Southwood Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio, Achieves Dramatic Gains in Reading on the Ohio Academic Assessment Tests

For the first time in three years, Southwood Elementary School of the Columbus City School District in Ohio made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) with dramatic gains in reading achievement across grades and subgroups on the Ohio Academic Assessment Tests (OAAT). In comparing the scores versus last year, the percentage of students scoring proficient, accelerated, or advanced increased by 28.5 for third-graders, 4.8 points for fourth-graders, and 16 points for fifth-graders. Scores also increased by 16.3 points for economically disadvantaged students, 24.4 points for African American students, and 14.9 points for students with disabilities.

What changed? “Southwood has a group of dedicated professionals that were working very hard to make AYP and improve student achievement, but had been unable to reach their goals. American Reading Company was hired to help,” explained Christine DeLauter, Principal at Southwood Elementary School. “We are very excited about the progress we have made and are sure it is largely due to the training we received from American Reading Company, which supported our teachers in becoming true experts in reading instruction.”

In 2010, Southwood Elementary School kicked off the school year with American Reading Company’s ACTION 100 Response to Intervention (RtI) transformation model, which provided 31 days of continuous embedded professional development training for teachers. As part of this framework, which is built on the architecture of the Common Core State Standards, students participated in 100 BOOK CHALLENGE, a reading accountability system in which practice targets are set, monitored, and rewarded, ensuring every student adopts the independent reading routines of academically successful students. Parents were also required to sign home reading contracts, pledging to turn off televisions and supervise daily home reading practice for 30 minutes each night.

According to DeLauter, “This was an unprecedented investment in our teachers, and the results speak to the type of change that is possible when teachers have access to the right support structures to advance both teacher and student learning.”

“Ms. DeLauter is a true advocate for teacher training, instructional expertise, and academic rigor, which are absolutely essential in achieving sustained reading achievement for students,” said Jane Hileman, Founder & CEO of American Reading Company. “I congratulate the district leadership, Ms. DeLauter, the teachers, the parents, and the students on their impressive test score gains.”

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