Washington School Board members heard reports Thursday on two new programs at the high school aimed to reach at-risk students.

High School Literacy Coach Jackie Esch explained a new literacy program — being used in all schools, but mainly at the junior and senior high school.

Esch told the board that her main job is working with students that do not read at their appropriate grade level. Three teachers at the junior high are dedicated to teaching reading skills and every student has to take six weeks of the reading course.

“We have lots of really good data that targets students individually,” Esch said. “We take those scores into account and use them to create programs.”

With appropriate testing, students who are still below reading levels are placed in a reading strategies class for either a year or a semester. Esch said 85 students are in the class this year.

But Esch also works with teachers in best practices for teaching reading and literacy. She has also worked with English as a second language students in getting them appropriate reading materials.

“We are working on becoming more reflective educators,” Esch said.

Another program introduced is for alternative education students. Assistant Superintendent Gary Puckett told the board of a Web-based program that will allow alternative students to make up course work any time the student wants.

“I see this (program) really growing not only in the alternative education setting but in the high school as well,” Puckett said.

The “Stars Suite” program is all on the Web, making anyone with an Internet connection available to take courses. The program, which begins Monday, has already targeted students who may need to make up courses.

Eight computers equipped with the program will be set up in the high school and two will be in the career center, Puckett said.

“It’s reaching kids a different way,” Puckett said. “I think its going to be a good thing.”

In other business

PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCES

Assistant Superintendent Rebecca Dayton informed the board members that 84 percent of parents in elementary schools and 61 percent of parents in the junior high attended parent-teacher conferences Thursday.

Dayton, when asked about the junior high, said the 61 percent was an improvement over previous years. This is the first year the school set conferences from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

PERSONNEL

The board approved the appointments of Quintin Myers as Griffith Elementary boys basketball coach, Cindy Wilson as high school BETA sponsor and Susan Durnil as Veale Elementary cheerleading coach.

FIELD TRIPS

The board approved three field trips Thursday. The WHS BETA club will be at the state convention in Indianapolis on Nov. 13 and 14. The WHS Student Council will be at the state convention at East Central High School on Nov. 7 and 8, and the Veale Elementary fourth-grade class will travel to the Louisville Science Museum on Oct. 29.

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