Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Response to Intervention Part 2: Guidelines, Management and Lessons Learned

N.B.E. Manatee

Part 1 covered the background of our Response to Intervention efforts at Neptune Beach Elementary. This post will cover some of the specifics, those pesky little details that make or break a program! 

As with any new program we are learning as we go along. Here are some of the guidelines we follow:
·      No more than 50% of the teachers on a grade level are doing intervention groups. The other teachers monitor the rest of the students on the grade level. We have a state mandated 30-minute physical education time. The entire grade level goes to “recess” at the same time. We pull most intervention groups during this 30-minute block. While we don’t want students to miss the critical outdoor exercise time, there are less than 10% of the students in intervention groups. All of our interventions are intended to be finite in duration so students return to the normal schedule at the end of the intervention.
·      All students must be progress monitored between every 5th to 7th lesson. The results must be graphed not only to show individual growth but also against the norm for the grade level. In other words, interventions must not only show growth but also must be closing the achievement gap.
·      Students who need additional support beyond the 30-minute Tier 2 block are seen by a team to determine Tier 3 eligibility. The Tier 3 work must also follow the same academic focus in Tier 2. If a child’s weakness is in comprehension then all intervention work is in comprehension. Our special education and ESOL teachers help support the majority of our Tier 3 work.
·      All intervention groups meet daily for the allotted time. Exceptions are made for teacher absence and state testing.
·      All students are to receive Tier 1, or core instruction, daily in their own classroom. Intervention groups supplement, not supplant, core instruction.

In addition, there are specific guidelines for each type of intervention. With the Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) we follow specific guidelines, such as:
·      LLI groups have 3 to 4 students in the group. Fewer students can move faster than larger groups. This also allows us to do progress monitoring on a student every sixth lesson. More students would produce less frequent progress monitoring.
·      LLI groups are determined from multiple sets of data. This includes FAIR (Florida Assessment in Reading), DRA 2 (Developmental Reading Assessment), and BAS (Benchmark Assessment System) as well as anecdotal and observational notes, and running records.
·      In upper grades, students who present with decoding or fluency issues may be placed in a Corrective Reading group prior to LLI.

Math Navigator:
·      Our first math groups worked with student who scored between 25% and 50% on the screener. Students that scored lower generally needed a different form of remediation. Math Navigator is not a one-size fits all tool.
·      Math Navigator groups work best with 6 students. Larger groups are problematic.

Materials Management:
·      Materials need to be housed in a central location where all teachers have access. Once trained in the system, teachers are responsible for collecting and returning materials in a timely manner.
·      For LLI, copies need to be turned in well in advance of the lessons. Most teachers request copies in 5 to 10 lesson increments.
·      Math Navigator has consumable student workbooks. Reordering new materials will be done on an annual basis.

Student and Information Management:
·      Students follow rituals and routines similar to classroom guided reading groups.
·      Attendance must be kept daily.
·      Anecdotal notes must be kept at least weekly on individual student progress.
·      Communication between the intervention provider and the classroom teacher must be on a regular basis. This can included electronic or paper copies, followed by discussion, but cannot solely be verbal.
·      Group notes and graphs of student progress can be requested at any time by administration.
Lessons Learned:
Problem 1:The biggest issue we encountered was effective record keeping. Time strapped teachers had difficulty getting into the routine of recording information from the intervention. Both Math Navigator and LLI have electronic record keeping systems but the teachers were slow to embrace them and thus a lot of data was lost when they transferred the paper data into digital information. 
Solution: Start, from Day 1, with the electronic record keeping. For Math Navigator this means taking the pre- and post-test on the computer. It saves time by automatically scoring the assessment as well as giving the teacher data on common misconceptions. In LLI the data system keeps attendance, documents progress monitoring and graphs growth over time. 

Problem 2: The right student in the right group at the right time. During training we all worked together to break down data to identify the students that would benefit the most from the interventions. By the time the last intervention was complete some of the students in the groups were too high for the group, and thus did not show the gains obtained by the lower students. 
Solution: Letting the data tell the story speaks volumes in selecting students for interventions. When there is limited time, space, and resources it is important to be diagnostic when selecting students for interventions. We recommended spaces be filled first by students in our AYP groups with additional spaces being filled by the other students.

Problem 3: Communication. Communication between the classroom teacher and the interventionist needs to be documented. Often the classroom teacher was unaware of the progress being made in the intervention groups, making it hard to communicate with parents and other stakeholders.
Solution: This is related to Problem 1, effective record keeping. One solution is to print up the documentation from the digital data collection system with LLI or Math Navigator. The second solution would be to have dedicated time, during weekly data discussion meeting, to verbally update classroom teachers on the printed copy of student progress.

Be sure to look for Part 3: Success!

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