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East End News

1200 to Gather TONIGHT to Address Reading & Child Trauma

From RISC- Richmonders Involved to Strengthen our Communities
Tonight, more than 1,200 citizens representing Richmonders Involved to Strengthen our Communities (RISC) will pack the sanctuary at St. Paul’s Baptist Church. The largest interfaith public assembly in central Virginia will call for solutions in reading and child trauma response, which have been implemented successfully in other Virginia school districts.
The April 30 event will feature stories from students and parents, along with public requests of school officials to implement effective solutions. Richmond’s Superintendent Mr. Jason Kamras and Chesterfield’s Chief of Schools Dr. John Gordon and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Thomas Taylor have committed to attend and address the assembly.
Event Details
16th Annual RISC Nehemiah Action Assembly
April 30, 2018, 7:00-8:30pm
St. Paul’s Baptist Church, 4247 Creighton Road, Richmond, VA, 23223
RISC leadership will be available for comment starting at 6:30pm.
Elementary Reading for Equity in Richmond
In Richmond Public Schools, 42% of students fail to read on grade level according to the Virginia School Quality Profiles. In February 2017, RPS and City of Richmond leaders approached RISC to work on a pilot of SRA Reading Mastery. The program promotes reading to grade level for children from disadvantaged backgrounds – with up to 58% gains in student reading over 2 years. Eight Richmond leaders have visited schools using SRA Reading Mastery to conduct research.
At the Nehemiah Action Assembly, RISC leaders will ask Richmond’s Superintendent to support and allocate resources for a pilot of SRA Reading Mastery in 2 schools, kindergarten through 2nd grade, as a core curriculum. An instructional specialist from Lancaster County, VA, which has implemented the program successfully, will also speak and share results.
RISC also continues to press Henrico County Public Schools to pilot the SRA Reading Mastery program in an elementary school unaccredited in reading. At this year’s Action, RISC members will recognize a growing group of supportive leaders in Eastern Henrico’s faith, service, and business communities determined to see all children reading to grade level.
Addressing Childhood Trauma & Suspensions
CCPS leaders have identified trauma-informed care training for staff as one promising fix for the problem of racial disparity in suspensions – as African-American students with disabilities are suspended four times as often as other student groups and CCPS had 4,300 suspensions overall last school year. However, current trauma-informed care training is voluntary and has not reached secondary schools with the highest suspension disparities.
At the Nehemiah Action Assembly, RISC leaders will ask CCPS representatives to provide an introductory training for all CCPS staff using the nationally-recognized ACE Interface Training, currently provided state-wide by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health, and to provide intensive support in schools with high suspension rates. RISC leaders believe that district-wide trauma response training for staff will also have a positive impact on the county’s increasing youth mental illness and suicide attempt rates.
Mrs. Brenita Younger, RISC Education Committee Co-Chair, (804) 489-1073
Mr. Steven Saltzberg, RISC Co-Vice President, (804) 306-5184
Please call or email the RISC Office to arrange an interview: (804) 476-0889,

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Paul Granger
Paul Granger 04/30/2018 at 3:12 PM

Anyone that has the capacity to go, should! The count every attendee.

Catherine Illian 04/30/2018 at 6:51 PM

I cannot support a scripted reading program for our students!!

SueWho 05/02/2018 at 2:04 PM

Many students attending public schools are also unidentifed dyslexics with or without ADHD. Dyslexia and ADHD affects students of all races and socio-economic backgrounds. Many of these students will never get the most effective tutoring intervention that would benefit them the most, which would be an Orton-Gillingham program or Wilson Method.

Almost half of our prison population are students whose reading struggles could not be remedied by traditional reading programs. Many students chose to ‘act out’ and be ‘bad’ as opposed to looking dumb. SRA Reading programs aren’t the best method of teaching reading to this particular population because when these students read orally, they frequently substitute high frequency words, insert words, or leave words out.

The PALS tests that are now widely administered in grades K-3 were developed as a prescreening tool to flag students with poor phonemic and phonological awareness, precursors to reading and spelling difficulties. I hope that these students can be screened thoroughly to separate the students whose trauma has effected their ability to learn and the students who have unidentified learning disabilities, i.e. dyslexia and/or ADHD.


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