Starting this fall with the new school year, Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) will move away from its Reading Recovery program at the elementary school level and shift that current position to an overall classroom-based, grade-level role. These teachers will take on a grade-level classroom position to help support teacher vacancies, or secure a different instructional role that allows them to work with larger groups of students.
The current program model features a dedicated Reading Recovery program teacher at each elementary school who works with about eight students per school year in Grade 1 on reading interventions. They may also work with small intervention groups when not servicing their targeted students. Students who are identified for Reading Recovery are typically assessed to be reading two grade levels below that of their peers. In addition to the Reading Recovery program, every elementary school has a dedicated reading interventionist, reading resource teacher and instructional resource teacher who supports any student who needs extra help with reading or math skills.
The CCPS daily elementary student schedule has a large block dedicated to reading for every student in kindergarten through Grade 5. The block is 120 minutes per school day that is dedicated to literacy, phonics, language and reading. During this block, students participate in whole group reading instruction for 60 minutes as a class. The other half of the block is dedicated to small group rotations in which students work with the classroom teacher, or other staff such as the reading interventionist or reading resource teacher, on content at or above their current reading level.
The removal of the Reading Recovery program next school year does not limit interventions for students who need them. Direct interventions will continue through small group rotations, with support of other staff. Feedback was sought from principals, instructional specialists from the Office of Teaching and Learning, and other administrators to evaluate the effectiveness of the Reading Recovery teacher role to determine if the position could better serve a larger number of students. On average, a CCPS Reading Recovery teacher has spent at least 10 years teaching with the school system and is experienced in both instructional interventions and classroom management.
“This change does not impact interventions already in place to support struggling readers. The reading block built into the elementary class schedule provides time for students to receive the targeted supports they need. Many of the students who need additional help are offered tutoring and meet with instructional staff – in addition to their classroom teacher – who have experience working with students to achieve higher levels of reading success. We also provide these interventions to students in math, as each elementary school also has a dedicated math interventionist,” Superintendent of Schools Maria V. Navarro, Ed.D., said. “Direct interventions will continue to be provided by our literacy and math instructional leadership team members from which a larger number of students receive support across all grade levels. Staff who currently fill this role are experienced and will be able to impact a higher number of students moving forward next year.”
CCPS shared the program update with principals earlier this week, and staff from the Office of Teaching and Learning met in person with Reading Recovery teachers to share the update and information about why the program would be phased out next school year. CCPS is one of the more recent counties to remove the program for students. CCPS teachers will continue to use assessments such as the i-Ready reading to measure student progress and identify specific areas for improvement. Interventions and other resources are offered to students through family engagement, and include both reading and math resources.