Frequently Asked Questions about Academic Intervention Services (AIS)
Who provides extra help to struggling students in the elementary grades?
There are two staff members who are responsible for providing AIS in reading and math for grades 1-3 (see A. Zerfas and S. Reed). For grades 4-6, Kelly McMahon works with classroom teachers to provide extra help in the four core areas: reading, math, science and social studies. In addition, Therese Pierce works with students with disabilities in grades K-6.
How are students identified as needing extra help?
Students take achievement tests and/or state tests every year beginning in kindergarten. When test results show a weakness, the student is provided extra help in that area. However, a recommendation for extra help can come right from the classroom teacher. No one knows the strengths and weaknesses of students better than the teacher!
Do students have to miss important time in the classroom in order to get extra help?
Every effort is made to avoid pulling a child out of the classroom during instructional time. Often, the intervention teacher works right in the classroom, side by side with the teacher, to provide extra time and attention to all students. When necessary, students are pulled out for special help in a quiet setting. This might by one-on-one or with a small group of students with similar needs. When a pull-out session is necessary, it is carefully scheduled with the classroom teacher to avoid having the student miss iimportant lessons.
What can parents do to help a child who needs extra help?
It is so important to communicate to your child that school is important, learning is exciting, and your future is wide open if you work hard in school. This message is the most powerful thing you can do to help your child succeed! The rest of the advice is what you've heard a million times before---read with them, talk with them about what they're learning, monitor their homework to make sure they're keeping up, and contact the teacher with any speicfic concerns. The most critical thing, without a doubt, is to show them that you expect hard work, and that hard work will pay off!
How are parents informed of a child's progress in AIS?
An update is included in the child's report card. Parents are also encouraged to call or make an appointment to visit with any concerns.
How is a child's progress monitored? Does (s)he ever "test out" of AIS?
Students are tested annually, both with achievement testing and the state tests. Performance on these assessments helps determine whether or not the student continues to need AIS. The teacher's recommendation is also taken into account, since frequent progress monitoring is done in the classroom.