CLINTON — Students in the intervention program at Northside Elementary are growing academically and exceeding goals.
“We are currently serving 119 students through interventions,” said Northside Principal Mandy Ambrose. “More than 85 percent of students being served in intervention scored at or above a level 3 on the third grade MAAP (state) test.”
The intervention program is designed to help struggling students by providing more intense instruction and one-on-one help.
Ambrose said that school-wide, the average growth for intervention students on the STAR reading test for just the first nine weeks equates to nine months of growth. Last year, Northside served 175 students in the intervention program — 98 in second grade and 77 in third grade. Of those, 78 percent needed intervention in reading, 9 percent needed intervention in math, and 13 percent needed intervention in both reading and math.
“My first step in helping my intervention students is to identify their areas of weakness,” said Northside intervention teacher Rebecca Sullivan. “The majority of my students need help with basic foundational skills so I teach phonics every day.”
This covers basic word decoding skills such as short vowels, blends, diagraphs and vowel teams. Sullivan said one of her third-graders has already shown tremendous growth this year, starting out at reading 64 words per minute and within five weeks of intervention, reading 98 words per minute.
“The fall semester reading goal for a third grader is 110 words per minute,” Sullivan said.
The same student has also grown in her reading level, from 1.9 at the start of the year to 3.0 within five weeks.
“This particular third-grader is a very hard worker,” Sullivan said. “She stays positive and keeps a smile on her face. She has developed a love for reading and truly wants to succeed.”
Sullivan said her overall goal is to close the achievement gap at Northside, and to see her intervention students perform well enough to return back to their regular classroom setting.
“As a third-grade Language Arts teacher, I have witnessed firsthand how intervention has been an integral part of our students’ success on the MAP test,” said Heather Boelke. “Intervention equips students with tools to be successful in the classroom, which results in an increase in their confidence.”
Boelke said one success story is a student who entered third grade reading below grade level. The student had not mastered skills from previous years.
“Through work with an interventionist in the early weeks of the school year, this student was able to close some of those gaps,” she said. “I began to notice an increase in the student’s confidence, which made a huge impact on test performance. I am incredibly grateful for the intervention team and their support.”