Letters to the Editor

LASER program is beneficial

I am a parent at Canyon Creek Elementary. My fourth-grade daughter has struggled with reading, and has received services for reading support through our LASER program, as have many students at our school.

Thanks to the small-group instruction and the expertise of our reading specialist, she has made tremendous gains in her reading fluency and comprehension and is now at grade-level standards on her last reading assessment. Because our regular education teachers do not have the time or support to meet the needs of these students, I believe that maintaining this type of program is necessary for our children. Without these services, our daughter would have fallen farther and farther below standards.

Therefore, I am saddened to hear that the LASER program is being cut from the Northshore schools. As a result of this cut, our regular-ed teachers will receive some additional training to accommodate our struggling learners in math and reading — which will add to their current full teaching loads. It also begs the question of how it will impact teachers and the classrooms. Will teachers still be able to provide the necessary quality support to each student if their workloads are dramatically increased?

It is very difficult for me to understand how the board has prioritized its budgeting process and decisions. For example, does it give equal weight to the continued support of junior-high sports over programs to remedy our growing group of struggling learners? I understand the value of junior-high sports, but I can not understand not providing the basic support of reading and math to our struggling learners. I do not believe the district’s solution of having a regular-ed teacher supporting all these different student needs is a viable plan to compensate for the elimination of its LASER program. I conveyed my concerns to the board several months ago, and I am still seeking its feedback on these issues.

Anne-Marie Winward, Bothell

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