HANCOCK, Mich. (WLUC) - In Hancock for the past 3 years teachers at Barkell Elementary have been implementing a new program to teach students reading and literacy tools.
"We've implemented it in Young 5's, Kindergarten, First, Second, and Third Grade. Next year we'll be finishing off by implementing it in Fourth and Fifth grade, and that will cover us across the board here," said Dan Vaara, Principal at Barkell Elementary.
The program the school is using now is the Fountas & Pinnell Leveling System which gives teachers more freedom in how they plan their lessons and gives a larger focus on meeting the goals of the students.
"At each grade level we have the students in these very fluid groups, and students will move through these groups working on what they need at the time. Maybe it's reading comprehension, or maybe it's more guided reading," said Karen Eddy, Title 1 Teacher and Assistant to the Principal at Barkell Elementary.
Since the implementation of the program the school has noticed that the students are more engaged in their learning, and has led to an increase in test scores.
"We're being much more consistent in our vocabulary and the materials we're using with the students. Our scores were good before, but they just continue to improve, and not only the scores, but also the overall learning of our students as well," said Eddy.
The school also feels that the program wouldn't have been as big of a success if it weren't for the staff fully embracing it.
"They've spent hours and hours over the summer, and after school, a lot of time spent at home and time spent here learning this. We're very proud of the staff for the amount of time and work they've put in, because it's necessary to implement such a complicated system like this," said Vaara.