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Backward Planning Leads Rural District to Reading Apprenticeship

Administrators of the small Otto-Eldred School District in rural Pennsylvania wanted more for their high school graduates. So superintendent Matt Splain and high school principal Harley Ramsey met with leaders from area industries and universities to find out what they needed from future employees and students.

As Ramsey explained to a reporter from The Bradford Era, “They want strategic thinkers, problem solvers. That’s what’s missing now.”

When Splain and Ramsey worked backward to fill that need, what they found was Reading Apprenticeship. Two years later, Ramsey describes himself as “passionate” about it and its potential long-term benefit for the region.

“It’s truly universal,” Ramsey said in the interview. “It’s a set of core routines a student would use to make sense of challenging texts, whether it’s an engine manual, a political cartoon, any text at all. It promotes them to think about how they think, and how they came to a particular conclusion, and how others think. It’s just good instruction.”

The clincher, according to Ramsey? “It has such sound real-life application. It applies to all goals the students are trying to reach,” whether their next step is into a career, the military, or higher education.

Ramsey spoke today at a Harrisburg forum for state educators, policy makers, and the media about the difference Reading Apprenticeship is making for students at Otto-Eldred High School.

Read the complete article by Marcie Schellhammer.

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