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Spotlight on Illinois: Schoolwide literacy growth with core phonics instruction

African American School Girl Writing Learning Sitting In Classroom

Parsons Elementary School snapshot:

  • 500 students
  • 9000 district wide (Decatur Public Schools)
  • 60% black or multi-racial
  • 28% white
  • 12% Hispanic/other
  • 83% low income


Holly Davis-Kitson has been the principal at James B. Parsons Elementary School, the largest of five K-5 schools in Illinois’ Decatur Public School District, since 2019. In the middle of her first year as principal, her school shut down completely due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. During the challenging time of remote learning, their student body went from their “normal” enrollment of around 500 students, down to 250 students learning remotely.

Davis-Kitson, who was familiar with 95 Percent Group from her teaching days, began ordering products during the pandemic—but couldn’t fully implement resources until the 2023-24 school year under a pilot program.

Now that they are underway, David-Kitson is excited to continue to see what’s possible.  “95 Percent Group is unlike any other group we’ve worked with.”  she said.

Access the full story now: What you’ll learn

Are you ready for more insights on how Davis-Kitson and her team at Parsons have launched a movement in their district? Download the full story and learn:

  • Why having a core literacy curriculum matters
  • The importance of a common language across instructional tiers
  • About the growth they saw in just six months and theconfidence that students gained

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