Opp school is state model

Published 12:44 am Saturday, September 24, 2011

Opp Elementary School will be a model school for the Alabama Reading Initiative, officials said this week.

Reading coach Sharon Spurlin said the school has participated in ARI for about six years, but has only recently begun the model school program.

ARI is a statewide initiative with a goal of improving reading instruction and achieving 100 percent literacy among public school students.

Through three aspects of teaching, ARI focuses on improving literacy – including preventing reading difficulties, identifying struggling readers and intervening to help them become proficient readers – all while expanding the reading power of all students.

Spurlin said ARI specialists will come into OES classrooms and introduce lesson plans that are geared to increasing things such as fluency and other skills.

After OES teachers observe the lessons, they are then given the opportunity to teach them, and will receive feedback on how to improve.

“Some of our teachers teach reading twice in one day,” she said. “So they have the opportunity to see the lesson in the morning and try it out in the afternoon.”

As a part of the program, other local elementary school administrators, teachers and reading coaches will have the opportunity to visit OES and observe these ARI-based lessons.

“We have our first session scheduled for November,” Spurlin said.

When school officials visit OES, they will have the opportunity to ask questions during a debriefing, Spurlin said.

Overall, Spurlin said while it’s an honor for OES to be chosen as a model school, “the focus remains on bettering students.”

OES met adequate yearly progress and scored high on the Alabama Reading and Math Test last year.

Third graders scored 92 percent and fourth graders scored 95 percent.

Spurlin said they hope to use these lessons to help their students improve even more in reading.

“Our teachers work very hard,” Spurlin said. “They love what they do, and they are very dedicated.”