Title

Closing the Reading Achievement Gap at the Secondary Level: A Practical Approach

First Presenter's Institution

Colquitt County Schools, Georgia

Second Presenter's Institution

Colquitt County Schools

Third Presenter's Institution

Colquitt County Schools

Fourth Presenter's Institution

N/A

Fifth Presenter's Institution

N/A

Location

Percival

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Relevance

This session is directly related to strand 1, “Head”: Academic Achievement and Leadership – Closing achievement gaps and promoting learning for all children and youth. The session focuses on how 2 Title I secondary schools are using Extended Learning Time within the school day, to close the achievement gap for ALL students by using data to effectively match students with easy to implement evidence-based interventions. Outcomes after one year of implementation indicate students are making more than one year’s growth in Lexile (a measure for reading comprehension), which is imperative to closing achievement gaps for students performing below grade level. Leaders from the school and district will level will explain a practical approach to improving the literacy skills of all students within a large secondary school.

Brief Program Description

Secondary schools are often overwhelmed by the sheer number of students reading below grade level. Sadly, secondary educators are faced with either ignoring the problem or only intervening with a small number of students. In this session designed for educators, participants will learn how one school district is using a systematic approach within their secondary schools to improve the reading abilities of ALL students.

Summary

The newly signed ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) defines a Multi-Tier System of Supports as “a comprehensive continuum of evidence-based, systemic practices to support a rapid response to students’ needs.”

However, Secondary schools are often overwhelmed by the sheer number of students performing below grade level. Being tied to a massive master schedule in which the slightest tweak could cause a detrimental domino effect, large secondary schools are often left with the options of either ignoring the problem all together, or intervening with just a very small number of students. Most approaches to intervention at the secondary level require students to be scheduled into remedial classes, which means they lose access to electives and other classes that may peek their interest in a career pathway. In addition, students may quickly become disengaged when their schedule is filled with “double blocks” of reading and math.

In this session, one school district will share how they are using a systematic approach within their large secondary schools (over 1200 students) to improve the reading abilities of ALL students. This school district is home to the largest migrant population in the state, highest population of English Language Learners in its part of the state, and all schools within the district are Title I schools. Despite these barriers, this district is using the Multi-Tier System of Support/Response to Intervention framework as a means to overall school improvement, and finding positive outcomes after only one year of implementation.

The by implementing Extended Learning Time (ELT) within the school day, and using multiple sources of data from valid and reliable assessments, the schools are able to provide quick, yet targeted intervention to those in need, while providing enrichment to others. During ELT all students and all teachers within the school are involved in one of 4 evidence-based reading interventions/strategies.

A district level curriculum director will give an overview of the implementation model, and the research and evidence-based practices being implemented, then two school-level administrators will share their experiences with implementation. There will be a brief Q & A session following the presentation.

Evidence

The language of using a student’s response to intervention to make educational decisions can be found in the 2004 Reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and more recently the Every Student Succeeds Act refers to a Multi-Tier System of Supports as “a comprehensive continuum of evidence-based, systemic practices to support a rapid response to students’ needs.”

This presentation takes these theoretical approaches to improving student outcomes and provides a practical approach for large (or small) secondary schools.

Although this presentation is not about the specific interventions/strategies utilized, presenters will reference the evidence based interventions/strategies which are being utilized, and include: Peer Assisted Learning Strategies (Fuchs & Fuchs), Reciprocal Teaching (Palinscar & Brown), and The Differentiation Toolkit (Walpole & McKenna).

Possibly even more significant, is evidence of effectiveness we have found in our student outcome data at the local level. After only one year of implementation, the mean Lexile (measure of student reading comprehension) increased by 98L (6th grade) and 97L (7th grade) Lexile points. Whereas, expected growth for these groups of students based on the fall mean Lexile was only 52 – 60 points. These data indicate students made more than a year’s growth, which is vital in closing the achievement for students who are performing below grade level.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Tabathia S. Baldy is the Director of Response to Intervention and Positive Behavior Supports and Interventions for Colquitt County Schools in South Georgia. She specializes in school improvement and improving educational outcomes for students at risk. She has served in multiple roles in Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina including Special Education Director, Program Specialist for Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities, Multi-Tier System of Supports Coach & Coordinator, and Special Education Teacher.

Debra Lightsey is the Assistant Principal at Willie J. Williams Middle School in Colquitt County Schools in South Georgia. Prior to her role as Assistant Principal, she served as a Guidance Counselor at Charlie A. Gray Junior High School.

Frederick T. Smith is the Principal at Charlie A. Gray Junior High School in Colquitt County Schools in South Georgia. He has also served as a High School Assistant Principal in North Carolina, a 6-8 Grade Science Teacher, and an Instructor at a group home for persons with Autism. Prior to beginning his career in education, he served in the Army National Guard for 9 years.

Keyword Descriptors

RTI, Secondary, School Improvement, MTSS, Adolescent Literacy, Achievement Gap

Presentation Year

2017

Start Date

3-7-2017 8:30 AM

End Date

3-7-2017 9:45 AM

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Mar 7th, 8:30 AM Mar 7th, 9:45 AM

Closing the Reading Achievement Gap at the Secondary Level: A Practical Approach

Percival

Secondary schools are often overwhelmed by the sheer number of students reading below grade level. Sadly, secondary educators are faced with either ignoring the problem or only intervening with a small number of students. In this session designed for educators, participants will learn how one school district is using a systematic approach within their secondary schools to improve the reading abilities of ALL students.