Teacher represented F-F at conference
FONDA — Fonda-Fultonville Elementary School was represented recently at a national conference for literacy.
Literacy coach Sharon Kline was in the spotlight at the Lesley University Literacy for All Conference, a three-day event in Rhode Island.
“I was the representative, but our school district was the star of the show,” Kline said.
According to a news release, the annual conference is a professional development opportunity for educators to learn from experts. Kline’s presentation shared the school-wide changes to Fonda-Fultonville’s literacy practices that have made students better readers and writers.
Kline, who is also a FFCS alumni, has been an educator for 35 years. She has taught special education, kindergarten and third grade. Kline became the elementary literacy coach four years ago.
As the literacy coach, Kline has helped oversee the elementary school’s implementation of what is known in education circles as a “balanced literacy approach.” It recognizes that students in the same grade have different strengths and needs, and that students learn best when they work at their own level. Each student develops their skills using materials that are at their reading level.
“I am incredibly proud of our elementary staff for the gains they have achieved in our students’ reading and writing abilities,” said Superintendent Thomas Ciaccio. “The leadership of Principal Darcy Williams and Mrs. Kline has helped create partnerships with each teacher, and given them the support they need to take risks with their instructional strategies.”
According to the release, classroom learning involves rotating work stations that allow students to work at their own pace. The benefits are such that an advanced reader isn’t moving too quickly for the rest of the class or vice versa, and allows teachers to spend more one-on-own time with students.
What this means for students is less worksheets, and more reading and writing. Students spend more time with books in their hands, the release said.
“Teaching with books is much more intensive for the teacher, which is why everyone doesn’t do it,” Kline said. “Doing worksheets will help cross a requirement off the list but it doesn’t have the same impact on the child.”
She said the approach is impacting student success.
There is much less summer regression, there has been a huge improvement in our standardized test scores, and we’re creating a culture where students love to read and write,” Kline said.