With a commitment to providing a comprehensive education that embraces diversity, CSD serves approximately 2,443 students across three elementary schools and one middle school, providing their students with a comprehensive education that promotes academic, emotional, and social development. However, like many educational institutions, CSD faced a significant challenge: boosting literacy scores, especially among students with dyslexia.

Despite efforts to engage students in reading through learning centers, CSD found that reading scores weren’t improving as expected. Many teachers felt unequipped to support their struggling readers effectively, leading to inconsistent teaching methods across classrooms. The district recognized the urgent need for a transformation in literacy instruction to ensure every student could read proficiently by the critical milestone of third grade. 

Said Mike Chaix, Superintendent at Cucamonga,  “We were still on an old adoption method from the Common Core days and had major literacy gaps. The gaps kept getting wider in both reading and math, and as a district, we decided that intervention specialists were a big need. We have many kids who come into our district without a lot of literacy; about 15% are English language learners, and the language is difficult to understand. If by third grade these kids can’t read, most cannot read to learn going forward.”

The IMSE Solution

The turning point for CSD came with the introduction of IMSE’s Orton-Gillingham approach. Witnessing the success of nearby districts using IMSE’s methods before the COVID-19 pandemic, CSD eagerly embraced the evidence-based approach. Lisa Baltierra, a dedicated literacy coach and IMSE District Instructor for K-8 at CSD, was pivotal in driving this change.

Lisa commented, “We were blown away by what they were doing in their special ed and gen ed classrooms. Our superintendent, equally impressed, encouraged me to go through IMSE’s training.”

Under Lisa’s guidance, CSD embarked on a journey to empower its educators to teach reading based on the Science of Reading. By the end of 2021, 99% of the district’s K-3 teachers –approximately 90-100 educators– had undergone IMSE’s 30-hour training, equipping them with the tools to provide tiered instruction effectively. The results were remarkable, with students making significant progress in their reading abilities:

The introduction of IMSE’s Orton-Gillingham approach created a ripple of positive change throughout CSD. Students of all capabilities and skills gained confidence in their reading abilities, and teachers felt supported and equipped to guide their students effectively. The district’s focus on early literacy skills included everyone; including English as a Second Language (ESL) kids and older kids in the middle school. 

Lisa Baltierra, Literacy Coach & IMSE District Instructor for K-8 at CSD, explained, “The implementation of IMSE OG has significantly bolstered the confidence and proficiency of our EL students in reading and language skills, as evidenced by notable improvements in benchmark data. The systematic and multisensory nature of OG has proven to be instrumental in addressing the diverse learning needs of our students, fostering a positive learning environment, and ultimately contributing to their success in acquiring English language proficiency.” 

Neighboring districts saw the success and got involved themselves. CSD conducted a training with 64 participants between three neighboring districts at the end of July 2023, right before the start of the 2023-2024 school year.

As CSD continues its journey with IMSE, the district is optimistic about the future. With the foundation laid in K-3 classrooms, the district aims to expand its impact, ensuring literacy proficiency for all students, K-8. By providing ongoing support for teachers, fostering a culture of collaboration, and embracing IMSE’s proven methods, the Cucamonga School District is paving the way for a brighter, more literate future for its students.

You can download the full story here to learn how Cucamonga School District is benefiting from the power behind the Science of Reading.

To learn more about how your school or district can improve literacy education with IMSE, call (800) 646-9788 or email info@imse.com to speak with a member of our team today!

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