Setting scholars up for success at an early age equips them with the knowledge, character, and leadership to thrive in school and graduate from college. That is why we focus on a robust elementary educational program that includes teaching scholars the building blocks of reading.

In fall 2019, Hiawatha began a three-year partnership with Groves Academy to support students to build the foundational reading skills outlined in the Common Core State Standards: phonemic awareness, phonics, word recognition, and fluency. The foundational skills program created by Groves Academy focuses on decoding language through instruction based on the science of reading.

Third grade is considered a transitional year in elementary education when reading demands become more complex and students must read well to learn. In order to comprehend challenging texts, students must master foundational reading skills and become fluent readers by 3rd grade. This foundation is crucial for students to progress in rigorous, grade-level coursework across disciplines for the rest of their scholastic experience.  

Groves program’s literacy framework focuses on five components:
  1. Good literacy instruction
  2. Coaches who support and co-teach in each classroom for one period each week
  3. Quarterly benchmark testing in oral-reading-fluency
  4. Multi-tiered system of support
  5. Progress monitoring

In the first year of the program, the curriculum is implemented across K – 3rd grade. Assessments take place three times during the year to track initial growth in all grades. From the data collected from establishing an excellent Tier 1 instruction, Hiawatha can then assess what future interventions are needed for struggling readers and provide targeted support to ensure that all Hiawatha scholars are reading fluently by the end of 3rd grade.

In the second year of Hiawatha’s partnership with Groves Academy, in addition to daily classroom instruction and intervention, classroom teachers are coached to support struggling readers and are equipped with the means to provide additional instruction to close individual reading gaps and support all students to reach grade-level reading benchmarks. 

By year three of our partnership, Hiawatha Academies will continue to implement this programming and monitor progress while Groves continues to consult with an appointed literacy coach. The ultimate goal of the third year of the partnership is to build systems and capacity within each school site so that they will be able to implement an excellent foundational reading skills program for years to come.  

Six months into the implementation of foundational skills instruction in all K-3 classrooms at Hiawatha, “we are seeing exciting growth across the board at the Kindergarten level and in many other classrooms throughout our elementary schools,” says Erin Horst, Curriculum and Assessment Director. 

“We are looking forward to continuing this positive momentum and seeing even more student growth after a full year of implementation,” says Horst.

Hiawatha is able to partner with Groves Academy thanks to generous gifts from our donors. We are grateful for their generous support of our youngest readers. As seen in proven results with other schools, Hiawatha is excited to deepen its relationship with Groves Academy and see our scholars continue to build essential reading skills in the coming months.

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