For Immediate Release - November 22, 2010

GOVERNOR PATRICK CELEBRATES FAMILY LITERACY MONTH WITH STUDENTS AND TEACHERS IN SAUGUS

Oaklandvale students have demonstrated strong progress in reading proficiency

SAUGUS - Monday, November 22, 2010 - Governor Deval Patrick today visited the Oaklandvale Elementary School in Saugus to celebrate Family Literacy Month and congratulate students and teachers on their recent success in academic achievement.

During his visit, the Governor reminded families that he proclaimed November 2010 as the state's 14th annual Family Literacy Month in celebration of the pivotal role that parents and family members play in the educational success of their children.

"We want all students to be proficient readers because we know that the ability to read is the key to academic success," said Governor Patrick.

"Reading provides students with a strong foundation for educational excellence," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "Our administration is committed to supporting the work of teachers and families as they instill in students a deep appreciation for reading."

As in years past, Family Literacy Month has included activities across the state in support and celebration of literacy, lifelong learning and family well-being including many local events sponsored by schools, libraries, adult literacy programs, early childhood programs and other community groups.

Education Secretary Paul Reville and Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester recently attended a launch event for Family Literacy Month to underscore their support.

"Literacy starts at home, so we are happy to promote Family Literacy Month as one way to help reinforce lessons learned at school to help students continue their learning," said Secretary Reville. "An excellent education requires excellent literacy skills and we are all committed to ensuring students have access to instruction that prepares them for success."

"The ability to read for content and for pleasure is a critical skill to direct the future academic achievement of our children," said Commissioner Chester. "Teachers in classrooms across the state are attaining great success with students and we celebrate their efforts and encourage families to continue to be engaged in this important work."

The Patrick-Murray Administration is focused on early literacy efforts and has convened a Joint Departmental Committee comprised of members of the Boards and the Commissioners of Early Education and Care, Elementary and Secondary Education, and Higher Education with Secretary Reville to coordinate policy and support to make early literacy a reality for all students.

Results on the Grade 3 MCAS Reading test were near record high this year with improvements across the board, including a six percentage point gain from 2009 to 2010 with now 63 percent of students in Massachusetts reaching Proficiency or higher. African American students showed seven percentage point gains in proficiency in Reading while Latino students achieved six percentage point gains in proficiency rates.

The Oaklandvale Elementary School educates 237 students in Grades K - 5, and was selected as a Commendation School this year by Commissioner Chester for their strong performance on the MCAS exams. In Grade 3, 67 percent of their students reached Proficiency and higher in Reading, a substantial jump from 41 percent last year. In Grade 4 English, a similar gain was recorded with 42 percent of students reaching Proficiency this year compared to 28 percent last year.

The school has implemented several programs to help their students learn. First, they are helping to educate a growing population of English Language Learners by providing updated training for their teachers and increasing their focus on providing education and support to students with special needs through differentiated instruction. Teachers are analyzing student MCAS scores to help inform instruction with a special focus on utilizing the information provided through the open response questions. They have incorporated critical reading and writing skills and measurement across the curriculum with frequent checks on student progress and individualized attention, when help is needed. Finally, the school is using technology to tailor instruction inside and outside of school, as well as building partnerships with local businesses to support student learning.

"The Saugus school community is delighted to have Governor Patrick visit the Oaklandvale Elementary School to acknowledge the school's Commendation for Exiting NCLB Accountability Status, resulting from the FY10 MCAS test results, said Superintendent of the Saugus Public Schools Richard Langlois. The Governor's visit demonstrates his commitment to public education and recognizing the accomplishments of districts, staff, and students. We share in that pride and thank him for taking time out of his day to attend our school."

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