JP Schools Launches Early Literacy Strategic Plan
Jefferson Parish Schools is excited to launch its Early Literacy Strategic Plan. Ensuring all students read at grade-level by third grade is a key capstone of our success as a district. Reading is the foundation of learning and has long term impacts on a student's achievement.
The Early Literacy Strategic Plan aims to ensure all K-3 teachers have a deep understanding of how to teach students to read while building on strong school and district processes and structures as outlined in 2024: The Future Our Kids Deserve.
Why focus on the early grades?
Grades K-3 are pivotal in a child’s literacy development. In the years leading up to third grade, students are learning to read. After that, they are reading to learn. As students move up, they must be able to read and understand social studies, science and ELA texts. Students who are reading at grade level are better able to comprehend core subjects, have higher confidence and perform higher overall.
A focus on literacy instruction is not new in Jefferson Parish. However, the Early Literacy Strategic Plan will set an intentional district-wide focus for our K-3 students. We have many great things in place already around ELA and reading, such as the highest-rated curriculum in the state with built-in interventions. We regularly assess and monitor student performance using nationally-recognized screening tools and use that data to get struggling students back on track quickly with individualized support. These components have created a great starting point for our work ahead in Jefferson Parish Schools.
Early Literacy Collaborative: Literacy is one of the most powerful predictors of school and life success for our students. To aid in the development of the Early Literacy Strategic Plan, we created the Jefferson Early Literacy Leadership Collaborative. This year, the Collaborative hosted three professional sessions that allowed our school-level leaders to delve deep into the science of reading. By giving our leaders the opportunity to learn and discuss first, we will ensure a more successful implementation plan at the school level.
Early Literacy Training and Support: Teachers must be equipped with the latest evidence-based knowledge and skills to effectively teach all students to read. Working from the top-down, the Early Literacy Strategic Plan will build capacity within our instructional leadership teams, who can then better support our classroom teachers. Through Literacy Content Leaders and Literacy Coaches, these two new positions will guide our teachers on how to better incorporate the five pillars of literacy into high-quality instruction. The results will be more effective teachers and improved literacy outcomes for all students.
Classroom Libraries: Children with greater access to print reading materials have better literacy outcomes. This is why we will begin installing libraries filled with rich and diverse texts directly into elementary classrooms. More time reading combined with quality reading instruction builds a strong foundation for a lifetime of reading.
Community Approach: By helping students start and stay reading at grade level, we can lower the achievement gap through high school and beyond. However, we cannot do this work alone. We continue to work closely with our schools and community partners, such as the Dawn Buster’s Kiwanis Rewards for Reading Program and Rocky the Rooster, to incentivize students to read. Caretakers can help their child with literacy by reading together daily and taking advantage of our reading resources. By working together to instill foundational reading skills, we can be the champions our students deserve.