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Hattiesburg school district extends school instruction for third grade students

HATTIESBURG, Miss - The Hattiesburg Public School District (HPSD) improved their third grade reading level skills at 98% last year. The district hopes to maintain those numbers for the second time in a row using the same strategy.

On Saturdays parents were given the option to bring in their children for more intensive reading instructions that will assist them for the state exam next week.

According to the Mississippi Department of Education third graders must take a state exam to move on to the fourth grade.

"Passed during the 2013 legislative session, the Literacy-Based Promotion Act places an emphasis on grade-level reading skills for students, particularly as they progress through grades K-3. Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, a student scoring at the lowest achievement level in reading on the established state assessment for 3rd grade will not be promoted to 4th grade unless the student meets the good cause exemptions for promotion."

Director of Early Literacy at HSPD Deborah Woullard said, "They are called Saturday Boost sessions, we are very intentional, we looked at the data because the students are risk monitored."

Teachers evaluated the data to see where students struggled the most.

"We taugh differentiated instruction, we actually have those students read those paragraphs, we taught test taking strategies that is very important, we focused in on the academic vocabulary, we also focued in on finding evidence with the passages" said Woullard.

For one month 5 elementary schools in the HPSD participated in the Boost sessions. Woullard mentions it definitely benefits them before the test, "We progressed monitored them at the end of each session, we saw growth in most of our students."

The district hopes to continue Saturday Boost sessions annually.



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