Cover It Live Recap: School board looks at a program to boost students writing scores | SierraSun.com

Cover It Live Recap: School board looks at a program to boost students writing scores

Jason Shueh
Sierra Sun

TRUCKEE/TAHOE, Calif. and#8212; The school district wants to spend a little more than $100,000 on a program its superintendent says will close a large gap among student writing scores.

According to Tahoe Truckee Unified School District figures, about 40 percent to 50 percent of district students are not proficient in writing based on state standards, fueling Superintendent Steve Jennings to recommend the school board approve $111,000 to fund the and#8220;Step Up to Writingand#8221; program.

and#8220;Writing is always an issue, and obviously writing and reading are very closely related,and#8221; Jennings said. and#8220;If students don’t have a good comprehension of reading and writing, then they struggle in their other course work.and#8221;

According to the program, which is for all grades, it will take three years to teach district staff techniques which focus heavily on expository writing, a type of oral or written discourse used to explain, describe, or inform.

and#8220;What we’re looking at here is a good strategy for teaching,and#8221; Jennings said.

The TTUSD board will be asked to approve the funding at Wednesday’s meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. at Truckee High School cafeteria.

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It appears the district’s Gifted and Talented Education program may not be so gifted and talented after all.

At the request of GATE parents and the district administration, trustees could approve the first step in a GATE program facelift for the 2010-11 school year at Wednesday’s meeting.

Staff has recommended the board approve a $6,000 contract with Barbara L. Branch, a GATE education contractor, to interview parents, principals and teachers about perceived holes in the cur rent program and to investigate where possible changes can be made.

and#8220;The GATE consultant will come in and do a needs assessment and an analysis of what our needs are and then write a GATE plan,and#8221; Jennings said.

Should the contract be approved, Jennings said he anticipates Branch’s recommendation and GATE plan will be ready by the end of summer with, final approval and implementation sometime during the school year.

and#8220;It’s something that’s been on our radar since I came here for the last couple of years,and#8221; Jennings said.