Literacy is a major focus at KIPP North Star Primary and teachers are utilizing a nationally acclaimed literacy assessment called STEP to teach reading. The first STEP assessment was conducted for our kindergarten and 1st grade students in September. The results were dim - 100% of the students were below grade level! In fact, these results highlighted the need for KIPP and why our work is so important. This week, teachers are finishing the second round of STEP assessments and early results are impressive. T.J., a first grade KIPPster is a perfect example of tremendous growth. At the beginning of the year, T. J. was at a pre-reading level (pre-kindergarten) and in eight short weeks he grew three steps to a beginning of 1st grade level. School Principal Amanda Dahm attributes this magnitude of growth to the co-teaching model, which allows for small group instruction and individualized teaching as well as high expectations for all students. Amanda explains, "Our co-teaching model is two teachers actively teaching throughout the day. It is not a lead and assist model whereby one teacher performs the instruction and the other assists with behavior management. Anytime you walk into a primary classroom you will see two teachers actively engaged with students in the learning process."