Great Bend students who started the year with skills below their grade level are catching up, thanks to interventions tailored to their needs. That was the message Jefferson Elementary Principal Art Baker and his team of teaching coaches shared at Wednesday’s school board meeting.
It is a message board members have heard throughout the year as they visited different schools. But with only one day of school left, Jefferson teachers were able to show how one actual student, who they called “Joey Third Grader,” was helped over the course of the year.
English language arts (ELA) coach Carla Maneth and math coach Janell Foote showed the board actual assessments for Joey. They explained how assessments were used to find where he need extra help, and where he needed a focused intervention by a team of teachers.
Superintendent Brad Reed compared it to a team of physicians.
“It becomes very much like a doctor-patient relationship,” Reed said. “It’s very, very specific: This is what you need to improve.”
Students who test at grade level are in Tier One, those who are slightly below that level are in Tier Two, and those who need intervention are in Tier Three. These groups may also be thought of as green, yellow and red, Baker said. The goal, which was mostly met in all grades for English and math, is to bring students in red or yellow zones up to the next level.
In the fall, Joey’s reading was slow and he couldn’t always decode words, so he was in the yellow zone. His math was in the red zone. He needed to work on computation and application.
Joey’s progress was monitored regularly, and by December he had improved. But there was also more to know by then, so he still needed extra help. His teacher was able to share test data with the School Support Team and Joey’s parents. The family agreed to take part in the Familes and Schools Together (FAST) program.
The final assessments of Joey’s reading and math skills came in the spring. His scores were all in the yellow or green zones.
This student has been recommended to attend the Kansas Reading Roadmap summer school program, and he will be monitored closely next year to make sure he stays on track.