WARE — In a recent update, Ware Superintendent Michael Lovato announced the district’s plan to improve student speaking skills across the schools.

The plan focuses on five student “deficiencies” observed by administrators while sitting in on classes: the simplicity of student responses, the use of slang language, the repetition of teacher and other peer’s responses, the focus on completion when using certain resources and the difficulty with paraphrased questions. This observation was the first phase of the plan and started in the beginning of the 2023-24 school year, Lovato told Reminder Publishing.

To target these areas, the district is working across multiple avenues. With teachers, the district is providing “direct coaching” that assists with structuring lessons to have more open-ended questions.

Through this process, the district hopes to encourage students to take greater “accountability” for their speaking and writing skills, Lovato said.

He explained that phase two of the plan, evaluating and working with teachers, is currently ongoing and will continue until the district has seen growth in student’s speaking skills.

“We recognize their strength … [and] we respect their work,” Lovato emphasized, stating that the training was not intended to undermine teachers’ dedication toward students. He highlighted that teachers are providing students with solid lessons. However, the district hopes to “fine tune their practice.”

Ware Public Schools also plans to work with students directly. In the update, Lovato discussed “redefining student responsibility across all campuses” in order to allow students to better express their knowledge. This will be done through encouraging students to use complete sentences, provide evidence and use appropriate language as well as teaching students to paraphrase and write in a manner that is “grade-appropriate.”

Parents can also get involved. Lovato stated that the district has already begun informing parents of this plan through notifications and at Title I Night, emphasizing its intent to be transparent. Moving forward, more parent nights will be held to inform and encourage parent participation, he said.

For parents seeking to help from home, Lovato suggested modifying questions to prevent students from offering one-word responses, specifically through using “could” or “would.” In this way, something as simple as asking a child how their day went could be changed from a simple “good” as a response to a more thoughtful answer, he explained.

Ultimately, Lovato highlighted that parents must “remember that their kids are capable” and, through the district’s multi-faceted plan, students’ speaking and writing skills will come to reflect their academic knowledge.

lmason@thereminder.com | + posts