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 Marie Davis and Katie Taylor). 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, Jennifer Benjamin and Ashley Hellwig work with students with disabilities in grades K-6.
How are students identified as needing extra help?
Parents, teachers, students, and assessments all play a role in generating the class lists for academic intervention. Teachers make suggestions for extra help based on their observations of students in the classroom. No one knows the strengths and weaknesses of students better than the teacher! Students take state tests in English Language Arts and Mathematics every year beginning in third grade. When test results show a weakness, the student is provided extra help in that area. We also use a computer-based progress monitoring tool that tracks each student's growth in the areas of reading and math. We look at those results frequently as a team (the Response To Intervention team) and may provide extra help to students who are showing poor progress. Parents and students may also request extra help.
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 important 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 specific 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 inclusion and progress in AIS?
Parents are sent a letter at the beginning of the school year explaining what AIS is being provided and why. A progress update is included in the child's quarterly 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?
Student progress is checked frequently with progress monitoring, and state test results also play an important role in deciding to end AIS support for a student. Great care is taken in the decision to end AIS support. For some students, they will continue to do best with extra help in one form or another throughout their school years.