This page is dedicated to the devoted Parents and Guardians of my amazing students.
You may have received a letter at the beginning of the school year outlining the information that can be found on this page. I decided to put this information on my website in case the letter is lost, you are a transfer student or if you just like reading the computer better than paper (I am slowly turning into one of those people). As always, if you have any questions please contact me. I will gladly respond within 24 hours.
What is Literacy and ELA Skills Lab? How are they alike? Different?
We have two different courses students can be enrolled in at Merton Williams. Both courses work on the same skills which include reading (fluency, comprehension, and analysis), writing (constructed responses, essays, research skills), word work (vocabulary words, Greek and Latin roots, spelling) and study skills.
The difference between the two courses is Literacy meets six out of eight days in a rotation (like a core class) and ELA Skills Lab meets three out of eight days (like an encore). This course is structured around your child’s needs as a student and offers a more individualized approach to learning. At Merton Williams, we try to keep these class sizes under 10 students to best meet these needs.
Why is my child in Literacy or ELA Skills Lab?
Your child may be placed in Literary or ELA Skills Lab for two reasons. The first (and most common) is your child did not meet state standards on the previous year’s state exam. New York State requires that we provide academic intervention to help ensure the success and academic growth of our students. While the test is only one measure of your child’s capabilities, it does provide a general outline of the reading and/or writing weaknesses your son or daughter may have. We use these scores, as well as our own assessments, to help guide our instruction.
The second reason your child may be placed in Literacy or ELA Skills Lab is your child was recommended by his or her teacher from the previous year. Teachers have a keen sense of a student’s abilities and what the work load and expectations are at MW. If your child’s teacher thinks added instructional support is necessary then we do our best to schedule those supports. We do not want anyone falling through the cracks as they transition from elementary school and through the middle school.
What are the benefits of Literacy and ELA Skills Lab?
The benefits of Literacy and ELA Skills Lab are more than what I can truly express here. These classes offer extra support in reading and writing and we all know that with the rise in academic rigor extra support in these two areas is crucial. Merton Williams is preparing our students for the high school and these classes aim to do the same. We want your child to walk into the high school as a freshman with as many academic strengths that we can give him or her. Instead of sitting in a study hall for an hour, your child will be receiving direct instruction in his or her weakest areas. We strive to close academic learning gaps while giving your child a strong base of strategies that will be beneficial in the high school.
What can my child and I expect from this Literacy and ELA Skills Lab?
There are three areas of focus for this section: reading, homework and grading.
Reading. This class will be requiring that your son or daughter do nightly reading. The number one, research-based way to improve reading is by simply reading. I recommend setting up a time and a place each night where your son or daughter can develop a reading routine. Trust me. I understand how difficult this can be. My parents struggled with this as well, but once it was established and I had a box of interesting books then it was more successful. I will do my part in school by helping your child choose interesting books at the appropriate reading level. If you know that this isn’t something that you can do (it’s ok to admit…) then you might want to try joining my reading club, “Pizzo’s Paperbacks.” It’s a free, night-time reading club that takes place at the Greece Public Library on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5-6 and 6-7. All we do is read and enjoy books. It’s a great atmosphere too and I have found my students actually prefer reading in this library than in their own room at school. Our reading goal for this year is to have 25 grade-level appropriate books read by June.
Homework. Literacy and Skills Lab will have homework this year (about 3 nights a week). This homework should take about ten minutes and will allow your son or daughter to practice the skills we have been working on in class. I am going to try to match my homework with another class (science and social studies) so that students are studying for those classes while practicing the skills.
Grading. Grading will remain the same as previous years…which means no number grade will be given for either Literacy or ELA Skills Lab. Instead, you will receive three reports that document your child’s progress in the various skill areas. Each progress report will look at the learning goals and your child’s performance. If you have any questions about this just email me.