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Governor Brownback Applauds Kansas Reading Roadmap in State of the State Address

TOPEKA, KANSAS, UNITED STATES, January 11, 2017 / -- TOPEKA, KANSAS (January, 11, 2017) --- Last evening in his 2017 State of the State address, Governor Brownback identified Kansas Reading Roadmap as a way to “ensure struggling students get the additional help they need to succeed.” His comments build on the success and recognition the Kansas Reading Roadmap has received from principals, school administrators, teachers and parents.
Sixty-two percent of kids in Kansas–and 78 percent of the state’s low-income students—are not reading at proficient levels by fourth grade, putting them at risk of dropping out of school. The Kansas Reading Roadmap program is committed to ensuring that all students in Pre-kindergarten through third-grade have the foundation and opportunity to gain proficiency in reading so that they graduate on time.
“The Kansas Reading Roadmap was honored to be recognized by the Governor as an innovative educational approach to early literacy that really works,” said Andrew Hysell, Executive Director of the Kansas Reading Roadmap. “We are supporting nearly 12,000 children in 50 Kansas schools, and we are so proud that more than half of reading roadmap third graders are now performing at grade level, compared to the state average of 35 percent.”
As a testament to the success of the Kansas Reading Roadmap, the Governor introduced 7 year- old and first-grade student Connor Lee. Connor was born with Downs Syndrome and struggles with learning to read. Since August of last year, Connor has received targeted reading support through the program. The Governor was pleased to report Connor is now able to better recognize letters and words and reading is right around the bend. His Mother, Tanya Lee, and his Kansas Reading Roadmap reading tutor, Shelley Merkley, accompanied Connor to the Governor’s address.
“We are especially proud of the fact that Kansas Reading Roadmap helps kids like Connor gain the skills they need to succeed,” said Hysell. “Connor is an outstanding example of what is possible when you provide a child with support that directly impacts their specific needs as a reader.”
The Kansas Reading Roadmap, created to work with and meet the unique needs of rural schools, began to partner with rural elementary schools in 2014. It has since expanded and will soon be in 60 schools across the state. The Roadmap is an evidence-based model of reading instruction that builds upon the Kansas State Department of Education’s Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS), combining the following core principles:
• Strengthen instruction by supporting teachers with an evidence-based core curriculum and technical assistance;
• Aggregate school-wide student-level data and use this data to provide individualized interventions;
• Add extra value to the school day by aligning the data-driven interventions through afterschool and summer tutoring, and,
• Strengthen families and their capacity to reinforce learning at home through family engagement programming.
“We’ve seen schools show progress in just one semester after using Kansas Reading Roadmap,” said Hysell. “It’s the matching of interventions with individual needs that is essential for struggling readers to improve.”
An independent evaluation, conducted and released by the University of Kansas in October 2016 agrees: “The Kansas Reading Roadmap is emerging as a viable model for Kansas students to learn and thrive. This targeted initiative is especially important for students who must overcome barriers associated with poverty to develop the fundamental skills needed to equip them for lives as thriving, productive adults.”
The evaluation report includes data from the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years for more than 11,000 K-3 students served across 40 individual schools implementing the KRR model. To learn more visit

Jacqueline Bond
Burness Communications
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Distribution channels: Education, Politics