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West End recognized as model reading site

By By Lynette Wilson / staff writer
Oct. 31, 2002
West End Elementary third-grader Cortez Moore stood before a group of 15 other students Wednesday and talked about the book he just finished reading: "Arthur's Thanksgiving."
Moore told fellow students the name of the book's author, Marc Brown. Moore also read a brief summary of the story and showed his own hand-drawn illustration.
And it was all part of the Success for All reading program at West End.
The program is in its fourth year at the school. It has been so successful that West End will be recognized Friday as the only city school to achieve SFA "model site" status.
Six city schools use the SFA program.
Meridian School Superintendent Janet McLin, school board members and elected officials will join West End faculty, students and parents to celebrate the reading achievements at a 10:30 a.m. event.
A national Success for All evaluation team gave the school "model site" status based on an audit in which it was judged on staff development, classroom organization, tutoring and other areas.
School celebration
The 60-minute celebration will feature students singing and cheerleading. Guests will be served refreshments and Ellie Jo Rich, SFA's regional coordinator, will speak.
Annice Horner, West End's parent liaison, said schools that use the SFA program set aside 90 minutes a day for uninterrupted reading and reading exercises.
She said the program's goal is to have all students read at a proficient level by the end of the third grade. Students are paired with other students based on reading level rather than grade level.
On top of that, she said, students are tested every week on that week's chosen skill which include reading comprehension, vocabulary, sentence structure and other areas.
Structured program
Atalya Sears, a second-grader, said she likes taking tests and that the tests have helped to make her a good reader.
Kathy Pigford, a 23-year veteran teacher, said SFA's structured programming took some getting used to. But after three or four months, she was comfortable with the format.
Pigford said the program is focused on cooperative learning and if the children do not show improvements, they are tutored one-on-one.
West End Principal Judy Radcliff said when her school started the SFA reading program, the goal was to raise reading scores by at least 5 percent.
But, the children did better than that.