Highland
Elementary School
Spotlight on Academics

Reading Program

At Highland, we believe in a balanced approach to literacy, incorporating the 5 skills foundational to literacy development, all utilized daily in a 90-minute reading block:

  • Phonics
  • Phonemic Awareness
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension
  • Fluency

Teachers use a blended approach that is adapted to each student’s academic needs. Primary students enjoy a rich skills-based approach that focuses on the elements of reading through interactive read-alouds, phonemic awareness, skill building, phonics instruction, and vocabulary enhancement through constant reiteration of high-frequency sight words and text-embedded tiered vocabulary practice. They construct meaning through the use of various text modalities.

Intermediate students utilize a theme-based approach to literacy using novels and informational texts. They embrace Ohio's Learning Standards and experience complex texts, such as those of Shakespeare, through the use of dramatic inquiry. All our students focus on developing the ability to demonstrate comprehension of increasingly difficult texts through written response, while synthesizing and analyzing from various modalities (fiction, nonfiction, video, etc.).

When a student is struggling academically or behaviorally, Highland teachers refer a student and invite their family to a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) meeting.

During MTSS meetings, families have an opportunity to meet with a team of qualified education professionals, drawn from a variety of areas of specialty from nursing to guidance counseling, all to help each learner succeed and ensure progress is made.

Highland Elementary is a Title 1 School

Highland Elementary School, as all elementary schools in Columbus City Schools, receives federal money for students, teachers, and family support. This funding is used to improve student growth and achievement in the following ways:

  • Teacher Professional Development
  • Funds to purchase specified student materials to support Reading and Math Achievement
  • Funds to support additional after school tutoring for students
  • Parent engagement activities

Third Grade Reading Guarantee (3GRG)

According to Ohio law, all third graders must earn a certain level of achievement on either the Reading AIR test or an alternative reading test in order to be promoted to fourth grade.

The following students are exempt from the Third Grade Reading Guarantee: (1) a student who has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) due to a diagnosed need, such as a cognitive delay, that exempts them from being retained; (2) a student who has limited English proficiency, has been enrolled in school in the United States for fewer than three school years, and has had fewer than three years of English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction; or (3) a student who has previously been retained.

If a third grader does not score high enough on the test during the school year or during the summer after third grade, he or she must be retained in the third grade. However, that retained third grader can be promoted to fourth grade during the next school year if they meet the district’s mid-year promotion criteria.

Students who repeat third grade are not required to be held back a second time if they don’t score high enough on the reading assessment during their second year in third grade.

Ohio law prohibits students from being enrolled in two grades at the same time, so a retained student will be retained in all subjects. However, if retained third graders in Columbus City Schools are on grade level in other subjects, the district is exploring how to provide fourth grade level instruction in other subjects, while these students are still receiving third grade reading instruction.

The Third Grade Reading Guarantee is a state law and the state does not enable parents to override the school’s decision to retain.

Principal - Dr. Elizabeth McNally
(614) 365-5935  |   40 S. Highland Avenue Columbus, OH 43223
HighlandES@columbus.k12.oh.us
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