In August of 2011, with the support of a generous donor,
we took our first step forward with the Jump-Start Program.
The Jump-Start Program targets at-risk English Language Learners (ELL)—students whose first language is not English and whose parents were willing to provide transportation to our tutoring sessions. These students have received intensive support from teachers both for two weeks during the summer and in an after-school program during the school year, totaling seventy-two hours of support to spur and accelerate their growth as readers. The program is being piloted at two Fairfax County elementary schools: Hutchison Elementary and Herndon Elementary. In each school, our process has been to recruit a coordinator and five teachers and to identify ten at-risk ELL students.
The heart of the Jump-Start Program focuses on a sustained effort as a means of ensuring greater success. The plan is to continue to work with and assess these same students for five years as they work their way through elementary school to the completion of sixth grade.
Two years ago, our second graders, who started significantly below grade level, advanced 12 DRA points during the year—the first time that they were able to keep pace with the expected point progression. We began our second year of the Jump Start Program knowing that a third grader, reading on grade level, is expected to score between 28-34 on the DRA and average a 7 point gain by the end of the school year. Our third graders did not disappoint—they gained an average of 7.5 points