What a treat to be featured in not one, but two segments on the WSBT22 evening news alongside our partners, South Bend Community School Corporation and Stanford University. WSBT-22's Operation Education reporter Kristin Bien's first segment focused on the randomized controlled trial that Stanford is running with Once in South Bend.
As Reporter Bien begins the segment, "South Bend School Corporation is trying to improve literacy and Stanford University is trying to see if it's working." As intuitive as that premise sounds, not enough academic research is done on programs widely deployed in schools, and journalists across the country have quite fairly asked whether the over $100b in pandemic ESSER spending had its desired impact. As WSBT-22 reports, what Stanford, Once, and South Bend are studying in South Bend is "similar to the way medical researchers look at the efficacy of drugs or treatments." We hope this helps spark a long-overdue trend in education!
WSBT-22's second segment shows great footage from the Once program in action. As she reports, "Almost every day from the beginning of the school year, kindergarteners at Kennedy Academy and Darden Elementary get one-on-one reading tutoring...throughout the school year, each child works with their tutor one-on-one every day for 15 minutes. The program flows at the child's pace, and the individualized instruction gives some kids a boost beyond what they might learn in a full classroom."
As Kennedy's principal shares, "This program takes it further and actually has them blending right away so they hold out the sounds, so it's immediately teaching them how to blend sounds so they can read words, and we already have kids reading words quite a bit because of this program.
"Rachel Anders, South Bend Schools Director of Curriculum and Literacy, says, "We're getting a lot out of this, I know that Once literacy is getting a lot of great data, but our students and our staff are the ones that are really benefiting...that direct, explicit instruction in reading is pivotal to any student's life.
"We hope to see a spring segment updating WSBT-22 viewers on the preliminary results!