Area of Nomination: Literacy
School: Corinth Elementary School
District: Corinth Central School District
link to district website
Grade Level: Elementary
When Corinth Elementary School participated in the Reaing First grant, staff gained skills in instruction and intervention, but realized that to reach all their students and improve outcomes for students with disabilities they would need to become proficient in use of data and tiered intervention with special attention paid to students with disabilities and those at risk of being identified.
Corinth Elementary School is located about 25 miles Northwest of Saratoga Springs. The school educates about 448 students in grades Kindergarten through 4, about 21% of whom are eligible for free or reduced cost lunches. The elementary school student body is also about 95% Caucasian.
Corinth Elementary School staff collaborate across general and special education and specialty areas to provide evidence based tiered intervention for literacy instruction for students with disabilities and their typical peers.
Why was the practice initiated:
Corinth Elementary School staff wanted to ensure that all their students would acquire the literacy skills necessary for successful academic performance. They built on skills developed through their Reading First grant to create a systematic practice with a commitment to data based decision-making with tiered interventions.
Why the practice was validated by S³TAIR:
Corinth Elementary School staff provide evidence based instruction and
tiered intervention for students with disabilities and those at risk of
identification through consistent and collaborative data based
decision-making. DIBELS is used as a primary data source for progress
monitoring, along with data from basal unit tests. Consistently
scheduled team/grade meetings are used to analyze data summarized and
charted by the reading coach. Decision making teams include the
principal, literacy coach, general education and special education
teachers, the director of student services and the school psychologist.
Teams review performance of all students, using a systematic approach to
identifying needs, planning for, implementing, and monitoring
interventions within a tiered system of increasing intensity.
Bringing all student performance to the teams allows students to be placed on a "watch" list, with subsequent data determining whether interventions will be needed. Students who have achieved intervention goals also are "watch listed" so staff can ensure success is maintained. The school has developed structures for data based decision-making team practice that streamline the process and make it efficient and effective.
Outcomes for students with disabilities on the New York State (NYS) English language arts (ELA) Assessment have risen steadily with the implementation of the collaborative data based decision- making process for literacy instruction and intervention. In 2005-06, 30% of 3rd grade students with disabilities achieved level 2 on the ELA assessment, and 70% achieved level 1; in 2007-08, 17% of 3rd grade students with disabilities achieved level 3, 23% achieved level 2, and 33% achieved level 1. Improvements also occurred at 4th grade. In 2005-06, 30% of 4th grade students with disabilities achieved level 2 on the ELA assessment, and 70% achieved level 1; in 2007-08, 12% of 4th grade students with disabilities achieved level 3, 41% achieved level 2, and 47% achieved level 1.
With the implementation of an evidence based decision-making process and tiered intervention strategy for literacy instruction, the number of students identified in the primary grades as having a disability based on literacy issues also has declined. Students are identified only when it is clear that even with rigorous implementation of increasing levels and intensity of instruction and intervention, their progress will not be sufficient to allow them to achieve proficiency as readers. The staff support these learners through evidence-based instruction informed by analysis of data from Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS), basal unit tests, and the NYS Assessments in ELA. As a result, the number of referrals to Committee on Special Education has declined by more than 50%, and declasifications have risen from 2 in 2006-07 to 9 in 2008-09.