school and includes everything from illustration and chart literacy to speaking, grammar and genres within fields.
Think of academic language as the verbal clothing that we don in classrooms and other formal contexts to demonstrate cognition within cultures and to signal college readiness. There are two major kinds: instructional language ("What textual clues support your analysis?") and language of the discipline (examples include alliteration in language arts, axioms in math, class struggle in social studies and atoms in science). No student comes to school adept in academic discourse - - thus, thoughtful instruction is required.
District Early Literacy Professional Development
Owatonna Public Schools defines job embedded professional development as teacher learning that is grounded in day to day teaching practice and is designed to enhance teachers’ content-specific instructional practices focused on improving student learning. Professional learning must be ongoing and job-embedded, be based on best practices, standards, and data trends in order to support teachers in ensuring the intended curriculum is the implemented curriculum. The District’s professional learning plan is finalized by the staff development committee made up by representatives from each buildings site team. Professional learning is identified and prioritized using student growth and achievement data along with building level goals and needs. The following are some of the ways in which professional development around literacy takes place. Literacy will be a focus for district wide professional development.
- Teaching and Learning Coaches partner with teachers using the student-centered coaching model. This is a highly-effective, evidence-based coaching model that shifts the focus from “fixing” teachers to collaborating with them to design instruction that targets student outcomes.
- Professional Learning Communities use a collaborative team approach to improving literacy instruction, meet at least bi-monthly to reflect on student progress, review data, and align instruction to learning targets. These opportunities are job-embedded, built into the regular school schedule.
- Job-embedded Professional Development is utilized during district wide staff development day, as well as after school learning opportunities. This Professional Development has been focused on creating Enduring Understandings, learning targets, formative assessments, and learning new innovative ways to incorporate research and best practice into literacy instruction.
- District-Level and Building-Level Instructional Supports are focused on increasing teacher and administrator competencies to positively impact literacy development and proficiency for all students. The role of these teachers is to share best practices for literacy and ensure that quality core instruction and interventions for all students are happening daily in the classrooms.
Parent Notification & Involvement
The goal of the Owatonna Schools is to improve learner outcomes through building strong family and community partnerships. A collaborative effort among educators, families, and the community is essential. Effective parent and community engagement in education is about working together to promote positive outcomes, create opportunities to learn, and enhance social functioning. The following are ways in which our school district facilitates collaboration with families and communities:
- District-wide Parent/Teacher conferences twice a year to set goals and discuss students’ progress
- The Owatonna Public Library’s Summer Reading Program provides opportunities for families and children to focus on literacy development and enjoyment beyond the school year
- The district has established strong partnerships with several community resources including: Minnesota State University-Mankato, Hamline University, and The Science Museum
- Family Reading Nights and EL Family Nights provide pathways for families to support their child’s literacy development
- Building PTA meetings foster collaboration between parents and teachers working to strengthen programs and services
- The Grandparents for Education organization provides opportunities for adults to read and write with learners on a regular basis
- The Youth Service Leadership course at Owatonna High School provides opportunities for older students to read and write with younger students on a consistent basis
Communication System for Annual Reporting
Communication with parents about student’s learning progress happens on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Each spring, with the end of the year report card, parents of K-3 students not meeting Read Well by Grade 3 benchmarks receive a letter explaining their child’s progress toward reading benchmarks and supplemental materials to encourage continued reading progress over the summer months. The Local Literacy Plan is uploaded to MDE, posted on the District Website, and made available each fall to key stakeholders.
Date Submitted to Commissioner June
Michelle Krell, Director of Teaching and Learning
Wendy Eggermont, Teaching and Learning Coordinator
Ann Mikkalson, Teaching and Learning Coordinator
Kenneth Griswold, Data and Assessment Coordinator