As part of the District Literacy Plan, the Ames Community School District formed a team of PK-2 teachers to study District-identified gaps around phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling, and handwriting. Convened in January 2016, the team was charged with studying research, identifying gaps, and creating recommendations to fill those gaps. Follow this blog to stay updated on the most recent work in this area. Thanks for your interest in our Word Study Team work.

June 27, 2016–After spending time investigating the research, conducting a gap analysis and providing recommendations, on June 2, 2016, representatives of the PK-2 Word Study Team presented administrators, including principals and program directors, with options for moving forward. The administrators finalized a plan to enact our recommendations around common professional development, common assessments, common scope & sequence, and common materials & language. We presented together to the school board on June 20th. The plan involves:

  • Broadening our review of materials to include more options for commercial materials created to support foundational skills.
  • Selecting and building consensus from all administrators, instructional coaches and Word Study Team teachers around a rubric to use to evaluate materials in August 2016.
  • Conducting a materials review during August – October 2016.
  • Selecting one set of materials to purchase for all PK-2 teachers by late October 2016.
  • Ordering materials for a December 2016 arrival.
  • Providing professional development for all teachers:
    • Fall 2016 – research around phonics, phonemic awareness, spelling, and handwriting instruction
    • Spring 2017 – introduction to new materials with time for teachers to use materials with students
      Implementing new materials in all PK-2 classrooms in 2017-2018

Check back here again to find out how our work is progressing as we move forward with our plan to improve our instruction around foundational skills.