The Reading Recovery program in the Rosemount School District is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
The program, aimed at helping first graders struggling with reading at grade level, was the first of its kind in the state when it began in 1992.
Julie Olson, then principal at Diamond Path Elementary School in Apple Valley, got the idea for the program after reading an article about a literacy intervention program in New Zealand that was producing impressive results helping struggling young readers.
After an additional year of study and preparation, the Rosemount School District became the first in Minnesota to offer Reading Recovery services to first-grade students who were reading below grade level. Today, more than 30 Minnesota school districts offer the program, the district said.
Reading Recovery serves the lowest 20 percent of first-grade readers, as determined by literacy assessments that are given in late summer to all incoming first-graders.
In the program, students meet one-on-one with a specially trained teacher for 30 minutes each school day for 12 to 20 weeks. Once a student is reading at first-grade level, he or she discontinues from the program. If students do not reach first-grade reading level after 20 weeks, they are considered for other services but do not stay in Reading Recovery.
During the last 20 years nearly 1,800 students have been served by the program and about 75 percent successfully discontinued from the program after improving their reading skills to grade level. The majority of these students maintained or exceeded average levels in their years after first grade, the district said.
This past summer Olson was one of three educators honored for her work with Reading Recovery. Olson received a 2012 Teacher Leader Award from the Reading Recovery Council of North America.
The board decided to hire a search firm to assist in finding a new superintendent, whom the board hopes to have in place by July 1, 2013.
The board has put together a request for a proposal and distributed it to search firms recommended by the Minnesota School Boards Association and the American Association of School Administrators.
The timeline for the superintendent search includes a Dec. 17 deadline for firms to submit proposals outlining how they would conduct the search process for the district.
By early January the board will select three to five search firms to interview and then select one to lead the process.
By February, the district will gather input from employees and district residents on characteristics that are wanted in a new leader. Candidates for the job will be interviewed in March and April.