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Territorial Dispatch

MJUSD Schools Improve Literacy

Nov 15, 2023 02:43PM ● By MJUSD News Release

MARYSVILLE, CA (MPG) - Marysville Joint Unified School District (MJUSD) Pre-K-3 Literacy Plan was developed as a foundational guide to help significantly raise the level of literacy achievement of all students. The development of the plan helped to establish a unified, high-quality, comprehensive, and coherent literacy program for all MJUSD elementary schools. The Pre-K-3 Literacy Plan clearly identifies actions that will support teachers, students, and families to ensure that all students are learning to read by 3rd grade. Research shows that students not reading by the end of 3rd grade will continue to struggle with academics, are less likely to graduate, and are more likely to live in poverty. MJUSD believes all students need high-quality literacy instruction from early childhood through graduation, therefore the Pre-K-3 Literacy Plan is the beginning of the roadmap which is culminated by MJUSD’s Graduate Profile.

During the 2022-2023 school year, a committee participated in professional development on the Comprehensive Reading Process. This helped build a foundation for informed decision making necessary for creating a plan centered around Structured Literacy. Structured Literacy is the instructional approach aligned to science and research that is proven most effective for teaching reading; essential for most and advantageous for all (2023 Greenfield Learning). The committee was composed primarily of teachers, ranging from Pre-K to 3rd grade. Throughout the year the committee met, shared information with the school sites, and brought input back for further discussion. 

The Pre-K-3 Literacy Plan includes 4 pillars: High Quality Instruction with a Tiered System of Supports, Assessment to Guide Instruction, High-Quality Professional Development, and Family and Community Engagement. These pillars ensure a comprehensive approach in teaching Pre-K-3 students to read. Each pillar has clearly identified and measurable goals, with a three year action plan for implementation.

One of the key actions for the High Quality Professional Development pillar includes training all Pre-K-2 teachers and elementary administrators in Enhanced Core Reading Instruction (ECRI). All MJUSD K-2 teachers have been trained. This training builds upon the routines and procedures within the district’s curriculum and helps provide highly structured systematic patterns that ensure mastery of phonemic awareness, blending sounds, word recognition fluency, and vocabulary. All staff, elementary site administrators, Pre-K-2 teachers, paraprofessionals and literacy resource technicians are receiving a series of Structured Literacy training geared toward their respective roles. With an increased focus on literacy, MJUSD experienced initial growth in Universal Reading Screener scores.

Starting in Fall of 2022, this Universal Screener was administered districtwide and will continue to be administered each Fall and Spring moving forward. As expected, due to the Summer break, the Fall scores for the new school year are lower than the Spring scores at the end of last year. While that is typical, the Pre-K-3 Literacy Plan now has a framework in place that will help teachers start the school year strong, with supports that will help improve academic achievement and overall literacy performance. This year a sub-committee will dig deeper into the district’s data and interventions including before and after-school Expanded Learning Opportunities Program as part of the district’s focus on a continuous cycle of improvement.