Friday, April 16, 2010

RtI and Interventions

We have been doing a school wide book study for the past three Early Release days on Richard Allington's What Really Matters in Response to Intervention. We are broken into about 12 small groups of 6-8 teachers. The groups are vertical with hopes of having many different views within each group. Each group has a facilitator. Nina Thomas, one of the facilitators established a wiki where each group could post some of their thoughts. Yesterday after our last book talk, the groups met together to share with each other 3-5 of the things that they thought should be considerations for next year. I am so proud of the thinking that has been going on in our building - the professional conversation in the hallways. I'm glad to be at a school where a Principal is not threatened by such a process but opens the doors for free thinking and creative solutions. While many schools are attending in-services to try to figure out how to get their faculties to "buy-in" to RtI, our school "bought in" a long time ago. We have had our own "intervention team" since the school was established, long before it was mandated. Although the paperwork is different now, the intent - of making a difference for our struggling readers - has always been the same. The law has made it all more complex and difficult to grasp but at the heart is the hope that we can provide the best possible reading program in our Workshop model to reach the most students and then provide specific intensive interventions for any that we miss. We are in solution mode at the Creek! As facilitators shared today there was a lot of thinking "outside of the box" such as
  • trying to get a late bus to run to our community of most at-risk students so that we can tutor them after school
  • taking all of the Science and Social Studies books in the building and reallocating them so that every grade level has books for EVERY reader on their level on the content topics that are covered on their grade level
  • a request for Math/Science teachers to learn non-fiction reading strategies while the Reading teachers requested the Science topics so that they can incorporate that content into their informational writing
  • a resource in addition to Music, Art and PE that would include Readers Theatre and Drama that could reinforce fluency
The list goes on and on with creative ideas and solutions. Next Wednesday the Admin Leadership Team will take that list that has been added to the wiki and go through every single suggestion. Many of the suggestions don't cost a dime! They just mean reallocating people or resources. Many of the ideas really ARE possible.

I guess this is what I love most about Chets Creek. We ARE going to make a difference. Thank you Richard Allington for pushing our thinking and for giving us, in a short and sweet summary, the best research has to offer us right now. We plan to use that knowledge to teach more and more children to read - just watch!

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