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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
News Item

Horizon Celebrates Literacy Success

September 08, 2016
September 8, 2016 – For Immediate Release

Humboldt, SK – In recognition of International Literacy Day, September 8, 2016, Horizon School Division is celebrating the significant gains our students have achieved in their reading levels over the past year. These gains are the result of a combined effort from students, parents/caregivers, teachers, staff, administrators and the Horizon Board of Education. This effort has been driven by a renewed focus on improving literacy outcomes as one of Horizon's foundational goals.

In the fall of 2015, 57.07% of Grade 1-8 students in Horizon were reading at or above grade level. By the spring of 2016, that number had risen to 63.89% -- an increase of nearly 7% in just one school year. Perhaps even more impressive were the results for Grade 3 students. Last fall, 56.84% of Grade 3 students were reading at or above grade level. By the spring, that number rose to 76.73%. This means that in a single school year, the number of Grade 3 students reading at or above grade level in Horizon School Division rose by nearly 20%. To put this significant number in perspective, Saskatchewan's Education Sector has set a goal to have 80% of the province's Grade 3 students reading at or above grade level by the year 2020.  

"Thanks to the guidance of our Board of Education and the remarkable work of our staff, families and educational partners, students in Horizon are achieving remarkable things in literacy and learning," said Kevin C. Garinger, Horizon School Division Director of Education. "To share the news of this incredible work, we put together a brochure highlighting student success in literacy and our work as a Division to support that success. The brochure has gone home to Horizon parents and caregivers, and is being made available to the public to access in each of our communities".

A pdf version of Horizon's literacy brochure can be found here.

The 2015-16 school year brought a number of innovations to the way Horizon approaches literacy instruction and support for students, teachers and administrators, and these innovations are being built upon for the 2016-17 school year. The creation of Horizon's Literacy Team – made up of the Superintendent of Student Services, Supervisor of Literacy & Early Learning, and four Literacy Coaches – has allowed Horizon to offer in-house professional development opportunities on literacy instruction for teachers and school administrators, as well as providing added support for students in need. School administrators are supported to become literacy leaders in their schools through these professional development and literacy training sessions. Teachers work dilligently to adjust their instructional practices to meet the individual needs and strengths of each student. The Horizon School Division Writer-In-Residence program, now in its second year, has brought acclaimed Canadian author, Sigmund Brouwer, to Horizon schools and classrooms, delivering presentations and engaging students in video conferencing and other activities to further excite their love of books and reading. This year, Sigmund will also be focusing his work on writing, beginning with Grade 3 students. He  began touring schools on September 7.

To ensure consistent assessment and data collection regarding student reading levels, Horizon teachers and administrators utilize a tool called the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System for students in Grades 1-8. This ensures consistent data reporting across all schools, which in turn allows staff to focus support where it's needed most. Beginning this year, Horizon will be utilizing the Ontario Comprehension Assessment tool to understand and strengthen literacy for high school students in Grades 9-12.

The work of Horizon School Division is guided by three foundational goals – Literacy, Safe & Caring Schools and Assessment. These goals focus on the fundamentals of effective education and ensure that Horizon provides the best learning environments for students and staff.

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For more information, please contact:                  

Lance Hiltz
Communication Services Officer
306-682-8609
lance.hiltz@horizonsd.ca