Monthly Archives: June 2009

RTI Fizzle Out or Success in Secondary Schools

Article in Education Week on the success of RTI in a specific secondary school in Colorado.

“Response to intervention” as a model for boosting student achievement has taken off like wildfire.”

“When it comes to research on how best to implement the process for students in middle and high school, though, the flame abruptly fizzles out. There’s little RTI research that is specific to secondary schools, although it has been well studied at the elementary level.”

“But many schools are forging ahead.”

Please click here to read more .  . .

‘What Works’ Guide Gives RTI Thumbs Up on Reading’

Article in Education Week about the use or Response to Intervention to identify children needing extra help with reading.

“The Federal Institute of Education Sciences has released a practice guide on reading instruction and “response to intervention,” lending its stamp of approval to a process that has already been widely adopted by schools and districts.”

“A strong response-to-intervention, or RTI, program for early-childhood reading should include screening of all pupils, small-group instruction three to five a times a week for children who are struggling, and monitoring of those struggling students at least once a month to see how they are responding to the intensive lessons, according to the guide. It was published on the ies Web site on Feb. 18 through the What Works Clearinghouse.”

“At the same time, said Mr. Gersten, “this multi-tiered system has the advantage of being efficient” in providing instruction to students who need extra help. And overall, the guide offers practical advice for schools and could serve to advance the RTI process, he added.”

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Below the Bar: Why We (Can’t) Forget Students Left Behind

Excellent Article out of www.teachermagazine.org on children who get overlooked, when common sense indicates different actions.   The article is about how a high school teacher finds an unintended consequence of the push for accountability: The students who need the most help often end up getting the least.

‘I opened a folder in which I had placed a printout of Shawn’s abysmal scores on the standards-aligned Measures of Academic Progress Test. Before I could make my move, however, Shawn’s mother leaned forward and looked me squarely in the eye. “I heard that before,” she said. “That’s why he has that IEP thing from back in middle school. But let me tell you, it don’t do no good, because the problem is that he’s plain lazy. He’s failing every one of his classes. You got a solution to that?”

“There are a lot of students like Shawn, and the problem for them is twofold. First of all, they were left behind long ago by failing schools and failing school systems. It is hard to imagine how students who can barely decode multi-syllable words could be promoted to high school, but it happens. Theoretically, their needs should be addressed by special education programs, but in schools like mine, these programs are chronically overloaded and underfunded.”

“What needs to happen involves some tough honesty. All of us—teachers, administrators, policymakers, and parents—need to acknowledge that even as our public schools become more rigorous, there will still be students with serious skills-deficits who come up through the system and must be served. We need to find resources for them and we need to think realistically about . .  .”

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Is it OK to Use Restraints?

Discussion in www.teachermagazine.org forums on restraints.

According to a recent government report, the use of violent restraining and secluding techniques by teachers with children with special needs has led to hundreds of deaths and injuries of school children over the last twenty years. In one particular case, a foster child, who had been abused by his biological family, was suffocated by his teacher after he disobeyed her request for him to sit down.”

Please Click Here to read discussion.

Preferred Uses of Stimulus Aid – Special Education

Article in Education Week, April 7, 2009.

After delivering a stern warning that states and school districts must use their federal stimulus money smartly or risk losing billions more, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and his staff are starting to spell out exactly what they mean by “smartly.”

Career coaches for graduating special education students. Summer programs to get students ready for algebra coursework. Smartboards and other interactive technologies to improve instruction. The list of the department’s suggestions, first unveiled at a meeting with 150 or so education organizations earlier this month in Washington, goes on.

Spending Priorities

The U.S. Department of Education has outlined ways school districts should use their shares of the federal stimulus package, which could provide up to $100 billion for K-12 education over two years. The main chunks of money flowing to districts come from several pots, and many of the suggestions below can be funded through multiple sources.

Title I

• Identify and use effective teachers as coaches and mentors.
• Create summer programs for algebra and other college-prep courses.
• Partner with colleges and nonprofit groups to create early-college programs.
• Close low-performing schools and reopen them with new staffs, new programs, and additional learning time.

State Fiscal Stabilization Fund

• Create new, fair, reliable teacher-evaluation systems based on objective measures of student progress and multiple classroom observations.
• Train educators to use data to improve instruction.
• Purchase instructional software, digital whiteboards, and other interactive technologies and train teachers in how to use them.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

• Offer training and dual certification for teachers of English-language learners and students in special education.
• Implement online individualized education programs (IEPs) aligned with state academic standards.
• Hire transition coaches to help graduating high school seniors find employment or get postsecondary training.