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Administrator’s Corner: A building-wide intervention approach

Administrator’s Corner by Tonya Franks

Educators have always been driven to find instructional and engagement strategies that meet the needs of our students. At the elementary level, each building has historically had a team of educators dedicated to assisting teachers with meeting the needs of their students.  This team has had a variety of titles over the years from Problem Solving Team to Child Study Team to Intervention Team.  Regardless of the name, the purpose remains the same: to assist staff with struggling students and to provide assistance with planning interventions to meet student needs and success for growth.  

Tonya Franks

This year, Halverson has taken a different approach to what this team has historically been. Rather than a teacher bringing academic concerns to a team, we have designed a building-wide approach to academic interventions.  Using benchmark data from a variety of sources, we are able to determine students’ learning levels and individually tailor interventions to the students based on this information.  Halverson strategically identifies our human resources such as success coaches, math and Reading Corps tutors and educational assistants, to assist with implementation of a daily reading and math intervention for all students. All students, regardless of level -— on grade level, below grade level or above grade level, receive specific instruction based on their needs.  This allows students who need remediated instruction to receive an extra scoop or support, as well as providing enrichment opportunities to those students who may benefit from extended learning experiences and increased cognitive rigor.

Collaborative teams meet weekly, along with the building principal and the instructional coach, to look at data and discuss instructional strategies and interventions. Student groups remain fluid as we regularly monitor student progress through bi-weekly quick checks. We are able to make immediate adjustments based on the data. 

We are looking forward to continuing this approach in a non-COVID school year and have more flexibility with student groups and mixing of cohorts. A building-wide approach to intervention has been a welcome addition to our instructional model.  It helps focus our instructional efforts to truly meet the needs of each individual student. 

Tonya Franks is principal of Halverson Elementary School.