49 Chapters
Medium 9781936763054

Chapter 4 Three Doses of Intervention and Acceleration

Mike Mattos Solution Tree Press ePub

Three Doses of Intervention and Acceleration

Paul Goldberg

If you are reading each chapter of this anthology in order, we hope that some recurring themes are starting to emerge. One of the most important is that successful interventions don’t begin with interventions. They start with getting clear on what you want students to learn and then creating and administering targeted common assessments to identify students who need additional help. This point can be demonstrated by looking once again at the four critical questions that guide the professional learning community (PLC) process (DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, & Many, 2006).

Providing students with interventions and extension are addressed in questions 3 and 4. But think about it—a school cannot effectively answer the latter questions if it has not first adequately answered questions 1 and 2. This point is so important that we want it to be consistently reinforced from chapter to chapter, yet we also want to provide different examples of how these outcomes were achieved.

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Medium 9781934009338

Chapter Three RTI Models

Austin Buffum Solution Tree Press ePub

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

—Albert Einstein

Three months into the school year at Pine Elementary, a team of energetic fifth-grade teachers decided to screen all students with a benchmark reading comprehension assessment. Nearly 60% of the children scored remarkably low on questions testing their literal comprehension of passages. Many of these students had been working periodically with Pine’s reading specialist, who arranged pull-out interventions in the area of literal comprehension.

Something was going wrong. But it was unclear whether the students who performed poorly needed more time and support to master literal comprehension, or whether they were casualties of a subpar curriculum. In a meeting with the fifth-grade team, the principal of Pine suggested, “If such a large percentage of students are failing, we have a major problem on our hands. We’re going to need to look beyond just this class or grade level to find the root of the problem.”

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Chapter 3 The Most Effective Intervention Is Prevention

Mike Mattos Solution Tree Press ePub

The Most Effective Intervention Is Prevention

Luis F. Cruz

Between 70 and 80 percent of students who fail in the first year of high school do not graduate (Wyner, Bridgeland, & Diiulio, 2007). Unfortunately, many high schools allow incoming ninth graders the opportunity to fail before providing extra help. In most cases, this means “too little, too late.” Early identification is the key to preventive interventions. Predicting which incoming students are likely to need this support is hardly difficult; at-risk ninth graders usually have a history of struggling in school long before entering high school. As most students enter high school from predictable feeder school(s) within the same district or region, a high school could begin identifying incoming students who may need intensive support during the second semester of the previous school year.

As this chapter demonstrates, Baldwin Park High School does not take a “wait to fail” approach. To this end, the school’s Guided Studies program possesses two critical characteristics. First, the staff identify at-risk ninth graders before they have a chance to fail. By working with the middle schools that send students to Baldwin Park High School, students enter high school with daily support beginning the first day of ninth grade. Second, Baldwin Park does not track these students into remedial core classes. To learn at high levels, students must be taught at high levels. The Guided Studies program supports students in meeting rigorous college-prep expectations.

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Medium 9781935543657

Chapter 7: Certain Access: How Do We Get Every Child There?

Austin Buffum Solution Tree Press ePub

CHAPTER 7

Certain Access: How Do We Get Every Child There?

Certain access: A systematic process that guarantees every student will receive the time and support needed to learn at high levels. Thinking is guided by the question, How do we get every child there?

A school can have noble intentions, a collaborative culture, a clear and viable curriculum, effective instructional practices, targeted interventions, and timely assessment processes, but if it does not implement them systematically, then these best practices will be meaningless for students who struggle after core instruction. The purpose of RTI is to ensure that every child receives time and support to learn at high levels.

Certain access is how a school demonstrates its belief that all kids can learn—it is where the rubber hits the road! Collective responsibility creates the culture and structures of collaboration necessary to ensure that all students succeed. Concentrated instruction defines with laser-like focus what all students must learn, and convergent assessment guides instruction, evaluates teaching effectiveness, and identifies specifically which students are struggling and where they need help. Certain access is how we provide every child the time and support needed to achieve.

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Medium 9781936763030

Chapter 4Making Mid-Unit Interventions as Easy as 1-2-3

Austin Buffum Solution Tree Press ePub

4

Making Mid-Unit Interventions as Easy as 1-2-3

John Wink

While this chapter serves as yet another example of a school that recognizes interventions begin in the classroom, it also provides an example of the “right kind of thinking.” Beyond creating a schedule that gives teachers time to collaborate and intervene, Gilmer Elementary also learned how to use the 1-2-3 process to promote deep discussion and reflective practice, which has resulted in improved student achievement. In addition, this same process and open communication are extended to discussions with specialists and interventionists regarding students receiving Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions.

G ilmer Elementary School in Gilmer, Texas, is a rural school that serves 1,051 students in early childhood through grade 4. The school’s demographics are 72 percent white, 16 percent Hispanic, and 12 percent African American, and 70 percent of the school’s students receive free or reduced lunch. The school experienced success by becoming a Texas Education Agency Recognized campus in 2009 and 2010, but in 2011, the school received an Academically Unacceptable rating from the Texas Education Agency due to reading performance in one subgroup. I became principal in the fall of 2011, and in my second year, the campus moved from unacceptable status to being in the top 20 percent of all elementary schools in the state of Texas by earning all three academic distinctions on the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness test in 2013. Gilmer experienced dramatic improvement in student achievement between 2011 and 2013. To fulfill our campus mission, “One Exceptional Team + One Exceptional Goal = One’s Exceptional Future Success,” teacher teams

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