Strategies for Student Success 2015 - Page 13

comprehensive RTI2 process ensures instructors don’t get so caught up in the struggles of some students that others are neglected, and it also provides additional challenges for kids who would benefit. Third- and fourth-grade students use personal data binders to track academic goals and progress. RTI2 assessments, benchmarks, weekly progress, graphs, and reports are all included. So are student goals, which pupils are taught to articulate and document themselves. Younger students participate on a smaller scale with data folders. Students meet one-on-one with their teachers every six weeks to check in on progress and clarify objectives. Teachers have the opportunity to make sure that goals – and planned steps forward – are clear and reasonable. “The student conferences with my teacher have really helped me this year,” said fourth-grade student Gillian Melton. “I know what she expects me to do and we make a plan to reach the goal.” For Ms. Cantrell, the conferences and binders hold students accountable for their own progress, taking some pressure off the student-teacher relationship and allowing kids and educators to work as a team. The binders make it clear to students that progress is being made, showing growth and demonstrating capabilities. Close tracking of individual progress also informs Ms. Cantrell’s instruction and ensures that she recognizes each student as an individual. “I know the student, and the student knows that I know them,” said Ms. Cantrell. “I know the areas that they need to improve. I know their strengths. I know their weaknesses. It helps me know them at such an individual level that I’m better equipped to help them with their weak areas.” When report cards are sent home, they’re sent home in the binder – all stakeholders see the 12