New intervention model showing results

A new model of intervention introduced at Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South last year has helped struggling students.

At the May 11 Hinsdale High School District 86 Board meeting, Patrice Payne, director of instructional equity, told board members that students qualified for the intervention program if they met two of three criteria: two or more failing grades, less than 90 percent average daily attendance and below grade level scores on standardized tests.

Students who met the criteria (and others identified by the student services team) were assigned a staff “champion” who worked with them for a 10-week cycle. Having a trusted staff member come alongside really made a difference to the students, she said.

“I think sometimes we have a fixed notion of what a struggling student is and what they care about,” she said. “There was not one student who had a desire to be unsuccessful. We had students who were happy to receive this additional support.”

In previous years, students received targeted or intensive interventions — known as Tier 2 or Tier 3 support — based solely on referrals, either from the students themselves or a parent. They then were assigned to a team to receive assistance.

Two of the 10-week cycles in the new model have been completed and the third is in process, Payne said. In the first cycle at Central, 16 students were championed and 15 improved. In the second, 43 were championed and 38 improved. Sixty-nine students are currently in the third cycle.

Payne also reported that of the 16 students in the first cycle, six did not need a second cycle. Of the 10 students in the second cycle, six did not require an additional cycle.

Typically the needs of 80 percent of students can be met in Tier 1, which Payne referred to as high quality instruction that has its own set of interventions. About 6 to 15 percent of students need Tier 2 support and 1 to 5 percent need Tier 3 support.

“We are well within the norm when it comes to what our student populations look like in those tiers,” Payne said.

Board member Kay Gallo said she hopes the initiative will not lose momentum after Payne leaves this summer to become an assistant principal in another district.

Payne assured her that will not be the case.

“Shame on me if the work stops because I am not here,” she said. “True change is not person-centric.

“The work will continue,” she added. “I am personally committed to making sure that whomever my replacement is has a very clear understanding of the work we’re doing.”

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean