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ELC addresses issues with current 2nd grade

May 22, 2019
David Swartz - Managing Editor ( , Estherville News

Estherville Lincoln Central Superintendent Tara Paul and Demoney Elementary Principal Shane Kalous addressed questions about the current second grade students at Monday's school board meeting.

Parents have visited with the school board and administration during the past year about this class of students. A year ago, parents expressed concerns about dividing 66 students into three sections of second grade instead of four.

At the April board meeting, second-grade parents again expressed concerns that this class was falling behind.

Monday's presentation by Paul and Kalous talked about how school officials will address these issues. For the 2019-20 school year, this class will be in four sections.

The following questions and answers were displayed in a slide presentation.

Q: is there any other planned assistance for this grade? Additional aids? Additional Title 1 Reading Support? With the testing levels this class shows, trying to get a point where they are progressing at a standard level does not seem adequate enough. They have ground to make up and will need additional help to make the progress that is needed and more.

A: Opened up two sessions of summer school for the current second grade students going into third grade, with three teachers who will be teaching this. Currently Ms. Urdahl, who currently works with them as second graders, and Mrs. Christensen, who will be working with them next year as third graders, will serve as summer school teachers for this group. Guiding reading will continue to drive individualized instruction for all. Those above grade levels will continue to be serviced above grade level as well as at the grade level and below grade level. Since Mrs. Christensen serves all of third and fourth grade Title 1 students, we are currently in the process of looking at student numbers to make sure all students can be properly served in the T1 setting. If they cannot be properly served with the current set up, we will need to adjust our T1 service providers to accommodate all students who need to be serviced.

Q: At what point will be this class be reevaluated in the next school year? Will we as a district have the flexibility to adopt the plan to meet their needs if proficiency levels continue to lag behind?

A: Students who are served through Title 1 services and Special Education services will be monitored weekly. Students who are below grade level in Guided Reading expectations will have a weekly running record completed on them as well as Title 1 services and progress monitoring. Student reading data meetings will be held on a monthly basis. This monthly meeting will include grade level reading teachers, Title 1 teacher, principal, instructional coach, and Special Education teachers. These data meetings drive instructional decision making for the next month until the data is reviewed again.

Q: Is there a plan to address the need to challenge the students who have shown high proficiency levels and growth in this grade? Is expanded TAG or STEM time with these students a possibility?

A: Third grade TAG meets 60 minutes a week, which is double the mount from second grade. All third grade students attend STEM as a scheduled "special" for 45 minutes every fourth day. Guiding Reading will be at their instructional level and should be met with four days a week.

Q: Will the second grade class be re-evaluated throughout 2019-20 school year to see if there is additional needs to help (such as classroom aids, special ed teacher, etc.) to help them get caught up from low academic levels as well as the effects of the 2018-19 school year? And if so, what does that look like specifically: frequency, how will it be measured, and then communicated back for follow through to parents at a level they can understand.

A: The aides at Demoney are tied to high needs behavior and academic students, driven by IEPs (Instructional Education Plans). Student reading data meetings will be held on a monthly basis. This will include grade level reading teachers, Title 1 teacher, principal, instructional coach, and Special Education. The idea is being worked through to send progress monitoring graphs home monthly.

Q: Currently second grade has one title/intervention teacher next year 3/4th grade shares that position. What is the plan for the capacity expected for this position to reach all the title/intervention students?

A: The current Title schedule for next year in third and fourth grade will be able to serve 24 fourth graders and 28 third graders. There are currently 25 who have qualified to receive services in fourth grade next year and 27 third graders. This does not include move-ins, students who could qualify after the testing window in September, or students who are staffed out of reading special education. Students that cannot be served by the Title teacher will need to be serviced by the classroom teacher. When Intervention groups are decided, it is based on their needs. Intervention groups have to be in groups of four or less. Some groups will need to be less than four due to the academic needs.

Q: With the high level of special education children, and more transitioning, is there a plan around providing an additional special education teacher in elementary? Funding comes with special education, so we should have adequate funds to provide to all students that need the resource.

A: We have, based off of our May 15 meeting looking at caseload numbers for 2019-20, begun the process of advertising for an additional Special Education Teacher. 2019-20 is the year to review the District Developed Special Delivery plan by representatives from special education teachers, stakeholders, AEA and parent. This is a five-year plan and is used on a yearly basis by building principals and special education teachers for staffing needs and recommendations.



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