top of page

Dr. Stacy Farr Presents Early Childhood Data Highlights to Board

Daniel Prince

New board members sworn in; Manning Jeter elected board chair

The Union County Board of School Trustees swore in its newly elected and reelected members. Mike Massey, Doc Lipsey, Mark Truitt, Kelly Shropshire, and Beth Anthony all took the oath of office from Chief Magistrate Kevin Morrow. Manning Jeter was elected Board Chair on a 5-4 vote, with Beth Anthony, Frank Hart, Manning Jeter, BJ McMorris, and Kelly Shropshire voting for him. Mark Ivey, Doc Lipsey, Mike Massey, and Mark Truitt voted for Mike Massey to be chair. Mark Ivey was unanimously voted to be vice-chairman.

Dr. Stacy Farr, Director of Elementary Education, presented an overview of Early Childhood Data to the board. She talked about the science of reading, and how the new ELA standards that are coming tie into that. She referenced something called Scarborough’s Reading Rope, which breaks down the skills necessary for a child to become a skilled reader. Two “ropes”, one of word recognition and the other of language comprehension come together to make a skilled reader, and within those two categories, several individual “strands” of skills come together to form those “ropes”. If a child struggles with any of those skills, interventionists can target those individual skills to help the child. Teachers are being prepared for the new standards and being trained in the science of reading with what is called LETRS training.

Farr said the newest Kindergarten Readiness data has not come out yet, but she shared highlights from last year’s data, saying that kindergarten readiness scores dropped dramatically in the fall following the pandemic, and progress was shown last year in recovering from that. She stated that Foster Park and Monarch showed kindergarten readiness scores higher than the state average in the fall of 2021. She said they are targeting growth in kindergarten readiness through an Early Childhood Council, which is comprised of organizations and individuals with ties to early childhood development; First Steps; Steps to Early Success, which is a program that is currently at Foster Park and Buffalo working with families in the schools; community events; and information and support for families.

She stated that first through fifth graders are split evenly between those on or above grade level in reading by the end of the year and those who are below grade level. She touted the success of the Reading Recovery program in first grade, which has helped students within that program make tremendous gains in getting to reading on or close to their grade level by the end of the year. She said that even those who joined the program mid-year saw major increases in their reading levels. The instruction is offered in each school and targets the lowest 20% of readers in first grade.

Farr said data on math interventionists is limited because the positions are new, but they are serving 137 students in grades K-5 in the district’s four elementary schools. Average improvement in their scores for the first 9 weeks was +20, with no student dropping in points, she said.

When asked about what could help with early childhood development, Farr stated that having a full-day 4K program would be helpful, as some of the students that need the help cannot come to a half-day program due to transportation issues, parents or guardians working, or other factors. Superintendent Joey Haney said conversations have begun at the district level about that, and that more information would be brought to the board later.

no audio
00:00 / 01:04
bottom of page