In the fall of 1996, Dr. James Hallford, Superintendent of DeKalb County, contacted the Georgia Department of Education to request assistance in focusing on improving reading achievement in DeKalb County. Dr. Hallford selected Meadowview Elementary to receive special reading training from the DOE staff.
Meadowview Elementary was used as a training ground for techniques that would be used in Reading First schools. Meadowview Elementary received approximately 80% of the inservice training and 20% of the technical support the eight Reading First schools will receive during the 1997-98 school year.
In order to focus on reading improvement at Meadowview Elementary, Principal, Zandra Sherwood and Instructional Lead Teacher, Deborah White, coordinated school efforts by combining teacher training and parent involvement. Meadowview teachers volunteered for after-hour training in order to develop expertise in student assessment. Each student at Meadowview was individually assessed on basic reading skills during the fall and spring.
After individually assessing students, teachers at Meadowview received additional training on teaching direct, explicit, systematic phonics. Phonics materials were purchased in order to provide a balanced reading program. (The We All Can Read Third Grade through Adult Program was purchased for use by the participating 6th grade class.)
As a result of the dedicated staff at Meadowview, combined with training from the DOE and new explicit phonics materials, students at Meadowview made significant improvement in reading achievement on the spring 1997 ITBS.
DeKalb County Superintendent, Dr. James Hallford reported that ITBS scores among the sixth grade class had increased from the 19th percentile as 5th graders to the 35th percentile as sixth graders. (The sixth grade class at Meadowview used the We All Can Read Intensive Phonics Program for approximately one classroom period per day over a four month period of time prior to taking the ITBS in March of 1997.)
The above update was released by the Georgia Department of Education in May of 1997