Elementary School Learning Support
Academic/Learning Support Services Guiding Principles
Student Support Services in the Elementary School offer academic assistance primarily to students in first through fifth grades. TAISM’s elementary Student Support program is staffed by a licensed special education teacher as well as trained paraprofessionals. TAISM’s goal for the program is to move students toward greater engagement and independence in their general classroom environments by providing academic support for students with mild to moderate learning disabilities.
At TAISM, we believe:
- Every child is capable of learning. Differentiated instruction helps each student achieve his or her potential.
- Students have individual learning styles which, when utilized, help them achieve learning objectives more efficiently.
- Developing the “whole child” results in students who are able to actively engage in their environments.
- Students grow when they are in an atmosphere that both encourages and challenges them to take risks in learning.
- Fostering internal motivation and self-awareness maximizes learning.
Eligibility for Learning Support Services
Students are eligible for Learning Support Services when they are proficient in the English language and also identified as being one grade level behind their peers in at least one of the areas of Mathematics and Language Arts. Eligibility for services may be identified during the admissions process or after a child is enrolled in school.
Admissions for Students Needing Academic/Learning Support
During the admissions process, a student may qualify for the Learning Support Services program and gain admission to the school. TAISM considers students who require additional academic support for admission if a student is no more than one academic year behind their grade level peers and requires no more than one period of additional academic support per day. Admission is also based upon the school’s ability to meet the needs of the individual student with the resources that are available.
The process for determining whether a student is eligible for these services may involve an assessment administered at the school site as well as a review of the student’s academic records, including an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or similar records indicating that continued academic support is needed. When a student enters TAISM with a current IEP, efforts are made to provide services as designated, as long as the amount and type of services required can be provided by available resources.
Child Study Team
Students currently enrolled at TAISM may be considered for services if they are referred by a classroom teacher or parent. This process is facilitated by the Child Study Team (CST), a group of professionals with a range of expertise.
Classroom teachers are encouraged to bring academic or behavioral concerns to the team, which meets weekly. The team works collaboratively with the classroom teacher to develop teaching strategies or other interventions to support the child. They may make a recommendation for additional support in or out of the general classroom. At times, the team refers the child’s parents to an outside resource, in order to gain more information about the child’s specific needs. After a plan of support has been initiated for a student, the team regularly reviews the student’s progress and continues to be involved in collaborative decision-making.
In addition, TAISM has an English Language Learners Program (ELL) for Elementary Students.
Determining a Support Plan
All services are based on the student’s identified areas of need. After a student is determined eligible for services, the Student Support teacher works with the classroom teacher and the parents to write a Student Support Plan. The plan includes the amount, type, and duration of services to be provided, measurable goals and objectives. Goals and strategies to support the student are done in collaboration with the staff at TAISM and the support of the parents. Older students are also asked for their input and are involved in monitoring their progress. Progress toward goals and objectives are measured, recorded and reported at the end of each trimester. The plan is reviewed and updated at least once per year. Options for support services range from least to most restrictive, and may include:
- consultation between support teacher and general education teacher,
- provision of support in the general education classroom by a trained assistant,
- co-teaching between student support teacher and general education colleague,
- individualized or group pull-out from general education, or
- comprehensive instruction in one or more core subjects delivered by student support teacher in a self-contained class.
The most common service model is a combination of support both in and out of the general classroom. Pull-out support may be provided in place of a world language class every other day. Students receiving this level of support at not able to take a Foreign Language. Push-in support (assistance in the general classroom) is provided based on academic need areas. Placing students in the least restrictive environment is a priority.
In addition, technology, an integral component of our elementary curriculum, is utilized as one of many tools for bringing differentiated learning opportunities to all of our students in a motivating, child-friendly way.
The student support teacher is licensed to administer diagnostic assessments in reading, written language, and math, for the purpose of developing appropriate instructional programs. Other assessments can be obtained from outside resources, some of which are available locally. The student support teacher and the elementary counselor are able to assist parents in contacting the appropriate professionals.
When services from an external consultant (such as a speech and language therapist) are required, it is the responsibility of the parents to pay for the service. On the occasion that a student requires additional academic support exceeding one hour per day, an additional fee may also be levied by the school.
When students are able to achieve grade level expectations, services are discontinued. This is done in conjunction with the staff and parents. Options for changes in the services for students include fully exiting the program, revising or reducing services or discontinuing services under observation and review by staff. All options are considered in the context of what will be the greatest and most appropriate support for the student.
After Elementary School, students and parents at TAISM will experience a reduction in the amount of support available when transitioning to the sixth grade with the expectation that students will be more independent in their work. However, every effort is made to ensure a smooth transition. Each spring, the principals, counselors, student support teachers, and general education teachers from respective school divisions meet to discuss specific student needs. Written documentation of modifications and current instructional goals are passed on. Together, the elementary and secondary student support teachers meet with each transitioning student and his or her parents.
Reporting Student Progress
Progress is reported on the standard progress report three times a year along with the updated Student Support Plan identifying the progress on the goals for the student.
Student progress is also shared in two scheduled parent-teacher conferences. Conferences provide the opportunity to discuss and/or clarify grading and commentary included in the report card as well as identify any new learning needs. Parents are welcome to schedule additional conferences as necessary.