Often, on a fall Monday morning, our “water cooler” conversations are often focused on weekend sporting events. Everyone has their opinion and everyone has their favorite team.
Recently, I discovered my new Monday morning favorite team as I sat at a table with our Response to Instruction/Intervention (RtI) team. This team is composed of a child’s classroom teacher and Title I aide along with our reading specialist, RtI aide, guidance counselor, school psychologist, and me. Inherently, part of our process is to look at previous goals and review the data that has been collected to monitor progress. Students are more than data points though and our conversations encompass much more as we assist students.
Everyone at the table is able to offer at least one experience with a student that highlights their personality, social interactions, or overall emotional state beyond academic performance. In a conference that can last 10 to 30 minutes, a true picture of a student is created. Yes, new goals are set and interventions are determined to support student success. More importantly, others have taken notes to counsel a student, call a parent, contact the school nurse, or research additional information. This process repeats for over 15 percent of our student population and occurs several times a year when the team reconvenes. It’s a powerful practice employed by not only our school but those in our district and elsewhere. It takes a team.
The team is bigger though. Our High Ability (HA) aide provides challenges for our students Monday through Thursday. When not working with her HA students, she also supports other learners in the regular classroom. Our high school cadet teachers work one-on-one with students of all levels. Even our music, art, and physical education teachers can be found during the day to work with groups of kids on academic skills. Most recently, one of our cafeteria workers has been assisting teachers in translating for a student who is learning English. It takes a team.
In my short career, I have been given the gift of working with every building level in our district. Teams abound in special programs such as Bridges, International Baccalaureate, peer conflict resolution, or community mentor programs. These teams have a common unwritten goal of helping kids now to get them across the stage at graduation. Getting them there takes a team.
My daughter is in preschool and is presented with the first team who will be guiding her. What other teams will cross her path along the way? What will my role as a parent be in those teams? I don’t know the answer to those questions yet, what I am certain of though is that it will take a team.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.