July 20, 2017, Wichita Falls (TX) Record News: District adds to early literacy arsenal with $660,000 grant http://www.timesrecordnews.com/story/news/education/2017/07/20/district-adds-early-literacy-arsenal-660-000-grant/497451001/ Reading can be challenging, and reading proficiency is something Wichita Falls ISD educators have had their eye on, particularly when it comes to early literacy. They're hoping to improve the district's early literacy, thanks to the purchase of Scientific Learning's Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant programs. Trustees at Monday's school board meeting unanimously approved buying the programs for almost $657,000. The purchase is made possible by a grant from the McCoy Foundation for $660,000. It was back in May when administrators' eyebrows were raised at some of the results on the Texas Primary Reading Instrument and Istation, two instruments the WFISD uses to measure student reading. Only 63 percent of second-graders in the district in 2016-17 were on grade level when it came to reading, something that concerned Superintendent Michael Kuhrt. Kuhrt at that school board meeting in May said, "What I saw is the fact that 37 percent of our second-graders are below or way below where they're supposed to be. That's the number that really bothers me. A lot of times in first grade, you have developmental things or whatever that's gong on, but by second grade, we want ... to see that number a lot higher than 63 percent at proficiency." The school board also noticed a big drop in proficiency in first-grade vocabulary. At the beginning of the year, 28 percent of first-graders were at grade level when it came to vocabulary on Istation. Conversely, 72 percent were slightly or significantly below grade level. However, by the end of the year, when the expectation is that vocabulary would improve, that number actually dropped to 19 percent of first-graders being at grade level and 81 percent being slightly or significantly below grade level.