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For Immediate Release
Thursday, August 16, 2001
Contact:Jan O'Keefe, 781-338-3117

Education Commissioner Lauds Lawrence Schools For Reading Improvement

Malden - Massachusetts Commissioner of Education David P. Driscoll announced today that dramatic improvements in reading and literacy scores have been made in every elementary and middle school in the Lawrence Public Schools since last fall.

Commissioner Driscoll said, "I am pleased to report the first concrete evidence of significant improvement in reading achievement in the Lawrence Schools since the school management agreement was reached between the Massachusetts Board of Education and the Lawrence School Committee in 1998."

The Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test (GMRT) was given to all students, including bilingual and special education students, in grades one through nine in November or January, and again in June. The results show that all seventeen schools improved the number and percentage of students reading on or above grade level from the pre-test to post-test.

Commissioner Driscoll said, "The results of student scores from a universally used and recognized reading test are impressive. I believe that this encouraging improvement is a direct result of the leadership of Superintendent LaBoy and his focus on teaching basic reading skills and literacy, and of the hard work by the teachers and administrators of the Lawrence Public Schools. I congratulate them."

"This great news should be a rewarding parting gift to Mayor Patricia Dowling who has worked hard on improving student achievement and building several new schools." Mayor Dowling is expected to assume a judgeship in the near future.

"The Lawrence Public Schools are clearly on the move in a positive direction. While it has taken longer than we had hoped, we are delighted with these results that reflect the dedication of the principals and teachers, and the support of city officials, parents and the community, he said."

The GMRT results also showed that:

Every grade showed improvement in the percent of students reading at or above grade level from November/January to June. These gains ranged from two to twenty-three percent of students and;

More than 750 students across the grades moved from the lowest quartile (11/2-24th %ile) to the low-average or average range. In addition, more than 850 students earned scores between the 75th and 99th percentile in June, an increase of 236 students from the pre-test.

Additionally, the primary grades showed the most gain and had the highest percentage of students reading at or above grade level in June. The percentage of students reading on grade level in grades 2-9 increased between 2% and 9% from November to June, and the percentage of 1st grade students reading on or above grade level increased over 20% between January and June.



Last Updated: August 16, 2001
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