A Year in Foundational Literacy – Episode 2 - KIPP Nashville

A Year in Foundational Literacy – Episode 2

It’s been a busy month inside our two kindergarten classrooms. Since we last checked in, students are reading real words, and some are even starting to read simple sentences!

KIPP Kirkpatrick hosted its first Literacy Night for families and both classrooms hosted a visit from the KIPP Foundation’s Literacy Group. The “Lit Group” is partnering with 14 KIPP regions around the country for three years around early literacy curriculum and professional development.

Data from a recent assessment testing about 7,000 students across the country, showed the growth from KIPP Nashville’s kinder through fourth grade students far outweighed any of the other KIPP regions and within the testing platform.

“It’s huge,” says Dr. Anita Gonzalez, KIP Nashville’s Director of Elementary Humanities. “I think a lot of us can’t wrap our head around that, but it’s huge. It took a minute for that to sink in, that all the work is paying off big time, even though it may not feel like it every day.”

Students are growing across the board, but at different rates, which is something all three teachers say is to be expected and motivates them to unlock what strategy will work for each particular student.

“It’s important to take a deep dive into the data,” explains Ms. Tipton at KIPP Antioch College Prep Elementary School. “Kids are growing, but what are the trends you notice? Some kids are struggling saying all the sounds, but not blending the nonsense word. In order to have that maximum growth, they need to be able to read three words. What students need help on letter sounds, what students need to make a word, and what students need to speed up on time, dig into data and catering to what each student needs.”

Mrs. Quach and Mr. Jones at KIPP Kirkpatrick Elementary School are also honing in on those students who need more supports in order for them to keep growing and meeting their weekly and monthly goals.

“Children are like popcorn kernels,” says Mrs. Quach, paraphrasing a metaphor she’s heard before. “They pop at their own time, but no matter what, if you put them under the heat, they’re all going to pop open. So, I’m not worried if this kid hasn’t popped into this concept yet. I know they’re going to get there. Yeah, they may not be where I want them to be yet, but we’re still going to push them to that point. I know by the end of the year they’re going to get there.”

Every day, our teachers assess the data and use what they’re seeing to inform their instructional decisions so that each student continues to get what they individually need for continued growth.

We love to see these amazing milestones and the commitment behind getting better every day!

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