HARRISBURG, AR (KAIT) - It all started two years ago. Proficiency of test scores for literacy were very low at Harrisburg High School. The number of proficient students hovered around 20% for five years.
Teachers and administrators learned if the students were going to excel they needed motivation. Educators now focus on teaching literacy across the curriculum while also encouraging their students in their work.
One of the methods of encouragement used this year is a video featuring employees of the high school. The school, under the direction of Literacy Coach Stephanie Davis, made a video where the teachers sing, dance, and act silly all in an effort to encourage their students.
"They either held signs that said 'good job' or 'you can do it'. They tried to make us laugh by doing goofy dance moves," said Harrisburg High School Senior Kristin Long.
"I knew they cared. I knew they were trying to lighten us up," said Harrisburg High School Junior Kelton Costner.
The video was designed to help the students get ready for their End of Course literacy exam.
"I think every once in a while when students see us as who we are then they understand that we're people," said High School Principal Steven Rorex.
He said they started pushing the kids to excel in what they were doing instead of just doing it.
"I think we have become more focused on teaching kids how to read and write," said Rorex.
Long said at first she felt overwhelmed by the increased push in literacy at school. They studied literacy not only in English but were quizzed in science, history and even math class!
In 2007 the students only scored 20% proficient in literacy. In 2008 the school hired a literacy expert and since then have brought that number up to 69%.