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Vidalia BOE Gets Update on Literacy Curriculum Changes

Assistant Superintendent Sandy Reid provided the Vidalia City Schools Board of Education with an update on literacy curriculum changes for the upcoming year during the Board’s regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, June 13.

During her report, Reid explained that the District is in the process of adopting and implementing a core literacy program for elementary students in kindergarten through fifth grade. “In our most recent assessment of our literacy practices, it was determined that there is a need for vertical alignment with instruction plans, delivery methodology, assessment practices, and professional development related to our literacy for kindergarten through fifth grades at J.D. Dickerson Primary School and Sally D. Meadows Elementary School,” she explained. “Having that consistency and vertical alignment is so important, so the best practice that was suggested was to adopt and implement a core literacy program.”

This core literacy program will serve as the basis for literacy instruction, assessment, and classroom practices, ensuring that students receive consistency in this area throughout their elementary school years.

“For the last couple of months, we have been working very hard going through all of the information related to the literacy programs,” Reid explained. “Also, one thing pushing this is House Bill 538 – that may not mean much to you now, but you are probably going to hear a good bit about it over the course of this next year.”

She continued, “House Bill 538 was passed in the most recent legislative session, and it is pushing what the practices will be in the state of Georgia for early literacy.” This bill dictates that by December the State Board of Education will require that each school system adopt an approved universal literacy “screener” from a list that the school systems of state board have approved, Reid explained.

According to Reid, these reading assessments and “screeners” will be used three times per year to help diagnose issues and track growth in elementary students. Results from these assessments will be provided to parents and the State Board of Education.

“This will be an accountability piece for state literacy,” she emphasized.

Reid informed the Board that not only does House Bill 538 require these assessments, but it also requires school systems to choose curriculum and materials from a state-approved list of high quality instruction materials. She said that currently, leadership in the schools and districts are reviewing lists of assessments and curriculum from several other states that adopted a similar law, and determining which of these options best fit Vidalia City School System.

Action Items

The Board adopted its annual budget, amended the 2023 budget to accurately depict revenues and expenditures, and approved the 2023/24 Board meeting schedule.

The last vacant content teaching position was filled at Vidalia High School, as Wally Salters was hired as a high school social studies teacher. Resignations were also accepted for Sally D. Meadows Elementary School media specialist Carrie Beth Davis and grounds maintenance employee Phillip White.

The Board also approved Coach Tommy Dalley’s request to have the Vidalia High School weight room renovated.

Technology Report

Technology Director Sabrina Wiggs told the Board that the technology department is reviewing data recorded throughout the past school year, including the number of students in the school’s database.

According to Wiggs, 2,582 students were in the school’s data system at the beginning of the year, while only 2,369 students were recorded at the end of the year. The students tracked in this count are not only students who attend Vidalia City Schools, but also home school and Vidalia Heritage Academy students who receive special education services through the District.

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