July 22, 2014 - 11:25
Grant gives BES reading help
Related Articles
Views: 1011
Print E-mail
For Benton Elementary School, being named a focus school meant being eligible for grant money to close the gap in reading scores between economically advantaged and disadvantaged students.

While being named as a focus school indicates a problem - gaps in testing and a need for more focused attention for students - it also enables schools to apply for grant money to help that process. For Benton Elementary School, being named a focus school meant being eligible for grant money to close the gap in reading scores between economically advantaged and disadvantaged students.

This year, Benton Elementary has received $200,000 to do just that. If enough progress is made, another $200,00 will come next year to continue the progress.

BES Principal Tracy McAbee said the grant money will enable the school to not only increase test scores, but also create a team of reading specialists who are trained to continue the work of ensuring students are able to read long beyond the duration of the grant. Ten teachers will receive on-site coursework from UTK to become certified as specialists. There are currently no reading specialists in the county.

According to the grant, roughly 50% of the student population at Benton Elementary has basic or below basic reading skills. The school will focus on three areas to change that. Students will be individually assessed, instruction will be given in small groups and “just right” books will be implemented. $32,000 of the grant was spent on “just right” books.

McAbee said “just right” books are those that are leveled so every child will be able to read on their own level. If a student can read on their own level, McAbee said, they will be more likely to have the desire to read. All students in the same grades will read the same content, but leveled books will allow students to absorb the content in the best way for them.

Another change at BES is a parallel block schedule. McAbee said students in kindergarten though second grade have their own science classes and computer labs every day. He said the difference between good students and bad students becomes much greater in the third grade. An interest and science (such as dinosaurs) and computers gives students the desire to want to read and learn more. With the leveled books, they can do so in such a way as to continue to be interested.

Two reading consultants have also been hired as part of the grant project. “They are the gurus of leveled reading,” McAbee said. The specialists come every Thursday – one for grades K-2 and one for grades 3-5. Part of their job will be to train five Benton Elementary School teachers as reading coaches in order to continue their work once the grant is finished.

Ten BES teachers will become official reading specialists after two years of UTK coursework under the supervision of Dr. Richard Allington, a leading literacy author and researcher. Teachers are registering now to take the coursework, which will begin in the spring.

“Nobody is better,” McAbee said. “Dr. Allington said if we were able to get 10 teachers, he would bring the coursework to the school and we already have 10 signed up,” he added. The UTK coursework for teachers to become specialists will be the same as that being done at UTK. The grant enables Benton Elementary School teachers to become experts and be able to help students throughout the school system in years to come.

Another component of the grant will be the implementation of a summer school based on leveled reading. McAbee said transportation and food will be provided, juts as it is during the regular school term.

“We will give the students June off, but come back for a while in July to try to make sure students do not slide back over the summer,” McAbee said. He said the goal is to focus on kindergarten and first graders, but will have others, as well.

“I’m really excited about this,” McAbee said. He said there will be other little components along the way during the grant program, but the overall goal is to make it sustainable.

Progress will have to be made during the first year of grant implementation. If the school is able to show improvement, another $200,000 will come next year. McAbee said he wants to see the teachers and students become equipped to continue improving once the grant is finished, and having the ability to certify teachers as reading specialists will make that possible for years to come.

Untitled Document
Top News
Audit committee looks over findings
Committee members are charged with doing an independent review and making recommendations to the County Commission. This was the first meeting of the committee.
New Ag Agent on the job
Growth Plan turned down again
Names protected by HIPAA
Parksville precinct closed
Head start applications being taken
Veterans honored
Attempted murder charged
Budget work begins
Local News
Ducktown School discussed
A group of former students and educators from Ducktown School met with members of the Fourth Fractional Township Saturday July 5th to get a report on what was being done with the school.
Overhill looking for artists and craft..
Ducktown school preservation eyed
Celebrate history and independence
Solar offsets Ducktown energy use
Sale raises $1000 for libraries
Benton notes...
Amendments can be viewed online
Copperhill notes...
Relay for Life Friday
School News
CMS Open House July 31
CBHS rallies around student
Students compete at Lee
CBHS team takes first
CBHS wins state, heads to nationals
Students learn to avoid jerks
Club 21 rewards acheivement
Benton Elementary Junior Beta Club rec..
Enriques on Dean’s List
Co-op experience leads to employment
90, of Charleston
Remember When ...
Remember When ...
Remember When...
Remember When ...
Remember When ...
Food for Thought
Letter to the Editor
Food for Thought
Letters to the Editor
Polk County Heritage
Rev. Jason Matlock Has No Marker
The Esso Station
Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker
Calling All Old Timers!
Polk’s Political Power Struggle
Polk’s Political Power Struggle
Williams and Walker Family -
Polk County Heritage...
I’m My Own Grandpa!
Sheep in the Meadow . . Cows in the Co..
Local Events
Bulletin Board 7-16-14
Bulletin Board - 7/2/14
Bulletin Board 6/25/14
Bulletin Board - 6/18/14
Delano Baptist VBS starts Friday
Bulletin Board - 5/14/14
Production benefits Health Care Founda..
Craft Bazaar May 3
Bulletin Board - 4/30/14
Guided Spring hike Saturday
Local Sports
Jon Tucker new Wildcats coach
Jon Tucker has been named the new head basketball coach of the Polk County Wildcats’ Basketball Team.
Hindman new head coach
Softball banquet held
Former Polk player awarded
Polk athletes playing nationally
Polk loses ‘Cat fight
Two ‘Cats named All State
Polk County High School Powder Puff Fo..
Zach Miller and Tanner Plemmons were n..
Polk splits in Battle of States
Friends & Neighbors
Williamson in two episodes
UDC meets
Education Foundation meets
Griswold graduates basic
Pittaway to attend Congress of Future ..
GAs have visitor
Whitmire retires
TN Wesleyan honors
Ocoee Region Beekeeper's Association F..
2013 Miss Christmas Belle
Nature & Environment
Swallowtail feeds
A Yellow Tiger Swallowtail feeds on a thistle bloom at Bill Triplett’s barnyard. (Photo by Jim Caldwell)
Flame on
Trips to win
Bluebells blooming
Bloodroot heralds spring
Homeplace daffodils
Spring is coming
Spring crocus
Red-bellied woodpecker
Frost flower
Recreation & Visitor Information
Ocoee getting busy
River getting busier
Olympic model removed
Battle of Athens map available
Road Construction Won’t Delay Memori..
Poker run a success
Kids Fishing Days slated
Changes made at Tumbling Creek
Rail trips start April 5
Turkey shoot
Outdoor Sporting
Hog season changes urged
Wildlife Committee members from Polk and surrounding counties met with local lawmakers, wildlife commissioners, and TWRA last Tuesday to discuss the need to revisit hog hunting regulations in Tennessee.
Greasy Creek could close on stocking day
Big bass brought by
Tellico River fishing day slated
Coon hunting to continue
Opposition voiced to coon hunt change
Wild hog regulations change
Record bear harvest in 2011
Comment deadline Feb. 24
Hunter Safety classes available
Classifieds - 7/16/14
Classifieds - 7/9/14
Classifieds - 7/2/14
Classifieds - 6/25/14
Classifieds - 6/18/14
Classifieds - 6/11/14
Classifieds - 6/4/14
Classifieds - 5/28/14
Classifieds 5-14-14
Classifieds - 4/30/14
Public Notices
Public Notices - 7/16/14
Public Notices - 7/9/14
Public Notices - 7/2/14
Public Notices - 6/25/14
Public Notices - 6/18/14
Public Notices - 6/11/14
Public Notices - 6/4/14
Public Notices - 5/28/14
Public Notices - 5/21/14
Public Notices - 5/14/14

Untitled Document

Polk County News | P.O. Box 129 | 3 Main Street | Benton TN 37307
phone: 423-338-2818 | fax: 423-338-4574 | email

web site development Lisa Affordable Web Sites