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Discovery Middle Cited by First Lady
as Model for Literacy Program

Courtesy of Orange County Public Schools

First Lady Laura Bush and Principal Susan Storch visit 7th grade classroom

A local middle school's success with a program aimed at helping students become stronger readers recently caught the attention of First Lady Laura Bush.

Just before announcing a major literacy initiative called Strive to Read, the First Lady visited a classroom and talked to teachers, students and administrators at Discovery Middle School. She was particularly interested in the Strategic Instruction Model, a reading program that has been used at the school successfully for several years. Bush said all schools should be using literacy programs with a strong research base.

"Discovery is already using a program that we want other school districts nationwide to look at," she said.

The Strategic Instruction Model is one of a number of reading programs the school is using to boost student achievement. As a result of those programs, Discovery students have made strong gains, particularly in reading.

"We have a school-wide focus on literacy," said principal Susan Storch. "Our reading programs are all research based, and our teachers go through a lot of professional development to enhance their skills."

During her visit, the First Lady participated in a roundtable discussion on reading with the principal and three Discovery teachers. Mrs. Bush also spent time Elaine Brindley's 7th-grade classroom to see the reading program in action. Both Brindley and her students were thrilled about their visitor.

"It was an amazing honor," said Brindley. "I think she was able to see that we have good things going on that are aligned with Strive to Read."

"It was a cool experience," said student Andrew Davis. "I'd give it a '10.'"