ARC Balanced Literacy Program 2018 Update

BE INFORMED ABOUT ARC IN GCS

PAGE has been advocating for modifications to the American Reading Company Balanced Literacy ELA curriculum for grades 3-9 for gifted learners since its rollout in the summer of 2016.

Each summer since then, Guilford County PAGE has met with Literacy Directors of Guilford County Schools (GCS) to learn the progress of any changes and the clarification of program details. We feel it is important for parents to be aware of the curriculum and its possible modifications to help facilitate discussions with educators and advocate for their student.

Below is information updated in August 2018.  Following these points, you will find links to the most recent communication between PAGE and the GCS Director of Literacy.

  • ARC (www.americanreading.com) is based on thematic, cross-curricular, 6- to 9-week units by grade level based on a core non-fiction or fiction text and independent reading texts. In middle school, teachers in advanced English Language Arts classes may choose a different core text, which reflects the grade level theme.
  • Assessment: Students are assessed using the ARC assessment instrument known as the Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) framework once each year within six weeks of school commencement. A student’s own ELA teacher should administer this assessment.
  • Instruction: Two-hours of daily literacy instruction will include whole group learning, writing, labs and independent reading. Teachers have flexibility to determine component sequence, and can use small group or individual conferences with students.
  • Conferencing: The frequency of teacher-to-student conferences is influenced by the type of goals set for the learner’s growth. However, any student may request a conference if they feel one is needed or wanted.
  • Book Availability: For independent reading, students will have access to on-grade level books as well as two grade level spans above and below grade level. Color-coded book bins correlating to each grade/reading level are in each classroom. Color bins higher than 2 levels will not be available as a classroom resource as content may be inappropriate. The teacher may provide higher level books for gifted readers by asking the media specialist to pull some books or parents may provide them.
  • Book Selection: Color levels should not be used to mandate that any student has to choose texts for independent reading from one particular bin. Students should always be able to select texts from various bins. While teachers should encourage students to read texts that support their growth as a reader, the ultimate goal during wide-reading is for students to read texts they find interesting and engaging.
  • Differentiation in the Classroom: During school year 2017-18, the elementary AG teachers determined and disseminated suggestions to the 3rd-5th grade classroom ELA teachers how best to modify the ARC curriculum for gifted learners. This professional development has begun and is ongoing. Besides changing the core text, no modifications have been officially made in middle school for advanced learners.
  • Professional development for teachers using ARC has been ongoing over the past two years. ARC coaches continue to be contracted to help.
  • Feedback: Throughout the school year, teachers and administrators have the opportunity to give feedback on the implementation and progress of ARC.
  • Parents’ Concerns: If parents have questions or concerns about their student’s ELA curriculum or progress, they should first speak to their student, their teacher, then the TAG chair which in elementary school is the AG teacher. If questions remain, then parents should contact the Director of Literacy, Executive Director of AIG, or Guilford County PAGE.

GCS Contact Information:
Joy Cantey, Director of Literacy: canteyj@gcsnc.com
Dibrelle Tourret, Executive Director of Academically Gifted: toured@gcsnc.com
Dr. Whitney Oakley, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching, Learning and Professional Development: oakleyw@gcsnc.com

Please also visit these links for most recent communications between PAGE and GCS Director of Literacy:
Letter from PAGE to GCS Director of Literacy, August 17, 2018
Response from GCS Director of Literacy, August 20, 2018

For additional background, you can view these links to see previous communications between PAGE and GCS:
ARC Update in Fall 2017 Forward Matters
Letter from PAGE to Guilford County Board of Education, May 16, 2016
Information provided by GCS in meeting with PAGE, July 20, 2016