Sibley East, this year, will be expanding its program to identify students having difficulties with reading and math.
For the past four years, Sibley East has participated in the Response To Intervention (RTI) program. The district received an $8,000 grant from the Minnesota RTI Center.
Mary Beth Schwirtz, program coordinator and master coach for the Minnesota Reading Corps, explained that Sibley East has had the program only in the elementary schools. The program will be expanded to preKindergarten and Junior High students this year.
Prior to the program, Sibley East had been giving interventions to students and benchmarking student progress.
As part of Response To Intervention, a problem-solving team was established. Data for each student is examined, and the student is matched up with the type of intervention to help him or her improve. The interventions have been small groups, such as Title I, or one-to-one interventions with paraprofessionals or the Minnesota Reading Corps. Progress is monitored each week.
Sibley East’s problem solving team meets monthly to look at graphs of every student’s progress. Students move in and out of the program, Schwirtz explained. Parents are notified and sign a letter approving of the interventions.
“Classroom teachers are wonderful by providing interventions in the classroom with students that may have some deficit,” Schwirtz said.
A key piece of the provide is to provide the intervention as soon as possible. By expanding the program, the only change will be that assessments and interventions will have to be developed for each age level.
Research has shown that approximately 75% of students identified with a reading problem in third grade are still reading disabled in ninth grade if not given an intervention. It is also estimated that the number of children who are typically identified as poor readers could be reduced by up to 70% through early identification and prevention programs.
Offering the Response To Intervention program is cost effective, Schwirtz says, because existing staff are used in different ways. The key, she said is to figure out the student needs and to try to get him or her up to grade level in reading and math. “The main thing is matching the intervention with the student,” she said.
More information is available on the Sibley East website.