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Hi everybody!

A big thanks! to all of you who responded about starting out with AR.  Being=20
new to this, everything you all have suggested is helpful to me.  Here it is=20
for everyone who donated a thought.  I hope this helps you too!  Tomorrow's=20
the day we're loading everything on to the server.  Wish me luck! Here=92s a=20
collection of all the AR advice that=92s been suggested so far!

    I'm not going to get into a big discussion of the merits of AR
either.  It works at our school and that's all that counts with me. We
have 6-8th graders, about 1150 students. This is about our 5th year, I
think, so we've grown in terms of numbers of teachers involved, number
of titles we own, number of tests we own, etc. It takes a few years to
get teachers enthusiastic, but if you can start off with a couple who
are really gung ho, it will help you a great deal.  You also need the
full backing of the administration for it to be truly succesful.
Thankfully, we have that.
    Cheating on an AR test is handled just as cheating on any other test
in this building. The policies are spelled out in the student
handbooks.  The first kid who cheated got a day of in-school suspension,
and we didn't have any more problem.
    We set up our program to require a monitor password in order to take
a test.  We use a formula for the password so it is chnaged every day
but the teachers can know what it is, since they enter the passwords in
the classroom as often as we do in the library.  Our password formula is
the first three letters of the day of the week, followed by the date.
Today's would be MON7, tomorrow's would be TUE8, etc. Probalby any
variation of things would work, as long as it's a formula that the
teachers can figure out. We are very adamant at the pre-sechool week
faculty meetings, in-service for new teachers, etc. abut the need for
absolute secrecy on the password issue.  I'm extremely firm about it
during the new student orientation, and we've not had but one incident
of anyone really trying to figure it out.  Hope this helps a little.
    By the way, I also have cataloged all the books as AR titles.  If
you have an automated catalog and want to do that, I'll be glad to share
what we did.  We have Winnebago's Spectrum program, but I think most
ideas are applicable to any software cataloging program.
Deborah M. Cooke, Library Media Specialist    Salem Church Middle School

Chesterfield County Public Schools
Mail: 9700 Salem Church Road   Richmond, Virginia  23237    USA
Voice: 804-768-6225    fax: 804-768-6230
Email: dcooke@chesterfield.k12.va.us    ***

If at all possible, I would recommend bring a Reading Renaissance workshop t=
your teachers ASAP.  If that is impossible, then I would go myself.  If that=
too, is impossible, then find someone who's been who will help you. =20

Probably the most important thing to do to discourage cheating is to make al=
students accountable by making them log their reading and to make all=20
teachers who use AR accountable for checking the logs before students test. =20
It is my opinion that teachers should NOT use AR for books that are part of =
class study in which all or groups of the students read the same novel.  Thi=
will just encourage cheating.

Students passwords shouldn't be a problem, but the common teacher password=20
may be.  One of my students (unfortunately, the most devious child in school=
got the teacher password from an uncle who's a teacher (bless his soul).  So=20
you might want to change the given password regularly. =20

My school isn't networked, but another school that is networked had MAJOR=20
difficulties because teachers went into the teacher program and changed the=20
password at will causing all others to be unable to access the teacher=20
program.  You might want to have some training on what is and isn't=20
acceptable for individual teachers to personalize!

And, if you've not used AR, you need to know the following:
1.  The system recognizes students by names, not ID nos. or other=20
information.  If you have students who share the same first and last name,=20
you need to add a middle initial.
2.  The system recognizes tests by the number, not be the title.  This is=20
probably only important if teachers begin to enter tests they've written=20

Finally, AR takes on a life of its own once it's begun.  If it is used by th=
LA teachers, your circulation should jump.  In addition, you might want to=20
ask for additional funding just to buy AR books.  I recommend that the=20
funding come out of the LA department if that department established AR use. =20
Your budget will most likely not cover the cost of replacement for books tha=
will be worn out by use or for the books that are on the list that you don't=20
have and teachers and/or students ask you to buy.
It's a curse and a blessing and I love AR, but life as you now know it will=20
change!  Let me know if I can help!

Charlyn Trussell/Bryan Elementary/Mission TX

The reading teachers in our school required so many each marking period to
gain a specific grade.
We also have a language arts reading block where most of their grade in
reading came from the  AR program.
In the regular classes on the teams
36 or better for an A
25 or better for a B
15 or better for a C
These are about what they use.  They must read in their zone.  The ESE
teachers have a different scale as well as the ESOL teachers.
The students get certificates each time they reach another level of reading
and are listed on a main board in the library.
We have seen great success in our reading scores by using AR.
Immokalee Middle FL

I require a different number of points for each student. The program is
individualized, and points are based on each student's zpd range, and on
individual conferences with each student.

Margaret Cooper

I used AR this past year. My students had to keep the Reading Log and
could only take a test if I signed the log that they had completed the
book. Also, for grading purposes, I gave 3 grades each six weeks based
on either number of points earned OR the number of tests passed. I did
this for my Sped kids that would take and pass several tests, but only
end up with 3 or 4 points-at the most. I also gave a Rdg comp grade
each based on the Rdg comp % for the AR tests passed that six weeks. I
encouraged by students to read in their Zone (independent reading
level) and I had readers from 9th grade to preprimer in my 5th grade
class. You can tell the program to give you only results from a certain
time period when requesting the Student Record. I ran one every week so
the parents could see how their student was doing up to that point in a
grading period Good Luck!


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