ECSS reading, math proficiency improves  

Published 3:12 pm Wednesday, May 3, 2023

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By Special to the Advance

Reading and math are the key elements in education, so improving students’ performance in those areas is important.

Since last fall, the Escambia County School System has seen incredible improvement in both areas, officials said.

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In grades K-8, 478 students reading scores were on or above grade level at the beginning of the school year. After a recent diagnostic test, that number shot up to 1,263. The results were just as stunning in math. Two-hundred-and-thirteen students were on or above grade level in the fall, and the test shows that number is now 1,081.

This year, the system implemented a new core reading curriculum, Benchmark Workshop, as well as a math intervention program, Do the Math. To help support the initiatives in place, the district provided hands on coaching and professional development to our teachers and administrators all year long.

“I am very proud of our teachers for implementing the Walk to Math program; a hands-on, manipulative teaching approach to bringing math to life each morning in our schools,” Superintendent Michele McClung said. “The results show a direct impact on improvement of our math test data as measured by IReady! Also, I would like to commend our reading coaches, interventionists, special education teachers and K-5 teachers for rolling out a district-wide literacy initiative. Those teachers who are using the program to fidelity are showing the greatest gains in reading scores as measured by IReady.”

There’s still work to be done, as 723 students are approaching their grade level in reading while 953 are getting close in math. But after seeing such great progress in less than a year, it’s only a matter of time before the scores improve even more.

McClung said teachers will continue to use the programs that are working so well. “We look forward to continuing both initiatives over the years and sticking to what we know works best for our students,” she said. “I’m most proud of our students for taking the assessments seriously and challenging each other to show growth and benchmark at or above grade level proficiency. We are committed to ensuring every student is proficient in all of their subjects and prepared for the next grade. I encourage parents to bring their children to our public libraries across the county and check out books each week over the summer.”