The coming school year is fast approaching. We don’t know exactly what it will look like and each community and family will respond differently to meet student needs. We do know that education is important and helping kids succeed and love learning is our goal. In today’s blog, CCHO Elementary Teacher Samantha Ponting shares about two shining stars in our on-campus classroom who made incredible strides in reading this past year. Let’s celebrate the hard work of students and staff and commit to making it a great year for learning for all of our kids.
It is no secret that the more individualized attention and instruction a student gets, the more they will grow. I am very grateful to have this ability at CCHO with our students. During their short time here, I can help fill in the gaps that they may have missed for whatever reason in a general education setting with 15-25 students in a classroom. Also, we can focus on the root cause of the student’s behaviors to develop school-appropriate coping skills. Though I’m only discussing two shining stars with reading, there are many more!
Our first student is a little girl in the second grade. When the school year started, she was struggling to remain focused, complete tasks, and was extremely distracting in the classroom. Furthermore, she was unable to read beyond a (November) first grader. We instantly noticed her inability to read at the appropriate levels and went to work. The CCHO therapists and staff helped manage her behavior concerns and the teachers worked with her academics. In the classroom, she was being seen 3-4 times a week on an individual basis to help with trick words, blends and digraphs, vocabulary and ultimately comprehension.
I remember the first time she read a book from start to finish during her guided-reading time. There she was reading . . . actually reading word for word and when she finished, the two other staff and I were all bawling. She put in the work. She took everything she was taught and surprised us. It was one of the best days of my teaching career! From that point on she kept pushing forward. She practiced her spelling/reading words, listened to reading on the computer, and continued to read inside and outside the classroom. I am happy to announce that she is now able to read at a second-grade level and is flourishing in the classroom!
Our second shining star is a little boy in the third grade. In the beginning of the school year he struggled with outbursts, transitioning from task to task, remaining on topic, and general defiance if he didn’t get his way. He was also reading at a (November) first-grade level. Again in collaboration, the CCHO team helped him improve behaviors and the teaching team addressed academics.
Given his reading level and the fact that he was two grade levels below where he needed to be, this young boy was put into an individual reading group. We connected with him 3-4 times a week and he responded by putting in the work. One major thing that helped him was having access to books of interest to him. This is huge for any student. Once a teacher can find a genre or type of book that a student likes, then the magic can happen! The more books students have access to in their library the more likely they are to read. He put in the effort during writing, spelling, reading and listening. I am pleased to share that he is now reading at a third-grade level!
Did you know? The CCHO classroom setup in the Leadership Center is unique to meet their educational and therapeutic goals. Students attend school for three hours a day. Girls attend in the mornings and boys go in the afternoons. The elementary school is designed to teach grades kindergarten to sixth grade in a one-classroom setting. This dynamic brings to light a whole lot of challenges. Some of these include teaching some students how to add and others how to multiply fractions with unlike denominators, helping students learn their letter sounds and others how to write an opinion essay, and so on. Even with these challenges, students are excelling. They are learning that the school environment is a safe place with caring adults and that they are capable of more. Each piece is important as we prepare them to return to the community.
Please join us in praying for another positive academic year for our students and staff.
Our on-campus school features dynamic and compassionate educators from Norwayne Local School District. Learn more about our thriving education partnership.