Superintendent Manuel Rivera presented his Pre-K to 5 literacy comprehensive plan Tuesday night at the Norwalk Board of Ed Meeting to evaluate student and teacher performance and introduce new goals to help close the achievement gap.
"It isn't just about one particular textbook or one thing," said Rivera. "There are multiple pieces that you have to have in place, multiple strategies, you can't be all over the place, but being focused on key multiple strategies, that's what's going to make a difference for us and enable us to close the gap."
Rivera says more than 50 percent of elementary school students are not meeting literacy standards. His plan recommends a new comprehensive reading program called "Journeys" as a city wide curriculum.
"They have kits and components and tools, for intervention," said Rivera. "They have a strong ELL (English Language Learners) component, they have a strong digital component and given some of the needs I've observed from some of our faculty, that's why I'm really comfortable recommending a comprehensive program city-wide. That's why Core Knowledge, as good as that primary series is, doesn't have some of those elements right now."
"The more training and tools the district can give to teachers, the more effective they will be," said Rowayton Elementary School PTA President Jody Sattler. "Please remember that the amount you invest in training will be exponentially more important then the amount you spend on the books."
Rivera says if the plan is approved he will first limit the curriculum to two prospective schools.
"We're going to make a big investment in Journeys and at the same time there's information that we could possibly learn from core knowledge," Rivera said. "But at this particular time," said Rivera. "A lot depends on what is actually submitted in terms of proposals but my inclination right now without having laid this out is that, we would look at one or two schools."
The board is scheduled to vote on the plan March 18.