CCSD preparing for the Literacy Act

Published 10:04 am Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Chambers County Schools students and teachers have been preparing for the state legislation’s Literacy Act for third-grade reading scores benchmark, according to Director Of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Sheila Jones.

Jones said the school district has focused on identifying and providing direct instruction to at-risk students for third grade. 

The Literacy Act was signed into law in 2019, requiring third-grade students to demonstrate reading proficiency before they moved on to fourth grade. COVID slowed it down, but the law will take effect this year for current third-grade students.

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“I have high hopes,” Jones said. “I do not feel that Chambers County School District will have an extreme number of kids that will be in the position of needing to be retained.”

In July, the district hired a literacy consultant as an additional resource. Each school’s local reading specialists have been working with the literacy consultant to address gaps in reading scores.

“The literacy consultant is what Chambers County School District has done different to help us to address the needs of our students,” Jones said.

Students who are held back will be given a chance to attend summer school and retest. Others may be exempted based on portfolio assessment or extenuating circumstances.

“We’re not waiting until the end of the year, and we’ve been looking at several things prior to that coming into effect,” Jones said. 

According to Jones, in 2023, there were 22 third-grade students who didn’t meet the ACAP Summative test requirements in the spring but were able to meet the required score at the end of the district’s summer reading and math camp. 

“We have some dynamic teachers,” Jones said. “I cannot applaud our teachers enough. We have teachers that are working very hard, so I’m very thankful for that.”

Jones said she is pleased that the school district does not have any substitute teachers for kindergarten through third grade this year. 

The district will also review third-grade portfolios of students who still score below the ACAP Supplemental requirement for a holistic view of students’ mastery of essential standards. Those who mastered the standards will be able to move on.

According to the Alabama Department of Education, 88.2% of second graders and 71% of third graders in Chambers County School District met the required reading grade level in spring 2023. As for Lanett City Schools, 60% of second graders and 45.7% of third graders were reading on grade level in spring 2023. 

These students are now currently third and fourth graders.

On Sept. 14, lawmakers voted to change the test score required for students to pass third grade. Now, students will have to score at least a 435 on the Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program English test to pass onto fourth grade.