Closing the Performance Gap: The Gering Story
Gering Public Schools, a small district in northeast Nebraska, used to suffer from an achievement gap in reading. In 2004, 36 percent of all Hispanic students in second grade met fluency benchmarks compared to 59 percent of all white students in the district's three elementary schools. Low literacy performance was also a problem at the district's sole junior high school.
That was before the district implemented the comprehensive Direct Instruction model with the support of the National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI). Now the achievement gap in reading has been closed. Over three-fourths of all students meet second grade fluency benchmarks, with a higher percentage of Hispanic students meeting benchmarks than white students! At the junior high school, the need for remedial reading programs has declined drastically as students are much more able to comprehend content area texts.