YORK — Mitch Bartholomew’s first school board meeting as York Public Schools Superintendent primarily focused on a struggling reader initiative going into effect in the upcoming school year.

York Elementary School Principal Kris Friesen presented the board information about NebraskaREADS – an initiative supporting the Nebraska Reading Improvement Act. The law’s intent is to improve early literacy skills across the state, by ensuring students are reading at their grade level.

To achieve this goal, the law establishes comprehensive state requirements in the practice of teaching Nebraska’s struggling readers. “[Officials] just want to make sure everyone is doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” Friesen said.

Friesen said York Elementary School has already been executing these practices. This is not necessarily the case in other Nebraska schools, Friesen said. “There are a lot of schools who don’t have those pieces in place.”

One minor addition the school’s requirements is presenting parents or guardians a letter concerning their child’s reading level, and how the school is addressing said deficiency. States the NebraskaREADS website: “Parents or guardians of students who are identified with a reading difficulty are notified in writing or in electronic form… Notification will come from the student’s school.” Friesen said that this letter requirement will be carried out in written format. The letter will be given to parents at the first parent-teacher conference in September.

Bartholomew updated the board on building projects. He said things are coming along well. “They’re starting to put in the finishing touches,” he said. The tennis courts have received some repairs, and Bartholomew said there is little that needs to be done at York Middle School, besides getting more lockers for eighth-graders. “The middle school is all about maintenance,” he said.

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