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Proposed 3rd Grade retention proposal to be reviewed

Would hold back students who don’t read at grade level

Posted: October 16, 2017 5:28 p.m.
Updated: October 17, 2017 1:00 a.m.

Among a number of policy changes to be reviewed during tonight’s meeting of the Kershaw County Board of School Trustees is one that could see 3rd Graders held back from moving up to 4th Grade if they are not proficiently reading at grade level. The mandated provision is supposed to go into effect this school year. It is one of 10 potential policy revisions or additions the board will review tonight in anticipation of a vote at its Nov. 7 meeting.

Former Gov. Nikki Haley signed the S.C. Succeed to Read Act in 2014. It created a comprehensive program aimed at increasing reading proficiency among K-12 students. The provision mandating the retention of 3rd Grade students who do not proficiently read at grade level would also make an intensive summer reading camp available to them in an effort to bring them to grade level.

If school trustees add this particular mandate to the district’s policies on Nov. 7, parents would be notified in writing during the second grading period that their child is being considered for retention. A conference would be held prior to an actual determination to retain the child. Students being considered for retention could then sign up for the summer reading camp in an effort to become proficient before a final determination is made.

The proposed policy would also have six exemptions from retention; they include, but are not necessarily limited to students:

• who are classified as English learners and have fewer than two years of instruction in an English program;

• with disabilities whose individualized education plans (IEPs) indicates the use of alternative assessments or alternative interventions and those whose IEP or Section 504 plan reflects the students has received intensive remediation for more than two years but still does not demonstrate reading proficiency;

• who demonstrate 3rd Grade reading proficiency on an alternative assessment approved the S.C. State Board of Education (to be administered after the regular reading assessment);

• who have received two years of reading intervention and previously retained;

• who demonstrate mastery of reading state standards equal to at least a level above the lowest achievement on the state reading assessment through a “reading portfolio; or

• who successfully participate in a summer reading camp at the end of the 3rd Grade year and demonstrate proficiency as outlined in the last exception through a reading portfolio or alternative assessment.

The other proposed policy revisions or additions deal with the Freedom of Information Act; administrative and professional personnel qualifications and duties; advanced placement courses; at-risk students; defined program grades 9-12 and graduation requirements; the Adult Students with Disabilities Educational Rights Consent Act; school stability of children in foster care; uniform grading policy and honors framework implementation; and student insurance programs.

Also on tonight’s agenda, the board will receive reports on:

• the district’s program for English Language learners;

• the WorkKeys tests administered to 11th Graders;

• referenda approved construction projects; and

• the joint committee with Kershaw County Council on growth and school resource officers.

Trustees will also enter executive session to discuss undisclosed employment matters and Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan’s evaluation.

Tonight’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the board room at district headquarters, 2029 West DeKalb St. in Camden, and is open to the public.

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