READING & LITERACY
The BBCPS Reading Department is funded through Title I. It consists of three major support components: Title I Support, Literacy Collaborative, and Reading Recovery.
Title I is the largest federal aid program in our schools. Title I provides additional resources and instruction to improve the educational performance of low achieving children in high poverty schools. Its goal is to help those children meet challenging state academic content and performance standards.
The Benjamin Banneker Charter School is a Title I school, which means that the school receives federal funds in order to provide additional support to help students obtain academic success. The goal at the Benjamin Banneker Charter School is to provide Cambridge youth, regardless of race, culture, language or socioeconomic status with a high quality education. Academically, a strong focus is placed on overcoming educational problems that typically hold back minority youth. By implementing the Title I, schoolwide literacy program, we ensure that our students will be provided with quality reading, writing and math support necessary to become fluent readers, writers and mathematical thinkers. Students are chosen to participate in the Title I program by means of test scores, teacher recommendations and parent input. Once the selection process is complete, specialists begin working with each student in a small group or individual setting. The classroom teacher, specialists, and the parents have on-going communication regarding each individual student's progress. Through a variety of assessments, formal and informal, students are evaluated regularly throughout the school year.
The Title I Schoolwide Program supports and assists the Benjamin Banneker Charter School curriculum in a variety of different ways:
- Supports the needs of all students having difficulties with specific reading, writing and math problems.
- Supports and assists classroom teachers with standardized testing (MCAS).
- Provides professional development opportunities to all teachers to meet the NCLB teacher requirement.
- Researches and purchases a multitude of literature materials.
- Builds partnerships with parents and community.
- Provides funding to support Literacy Collaborative in K-6.
Literacy Collaborative Program
The Lesley University Literacy Collaborative is a comprehensive model for school reform between Lesley University and elementary schools. It is a long-term professional development program designed to provide a school-wide approach to literacy instruction in kindergarten through grade six. The goal of the program is to assure successful literacy achievement for every child. Research has proven that effective implementation of Literacy Collaborative will enable schools to increase their students' reading and writing performance and, just as important, meet their state's language and literacy standards.
Components of the Literacy Collaborative
The Literacy Collaborative (LC) model includes all of the essential components of school reform organized in several major categories; language and literacy instructional framework, Reading Recovery, school-based leadership team, professional development, home school connection and assessment and research.
The language and literacy framework is a child centered literature based approach to teaching reading and writing. The instructional framework consists of a number of contexts that provide multiple opportunities of authentic reading and writing. A key principle of instruction is that students engage in meaningful experiences that range from a high level of teacher support to independence. Below is a breakdown of framework components and how they are incorporated into the school day:
Primary (K - 2):
- 30-60 Minutes Language/Word Study
- 45-60 Minutes Guided Reading
- 45-60 Minutes Writing Workshop
Intermediate Grade (3 - 6):
- 30-60 Minutes Language / Word Study
- 60 Minutes Reading Workshop
- 60 Minutes Writers Workshop
History of LC at the BBCPS
Phase 1-2 - In the 2002-2003 academic school year the Benjamin Banneker Public Charter School implemented phases I and II of Literacy Collaborative. During Phase I, the primary and intermediate leadership teams attended training at Lesley University. This training allowed the teams to begin the necessary planning for the school wide implementation of Literacy Collaborative. Phase 2, required a primary and intermediate coordinator to participate in an intensive year long training while also teaching the literacy framework in two classrooms.
Phase 3 - The initial training class occurred during the 2003-2004 academic school year. This phase consisted of 40-hours of an intense in-service course that required teachers to implement the literacy framework daily. In addition, all classroom teachers participated in regularly scheduled coaching and analysis of instruction with the literacy coordinators.
Phase 4 - During the 2004-2005 academic school year all trained teachers in K-6 continued to participate in 20 hours of ongoing professional development and at this time, we began our second initial training class. This group consisted of 5 new classroom teachers, 2 Title I specialists, 2 SPED teachers and several teacher associates. Additionally, the K-6 school-based leadership teams merged and continued to reassesses the school needs and develop their leadership roles.
Phase 5 and Beyond - Since 2006 all trained teachers in K-6 continue to participate in 20 hours of ongoing professional development. This onsite professional development allows staff to reassess the schools needs, examine student data and develop their leadership roles.
"The systematic collection and analysis of student assessment data is essential to successful whole school change. When data is methodically and consistently collected and analyzed, the results show indicators of effective implementation and point to areas that need further development. More importantly, systematized data collection generates in-depth performance information about every student to help schools identify trends in program effectiveness. Specifically, a number of informal literacy assessments are administered in the fall of each grade and a standardized assessment is administered in the spring of grade two and the spring of grade five.
The data collected from the fall assessments show student achievement in reading, writing, word analysis, and spelling skills. This enables schools to track cohorts of children as they move through the primary and intermediate grades. Schools also use the data to look at their Literacy Collaborative implementation and set goals for the future of the program. The standardized assessment measures student achievement at the end of the primary and intermediate programs. The standardized test also allows Literacy Collaborative schools to compare their achievement in reading and language arts to national performance.
Data are analyzed on a national level by Lesley University and The Ohio State University to monitor performance in Literacy Collaborative schools across the country. Results are reported annually and data are used to improve the delivery of the model and to work with individual schools that need additional support." B, John. ("Research" )
The Banneker places a strong focus on overcoming educational problems that typically hold back minority youth. By implementing Reading Recovery as an early literacy program, we hope to ensure that our at-risk students will be provided with quality individual tutoring necessary to become fluent readers.
- Reading Recovery provides a safety net for tutoring those first grade students who are at risk of failing to learn to read and write.
- Reading Recovery is an early intervention program which supports the lowest achieving students in the first grade and assists them in developing the reading and writing capacities which will enable them to succeed in their early years.
- Reading Recovery reduces the number of children who score below average on standardized tests of achievement.
- Reading Recovery works with good first teaching in the classroom to insure that students will meet the expectations of the first grade and will be successful as they move beyond first grade.
As such, Reading Recovery is an excellent early intervention to reduce the need for long-term programs. In instances where referral for additional assessment and service is needed, Reading Recovery provides a base of information not otherwise available from which to develop appropriate ongoing individualized educational interventions. The design and delivery of the program is very specific. The Reading Recovery teacher's program with the child is designed to take the confusion out of reading and writing. The child's learning accelerates to the point where he/she can effectively participate in the regular classroom program at average class level, typically in twelve-twenty weeks.