The Austin Independent School District (AISD) has undertaken a campaign to address literacy at every level of instruction. The goal is to have all students reading on grade level by grade 2.
Among the current initiatives to reach this goal are a Response to Intervention Pilot at eight elementary campuses, and the use of a universal screener and progress monitoring instruments. Another literacy project is being undertaken jointly by the district, the City of Austin, and Travis County through the Joint Subcommittees.
While AISD works with many tutoring entities to enhance literacy in the early grades, one program in particular is getting strong results. ACE is an early childhood literacy program with a mission of ensuring that all children develop a strong foundation in early literacy skills during their first years in school.
Currently, ACE provides up to 48 trained and supervised early literacy tutors to AISD. Thirty-five full-time tutors serve 10 elementary schools and 13 half-time (28 hours/week) tutors serve the Lucy Read Pre-K Demonstration School. The following elementary schools are currently served through the ACE contract: Allan, Allison, Andrews, Brown, Dawson, Govalle, Linder, Oak Springs, Perez and Widen Elementary Schools.
The partnership is aligned with the district's Strategic Plan Key Action Step 1.13, which calls for expanding early literacy programs. ACE uses a Response to Intervention model that is fully integrated with district goals for primary literacy. The program targets “Tier 2” students who are behind their peers and at risk for future reading failure.
In 2010-11, 78% of Tier 2 students that ACE served reached benchmarks in critical early reading skills. The program also offers another critical benefit by providing literacy knowledgeable teachers to the district: 52% of ACE alums have a career in education; 32% are classroom teachers; and those who are teachers stay longer than the 3-5 year national average.
Stay tuned for more updates about this important AISD initiative!