Areas of Nomination: Literacy & Special Education Instruction
School: Marguerite Mulvey Elementary School
District: Central Islip Union Free School District
Region: Long Island
Grade Level: Elementary
The practice is also featured as a Mentor School.
Marguerite Mulvey Elementary School, a bilingual magnet school in the Central Islip School District, has responded successfully to the needs of their bilingual students with disabilities. Literacy instruction is provided in both English and the students' native language and aligned with scientifically based reading research and evidence based practice for language acquisition.
Central Islip Union Free School District, located in Suffolk County, Long Island, serves approximately 6,200 students. Fifty-seven percent of district students are eligible for free or reduced lunch, and 26% are limited English proficient. Seventy-eight percent of the almost 600 students enrolled Marguerite Mulvey Elementary School are eligible for free/reduced lunch, 77% percent are Hispanic or Latino, 18% are Black or African American, and 4% are white.
The bilingual special education model at Marguerite Mulvey Elementary School includes a first grade inclusion class and two self-contained classes (a multi-age class service 2nd and 3rd grade students and a 4th grade classroom). The literacy model incorporates the tenets of Reading First as well as specific research based strategies for differentiation and individualized learning. Data collection and analysis guide instruction at all levels with decisions being made collaboratively by a multidisciplinary team. Teachers, administrators, service providers, and support staff collaborate at regularly-scheduled team meetings to discuss individual student and classroom instructional options as well as to make programmatic decisions.
Why was the practice initiated:
Marguerite Mulvey Elementary School serves as one of the district's magnet schools for bilingual students. The bilingual special education program was created in response to the increasing number of referrals of bilingual students to the Committee on Special Education. This transitional bilingual model was designed to address the unique needs of students with disabilities who are not native English language speakers. The model incorporates scientifically-based reading instruction and evidence-based practices enhanced by special education supports and services, allowing students to achieve English language proficiency while learning skills in their native language.
Why the practice was validated by S³TAIR:
The Marguerite Mulvey Elementary School bilingual special
education model for literacy emphasizes two key elements of
effective instructional practices for English language learners:
student achievement and family engagement. Student outcomes
demonstrate the power of the practice, with the percentage of
students achieving benchmark at the fall assessment in Grades 2
and 3 increasing from 20% to 50% since the inception of the
practice, indicating that students are acquiring literacy skills
and retaining them year to year. Student achievement on winter
benchmarks is approaching 70%. Scores on the New York State
Assessment in English Language Arts for all students at
Marguerite Mulvey Elementary School have risen from 40 to 60
percent achieving proficiency in Grade 3 and 30 to 70 percent
achieving proficiency in Grade 4 from 2007 to 2009. According to
teachers, this data-intensive model allows them to use more
individualized instructional practices with all their students,
resulting in a reduction of referrals to the Committee on
Special Education. Special education teachers report that the
availability of data serves as a resource for developing more
specific and appropriate IEP goals.
The staff at Marguerite Mulvey Elementary School recognize the impact family support can have on student performance, and put great effort into involving families throughout the year. In addition to a consistent stream of communication through newsletters, strategies such as informational sessions, dine and discuss forums, and other community-related events are successful elements of this support. Student attendance at Marguerite Mulvey Elementary School has increased from 83 to 96 percent over the past six years, and the principal describes discipline issues as almost nonexistent. Staff believe that improvements in attendance and achievement can be attributed to increased engagement, expectations, and achievement gained through family support.