Midvale Middle School's bold experiment to raise reading scores

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MIDVALE — Principal Frank Schofield took a bold risk to improve reading scores at Midvale Middle School — and here's how he knows it's working.

“Students who don’t usually talk to you about their success in school are coming forward and saying, ‘Guess how well I did?’ ” Schofield said.

Sixth-grader Brady DiCarro is one who is excited to report his reading progress.

“It’s been going up so high, it’s crazy,” he said.

Last year, half of the students at Midvale Middle School were reading at an elementary level. Schofield decided desperate times required desperate measures.

“We had a large enough need, we realized we can’t address this with hiring a reading specialist,” he said. “This has to be all hands on deck, every person in the building addressing reading.”

So that is what happened. The principal decided every day, every teacher would offer a period of intensive reading.

Math teacher Vandal Ford got on board to teach reading because his students couldn’t do math story problems.

“They would look at it and the first thing they would do is give up,” he said. “I can’t read it, I can’t do it.”

Year-end test scores show the risk is starting to pay off. Fifty-three percent of students made much greater reading gains than the Scholastic Reading Inventory projected they would. And an additional 15 percent of students reached grade level.

“My students have definitely made significant growth,” Ford said.

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Deanie Wimmer


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