School leaders at Windham Elementary School began teaching under the Alabama Reading Initiative to help the school get out of the state's school improvement status, but more than just grades have been improving.
Teachers and administrators at Windham Elementary say they've seen a decrease in the amount of referrals to the office, thanks to the ARI.
"Our scores on all of our assessments are continuing to rise. We're continuing to have a lot of success everywhere around the school. That translates into better behavior,” says Principal Chris Mitten of Windham Elementary School.
“When students are successful, when they want to be here, when they enjoy being here, and they know they're not only having success but also having fun and getting rewarded for what they do they tend to not to get into trouble."
The Alabama Reading Initiative has been active for a few years, but it was implemented at Windham Elementary this year.
What's amazing is how quickly teachers and administrators have noticed a difference.
"I've noticed a lot of children have gained a lot of confidence and self assurance. We're able to come down on their level they are working at, so we can teach them at the level they need to work at," said Monica Cole, 2nd Grade Teacher.
For the ARI teachers had five days of training during the summer and an additional five days throughout the year to help prepare them for the change in curriculum
The ARI was set up in 1998 to achieve grade-level reading for all of Alabama’s public school students. However, it's not required in every school system.
The Alabama Reading Initiative is fully funded in all of the state's public schools for grades K-through 3.