Reading Roadmap program increases reading scores in USD 457

Meghan Flynn
Andrew Hysell talks about the increase in reading skills of students participating in the Kansas Reading Roadmap program at five Unified School District 457 elementary schools Wednesday at the USD 457 Educational Support Center. Hysell is the national director of Reading Roadmap.

Garden City Public Schools, in partnership with the Reading Roadmap program, were recognized Wednesday as a promising effort to increase literacy and to prevent learning loss as part of the 2020 Grade-Level Learning Reading Week.

Unified School District 457 and Reading Roadmap have partnered together for the past five years.

Kansas director of the Reading Roadmap, Tabitha Brotherson, said the partnership was recognized for assisting children to become better readers.

“We're excited to be here because the Kansas Reading Roadmap after-school program in Garden City has done just that — has excelled — and we are so excited about that information,” she said.

In addition to the recognition, USD 457 and Reading Roadmap’s partnership has released a study highlighting the impact the program has had on students in Garden City.

Andrew Hysell, national director of Reading Roadmap, said the study was conducted over a year, 2018-19, on every second- and third-grader in the district.

The study found that those who attended the Reading Roadmap after-school program tested higher on school reading assessment than those who didn’t.

Hysell said the study looked at the more than 1,000 second- and third-graders in the district using the spring assessment scores, which are the school’s tests, not theirs, to see how the program affected students.

The study had 17 different controlled variables, such as characteristics, age, ethnicity, disability status, as well as the free and reduced meal status of the children.

They also looked at the teacher’s education, years of experience and whether or not they had a master’s degree.

From those 17, they used five different statistical methods to match the data, Hysell said.

Hysell said the data showed that the Reading Roadmap program had a significant impact on reading achievement as measured by the schools’ assessment.

“Everything else being equal, it equates to a third grader scoring 16 percent higher on that spring assessment because of the program,” he said. “That is a really significant number because the school is doing a great job with instruction, we know that, we've seen the results, this gives them an extra boost.”

USD 457 superintendent Steve Karlin said the district uses data to make informed decisions on the program and the study will help them as they move forward in addressing learning gaps.

“We weren't the first school district in the state to partner with the Reading Roadmap program, but it certainly has been something that we have always believed,” he said. “The feedback we've received from our families, from our students, from our school people, is that this has been a beneficial program and it's great data to have, scientific data to be able to demonstrate that those feelings were validated and it has translated to better outcomes for our students.”

Five elementary schools are involved with the program in the district. The schools include: Abe Hubert Elementary School, Buffalo Jones Elementary School, Florence Wilson Elementary School, Gertrude Walker Elementary School and Victor Ornelas Elementary School.