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Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

Lending a hand

New program provides intervention for students

By Tom Stankard

Parkway Local Schools intervention specialist Brandy Cairns recently teaches Eng. . .

ROCKFORD - To help students receive more individualized learning this school year, Parkway Middle School officials revised how they group their students.
Middle School Principal Brian Woods said last week the district has divided its fifth- through eighth-grade students with disabilities into sections based on their grade level. These students had been grouped into one program.
The school's four intervention specialists are now able to spend more time with the students and can provide more effective intervention, he said.
An intervention specialist works with students who have learning disabilities to help them be successful and tackle their weaknesses, Woods explained.
During the school day, students have an 80-minute exploratory period, during which they can explore science, technology, engineering and math activities, such as robotics and future careers.
Students with special needs spend part of that time in groups of two or three with an intervention specialist.
In the classroom, intervention specialist Brandy Cairns was teaching English language arts to fifth-graders, helping them learn to use the computer program "Read Live."
The program has students listen to a story multiple times and then answer questions about the story. Students use the program three times per week, she said.
By working with only three students, Cairns said she is able to better meet their individual needs and help them succeed in their regular classes.
"This program works at their independent level," she said. "I've got kids working anywhere from third- to fifth-grade levels. They're working on the strategies at their independent level in order to get stronger and continue to move up."
Down the hall, intervention specialist Beth Streib was helping a student learn coordinate grids. On a typical day, Streib said she likes to review students' homework to help them refresh their memory. Students also can go over what they're going to learn in later classes.
Woods said the middle school's gifted students also spend this 20-minute period with a gifted intervention specialist who helps them expand their education "beyond what they learned in regular classroom."
Gifted intervention specialist Katie Kraner was teaching a couple of students who excelled in reading about text structure. She said she's helping the students expand on what they've learned in the classroom that day by having them read stories and analyze text structure.
Kraner then had the students explain how the text could be written in different ways.
"This should help them surpass what they've done in the classroom by providing them with more information," she said.
Woods said these changes seem to be working.
"I think everyone's been very pleased with this new program," he said. "I haven't heard any complaints so far. Things are going well."
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