SIOUX CITY | The Sioux City School District is adding six reading/math interventionists to boost the Reading Intervention Program for lower-performing readers.

The Sioux City School Board approved the six hires in a Monday board meeting. The board also is continuing to offer some reading software, in which students not using the interventionists can, on their own, get reading curriculum help in nine schools.

District administrator Brian Burnight said data from this year shows students who work with both reading/math interventionists and the Lexia Core software program experienced improved reading levels. Burnight added that 71 percent of district teachers who responded to a survey said the reading interventionists met the needs of students.

Currently, 890 students in the district receive daily instruction from the existing 32 interventionists. Burnight said roughly 180 more students could be served by the six incoming people.

The school district will use Title I funding from the federal government to pay for the additions. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act provides financial assistance to schools with high numbers of children from low-income families, so all children can meet challenging state academic standards.

"We decided to focus those dollars on elementary schools...so we are getting the biggest bang for our buck," district Superintendent Paul Gausman said.

The district in the 2017-18 year is receiving $4.2 million in federal money for Title I. The addition of the six interventionists will bring the total of those variety of workers in the school district to 38, who will be paid a combined $2.4 million.

Burnight said the interventionists primarily spend most of the day on reading, "but occasionally there is some support for math as well."

He said some lower functioning pupils may not get one year of reading growth in one school year, but the help may click for them in a subsequent year to boost reading in a substantial way.

The school district will aim to make the new hires in November.

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County and education reporter

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