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Lahainaluna launches school-wide reading campaign to boost test scores

By Staff | Dec 25, 2014

Peers know that Lahainaluna High School student Mele Pasikala loves to read.

LAHAINA – This month, Lahainaluna High School Principal Emily DeCosta is launching a school-wide reading campaign to encourage the high school students to read more often.

“We are in the process of implementing the literacy standards in all classrooms, and have come to learn that many of our students struggle with comprehending informational text. This is one reason our standardized test scores are low,” said DeCosta.

With the new and more difficult Smarter Balance Assessment being administered in spring 2015, DeCosta wants her students to be ready.

In an earlier plan launched last year, DeCosta formed an Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) of teachers to identify curriculum and instruction-related weaknesses, and lead professional improvement activities.

“It was a faculty decision to implement the content literacy standards, and I’m really impressed with the direction the ILT is taking to move the school forward. We look at our data together and decide what we will do to improve teaching and learning,” she said.

“Now, our teacher-leaders conduct the professional learning community (PLC) meetings for the faculty.”

School Renewal Specialist Melanie Coates attended the last teacher-led PLC meeting at Lahainaluna in November. She said the presentation was well-received by the faculty.

Coates attributed the meeting’s success to careful planning between the teachers and principal, and amenable conditions for diverse views about teaching and learning to be voiced.

Other conversations included a call for integrated teacher partnerships. For example, the Career Technical Education Department requested that teachers from other fields work with them to create engaging and rigorous standards-based lessons for students to experience.

Complex Area Superintendent Lindsay Ball said that taking the opportunity to engage and dialogue about best teaching practices shows Lahainaluna is incorporating researched-based methods to heighten student success.