Title I Tidbits

January 26, 2015

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The break seems miles ago, but I hope you had a chance to relax and rest over the holiday and enjoyed our bonus snow days. As we finish up our winter benchmarking and Tier meetings, we certainly needed that calm before the storm. Know the work that you are doing is the right work and that your efforts for our students are so appreciated and critical to their futures.

Remember too that your time with family equally or more important. I know how committed you are to your students; work to keep the balance and take time for your own families and for yourselves. As I have recently been reminded by unshakable bronchitis, working so hard you are rundown is not efficient nor effective. Take care of yourselves and let me know if I can help you in anyway.

~ Jenni


How did we do?

It was wonderful getting the chance to connect with you all at our January TILT meeting. A huge thank you to Melanie Payne and Suzie Kabeiseman for hosting us in their space and to Elaine Luckenbaugh for the delicious cookies and bottled water - what a treat!

Here are the data analysis results from that meeting:

Our fifth grade focus was:

  • to have 90% of students make ambitious growth in ORF, and 75% of students will score a 3 on retell, using 30+ words.
  • results were: 82.35% of students met the Ambitious Growth Rate goal. 35% scored 3 on the retell, with 73.5% of students using 30 words or more in their retell.

Our second grade focus was:

  • to move 84% of students to proficiency in NWF by January.
  • results (once we added the schools missing from the TILT meeting) were 62% of second grades proficient in NWF by January.

Some mitigating factors teachers felt helped to explain why we did not make our goals included chronic absences, and not providing enough instruction or scaffolding for meeting a 3 on retell.

As I reflected on our results some other challenges and questions came to my mind.

One challenge is that we did not have the opportunity to move through a traditional PLC cycle with these goals. Ideally we would have had at least one meeting between setting our goals and giving our final assessments, where we could:

  1. look at mid instruction data
  2. brainstorm and learn from one another, getting ideas from those who were showing success
  3. ask questions and get possible solutions to challenges (such as attendance issues)
  4. go back into our buildings with new strategies to try before our final data was collected

Unfortunately our schedule this time did not permit this best practice, I believe this may also have been a mitigating factor in our success.

Another challenge we face is how do our Title I teachers support students to meet academic goals when they are not the person delivering instruction? You have the most control over what you do, if the yellow zone goal revolved around your EAs how do you communicate and monitor them? What does our data say about how effective what we have been doing is? How can I help? Addressing these challenges will be critical to moving the dial on our students' growth.

As we look to set our next SMART goals during our next TILT meeting, be thinking about and be ready to share what works for you, what you would like to do ideally in your perfect world, and more generally what we can do to close the gaps we have in our practices.

OrRTIi TRAINING DEBRIEF: What is Individualization and how do I do it?

You have probably noticed on our RTI Decision Making Guidlines, the line that mentions Individualization. You may have wondered what exactly is meant by this and how can you accomplish it in your building?

At the December Oregon RTI training focused on students who are not making expected growth we looked closely at the individualization process. Below is a summary of what was covered.

First, rest assured, individualization is NOT individual 1 on 1 instruction a la Reading Recovery - wouldn't that be a luxury! Rather it is a process where by we look closely at the Instruction, Curriculum, Environment and Learner (ICEL) for the struggling student.

Individualizing can be thought of Tier II individual problem analysis on steroids. In the Individualization process the child's ICEL elements are systematically evaluated by Reviewing, Interviewing, Observing and Testing, you can remember this with the abbreviation: RIOT. When student is chronically not making acceptable growth, while the rest of their cohort has, and over 40 complete lessons have been given, we would look to "RIOT this student's ICEL."

The process involves Reviewing, Interviewing, Observing and looking at Tests for the child with ICEL components. However, Oregon RTI made us promise that we DO NOT TRY to do all of these with each ICEL for each student. Rather, choose 2 RIOT elements to review in 2 ICEL areas. For example how the instruction it is taught often has the biggest impact on students, selecting here generally gives a good bang for your buck. In reviewing instruction I might choose to do an observation and a review.

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RIOT Quadrants for Instruction: Choose 2 of the 4 RIOT quadtrants in instruction to investigate

Another critical high impact ICEL area is environment. OrRTIi shared an example of instructional minutes in an effective school vs a typical school. Classrooms with efficient transitions and high levels of engagement can easily fit in an additional month of solid learning in a year- see table below.

You will remember that behavior is found under the environment category of ICEL. OrRTIi asks that we really think about our behavioral expectations for students:

  • Are the behavior expectations clear?
  • Are they posted in the intervention space and are they visual and written?
  • Are they stated frequently in a positive way?
  • Are they followed through?
  • Do the students know the expectations - how do you know they know?
  • Does the student have the desire to follow the expectations?
  • Does the teacher or EA encourage positive relationships and interactions with peers?
  • What are the teacher/student interactions like?

Thinking about these environmental supports for students is another critical piece to the puzzle. Typically with environment, interview and observation are great places to start RIOTing.

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RIOT Quadrants for Environment

Note: RIOT quadrants for all ICEL aspects are available on the OrRTIi website, or you can ask me to share a copy of the document with you.

The Individualization process can seem like a lot of work. However Oregon RTIi reminds us that this job is to be divided and accomplished by many people. Principals, Title I teachers, classroom teachers, counselors, attendance secretaries, your RTI Coordinator - these are all people who may help get this work done.

Thinking of the above situation the teacher might review classroom work (often grade book data) and the RTI coordinator might observe the reading group on 2-3 occasions. The principal might interview the teacher and EA, and the school counselor could observe for environment. Divide and conquer this work, and give reasonable timelines (~2 weeks) to accomplish it.

Title I teachers need to keep in mind:

  • Insuring the intervention skills taught are matched to the students need.
  • The level of difficulty, we want it to be between 80-90% accurate during instruction, if they are less than 80% accurate the material is frustrational and too hard.
  • With Language Learners, insuring we are comparing like students to like students.
  • Supporting and insuring your EAs are meeting instructional expectations.

Principals, Oregon RTI reminds us that you look toward:

  • Classroom fidelity to the CORE. Oregon RTI identifies >80% fidelity to the CORE as strong fidelity*. Less than 80% fidelity is considered weak according to Oregon RTI. If instruction moves away from the CORE program it is hard to know if the student is getting access to the Big 5 in a systematic way, solid CORE is the biggest factor in student growth.
*Note: this is a recap of what Oregon RTI said at this training, as an administration team you may have come to different agreements about what fidelity to the CORE program looks like.

As Jon Potter our OrRTIi coach says...

"Grab your coat, grab your hat, YOU are the detective get out there and RIOT your ICEL!"

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OrRTIi TRAINING DEBRIF: Language Learners and RTI - Compare Like to Like

We know our English language learner populations are growing in Oregon. As we work to develop a culturally sensitive and responsive education system we need to be more contentious of how we use our data in RTI to support and understand ELL student growth in reading.

I recently sat with Karina Bruzzese, Gresham's ELL Director, to go over the information shared by Oregon RTI and to insure how they are focusing awareness is aligned with our district models. Below is an overview of this discussion and the conference information.


Just as all students are not the same, Oregon RTIi reminds us that not all native Spanish speakers are the same. When we look at progress monitoring data from ELL students we need to think about the 5Ls:
  • Native Language
  • Native Language proficiency
  • ELPA level
  • Length of time in school
  • Length of time in country

Each of these 5L elements impacts language development -reading, writing, listening and speaking.

When looking at RTI data we need to insure we are comparing like to like - comparing students with similar 5Ls. This is especially true if we were thinking that lack of growth in interventions could be a precursor for possible Special Education eligibility.

This can be a challenge in a school with smaller ELL populations. According to Karina, the majority of Gresham's ELL students are simultaneous bilinguals; students who learning both English and Spanish (in our case) at the same time at home. This is helpful for us in that many of our ELL students at a given ELPA will have similar 5Ls.

One practice we could incorporate, especially at schools with high ELL populations, is to flag ELL student data at a grade and ELPA level, and after analyzing intervention cohort growth, assemble these ELD students to see if we have any outliers. If we find our ELL students are not making the gains we hope and the students have a similar instructional need, we could look to shelter the intervention through use of the PLUSS scaffold, discussed last year.

Karina reminds us our biggest resource when you are wondering about a language learner's growth will be your building's ELD teacher. She also shared an overview of GBSD's ELL students:

  • Our biggest group of parents were born abroad, often in Mexico, with a range of education backgrounds. Some may have gone to school until 3rd or 5th grades, others may have had significantly more formal schooling. This can impact students in the level of academic vocabulary they are hearing at home in L1 (native language) and L2 (English).
  • Spanish is by far our most common ELL student L1, then we have Russian/Ukrainian, and Arabic is growing.
  • Many of our Arabic and Farsi speaking students are coming, for now, having attended school in L1.
  • Many of our African students, currently, tend to be refugees.

Director Bruzzese also mentioned the importance of digging into ELPA data domains. Not all ELPA 2s are the same; students may be stronger orally- scoring well in speaking and listening, but struggle with reading and writing, or vice versa. ELPA domaine history also plays a part, a student who has made gains year after year, even while staying a composite ELPA 2 is different from a student who has made no gains and is an ELPA 2.

It seems daunting, but I think for now, we can start with building our awareness of ELL student growth in interventions. Knowing that we will not do it perfectly, and possibly not consistently, but we will make an effort.

It's a beginning and that's a very good place to start.

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TITLE I TEACHERS ACTION ITEM: Differentiated Professional Development google doc.

One of the goals of the TILT meeting redesign was to focus on student learning and our own professional development. Now that we have the data analysis and SMART goal elements up and going in our TILT time, I want to circle back to professional development, and incorporate this into our TILT meetings. I believe we could have an average of 30-45 minutes of professional development each session.

This learning could be explicitly connected to our TILT SMART goals, or could be separate from them or we could do a combination of both.

We have a range of needs and interests and we have Title I teachers with specific skills and knowledge they might be willing to share with one another.

Here are some options we could explore:

  • book study - either as a big group, or in specialized differentiated groups.
  • article study - again whole or small group.
  • break out sessions - either as one offs, or sequential over time to dig deeply into a topic.
  • Teacher's lead the PD (in break out sessions, or by facilitating a chapter.)
  • Jenni/April/District people lead the P.D.
  • Bringing in a guest to lead some P.D.

This learning needs to be about you and fit your needs and interests. I have created a google doc and I would like you to add to this document during this next week. TITLE I TEACHERS CLICK LINK BELOW

On the 5th I will compile the results and begin to formulate what you want and how I can help make it happen. I will e-mail you overview of what you have chosen, and we will begin discussion and planning at the next TILT meeting.

I'm excited to see where we land with more explicit work as a Professional Learning Community!

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News From The Front!

This edition's News From the Front is coming to us from James Milliken at East Orient Elementary.

As you know the East Orient team is one of our buildings that is not identified as a Title I building. As such they have less EA support - a huge challenge when it comes time to DIBEL!

East Orient has worked hard this year and last getting their classroom teachers trained in giving the DIBELS assessments.

This year over half of the classroom teachers have volunteered to

Benchmark their own kids!

Each teacher is taking this on in their own way. Some grades are DIBELing everyone, some teachers are DIBELing just their red zone kids, some are benchmarking everyone below grade level, and some are choosing to have the EA team DIBEL their whole class. The choice is up to the teacher.

The end result was a quick turn around during the DIBELing window and increased understanding of student skill levels.

Fantastic job EOES team in using all hands on deck to get Benchmarking done!

And That's The Way It Is At East Orient Elementary!

TILT Meeting: Kelly Creek Elementary

Thursday, Feb. 11th, 1:30-3:30pm

2400 Southeast Baker Way

Gresham, OR

DRAFT Agenda:
  • TILT Meeting 2nd and 5th
  • Differentiated professional development facilitation and discussion
  • Job Alike, Title I room walk though

Don't forget to bring either your 2nd or 5th grade intervention group data (benchmark and PM data,) and computers!

Dr Jennifer Stackhouse - RTI Coordinator

The best way to reach me is via e-mail or cell 971-263-6636