In the Spotlight: Whisconier Middle School, Brookfield

Submitted by Tom Foote, Technical Assistance Provider

During the fall data review, Whisconier Middle School drilled down into its reading data and noted only 56% of its fifth grade students were at goal in reading as measured by the DRP. The school’s Leadership Team set a yearlong goal to improve that metric.

Using a Root Cause Analysis fishbone, the Leadership Team looked at four potential causal areas: Learners/Curriculum, Teacher/Teaching Process, Content/Subject, and Context/Setting. The Technical Assistance Team from SERC worked collaboratively with the Leadership team to facilitate the process Whisconier Middle School would undertake for the year. This process involved a drill-down approach to each causal area, with a specific focus on students requiring targeted and intensive interventions. Areas measured were Effectiveness of Core Instruction, Effectiveness of Targeted Interventions, and Effectiveness of Intensive Interventions. Strategies were implemented using specific programs (i.e., Read Live, My Sidewalks, ReadWorks, and Quick Reads) with dedicated time to increase the frequency, intensity, and duration of support for those scoring below the benchmark.

Ongoing progress monitoring occurred throughout the year. At a year-end data review, the Technical Assistants and Leadership Team reviewed the data and found that 76% of the 5th graders were now at or above goal in reading as measured by the DRP. This gain demonstrated how a laser-like focus on students with specific deficits in reading can yield positive growth and gains for struggling readers at the middle-school level.

This approach is worth replication in other SPDG sites in Connecticut.

Published: April 22, 2015