In May 2014 Jefferson Elementary was recognized with the highly respected title of “Featured Success Story” from Wisconsin RtI (Response to Intervention) Center. There are only 3 elementary schools in the state so far (including Jefferson) that have been acknowledged. Bill Klein, Jefferson Principal, said, “Our outstanding attributes include having such great gains this spring with our ELL population, our staff investment and data driven instruction with full transparency. Everyone knows their score, and knows everyone else’s too. We’re all in this together.”
RtI is a process for achieving higher levels of academic and behavioral success for all students through high quality instruction, continuous review of student progress, and collaboration.
The purpose of the Wisconsin RtI Center’s Featured Success Stories & Resources program is to:
- Recognize the hard work that many Wisconsin schools have done to date in putting RtI processes and practices in place,
- Promote peer-to-peer sharing of RtI implementation efforts,
- Provide Wisconsin schools with easy-to-locate, practical resources developed and recommended by colleagues across the state, and
- Provide resources aligned to Wisconsin vision for RtI.
A Jefferson RtI Success Story
She glanced at her MAPS score and looked at her teacher with a quiver in her lips. “Do you understand what that means? Do you know what you did?” her teacher asks. She nods quietly, and then suddenly a slow smile spreads across her face. “ Yes,” she whispers. “I’ve gone from a 5th percentile to a 57th percentile. I did that.” Yes she did!
At Jefferson Elementary, we are challenged and gifted with one of the most diverse populations in the state. Sheboygan is home to a Hmong refugee settlement, along with students of Latino and African American heritage that gives the school a rich cultural diversity. Being that Jefferson has a considerable English language learner community, we face unique obstacles in lifting up our students that other schools do not have, but Jefferson is proving capable.
In the second year of RtI implementation, most of the district is implementing systems and supports at this stage, while also starting to refine some of their practices. Jefferson Elementary had a vision that they needed to reach further and dig deeper to meet the needs of their students with the urgency that their students deserved.
So the RtI team made some major decisions for the building. Knowing these changes would be a huge cultural paradigm shift for the staff, they nevertheless plunged ahead.
Principal Bill Klein at the helm, decided to:
To ensure high quality universal instruction, Klein understood that having RtI support is one thing, but the majority of quality instruction happens in the classroom. Bill Klein worked feverishly to receive grant funding to provide a very low teacher-to-student ratio along with many additional support staff.
With ELL and RtI staff, Klein wrote even more grants to provide the school with two RtI coordinators certified as Math and Reading Specialists, four ELL teachers trained in both math and reading intervention.
• Be a comprehensive data driven school:
It became very apparent that there needed to be a way to manage the large amount of data collected from each student so that trends and patterns could be tracked over the years with very little surprises. With a huge leap of faith, Jefferson took their data and was completely transparent with each other. Everyone knew their classroom’s scores, and they knew everyone else’s too. The positive behavior intervention (PBIS) personnel started to collaborate with the RtI team to show the staff a positive correlation with PBIS compliance and improved academic growth. Strengths and areas of improvement were highlighted, teachers reached out, collaborated or celebrated. Staff educated themselves on making decisions based on data trends and interpretation.
The transition was an intimidating challenge but much needed. The entire staff put their personal comfort aside and put the gains of their students ahead of themselves. It proved to be worth it. Bill Klein stated, “We’ve never seen gains like this before. Since last year, our reading achievement has grown 6.1% and our math achievement has grown a whopping 10.79%. We are so proud of our students and our staff.”
5th graders from Jefferson learn multiple problem solving strategies for CGI word problems during Math RtI time
Story submitted by Johanna Groene
Jefferson Reading and Math Interventionist/RtI Coordinator
This Success Story will be published on the Wisconsin RtI Success website and in their in June newsletter at www.wisconsinrticenter.org/educators/rti-in-action/success-stories.html.