Gov. Sam Brownback will speak to a gathering of educators in Wichita on Tuesday to promote the Kansas Reading Roadmap initiative.
Near the start of a new school year, the governor will speak to representatives from 44 schools across the state about the importance of reading proficiency and the effectiveness of the program in their schools.
Kansas Reading Roadmap is a K-3 reading initiative funded by the Kansas Department for Children and Families in partnership with the Kansas Department of Education and local agencies.
Andrew Hysell, director of the program, said three Wichita schools – Gordon Parks Academy, Mueller and Spaght – will implement the program this year as part of a grant through the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas.
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The program features coordinated efforts in and out of school – at home, after school and over the summer – to help improve students’ reading and math skills.
“When the school day ends, the kids that need the help the most get extra help … that really lines up with what teachers say they need,” Hysell said.
According to a University of Kansas study of the program in Pittsburg schools, the percentage of kindergarten through third-grade students meeting or exceeding reading standards improved from about 50 percent in the spring of 2013 to 68.7 percent in the fall of 2014.
In addition, the percentage of K-3 students needing intensive reading interventions dropped, from 19.2 percent in the spring of 2013 to 6.8 percent in the fall of 2014.
Hysell said he is grateful to have the governor address teachers, tutors and program leaders in Wichita during a two-day training event for Kansas Reading Roadmap providers.
“I honestly feel like there’s a lot we can agree on that gets overshadowed sometimes,” he said. “And this is something we can agree on.”