Core Curriculum and High Quality Instruction
Extensive curriculum work has been conducted with extensive work done in the development of unit design for all grade levels and content areas. On-going staff development has been necessary to ensure high quality instruction. All students are given equal opportunity to learn with the use of co-teaching. Expectations for students have been increased with a higher rate of success thn noted in previous years. For students with special education needs least restrictive environment is considered carefully. The most important “intervention” may be presuming that the student is competent to learn age-appropriate general education content in the general education classroom.
This level includes differentiated instruction and things such as math flexible groups and guided reading.
It is anticipated that approximately four out of five students will need only this base level of the pyramid to benefit educationally. If the core curriculum is inadequate and the goal of high quality instruction is not met, it would be expected that an increased number of students will be unable to meet grade level benchmarks.
After School Support
Through the use of our Community Learning Center program we are able to offer optional tutoring to students after school hours. Students work with a mentor (community members, teachers, and others interested in guiding and supporting students). Students then rotate with their group through two 45-minute sessions. One session provides time for students to work on homework with the mentor facilitating this process. In a second session, students go to one of four assigned classrooms and participate in a fun but structured activity. If students need more homework time, they simply stay with the mentor. Transportation is provided for students to make this a more feasible option for parents.
Child Study Planning and Support
Two kinds of child study teams operate at the elementary school. The first set of child study teams act as problem solving teams that help teachers develop intervention plans for individual students. In this process, teachers are asked to present information including student academic and performance data. They also must summarize what it is they would like to see the student be able to do. This then focuses the problem solving team and results in an increased level of productivity.
The second problem solving team meets monthly to analyze student progress monitoring data for students in targeted instruction. This group calculates students expected achievement compared to their actual achievement in order to determine if the targeted instruction is adequate to close the achievement gap. Before changes are made to a student’s targeted instruction, a general rule is to allow for a minimum of six weeks of targeted instruction and at least three data points.
Classroom Small Group Instruction for Targeted Students
In addition to solid core curriculum and high quality instruction many students also benefit from small group instruction. This is provided in the classroom by the classroom teacher. An example of how this is done are Read Naturally intervention groups.
Targeted Instructional Groups
Despite all our efforts, some students continue to struggle to learn. These students require more targeted instruction. Students meeting criteria for targeted instruction are provided intensive focused instruction in a small group (not more than four) at least 30 minutes four times a week. Interventions are determined based on a standard protocol. Some programs have been found to have a high rate of success. These interventions are attempted first. Examples of programs in reading that have been found to have a high rate of success includes Read Naturally, DI, LIPs, Visualizing and Verbalizing, Lexia, Headsprout and STARS. Students at this level have their progress monitored at a minimum bi-weekly and their progress carefully charted. Baseline data consists of three probes that are averaged to provide one baseline score. The slope of the student’s learning is monitored carefully to ensure a reduction in the achievement gap. Instructors include classroom teachers, Title I teacher, and in some cases very skilled para-educators.
In the area of behavior, select students are provided targeted instruction in social competence by the school guidance counselor or volunteer on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. This instruction is provided in small group or individual basis as appropriate.
Individual Education Planning
Although the term individual education planning is commonly thought of as special education specific, in the school district of Chetek-Weyerhaeuser, it refers to the planning that is done specifically to any child who is not making satisfactory progress when provided targeted instruction. Individual planning requires problem solving to develop an intervention plan. Intervention plans vary from student to student and could include more frequent monitoring, double shots of targeted instruction, or additional tutoring.