School administrators at Fairview Elementary in Bloomington are hoping they have found a new solution to low standardized test scores.
On a recent weekday after school has let out, students sit in the Fairview Elementary library, reading with their parents and tutors from Indiana University.
Fifth grader Elizabeth Huffman is one of the students the school has identified as someone who could benefit from additional tutoring. She likes to read, but her mom says she could use some help with reading comprehension.
“I hope that she not necessarily has a new found love of reading but is able to delve into it a little bit more as I saw her do today,” Autumn Huffman says.
For the past two years, fewer than half of Fairview’s students have passed the statewide ISTEP+ exam. These tutoring sessions are part of the school’s latest efforts to improve test scores.
Halfway through this school year, officials moved students to different classrooms based on academic ability.
Principal Tammy Miller says the new reading program does a lot to include parents—they’re asked to come in and learn how they can work with their child at home.
She says it is also a community effort.
“I heard a presentation from the superintendent in Fort Wayne and she did mention that schools with very similar demographics to Fairview have used this same type of approach of bringing the community in and had great success,” she says.
The program will continue through the end of the school year.
“Our idea is that we will really pay attention to what’s going on in the month of April and to see how the ISTEP+ scores go for them at the end of April. Then really work this summer to build this program and see how robust we can make it while still being really effective,” says Abby Englert, the assistant director at the Office of Scholarships at IU who is leading the program.
School administrators say after seeing how the program works this year, they will then decide whether to pick it up again in the fall. If it works, they could expand it to other schools in the district.
StateImpact Indiana education reporter Elle Moxley contributed to this report.