Area of Nomination: Literacy
Traditionally a district with a higher classification rate for learning disability, Galway Central School District administration made a commitment to evidence based literacy instruction for all students and tiered intervention for students with disabilities or at risk. To accomplish that goal, the elementary school's staff have collaborated across general and special education and areas of specialty to create a process that has resulted in a rich instructional environment benefitting all students.
Joseph Henry Elementary School is a small rural school in Saratoga County. The school serves about 510 students in grades Kiondergarten through 4, about 23% of whom are eligible for free or reduced cost lunches. The elementary school student body is about 98% Caucasian.
Joseph Henry Elementary School practices a school-wide evidence based instruction and tiered intervention program for literacy instruction for all students.
Why was the practice initiated:
Joseph Henry Elementary School adopted a tiered intervention model for literacy instruction to ensure that all students received instruction designed to best meet their needs, with the goal that all students achieve literacy proficiency.
Why the practice was validated by S³TAIR:
With implementation of this practice, classification rates have
decreased; in the 2007-08 school year, 5 students (6%) of third graders
were students with disabilities, and 3 students (5%) of students at
grade 4 were students with disabilities. Even as evidence based
instruction and tiered intervention have prevented inappropriate
identification, progress monitoring data document increasing levels of
academic competence for those who are identified.
The school uses a computerized system accessible to all stakeholders for warehousing and simple analysis of data. During monthly meetings, the data based decision-making team uses the collected data as a source of information about students and about the success of tiered interventions. General and special educators collaborate with Academic Intervention Services (AIS) teachers to analyze data from the several sources in order to best match their intervention to specific student skill gaps and successes, determine movements within tiers of intervention, and inform the Committee on Special Education (CSE) decision-making process for referrals and annual reviews.
Professional development opportunities are also available to all stakeholders based on areas of need that arise out of the analysis of outcome data. The decision-making process is formalized in a detailed tiered intervention plan that incorporates precise entrance and exit criteria, targeted instruction goals and strategies, assessment requirements, and intervention timeframes. Early screening identifies students in need of intervention, and decisions about interventions are based on progress monitoring data from multiple sources. The district has funded positions for AIS teachers who collaborate with special and general education teachers in mining comprehensive assessment outcomes, allowing development of deep understanding of the learning characteristics and skill sets of all the students. AIS teachers also act as data managers for students they serve, with and without individualized education programs (IEPs), in English language arts (ELA) or math, and collaborate closely with special educators to ensure continuity of intervention and instruction. Data are collected across multiple sources, including NYS assessments and both formal and informal classroom assessments.