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Important Board Meeting Recap: Dr. Vitti's Letter to Families of 2nd Graders

Dr. Vitti reminded families at the June 18 Board Meeting of how the District will be supporting families to ensure their students meet the Read by Grade Three Law.

The following letter was sent home to families of second-graders on June 14, 2019. 

DPSCD Parents of Second Graders, 

In 2016, the State of Michigan passed Public Act 451 (link to MCL  380. 1280f), now referred to as the “Read by Grade Three Law.” The law requires that all students who are not reading on a third-grade level by the end of the school year as measured by the state reading assessment. This letter is to inform you about the retention portion of the law and how the District is acting to support students reading abilities and to limit the number of students eligible for retention.

To best prepare students for success on the 3rd grade M-STEP assessment, we have taken measures to place extra support and intervention systems in all kindergarten through grade three classes to help every child be proficient readers by third grade.  

At the beginning of the next school year, teachers will administer the i-Ready Diagnostic which will identify students that are one or more years below grade level, and the data will be used to develop an Individual Reading Improvement Plan (iRIP) that will address your child’s specific needs in literacy.  If your child requires an iRIP the District will also provide you with a Read at Home Plan outlining activities, you can use at home to help grow their literacy skills.  The i-Ready Diagnostic assessment will be administered two additional times throughout the school year.  After each administration families with students on iRIPs will be notified of their child’ progress in reading. If your child is at risk for retention, you will be notified through conferences and your child’s iRIP. 

The District is committed to responding to students’ needs with appropriate supports in addition to the high-quality curriculum that all students receive daily in the classroom.

While the District is implementing a strategic plan designed to ensure our students are reading on grade level by the end of grade three, we recognize there are students that will be in danger of not being promoted to fourth grade based on their state assessment score.  We firmly believe that student retention is a decision that should be made between the school leader, teacher and family.  As a result, we are planning to ensure families understand their right as a legal guardian to request an exemption and to implement an easy to follow process to do so.  In addition, the District will automatically grant exemptions as students qualify. The law outlines that good cause exemptions can be granted for the following reasons:  

  1. Student has an IEP
  2. Student has a 504 plan 
  3. Student is an English Learner with less than three years of instruction in an ESL program 
  4. Student was previously retained and has received intensive reading intervention for two or more years (iRIP)
  5. A student enrolled for less than two years and was not provided with an appropriate iRIP in previous school 
  6. Student has already repeated third grade 
  7. Student demonstrates a grade 3 reading level through performance on an alternate assessment (i-Ready)
  8. Student has demonstrated proficiency in math on the state assessment and your child has demonstrated proficiency in science, social students and ELA as shown through a pupil portfolio of student work.
  9. A parent or teacher request a good cause exemption within 30 days of retention notification and the superintendent grants the request

DPSCD is committed to helping every child read on grade level and minimizing the impact of required retention under the law.  Attached to this letter you will find information about ways to engage your child in summer learning to support their growth in literacy.  If you have any questions or concerns about the “Read by Third Grade Law,” please contact your school’s principal. 


Nikolai P. Vitti