Reading Skills at ACA

Augustine Classical Academy offers additional reading support for students who qualify. Students who require extra reading instruction may take advantage of the reading program during the school day and / or after school. Parents will be notified during the first quarter if their students would benefit from this program. 

ACA’s Learning Specialist Team is led by Cassie Elliott, with Jenn Molen as an additional team Reading Specialist trained via Orton-Gillingham. 

Cassie Elliott, Learning Specialist, is a licensed special education teacher with a Master’s Degree in Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities. She previously taught special education for students in grades Kindergarten through 6th grade. 

Jenn Molen, Reading Specialist, is passionate about reading instruction and has received training and certification via Orton-Gillingham, a method which has proved successful in helping a wide range of students progress in their reading abilities.

Role of the Learning Specialist: 

  • Provide direct reading instruction for students who are reading below grade level 

  • Write an Individualized Instruction Plan (IIP) for each student.

  • A copy of the IIP will be given to the parent, the classroom teacher, head of school, academic dean, and reading specialist. It will include: (1) Summary from classroom teacher: observations and specific needs in the classroom; (2) Summary from parent: observations and specific needs at home; (3) Parent signature; (4) Long-term goals; (5) Short-term goals; (6) Barriers (specific struggles); (7) Minutes met per week (including extra time with Jenn Molen as needed); (8) Accommodations needed.

  • Plan activities and instruction to specifically meet each student’s individualized and specific goals 

  • Meet with students during the first hour of the day (including assembly time). Students will receive reading support during the first hour of school, not to conflict with regular in-class reading instruction. Groups will be held in 30-minute increments twice per week. Students will meet in groups of two or three and will be grouped based on reading level. Students requiring additional extra support will be strongly recommended for extra time at the end of the day with the reading specialist. All participating students will qualify and be recommended for extra time at the end of the day with the reading specialist. 

  • Observe students in the classroom. 

  • Administer the DRA and DIBELS for those specific students. 

  • Conduct meetings as needed with parents and classroom teacher. 

  • Update classroom teachers will progress and continued needs. 

Role of the Reading Specialist: 

  • Implementing the Orton Gillingham method, the reading specialist will meet with students in grades K-6 requiring additional extra support for the first hour after school, or at another designated time during the school day that does not interfere with the student’s core subjects. 

  • The reading specialist will meet with the third grade group during the school day. 

Learning Specialist Team:

The Reading Specialist and Learning Specialist will meet as needed to discuss progress of students. Any testing results or updates will be shared. If more than one reading goal is needed, they will discuss a plan together to make sure all needs are covered. The learning specialist will recommend additional students to the reading specialist if needed. 

Qualification for students receiving morning services: 

  • There should be a maximum 10% of the school or 10 students. If we find that we have a much higher number, curriculum may be re-evaluated. 

  • Students who are reading one or more years below grade level will take priority. 

  • If students are reading 2 or more years below grade level for two consecutive years, a different school setting may be strongly recommended. 

Qualifications for students receiving afternoon services: 

  • Priority will be given to students who are 2 or more years below grade level, and this extra intervention will be strongly recommended to parents. It will be recommended that any K-2 student receiving morning services should sign up for afternoon services. 

  • If there are more time slots available, any students receiving morning services can choose to sign up for the extra time. 

Parent Notification:

Parents will be notified that their student is reading below grade level, and at this time, they qualify for extra reading support during the day with a licensed special education teacher. Although the service is strongly recommended, it is not required. Once the parent gives permission, an Instruction Plan will be drafted. A questionnaire will be given to both the parent and the teacher to be included in the report.