The Bay State Reading Institute (BSRI) announced today that the Adams-Cheshire Regional District (ACRSD) will become its tenth Partner District in Massachusetts. BSRI will work with the Plunkett Elementary School in Adams and the Cheshire Elementary School in Cheshire beginning in September.
Started in 2005, BSRI is a non-profit that currently teams with over 40 elementary schools across Massachusetts to transform educating by giving teachers the support they need to teach more effectively, leading to improved classroom participation and behavior and significantly higher average standardized test scores.
Adams-Cheshire superintendent Kristen Gordon said the district signed up with BSRI after seeing schools using the program in Westfield, which has been a BSRI partner since 2009. “Our Literacy Director, Jill Pompi and I had our eyes on BSRI for two years,” says Gordon. “When I became Superintendent, we met with BSRI and were completely impressed with their knowledge, passion, enthusiasm and model.” Gordon then visited a BSRI school in Westfield with Pompi, the principal of C.T. Plunkett, the Adams-Cheshire Special Education Director, and others. “We were so impressed and ‘wowed’ by what we observed at this school. We walked away extremely excited to bring this back to our two elementary schools,” Gordon remembers. A team of teachers, one from each grade level, then visited a second BSRI school in Westfield and were equally impressed. “They are now so excited to begin the program, in full, in the fall. Their contagious positive attitude along with the positive and uplifting energy that BSRI brings to schools has every staff member excited and ready to roll up their sleeves and start this excellent work,” adds Gordon.
Along with Westfield and Adams-Cheshire, BSRI programs are in place also in Fitchburg, Taunton, Everett, Revere, Malden, Gloucester, Beverly, and the Quabog Regional district serving Warren and West Brookfield.
“BSRI has found that when each student is challenged at her or his own level, all day long, classroom behavior is improved, kids love coming to school, teachers love their jobs, scores go up, and special education referrals go down” said Ed Moscovitch, the institute’s co-founder and chairman.
BSRI uses experienced coaches to institute science-based teaching techniques with a central focus on reading, beginning in Kindergarten. Early reading difficulty has been shown to be a strong predictor for poor academic achievement, behavioral and emotional problems, increased special-education referrals, lower high school graduation rates, higher incarceration rates, and difficulty finding jobs. By catching and fixing these difficulties early on, BSRI is increasing student achievement, satisfaction, success, and often cutting out-of-district placement costs.
Partner schools report the BSRI approach has increased reading fluency in some of schools by as much as 72 percent in its first year. Over two years at BSRI’s highest-implementing schools, English-language-arts MCAS scores rose at nearly four times the rate of the state average.
“We are really excited about working in Adams and Cheshire,” Moscovitch said. “While the BSRI program focuses on reading skills, teachers say pupil performance tends to improve in all areas. In many BSRI schools, the percentage of low-income students scoring advanced on the math MCAS, for instance, has tripled."
BSRI has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education with one of the DOE’s first “Investing in Innovation” grants, worth $5 million, awarded in 2010. BSRI is also a Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Preferred Provider.
Watch how BSRI transforms schools in their Summit Creative Award-winning video.
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