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'Phonemic awareness' program launched at Century

Century Elementary children who are struggling with reading are about to receive intervention, principal Joleen DeLaHunt told the school board this week.

Plans call for introducing a LIPS program and Susan Barton phonemics in January.

The programs, she explained, raises students' abilities to differentiate between letters and sounds. A key predictor of a child destined for later reading failure is a child who lacks age-appropriate phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness is the understanding that spoken words are made up of individual sounds.

The main focus will be students in kindergarten and first grade with some older children to be included as needed.

On-site visits and meetings are being conducted to gain a full understanding of the program, DeLaHunt said. Data will be compiled on students with needs and instruction will focus in these areas.

The program has eight levels, with students working one-on-one with a trained para-professional.

DeLaHunt also told the board that meetings are being conducted on curriculum development, with plans being written in the areas of math and reading with family partnership goals.

Options for a school- within-a-school realignment are being explored, she said, including financial and staffing complications that may ensue.

In other action, the board:

n Heard an update from superintendent Glenn Chiodo, who noted residents in districts across the state showed support for referendums. Perham, he said, is facing cuts after the levy failed.

"I am very, very thankful the community has supported the referendums," he said. "There's a high probability we will make adjustments at the end of the year. But without the (operating) referendum, they would be significant.

"I feel badly for those whose referendums have failed," he said. "The community has supported us in the initial and renewal referendums."

n Learned the school has applied for a fresh fruits and vegetables grant.

n Approved Mike Hartung as high school yearbook advisor, Zach Holsman as head baseball coach, Jeff Overmyer as junior high girls basketball coach, Eric Pilgrim as junior high boys basketball coach and Brenda Reichling as high school head cook.

n Learned enrollment is down slightly from last year at this time.

n Closed the meeting for superintendent and school board self-evaluations.