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Clark County schools prepare for Read by Grade 3 changes

Posted at 7:21 PM, Jan 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-19 22:22:09-05

The Clark County School District is preparing for big changes that will come with a new law.

The Read by Grade Three law was passed in 2015, but this school year is the first time the program was fully implemented in all Clark County elementary schools.

"One of the biggest predictors of academic success for a child is reading proficiently by grade 3 and that is a goal of the Nevada Department of Education," said Tabetha Haley, an education program professional for the Department of Education.

Part of the law requires students to pass a reading proficiency test in third grade. If a student fails, they could be required to repeat third grade.

"We want parents and families to understand that the real goal of this legislation is to identify students who are struggling in reading early enough that teachers can intervene," Haley said.

Although testing will begin as soon as next year, students will not face the possibility of retention until 2020.

The Clark County School District plans to work with struggling readers early to ensure they are prepared for the test.

"It's not an assembly line. You're dealing with kids, you're dealing with human beings, and you wish you had the magic wand but we'll fight tooth and nail to get our kids to be able to read," said Kip Krzmarzick, principal of Lucille Rogers Elementary School.

Some parents think the new law will encourage school districts to work one-on-one with kids who lack reading abilities.

"When I see that someone else is going to take the time to really get to know my child ... and to be able to provide them with just what the right prescription is to move them along, as a parent there's nothing better," said Carrie Howren, who also teaches at Lucille Rogers Elementary.

The state will also analyze how well a child has done on other state tests before the decision to hold them back is made.

"Parents need to feel confident in knowing that one assessment on one day is not going to be the discerning factor for their student," Haley said.

Parents of Clark County students who could be in danger of failing reading proficiency tests have already been notified about the changes in the law, according to Haley.