Superintendents and Boards
When superintendents and school boards begin creating elementary reading accountability, it is useful to understand not only the board policy process, but how this process will look to principals, teachers, and parents as well. All of the pieces must come together for successful change is to occur.
We suggest that you, as policy makers, ask for the data to answer a question that creates a brutally honest reality check:
"What is the reading level of every third grader in this district in grade level equivalents?"
There is a chasm between the public's reading expectations for their children and the actual reading performance by third grade. The power to change grows out of a public school district's willingness (the superintendent, board members, elementary principals, and K-3 teachers) to be absolutely truthful with themselves and their community about how many entering fourth graders read at a first, second, and third grade level. The resolve to be absolutely truthful about current levels of third grade reading performance is an absolute prerequisite to achieving significant reading improvement.
The next steps of the process mirrors the NSBA Key Work of School Board's 8 step model for systemic change [www.nsba.org/keywork]. For proven strategies and techniques that allow boards and superintendents to made significant structural changes with minimal inputs of energy into the school system, check out the power tools section.