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Local News

State’s first lady returns to Unicoi to assess students’ reading progress

September 8th, 2011 10:46 pm by Brad Hicks

UNICOI — Tennessee First Lady Crissy Haslam again paid a visit to a pair of local schools, not only to check in with students she had spoken with in the previous school year, but also to meet with parents and guardians to get their take on how parents can become more involved in a child’s education.
Haslam stopped by Happy Valley Elementary School in Elizabethton and Unicoi Elementary School. She said these were two of the 10 schools she has “adopted” across the state to promote reading and help the schools work on their third grade reading goals.
The Tennessee Department of Education selected the 10 partnership schools based on their third grade TCAP reading scores, which were below state average but showed promise for improvement.
“The Department of Education wants us to have 60 percent of our kids in Tennessee reading on grade level by third grade by 2014,” Haslam said prior to meeting with parents at Unicoi Elementary School. “So I’m learning from these 10 schools, and I’m sharing ideas with them and learning from what they’re doing and sharing with other schools.”
Haslam met with students of the schools toward the end of the 2010-11 school year when the students were in second grade to promote literacy and the Read 20 initiative, in which the students were encouraged to read 20 minutes per day over the summer. Haslam said she would ask that students to continue this.
“Literacy improvement is an important mission for our state because reading sets the foundation for learning,” stated in a release regarding the school visits.
Another purpose of the visits, Haslam said, was to gather input from parents and guardians of students. She said she wanted to discuss parental involvement with parents to get ideas on what is effective and maybe glean a better understanding of why some parents are not as involved in their children’s education.
“Studies show that the more parents are involved, the better academic success their kids have, and not necessarily involved like baking cookies for the bake sale, but knowing their children’s teacher, knowing where their children are academically and what they need to work on, and encouraging them at home,” she said.
According to a release from the Governor’s Communication Office, Haslam plans to visit the 10 schools several times throughout the 2011-12 school year as part of her partnership with them.

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