Multi-Layered Practices and Support
District and school leaders are partners in creating a strong system of support for all students. Our Multi-Layered Practices and Support in Academics relies on tiers of instruction that work together as a safety net to prevent students facing detrimental challenges in their academic careers.
Cambridge-Isanti schools have systems in place which support the practice of providing high-quality instruction and interventions matched to student need, monitoring progress frequently to make decisions about changes in instruction or goals, and applying child response data to important educational decisions.
Multi-Layered Practices and Support benefit students and teachers at all levels of instruction and are designed to help every student succeed and for every teacher to know to help students be successful.
The programs listed below are systems Cambridge-Isanti Schools have in place to provide such supports.
- Alternative Delivery of Specialized Instructional Services (ADSIS)
- District Literacy Plan
- English Language Learners
- Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
- Special Education
- Title I
Literacy Plan Goals
It is the goal of the Cambridge-Isanti Schools to ensure that all students can read at or above grade level. Literacy development starts at an early age and is the basis for all academic success. Reading well by third grade ensures that a student has a solid foundation of literacy skills to continue to expand their understanding of what they read, make meaning, and transfer that learning across all subject areas. Instruction that provides the basis for all students to read well by third grade and beyond will help close the achievement gap and ensure that all students are ready for the demands of higher education and the workplace. In order to ensure that all students in Cambridge-Isanti Schools learn to read at a proficient level, staff must be intentional with instruction by aligning curricular resources to the Minnesota State Standards while using evidence-based practices in every classroom. Teachers will utilize a structured literacy approach with a focus on structured phonics, vocabulary, and knowledge building. Structured literacy instruction in which teachers carefully structure important literacy skills, concepts, and the sequence of instruction to facilitate children's literacy learning and progress will be provided for all students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Structured literacy is characterized by the provision of systematic, explicit, sequential, and diagnostic instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and oral language development, and reading comprehension.
Students proficient in reading are able to identify the words on the page accurately and fluently; they have enough knowledge and thinking strategies to understand the words, sentences, and full text passages; and they are motivated and engaged enough to use their knowledge and cognitive strategies to understand and learn from the text. They are able to make meaning from text. In order for this to happen, reading needs to be taught early, systematically, and deliberately. It is our role to ensure that students have the skills they need to read text fluently with good comprehension by providing instructional strategies addressing the Five Big Areas in Reading. They are the following:
Phonemic Awareness - ability to notice, think about, and manipulate individual sounds in spoken syllables and words
Phonics - understanding the relationships between letters and the sounds they represent and the application of this knowledge in reading and spelling
Fluency - the ability to read accurately, quickly, effortlessly, and with appropriate expression
Vocabulary - the words we know to communicate effectively
Comprehension - a function of word recognition skills and language comprehension skills. It is an active process that requires intentional thinking during which meaning is constructed through interactions between the text and reader. Comprehension skills are taught explicitly by demonstrating, explaining, modeling, and implementing specific cognitive strategies to help beginning readers derive meaning through intentional, problem-solving thinking processes.
Students are considered proficient readers when they exhibit phonemic awareness and phonetic skills, have an age appropriate vocabulary, read fluently, and comprehend what they have read in accordance to their age and their expected grade level outcomes.
Assessment of Literacy Skills
The assessment plan helps educators understand the areas of instructional need for students, so that intervention to accelerate growth and achieve grade level performance may be applied. The Cambridge-Isanti School District implements a literacy screening for all enrolled students in kindergarten through sixth grade three times each school year, in order to ensure that any students who may be at risk for difficulty meeting grade level expectations in literacy are identified early and supports are provided. The district is moving from using DIBELS and NWEA MAP as screening assessments to using FastBridge screening assessments. A comprehensive assessment platform will allow us to more closely align screening assessment results with appropriate progress monitoring assessments that are valid and reliable. Criterion referenced target scores have been established for each measure at each administration time that reflect expected grade level performance for that measure. For students whose screening assessment results suggest elevated risk for difficulty developing grade level literacy skills, grade level teams of teachers will review local formative assessment and observational data from each student’s participation in classroom instructional activities to understand the specific areas of instructional need in literacy. Interventions will supplement core reading instruction.
Minnesota Reading Corps (MRC)
- Minnesota Reading Corps is a strategic initiative of ServeMinnesota, demonstrating how service and science can accelerate improvement in both students and systems. By mobilizing the people power of AmeriCorps, the Reading Corps provides evidence-based literacy interventions and data-based assessments to children from age three to grade three.
- Using the latest research on reading intervention strategies and guidance from literacy experts, Reading Corps is a critical link in literacy acquisition. It provides what struggling readers need - individualized, data-driven instruction, one-on-one attention, well-trained tutors, instruction delivered with fidelity, and the frequency and duration necessary for student achievement.
- For teachers, regularly delivering individualized, one-on-one instruction can be difficult, if not impossible. Because Reading Corps tutors are focused solely on providing reading support, they can target instruction and dedicate the time needed for each student.
- Tutors commit to a year of AmeriCorps service, receive rigorous training and ongoing support throughout the year from literacy coaches, and use assessments to ensure their efforts produce the desired results - helping children achieve grade-level reading proficiency.
- Watch the PreK model in action and the K-3 model in action!
Minnesota Math Corps (MMC)
- Minnesota Math Corps is an AmeriCorps program that provides trained math tutors for students grades four through eight.
- Math Corps tutors are trained with the skills necessary to assist students in becoming algebra-ready by eighth grade and to help set up students for success in a world increasingly dependent on understanding math concepts.
- Minnesota Math Corps tutors work with children from fourth through eighth grade to provide proven research-based instruction and ultimately, guide struggling students toward increased confidence and success in math.
Become a Reading or Math Corps Tutor at Cambridge-Isanti Schools
Would you love to help children grow their reading skills and succeed in school? If your answer is yes, you can serve as a tutor with Minnesota Reading Corps. Use the links below to learn more.
To learn more about AmeriCorps, visit www.americorps.gov.
The ELL Program at Cambridge-Isanti Public Schools was developed using state and federal guidelines with additional professional input to support English Language Learner (ELL) students who are learning English as a Second Language (ESL). The main goal of the ELL program is to provide students who are learning English with the support they need to reach their fullest potential in school.
Licensed ELL teachers and support staff, in collaboration with classroom and content area teachers, work to provide grade-appropriate learning in all academic coursework while developing their English language skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
ELL students are monitored and assessed to determine their progress in the classroom and English language acquisition. Test data in conjunction with teacher and parental input determine the necessity and level of ELL service.
All students learn and acquire English at various rates depending on age, native literacy, and time in the country. On average, students will be in an ELL program for three to five years or more. Initially, most students receive direct instruction. Direct instruction comprises a mix of individual or small group pullout instruction to support their English development. Direct instruction may also be working in the classroom with a student or small group of ELL students to support their learning in a content or mainstream class.
Students are exited from the ELL program when they are considered 'at grade level' in addition to parent and teacher input. They will no longer receive any extra help from the ESL teacher . The state of Minnesota tracks exited ELLs for two years. This two year period is called Monitor.
What is School-wide PBIS?
School-wide positive behavior intervention and supports (PBIS) places an emphasis on school-wide systems of support that include proactive strategies for defining, teaching, and supporting appropriate student behaviors to create positive school environments. Instead of using a piecemeal approach of individual behavioral management plans, a continuum of positive behavior support for all students within a school is implemented in areas including the classroom and non-classroom settings (such as hallways, buses, and restrooms). Positive behavior support is an application of a behaviorally-based systems approach to enhance the capacity of schools, families, and communities to design effective environments that improve the link between research-validated practices and the environments in which teaching and learning occur. Attention is focused on creating and sustaining Tier 1 supports (universal), Tier 2 supports (targeted group), and Tier 3 supports (individual) systems of support that improve lifestyle results (personal, health, social, family, work, recreation) for all children and youth by making targeted behaviors less effective, efficient, and relevant, and desired behavior more functional.
Why is it so important to focus on teaching positive social behaviors?
Frequently, the question is asked, "Why should I have to teach kids to be good? They already know what they are supposed to do. Why can I not just expect good behavior?" In the infamous words of a TV personality, "How is that working out for you?" In the past, schoolwide discipline has focused mainly on reacting to specific student misbehavior by implementing punishment-based strategies including reprimands, loss of privileges, office referrals, suspensions, and expulsions. Research has shown that the implementation of punishment, especially when it is used inconsistently and in the absence of other positive strategies, is ineffective. Introducing, modeling, and reinforcing positive social behavior is an important step of a student's educational experience. Teaching behavioral expectations and rewarding students for following them is a much more positive approach than waiting for misbehavior to occur before responding. The purpose of schoolwide PBIS is to establish a climate in which appropriate behavior is the norm.
What is a systems approach in school wide PBIS?
An organization is a group of individuals who behave together to achieve a common goal. Systems are needed to support the collective use of best practices by individuals within the organization. The schoolwide PBIS process emphasizes the creation of systems that support the adoption and durable implementation of evidence-based practices and procedures, and fit within on-going school reform efforts. An interactive approach that includes opportunities to correct and improve four key elements is used in school wide PBIS focusing on: 1) Outcomes, 2) Data, 3) Practices, and 4) Systems. The diagram illustrates how these key elements work together to build a sustainable system.
- Outcomes: academic and behavior targets that are endorsed and emphasized by students, families, and educators. (What is important to teach particular learning community?)
- Practices: interventions and strategies that are evidence based (How will you reach the goals?)
- Data: information that is used to identify status, need for change, and effects of interventions. (What data will you use to support your success or barriers?)
- Systems: supports that are needed to enable the accurate and durable implementation of the practices of PBIS. (What durable systems can be implemented that will sustain this over the long haul?)
Resource credit: https://www.pbis.org/
Cambridge-Isanti Schools provides a comprehensive program for students with disabilities. Services are provided to students who range in age from birth through high school, with a few students receiving help until age 21. All services are developed to facilitate each student in reaching his or her potential. Each school site has staff members licensed to provide special education and related services for those students who meet criteria and have special education needs.
Inclusive education between regular and special education allows for the opportunity to learn and develop in an age-appropriate setting. From early intervention to community-based vocational training, students are provided a quality, individualized education program in the least restrictive environment as determined by the law and under the guidelines within the district. Special education teams at each school site work in conjunction with a student’s regular classroom teachers, support staff and parents.
Parents and students are directly involved with school and appropriate outside agency staff in the development of the special education program and the student's Individual Education Plan (IEP) for school-age children, Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) for children in Early Childhood Special Education, or Individual Interagency Intervention Plan (IIIP) for students getting services from multiple agencies.
Special services for students with a disability may begin at birth or as soon as criteria is met and the need for special education services is determined. Students are eligible for special education services until data and evidence show an IEP can be terminated by the team overseeing the plan. Special education services are also terminated when the student graduates from high school or when the student is 21 years of age. Students remain with their general education peers in the least restrictive environment (LRE) to the extent possible, as determined appropriate.
Special education program evaluation is accomplished through a single strategic plan to improve due process compliance and program results for students with disabilities.
What is Title I?
Title I is a federally funded program through the Elementary & Secondary Act (ESEA) designed to provide support to students who are performing below grade level in reading and/or math. The goal is to emphasize high academic standards in an effort to help students succeed in the classroom and reach grade level performance.
What are some typical Title I services?
In Cambridge-Isanti Schools our Title I schools have a Schoolwide Title I model which means all students in the school are provided with additional support to address the needs of all the students at that school. Cambridge-Isanti Title I Schoolwide schools focus on providing additional support in reading and math instruction and may provide additional support in attendance, school climate, etc.
Do all Cambridge Isanti Schools have a Title I program?
No. The Federal law requires that Title I programs are available in schools with the greatest concentration of low-income families. Cambridge Isanti Title I schools are Cambridge Primary, Isanti Primary, Cambridge Intermediate and Isanti Intermediate. Please review each school’s website to learn more about their Title I Schoolwide Program.
How are parents/guardians involved?
In schoolwide programs, parents are invited to attend the school’s annual Title I Meeting. Parents, staff and students may participate in the development and carrying out of a compact that spells out the goals and shared responsibilities of the child, school and parents for student success. Parents are encouraged to participate in Title I meetings and learning opportunities.
As a parent/guardian, you have the right to…
- know the qualifications of your child’s teacher
- expect regular communication with your school in a language that you can understand
- know how your child’s school is rated on its state test scores
- work with other parents and staff to develop a school-level parent compact between the school and its families
- work with teachers, parents and the school principal to develop your school’s family involvement plan
Parent's Right to Know
At the beginning of each school year, school districts must notify parents of children attending Title I schools that they can request information regarding their children's teachers. In addition, if students are taught by a teacher who is not highly qualified the parents of students in Title I schools must be notified, in a timely manner, if their child has been assigned to, or has been taught for four or more consecutive weeks by, a teacher who is not highly qualified. Please know that ALL Cambridge-Isanti teachers are highly qualified.
We are excited that you are taking the time to support your child’s learning through Title I services.
Our goal in Title I is to help children understand the basics of math and reading in order for them to be successful in their grade level classroom instruction. It is important that we work together as parents, students, and teachers to ensure that your child reaches his or her academic standards. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child, please feel free to contact us.