Response to Intervention
Interventions for Your Child
Over the years I have witnessed the growth and challenges of thousands of children. I have enjoyed working as a classroom teacher, Instructional Coach, and Reading Specialist for elementary and middle school. I have seen children come from behind to become leaders in the class and in their school, and I have seen children who struggle with academic learning. One particular account I have not enjoyed is the perception of some parents and communities when it comes to offering help to struggling readers.
Herington Elementary School has many things going for it! We have committed teachers and support staff that want to see students grow and learn. We have a shared desire to find resources and materials that will help assist us with the challenges that face struggling readers. As a building, we are especially blessed with having two skilled Title 1 teachers who help with reading and math. However, the intervention support has not come without some questions. So I am taking a few minutes to explain our building process for interventions for your child.
We have two completely different approaches to meeting the needs of all students in our building. However, all student placements are based on three important pieces of information: (1) Student scores on universal screening and diagnostic assessments, (2) Support needs in the classroom, (3) Teacher observations. First let’s explore the universal screening and diagnostic assessments, and then we will examine the differences between Title 1 services and Special Education placement.
HOW GROUPS OF STUDENTS ARE IDENTIFIED
Screening on each student is done in the fall, winter, and spring. There are grade level benchmark goals that drive the intervention needs for each student. These benchmark goals change and increase throughout the testing cycle. Some students are given an additional diagnostic assessment that identifies skill deficits and specifically outlines the interventions needed for success.
From these assessments, student groups are made based on skill deficits. All teachers (i.e. Title, Special Education, classroom teachers, and paras) in our building are assigned student groups and specific skills to teach, and they are expected to work with those students until mastery of that skill. Progress monitoring, which is a short test to identify growth, is completed on a weekly basis. Students are required to show mastery of skill before moving to another group. All groups are fluid and students typically enjoy working with several teachers throughout the school year.
TITLE I…..WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
Title I is a funding category that has enabled our school district to hire two support staff to further enhance our response to interventions. We are required to show documentation that supports our work and we must maintain records that show parental support and approval for Title 1 teachers to work with each student. This category is not a special education placement, nor does any student have to remain with the Title I teacher the entire school year. Again, data from our assessments drive our intervention groups. Fluid groups with various teachers are part of the process throughout the year.
SPECIAL EDUCATION……SO WHAT IS THIS?
Special Education and related services are support services for students with exceptionality. In order for a student to be eligible for special education, the student must be determined to have exceptionality and need specialized instruction. Parents are highly involved in this process and are provided written notice and asked to provide written consent to allow the school to conduct the initial evaluation used to determine eligibility of special education services and special education placement.