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Grant allows NYM Elementary to add literacy coach

Teri Bauck is the Reading First Literacy Coach at New York Mills Elementary School. Bauck has been a 2nd grade teacher the last 15 years and will be literacy coach for K-3 teachers for one year. The literacy coach position is made possible through a state grant. Bauck is shown here with students in the Elementary Media Center.

Teri Bauck is leaving the classroom to take on a new teaching role as the K-3 Reading First Literacy Coach in New York Mills.

This new position is for one year and is made possible through a state grant the school district received.

Bauck, who has been a 2nd grade teacher in Mills for 15 years, plans on working with elementary teachers in grades K-3 to improve literacy at the primary grades.

"We're going to establish best practices and find out what is best to use in their classrooms, and determine the most effective strategies," Bauck said.

The purpose of the Reading First Literacy Coach position is to effectively promote change and continuous improvement in reading instruction, K-3, at the school level. Bauck is neither an administrator nor a daily reading teacher, but is a reading coach.

Duties include providing support, mentoring and assistance to all K-3 teachers participating in Reading First for the effective implementation of the Reading First program at the school level.

Bauck will also serve as a resource for identifying appropriate instructional strategies and interventions to address the reading needs of all students, K-3. She will also observe reading instruction in the classrooms, provide feedback to teachers and model lessons using research-based instructional strategies around the five dimensions of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension and fluency.

New York Mills is among nine schools in the state awarded the grant, which is 100 percent paid by the state. The grant, which could total up to $100,000, requires a literacy coach and includes salary, expenses associated with training and travel, and nearly $20,000 worth of new library books.

Superintendent Todd Cameron points out, the new library books are written at age-appropriate reading levels.

"The whole idea is to improve the five components of reading (phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension and fluency). That is absolutely huge," Cameron said. "The end result is it improves the entire core curriculum."

The grant funds come through a federal program and are allocated to the state. It is a competitive grant and Bauck points out it is a great opportunity for the NY Mills school district.

This is a one-year grant that runs through the end of September and Bauck says she plans on returning to the classroom next year. A long-term substitute teacher was hired to replace Bauck in 2nd grade. The cost of the sub is covered by the grant.

Bauck will be working closely with the teachers and much of her work will be research to help model lessons and team it with the teachers' current teaching methods.

"I'll be another pair of eyes making you (teacher) question, in a positive way, how you are teaching," Bauck said. "This is a collaborative relationship with my peers."

Within the program, a literacy team will be established with one teacher from each grade (K-3). The team will go to Minneapolis/St. Paul for training four times from now through June 1. Bauck will attend training once a month as part of the literacy grant.

The literacy coach works closely with the building leadership team to insure that the professional development program in reading is implemented effectively in all K-3 classrooms at the school level. She will also assist in the organization of and participate in Professional Learning Communities (PLC's). As part of that, Bauck will work closely with reading coach Lisa Novak, who works with teachers twice a month through the Reforming Effective Literacy Instruction (RELI).

The RELI Program provides New York Mills Elementary School support in developing, implementing and sustaining research-based, instructional practices in kindergarten through grade 6 classrooms for the purpose of improving student achievement in reading.