Irwin-Schickler Elementary School:

Lapeer, MI

Irwin-Schickler is a merger school made up of grades K-6 in two separate campus buildings. Teachers were very interested in educating students to be polite, cooperative members of society, but were not worried about standardized test scores. Students came from mostly low-income and problematic homes; therefore, the school felt that they should not place “academic stress” on their students. Rather, they let them view school as a place to be comfortable. In their first year as a merged school, Irwin-Schickler discovered that the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP) was approaching. The school began to realize that scores would affect possible school funding, and the administration began to panic that students would not meet the necessary standards. Around this same time, the school was introduced to the Project Read Phonology Program. After seeing this program modeled successfully, teachers began implementing it in every classroom. Little by little, progress was evident among the students. The first round of MEAP test scores were impressive, and the superintendent was surprised. She explained to her staff that other teachers were calling to find out what program the school was using, so that they could model it as well. Test scores have continued to rise with the Project Read Program in place, and the district as a whole has now adopted the Project Read Program.