Following a comprehensive 2009 review of the literacy curriculum, the Treasures (McGraw-Hill Education) core reading program was selected for piloting across the district during the 2010 school year. Encouraged by the positive impact on student achievement observed during the pilot, the Bangor School Committee adopted Treasures for district-wide PreK-5 implementation during the 2010-2011 academic year. Running parallel to the process of selecting Treasures as the district’s core reading program was the choice of the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment system to monitor and document student reading achievement at grades 1-3.
Treasures is a research based, comprehensive Reading Language Arts program for grades K-5 that is based on the 5 pillars of literacy instruction (phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension). High quality literature coupleswith explicit instruction, extensive resources, ample practice, and meaningful formative / summative assessment to ensure that students grow as life-long readers and writers. The common instructional language of the program provides a core experience as students progress through Bangor elementary schools. Bangor teachers devoted extensive professional development time to the implementation of Treasures, with particular emphasis on accelerating the learning of all students through the program as well as on supplementing the core program with trade books and other literature. In addition to the core program at grades 4 and 5, accelerated ELA is offered for students who primarily are identified through the Gifted and Talented (G/T) screening process.
The Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System (BAS) links assessment to instruction along a readily-understood letter continuum from A-Z. This comprehensive system for one-on-one assessment reliably and systematically matches students’ instructional and independent reading abilities and continues Bangor’s longstanding commitment to meaningful assessment and communication of student progress in literacy.
The middle level curriculum exposes students to a variety of reading materials and literacy forms with a progressively complex analysis of literature taking place over grades 6, 7, and 8. Common Units in ELA (experience by all students) focus thinking and writing on developmentally-appropriate literary concepts and themes. Students study various literary genres, including short stories, essays, novels, historical fiction, and poems. Informational literacy is emphasized over the grade span, beginning with a grade 6 media center orientation, progressing to integrated application of media skills in grade 7, and culminating with a range of research assignments in grade 8 including in-depth analysis across of a variety of genres. Critical connections to other content areas are made as well, particularly social studies and technology education. The middle school program also offers accelerated course options at each grade for highly motivated students with advanced writing, reading and thinking skills.
Bangor High School typically offers more than 20 English courses of varying levels to meet student needs as they meet the requirement of four credits for graduation. Honors English is available at each grade level, and two sections of Advanced Placement English are usually necessary to meet demand of BHS seniors interested in the highest level of literature study.