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RVES gets two reading tutors for 2013-14 school year

Riverview Elementary School principal Kim Grengs is excited about what the upcoming school year will bring, and not just because she's looking forward to seeing all of her students.

Grengs is also excited about what Riverview Elementary School can offer to students who are struggling with their reading skills. This year, RVES is able to provide two tutors for students who struggle with reading, thanks to the AmeriCorps program, Minnesota Reading Corps.

The tutor positions are paid for through the Minnesota Reading Corps program, but schools must apply in order to get the tutors, Grengs said. She first learned about the program while teaching outside District 192, but started applying for the assistance when she became principal at RVES.

Last year, the program brought in one full time and one half-time tutor for Riverview students. While Grengs didn't know how many students were served through the program last year, she knows the staffing was not quite enough to meet the school's needs.

"That was my big push while I was filling out the application," she said. "We still have another 15 students we couldn't get to with the service."

But now, with two full-time tutors lined up for next year, Grengs expects that to change.

The reading corps program is intended to serve students who are coming up just shy of the reading skills they need to keep up in their grade level.

"We take a look at our data to see which kids are in that gray area. We don't take the kids that qualify for special education, but instead we take the kids who are reading almost at grade level and work with them," Grengs said.

Students who receive the service meet with the tutors 15 to 20 minutes every day, for up to 12 weeks. In many cases, the tutoring is enough to bring the students up to grade level reading. There are some students who still struggle, Grengs said, and at that point they are assessed to determine if there are some special education needs present.

And, there are always a few who fall behind. In those cases, the students go through another session of tutoring.

"It's another step to make sure we're doing everything we possibly can in education to make sure we're meeting their needs," Grengs said. "In Farmington, we've really done a good job of that intervention and making sure we're meeting the needs of our kids at every point in the game."

For the school's part, Riverview Elementary must provide the tutors an area to work with students, computers and a few other staples necessary to do their jobs. Otherwise, the tutors are paid for through the Minnesota Reading Corp.

"It's great. It's just a fabulous program," Grengs said.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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