Area of Nomination: Literacy
School: Sachem Central School District - District wide
District: Sachem Central School District
Region: Long Island
Grade Level: District Wide
The practice is also featured as a Mentor School.
When a New York State Education Department Special Education Quality Assurance (SEQA) Focused Review identified significant concerns with literacy outcomes at the secondary level, district staff responded with data based literacy practices that eventually grew to include students in Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade.
Sachem Central School District serves over 15,000 students in Suffolk County on Long Island in12 elementary schools, four middle schools, and two high schools. About 8% of students are eligible for free or reduced lunch costs. About 1% of students are African American, 6% are Hispanic, and 4% are Asian. Sachem's Needs to Resource Categorization is Average.
Sachem Central School District staff have developed a district-wide evidence based model for literacy instruction with multiple sources of data for decision-making. With access to several scientifically based programs and practices and a wide range of progress monitoring tools, teachers work collaboratively to determine the best supports and interventions for students with disabilities across the continuum of service delivery options.
Why was the practice initiated:
Sachem Central School District adopted a district-wide evidence based literacy instruction model to improve outcomes for students with disabilities.
Why the practice was validated by S³TAIR:
Sachem Central School District initiated an evidence based literacy program to improve outcomes for students with disabilities at the secondary level. Early success for secondary students encouraged the district to expand the practice, which now begins in Pre-Kindergarten and includes a four-week Monday-Thursday summer "Jump Start" program for pre-kindergarten students identified through evidence-based screening procedures.
Sachem Central School District now is meeting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and State Performance Plan (SPP) indicators performance of students with disabilities in English language arts (ELA). Outcomes for students with disabilities on the New York State Assessment in ELA have risen consistently between 2005-06 and 2007-08: the 2005-06 grade 3 cohort increased achievement at level 2 from 47% to 52% and achievement at level 3 from 35% to 44%. Improvement at grade increased as well, with the greatest improvement occurring at grade 7 where achievement at level 3 rose from 14% to 36%.
Outcomes at the secondary level also improved, The percentage of students with disabilities achieving a score of at least 55 on the New York State Regents examination in English increased from 68% in 2005-06 to 89% in 2007-08, and the percentage of students with disabilities graduating with a Regents diploma increased from 39% 2005-06 to 51% in 2007-08.
Students with disabilities receive evidence based literacy instruction
across the continuum of service options; instruction in special class
settings parallels general education classroom instruction, facilitating
movement within the intervention tiers as students gain skills. Progress
monitoring data are collected on a predetermined schedule aligned with
intensity of intervention, and used to inform instruction at the
individual level. These data as well as data from periodic
curriculum-based probes inform systemic decision-making at the
classroom, school and district level. Reading specialists push in to
provide support and help monitor fidelity of implementation. At the
district level, Wilson-certified reading specialists provide
professional development and technical assistance.