LRSD "Reading Recovery" program gets second chance at life through compromise

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - LRSD's embattled "Reading Recovery" program gets a second chance at life on Thursday after Superintendent Dr. Dexter Suggs said he has heard the community's concerns and the program will stay in place.{} Suggs mentioned however, the future of Little Rock reading programs will be a compromise.

More than a dozen of Little Rock's current Reading Recovery instructors packed Thursday night's school board meeting, still concerned about the programs future.{} It was a concern held even by school board members, but was quickly straightened out by school board member Tara Shephard.

"We are going to keep Reading Recovery in the schools, that's the bottom line," said Shephard.

But Suggs mentioned his program will be implemented as well.{} He said the fact that not all elementary schools have a reading program in Little Rock is unacceptable, and his program would implement reading programs in all 30 elementary schools.

Shephard's statement met with applause by the instructors present, but then the Little Rock Education Association's president held up a hand-written sign asking if, "Are the letters to Reading Recovery teachers being rescinded?"{} What president Cathy Koehler was hinting at is whether these teachers will have to reapply for their jobs - a major issue of contention with the reading program to begin with.{} Suggs responded, the teachers will still have to apply.

"We are pleased on behalf of the students of the Little Rock School District, that we're retaining Reading Recovery," said Koehler.{} "What seems absolutely diametrically opposed to it now is saying that you're going to continue to move the staff out that are all trained."

The staff move still applies because there are new requirements for those instructors.

"It's my understanding that most if not all will meet the requirements for one of the positions and there won't be a reduction of any type," said Jody Carreiro, Zone 5 school board member.

But Koehler still doesn't think the program will work.

"I was an elementary librarian for 14 years," said Koehler.{} "I've seen good reading teachers, I've seen teachers in the classroom do a dang good job of teaching reading and not one bit of it is in that program he's proposing."

Carreiro said how the program is implemented is bound to change over time.