East Point Academy participates in all Federal and State mandated programs required of a South Carolina public school.
The four main components of RTI include universal screening, intervention, progress monitoring, and intervention efficacy and fidelity.
Universal Screening refers to assessments administered to all students. Examples of universal screenings include Dominie, AIMsWeb, Writing and Reading Assessment in Kindergarten through second grades, and MAP testing in grades 3 through 6. Universal screening usually occurs three times a year: beginning of the year, middle of the year, and end of the year. These screenings identify students who are not making adequate progress and require additional support or intervention.
Intervention in the Response to Intervention model occurs in a tiered process using research based academic or behavioral interventions. Intervention begins in the classroom where teachers provide effective core instruction. In RtI this is referred to as Tier I. It is important this level for teachers to use research based best practices and instructional programs are implemented as they are intended. Support for the core instruction is found in the South Carolina Curriculum Standard Support Documents.
Progress Monitoring is a scientifically based practice to continuously measure student performance growth and provide objective data to evaluate the effectiveness of instruction and interventions.
Intervention Efficacy and Fidelity determines the successful implementation of Response to Intervention. RtI involves team work and sharing the belief that students can learn. Interventions are selected carefully so they reliably address targeted deficiencies. Fidelity refers to whether an intervention is implemented according to how it was designed.
Title I is the largest federal-assistance program. The goal is to provide a high-quality education for every child. Title I serves the children who are furthest from meeting the state standards set for all children. Title I supplements the instructional program for all students in a Title I designated school. Title I of the federal No Child Left Behind legislation is a federal program that provides opportunities for the children served to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to meet challenging state content standards.
Title I ensures that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging state academic achievement standards and state academic assessments.
Title I provides greater decision-making authority and flexibility within the schools. However, greater responsibility for student performance is the exchange made for this flexibility.
The federal government provides funding to states each year for Title I. To get the funds, each state must submit a plan describing:
State Educational Agencies (SEAs) send the money to school districts based on the numbers of low-income families. The local school district (called a Local Education Agency, or LEA) identifies eligible schools and provides Title I resources. The Title I school (this includes parents, teachers, administrators and other school staff) works to:
Title I resources allow opportunities for students to achieve high standards by providing research-based instructional programs, providing additional technology, and reading and math intervention.
The Title I program adheres to the rules and regulations of the “No Child Left Behind Act” of 2001 (NCLB). Under NCLB, each Title I school is required to make “Adequate Yearly Progress” (AYP) toward the goal of having all students score at the highest levels on PASS by the year 2014. Student attendance and teacher attendance also are used to measure AYP.
Title I schools offer parents an extra opportunity to become involved in their child’s education by participating in literacy and technology activities at the school and by joining the Parent Advisory Council (PAC). The PAC meets bi-annually to share Title I information, keep abreast of important events, visit Title I schools, and give input to the district from the parent’s perspective.
English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
ESOL provides a safe haven and nurturing environment for East Point Academy’s growing population of linguistically and culturally diverse students. ESOL creates a learning environment that encourages student pride in cultural heritage and provides the cognitive and affective support to help them become contributing members of our society.
This program, beginning in primary school and continuing through high school, provides each non-English or limited-English proficient student the opportunity to be successful in academic areas and to develop English listening, speaking, reading and writing proficiency.
ESOL students are served daily by push-in, pull-out or ESOL classroom instruction. Students are served through the regular education classroom with differentiated instruction and are regularly monitored.
Students from non-English backgrounds are rated according to the following six levels of English proficiency:
Students are in the “pre-production” stage of English in which their speaking and understanding is limited to a few words and phrases. Most pre-functional students go through a “silent period” where they do not attempt to speak, but they are working to make sense of the language and environment surrounding them. The use of visuals, pantomime and hands-on activities will give them ways to participate in class activities. By the second semester, these students usually begin to speak and understand conversational English. They can construct sentences, but must be conscious of the process to do so. Their control of structure is limited and their vocabulary is restricted to the concrete, context-related and practical. Students at this level begin with virtually no functional ability in listening, speaking, reading or writing English. They are often new arrivals to the United States. In addition to their inability to speak and understand English, these students may be dealing with the difficulty of adjusting to a different culture and the loss of friends and familiar surroundings. Pre-functional students benefit from being paired with one or two “buddies” who can show them how to adjust to the school environment.
These students speak and/or understand enough English for communication, but have difficulty performing ordinary class work in English. The student understands parts of lessons and simple directions, but cannot understand more abstract or academic language. The student is at an emergent level of reading and writing in English and is significantly below grade level. They are beginning to understand spoken English that deals with topics that are familiar to them. Sentences must be simple. It is important that students at this level be encouraged to use the language they know without fear.They should be encouraged to participate and to focus on communicating ideas. Teachers should model and encourage correct usage in a positive way. If the classroom is an accepting environment, language acquisition at this point grows rapidly. Still, much of what the student encounters will be incomprehensible and bewildering. Assignments should use simple language with extensive visual support. At times, students may not be able to see that progress toward language proficiency is being made and may yearn for the familiar surroundings of their home countries, cultures and languages as the frustrations of language learning and adapting to a new culture mount.
These two levels of student have an increasing fluency in English. They understand and speak conversational and academic English with decreasing hesitancy and difficulty. Intermediate students are able to perform a variety of uncomplicated communicative tasks, but have pronounced difficulties with academic vocabulary and skills. Advanced students are at or very near fluent in communicative tasks, but still may have difficulty with academic vocabulary and issues with formal writing. These students are “post-emergent”, and are developing reading comprehension and writing skills in English. Their growing proficiency allows them to develop academic concepts and vocabulary in the content areas of social studies, mathematics and literary studies, but they require specialized teaching strategies. Their writing is basic and meets their needs, but contains errors. Students at an intermediate or advanced proficiency level are frequently misperceived and thought to understand more academically complex material than they are capable of comprehending. They may be perceived as “holding back.” Their desire to fit in and not attract attention to themselves may cause them not to ask questions when they do not understand. In their heritage culture, asking questions may be considered to be a negative reflection upon the skill of the teacher.
A student who is proficient in English has reached the point of being able to converse, read and write about academic topics on a level comparable to his or her peers. Some difficulty with reading and writing may still persist, but not to the point of interfering greatly with their overall success. These students may require additional tutoring to help close the gap academically in content areas that were missed while the student was in the process of learning English. To keep their development in perspective, some studies show that it may take up to seven or even ten years for students to achieve native-like academic vocabulary!
ESOL teachers make use of an intervention curriculum, and the types of materials used. For that reason the local ESOL teacher and the Intervention Team will outline a program they believe will best meet the needs of each LEP student.
Some of the curriculum planning resources available to ESOL teachers includes the South Carolina College and Career Readiness Standards, South Carolina standards for grade-level content areas, and the WIDA Language Standards Framework. ESOL teachers are required to meet these standards based upon the level of their students, and the ESOL classroom should not be seen as merely a support lab.
ESOL teachers at East Point Academy make use of current best practices and researched-based techniques in the classroom. Visiting a class, you may see one of many practices in action: academic conversations, sheltered instruction, use of technology including one-to-one computing, audiovisual materials, class debates, culture presentations, blended learning, and more.
The ESOL program serves to develop and bolster the understanding, empathy and skills of every teacher across the content areas at each grade level. All teachers working with ESOL students are also instructed in using the WIDA Standards to effectively plan, present and assess ESOL students in an effective manner.