Officials tout district’s updated plan for academic intervention

Published Aug 27, 2018 at 4:00pm

An updated plan to intervene with extra academic services to help students achieve state learning standards drew praise for being more user-friendly for staff, in conjunction with its approval by the Board of Education.

The Academic Intervention Services/Response to Intervention (AIS/RTI) plan received board approval Thursday night, after school district Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Christopher Brewer presented a summary earlier in the meeting.

Board Vice President Stephen Hampe called the updated version a “much more concise and user-friendly” model. The plan is geared to help make sure that for students, “falling through the cracks doesn’t happen,” he added.

The revisions involved merging ‘”two separate plans into one...for the purpose of being concise,” compared to previously much lengthier documents, observed school district Superintendent Peter C. Blake. One of the biggest struggles has involved consistency among school buildings and among teachers within buildings in terms of providing the services, he noted.

The plan now can be “easily understood by teachers,” Blake commented. He praised the efforts of district representatives, including Brewer and district Director of Instruction James DeAngelo among them, for their work on the plan. Several other administrators, teachers and support staff also took part and were acknowledged in Brewer’s presentation.

School districts provide AIS to students who score below the state-designated performance level and/or are at risk of not achieving the state learning standards. RTI involves a district’s process to determine if a student responds to research-based instruction.

The plan can involve three tiers of interventional academic services for students, with the third tier being the most intensive, Brewer told the board. He also outlined “entry and exit criteria” plus opportunities to “move on to lower tiers and eventually back to the regular classroom.”

Among various other points in his presentation, Brewer discussed an “if-then chart” including how to proceed depending on situations that may develop; some of the many examples cited were if a student does not respond to intervention in six to eight weeks; if a parent requests more services; if a teacher disagrees with a student’s Universal Screening scores or it is not consistent with other data.

Included are efforts to “try to create consistency,” said Brewer, referring to “situations to consider” and seeking to “tailor to individual needs of students.”

Among other components in the plan, said Brewer, are referral forms and parent letters, progress monitoring, ELL (English language learner) student resources, and an evaluation procedure.