K-3 Literacy Curriculum and Strategy
"All students have the right to read.
We will do what is right for all students."
As Superintendent of Groton Public Schools, along with my faculty and staff, we believe that all students should have the right to read. We have a sense of urgency to accelerate learning and provide the essential foundational skills to assist our students as readers, writers, and speakers. As the instructional leaders of our schools, we believe in the Science of Reading - phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension.
- We believe that all students should be reading by the end of grade 1 and reading independently by the end of grade 3, but we realize that there are obstacles that could impact their reading performance. There will always be students who need more support than the core instruction, whether intervention or enrichment, with various programs that address their specialized languages, needs, and/or disabilities. One size does not fit all!
- We believe in a strong literacy curriculum, and through the Reading waiver process, we will showcase this model curriculum for CSDE so that they can develop a model reading curriculum for the state. This work has not been done yet for grades K-3.
- We believe that all school leaders and teachers should be trained in the Science of Reading. Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) has already trained over 200 school teams in MasterClass. Professional Learning in the Science of Reading for every teacher and administrator in Groton Public Schools will be provided.
- Highly qualified literacy interventionists, reading consultants, classroom teachers, special education teachers, and trained tutors must be available for all children, especially those who are struggling. Selected commercial reading programs are not the magic bullet. They deprofessionalize teachers and should not be mandated as “one size fits all”.
We will do what is right for our students. I would like the parents and families in Groton to be aware of the important work we are doing around the Science of Reading. We look forward to engaging our families in this important work.
Susan L. Austin
Superintendent Groton Public School
A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words
See what phonics, reading, and writing look like in our classrooms.
ABOUT GROTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Groton Public Schools (GPS) hosts the largest military student population in the state of Connecticut, with approximately 1200 military-dependent students. Groton is often recognized as the “Submarine Capital of the World.” Every submariner in the US Navy will be stationed here at some point during their military career. For over 100 years, Groton Public Schools (GPS) has proudly served military-dependent students affiliated with the Naval Submarine Base New London. Since DoDEA does not run a school on base, the military-connected families rely on the local school systems to educate their children. 30% of the children affiliated with the base attend GPS, more than any other school system in the region.
Over the past decade, GPS has successfully adapted to significant changes in the district’s student population. The district has become more racially and socio-economically diverse to the extent that in 2015 several schools were cited by the Connecticut Department of Education to be racially imbalanced. GPS proactively responded to these demographic shifts in 2007 by converting Catherine Kolnaski School into our first magnet elementary school. The district then developed the ambitious Groton 2020 plan, which included building two new elementary schools, closing four elementary schools, and creating an intra-district magnet program for all elementary students. As part of the plan, Groton built a new consolidated middle school to balance the disparity without redrawing intra-district school boundaries. With support from the Department of Education’s Magnet School Assistance Program, Groton converted its prior two middle schools into STEM and Humanities magnet schools, before becoming one Groton Middle School. At the same time, Groton prepared for authorization of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme. GPS remains steadfast in its mission to ensure our students are college and career ready. Support from DoDEA and MSAP has enabled Groton to adapt to demographic shifts and financial setbacks while continuing to provide excellent academic instruction to district students.
We have made and continue to make progress toward developing a comprehensive literacy curriculum program that reflects the goals and objectives of the CSDE’s Center for Literacy Research and Reading Success. Groton Public Schools has requested a reading waiver from the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) for their approved K-3 Reading Programs. GPS’ curriculum model and program were developed over the past eight years based on the Connecticut Core Standards (CCS) in literacy and the Science of Reading. Groton will continue to develop strategies to address reading achievement gaps among students. We believe that all students have the right to read and should be reading independently by third grade. By continuing to invest in professional development for our educators, we will shift the balance with the Science of Reading and ensure that foundational reading skills are clearly understood and taught to all of our students.