Superintendent Dr. Dan Brigman worked with Tim Burrell to develop a voluntary survey to poll Macon County teachers about the possibility of implementing the Lindamood-Bell Learning Process (LBLP) through the district.
A link to the survey was sent in an email from Brigman to all Macon County School and central office employees as well as posted to Brigman’s blog on the school system’s webpage. According to Burrell, the survey was posted on Aug. 31 and remained open until Sept. 6.
Of the 105 participants of the survey, 75 were teachers from each school in the district and 30 were either central office or support staff.
According to survey results, 86 participants believed that LBLP would be beneficial in the reading achievement of elementary- aged students in Macon County, while 11 believed the program would not be of any benefit.
The majority of survey participants (79 people) said they would be interested in learning more about the LBLP process, while only 23 individuals said they had no interest in pursuing more information.
Of the teachers and staff who participated in the survey, 74 were in support of the idea of expanding LBLP to all elementary and middle schools throughout the school district.
When asked if individuals thought that based on their experience or observation, should implementation of LBLP be reconsidered and other professional development options researched to promote reading throughout the school system, 58 participants voted no and 32 participants voted for the program to be reconsidered.
The survey allowed participants to comment regarding any suggestions or concerns they may have with LBLP. Of the 65 comments left by participants, the positive and negative reactions were surprisingly split in half.
The 30 positive comments that were noted in the survey praised the results that LBLP had during the summer program, and were hopeful in having similar results this year. “The program worked this summer and helped students make huge gains,” reads one comment. “We can use this program to help all students and make sure that our students have more success within our education system. This not only impacts our students, but also the quality of the teaching we have going on in Macon County.”
Even teachers who do not specialize in reading are exciting and welcoming of LBLP. “I would love to implement this program,” says another positive comment. “Even though I teach mathematics, I have heard that it can be used within the math classroom as well.”
“Being able to target reading with an intensive researched based program is invaluable to our students, in my opinion,” reads another comment. “I am a veteran teacher and my experience has been that reading ability affects every are of learning and greatly affects student self-esteem. Both should be reasons we are implementing this program.”
The 29 comments that were either negative or noted reservations about the program ranged in topic area from the cost of the program to the sustainability and validity. “While LBLP is a great program to help increase the learning of all students, I feel that it is not cost effective for our county,” reads one comment. “We seem to be wanting to pay an outrageous amount of money for a “canned” program but we have been on a pay freeze for years. We have cut our health insurance from 80/30 to 70/20 but yet we can afford a program that costs almost a half-million?”
Some teachers who travelled to the Bristol, Tenn.school were disappointed with what they experienced. “I went to the site visit at Fairmont Elementary today with an open mind, hoping to be “blown away” by observations of innovative teaching strategies. What I saw were students in small groups being drilled by teachers with flash-cards working on isolated phonics skills,” reads another comment. “Evidently the first-grade teacher I observed does this 20 minute-lesson four times a day (for each skill level in her class). I can’t imagine doing isolated phonics instruction for 80 minutes a day!”
A few teachers are interested about LBLP but have some reservations about the programs infrastructure. “My only comment concerns the amount of progress that can be made in kindergarten. From the statistics that were reported, most of the gains were in upper grade students,” reads the comment. “I feel that might be where it needs to be focused. Of course, the younger students have less of a margin to make up so it could not be as great of an amount of improvement.”
Another comment reads, “I do not have enough knowledge of the program to answer the questions on this survey; however, I am certainly open to learning more about the LBLP program.”
Some participants explained that although the program is beneficial, it should be optional. “I feel that this program should not be mandatory, but the partnership should happen. I think that all teachers should be given the opportunity for the training, but that each teacher should decide for themselves,” reads the comment. “There are no other programs out there that show the growth for student achievement that this program does.”
Lindamood-Bell Survey Results Overview