Resources not available for Reading Recovery, says superintendent

Ryan Ross
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English Language School Board superintendent Cynthia Fleet.

As the English Language School Board rolls out its cuts to teaching positions, nine schools are learning they won't have the Reading Recovery literacy program next year.

Superintendent Cynthia Fleet said Reading Recovery has requirements on the number of co-ordinators employed within a school district and the number of students assigned to each teacher.

"Our job is to ensure that we provide support to all of our students who are in need to the best of our ability within our limited resources."

But what the cuts mean is if the board doesn't meet the Reading Recovery requirements it isn't allowed to offer the program.

"That's my understanding from my previous assignments." Fleet said.

Reading Recovery is an intervention program for Grade 1 students that is provided to schools in P.E.I. through a non-profit organization and delivered by Island teachers.

Fleet said the minimum the school board can allocate to a school is 0.25 of a position, which means in order to meet the requirement from Reading Recovery that teacher would have to work with two students every day for 12 weeks.

Out of a class of 20 students, that would mean there would have to be six who are seriously struggling with reading in order to get "optimal" support for the program, Fleet said.

"We don't usually have that high a rate."

Fleet said the question then becomes how does the board support students who have difficulty reading and writing.

The board has a primary literacy intervention program (PLIP) that provides reading and writing interventions for students in Grade 2 and 3, she said.

"Some of those teachers now will support students in Grade 1 who do not have Reading Recovery but need specific support."

Although nine schools won't have the Reading Recovery program this year, there have been other times when it wasn't available everywhere, including in at least one school last year.

The schools that won't have Reading Recovery next year have Grade 1 classes ranging from two to 14 students.

Fleet said until every student meets or exceeds standards, the board can never provide enough support.

"We will always welcome additional support for our students but we need to be very strategic with how we're using the allocation that we have now."

P.E.I. Teachers' Federation president Gilles Arsenault said if the board is offering a program, it shouldn't matter if a student is in a bigger or smaller school.

"They should be able to offer the same high-quality programming in every one of our Island schools."

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

Organizations: English Language School Board

Geographic location: Iceland, P.E.I.

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Recent comments

  • Jamie acorn
    May 22, 2014 - 07:31

    When are we the public insist that our government actually hire someone from within the system to run the school board instead of hiring a puppet from another province that will take the heat for the crappy news that the members in the province house dont have the stones to say themselves. I think the reason is because ifs a competent islander was in charge of things, they wouldn't put up with unacceptable announcements like teacher cuts, possibly closing schools, and now cutting programs. Instead they have their puppet from away who will do whatever Mr.Macissac directs her because we all know she wont be here to care in 5 years when we will have the lowest academic standards in North America.

  • Island Boy
    May 21, 2014 - 19:35

    The staff at District is where the "cuts" should be made! There are far too many supervisors and far too few front line teachers. For example, the "super principals",,,surely if one is to be appointed principal of a school then that person should answer for activity in that school direct to Fleet, not to a "super principal". Then there are the math and literacy monitors etc when really what is needed is a sound and sensible curriculum not a "hodge podge" of what passes for the fad of the hour. What happened to text books and readers; what happened to the "times tables" to give the basic foundation for "discovery math??? Get rid of self serving "nobs" in the senior management team and give front line teachers the tools to teach.

  • test scores will suffer
    May 21, 2014 - 14:03

    Our students test scores will continue to suffer if this program is cut. It is an excellent program and has done wonderful things for students who might otherwise have struggled learning to read with great proficiency. Now we'll have another generation of students who won't be able to read or even understand the word, proficiency. Cut the perks to MLAs and the financial help to BINGO and lets help our kids to be outstanding readers.

  • tremendous loss
    May 21, 2014 - 12:21

    my child needed this program, as did quite a number of classmates. This is a tremendously successful program for a good number of students, and it is a devastating loss to schools. And I read ain this paper a few months ago how this Provincial Government wasted $150,000.00 to promote BINGO.... It's sickens me...

  • don
    May 21, 2014 - 10:47

    how many schools in ch'town are being cut ? or west of summerside?

    • Frank Rankin
      May 21, 2014 - 11:23

      Not sure about Charlottetown, but west of Summerside there are 'at least' three losing their Reading Recovery programs.