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VVSD Begins Training Teachers For New Benchmark Literacy Program

The program provides opportunities for students to engage in authentic, independent literacy tasks while also participating in group literacy learning.

“The New View’s” primary emphasis on fostering learning at the lower elementary school grades was never more evident than it was Monday when dozens of kindergarten and first grade teachers received their initial training on the new Benchmark Literacy program.

“A fully trained teaching staff is critical to help our primary grade level students meet the rigorous, new expectations we have set for them,” said Venus Smith, VVSD’s assistant superintendent for Pre K-5. “We have chosen kindergarten and first grade as a starting point for implementation of our new curriculum to give our youngest children exposure to a coherent curriculum that supports and nurtures their learning from the moment they start school with us.”

As VVSD moves toward full implementation of the nationwide Common Core Standards, the new curriculum will be added at the second through fifth grade levels in time for the start of the 2013-14 school year.

“Using the Benchmark Literacy program will mean the connection between lessons, units and grade levels takes place in a smooth and logical manner so all students can effectively build on their experiences,” Smith said.

The Benchmark Literacy program, written specifically for the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts, provides opportunities for students to engage in authentic, independent literacy tasks while also participating in group literacy learning. Modern technology is deeply embedded in the curriculum, including on-line lesson planning for teachers. The program also has a bilingual component.

“Our data indicated that our current core curriculum and instruction needed to be significantly improved for our elementary school children,” Smith said. “The framework and components of Benchmark Literacy will strengthen the college and career readiness characteristics in all of our students as they move into middle school and high school.”

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