Lee County Schools develops comprehensive academic intervention plan

Literacy for all students is a major concern throughout the United States. Research indicates that too many students enter high school reading far below grade level and lacking the necessary math skills to be successful in today’s changing and challenging work force. Therefore, an emphasis on continuing to build essential reading and math skills during the elementary and middle school years becomes even more crucial. Realizing this fact, the Lee County School District, with the wholehearted support of the Lee County School Board, is currently developing a comprehensive academic intervention plan, which will be implemented at the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year.

As part of the intervention plan, the school district is planning to transfer three classroom teachers to new teaching positions as academic interventionists serving Saltillo Elementary School, Shannon Elementary School, Shannon Junior High School and Mooreville Elementary School. These teachers are considered master teachers in their areas of expertise and will work with students who need intensive interventions in reading and/or math. In addition, these teachers will receive training in several research-based reading and math intervention strategies, such as multisensory phonics and everyday math.

During the 2007-2008 school term, the school district implemented Read 180, a research-based intervention program, at Plantersville Middle School. Read 180 is an intensive reading intervention program designed to meet the needs of students whose reading achievement is below the proficient level. However, the program is designed to challenge the on-grade-level reader as well. The program directly addresses students’ reading needs through adaptive and instructional software, high-interest literature and direct instruction in reading and writing skills.

At the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year, the program will be implemented at Guntown Middle School in the sixth grade, Mooreville Middle School in the sixth-eighth grades, Shannon Elementary School in the fourth-sixth grades, Shannon Junior High School in the seventh-eighth grades, and Shannon High School in the ninth grade. One teacher will be trained in the Read 180 process at each of the above mentioned schools prior to the beginning of the school year.

More than ever before, today’s students are presented a much more rigorous and challenging curriculum in all content areas. All students must be given the opportunity for academic success, especially in reading and math. To this end, the Lee County School District is committed to providing intensive research-based interventions and a high-quality education to all Lee County students.

Kathy Mask is a curriculum coordinator for the Lee County Schools.