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Spotlight Missouri: Systematic phonics instruction moves all students forward

District snapshot:

  • ~7,800 students preK-12
  • 10 elementary campuses
  • ~60% free and reduced lunch
  • ~15-17% special education population


Located in southwest Missouri, Joplin Schools are committed to providing a high-quality education to all students. Although the district is situated in a rural setting, they are a large district and face many of the same challenges an urban school district might face. For example, they have a higher than average student transiency rate with about 1 in 3 students moving schools each year within the district.

The city has been a hub for refugees entering Missouri and the school district now has students speaking up to 39 different languages. Joplin Schools has 30% minority enrollment and between approximately 60%-75% of students (depending on campus and grade level) are eligible for free or reduced lunch.

In a true grassroots movement, it was teachers that led the district to bringing in an aligned, cohesive phonics program. Elementary teachers across the district were engaged in training with the LETRS™ program and were frustrated with inconsistencies in trying to identify exactly what their students needed. They attended a conference with 95 Percent Group and felt they had finally found something that could help them put their new training in the science of reading into action.

Access the full story now: What you’ll learn

Are you ready for more insights on how teachers led a movement for a cohesive, uniform phonics instruction across their district? Download the full story and learn:

  • Why having strong core phonics instruction matters
  • The importance of aligned intervention for students that need extra support
  • About why middle school teachers in the district are so excited for what’s coming next with 95 Phonics Core Program® Word Study, Grades 4 and 5

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