Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

March 11, 2014

Innovative Educator: Data-driven instruction

Northwestern program identifies the needs of each student


“The success of this program shows in the statistics and is the No. 1 motivator for us as educators at NES,” Dill said. “Our staff is excited to be a part of something that has such a positive impact on our students.”

That positive impact is showcased at the fifth- and sixth-grade honor roll breakfast, said first-grade teacher Kim Cunningham. It’s rewarding to see students who needed intervention in previous years then make the honor roll, she added.

Cunningham and the rest of the teachers in the core RTI group praised Dill’s efforts in helping get the RTI program started and building it up in the past three years.

Third-grade teacher Kimberly Maynard works with Dill on the RTI team, and her children also were in Dill’s class. She appreciates Dill’s teaching style as well as leadership skills.

“One of the things I admire about her as a teacher is she is a learner,” Maynard said. “In my opinion, one of the core components of a good teacher is they see themselves as a learner.”

Dill turns the credit back to her co-workers.

“Every nice, big idea only becomes a great plan when you have cooperative staff,” she said. “Our staff is intentional in making a difference in kids’ lives.”

Education reporter Lauren Fitch can be reached at 765-454-8587, by email at lauren.fitch@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @LaurenBFitch.

Progress by the numbers 46 - The number of first graders who were identified as needing strategic or intensive intervention, based on scores on a reading test taken at the beginning of the school year. 30 - The number of minutes each group spent on skill-specific interventions, in addition to general classroom instruction. The intensive group met more often than the strategic group. 57 - The percentage of those first graders who now have shown a year's growth in reading. Thirty-nine percent are reading at a second-grade equivalency or higher. Northwestern Elementary's RTI resources · Scott Foresman Reading Street is the adopted reading curriculum. It is research- and state-standard based and includes materials for RTI and different ability levels. · Mclass state assessment for grades K-2. It provides detailed skills assessment in the five main areas of reading instruction. · STAR Reading and Accelerated Reader. The assessment measures students' reading comprehension and assigns a grade level equivalency. · FCRR.org. The Florida Center for Reading Research website offers interventions based on skills on state standards. · Candohelper.com. The website provides support material for teaching students the 300 words most commonly recognized by sight, known as FRY words. · Apps. NES is a 1:1 technology school, so students can download apps to their iPads that customize word lists and read aloud to them. Additional reading material: · Daily 5 and Readers CAFÉ by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser. · Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz, M.D. · Differentiating Learning Differences from Disabilities by John Hoover. · Mosaic of Thought by Ellin Olier Keene and Susan Zimmerman. Additional websites: · Readinglady.com · Pinterest for ideas for skill-specific activities and visual aids. · Teachers Pay Teachers, an online store where teachers make and sell material specific to different skills. Those interested in more specific information can contact NES principal Ron Owings at ronald.owings@nwsc.k12.in.us or assistant principal Jim Gish at james.gish@nwsc.k12.in.us.

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