This post is part of a series of blog posts authored by winners and finalists of the 2011 SCORE Prize. These posts will highlight some of their work that has dramatically improved student achievement.

When a person enters the doors of Fairview Elementary, they see the words, “Expect More…Achieve More.” This philosophy, which is concisely and clearly conveyed on the front doors for all students, parents, administrators, and stakeholders to see, guides the work that we do on a daily basis. At Fairview, we are on the move to consistently achieve more. In order to do this, we have set the expectation of building a strong educational foundation in our primary grades so our students can excel from year to year. Two of the ways that we are accomplishing that goal is through using data to identify student needs and intervening early and often.

Looking at student data is an important first step in our process. Fairview has implemented an Assessment Wall to provide school staff with a snapshot of every student’s progress in math, reading, and writing compared to all students in his/her grade level and classroom. Students are placed in categories for each content area, such as Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, and Advanced, using data from state assessments, county-wide benchmark assessments, teacher classroom rankings, the Observation Survey in Grade One, and any other pertinent information.

From there, our Response to Intervention Team (RTI) meets weekly to discuss the needs of students that are struggling in the classroom and identify interventions, such as speech articulation, language, special education inclusion, PT, OT, Reading Recovery, and small group intervention (CIM), that could help them improve. This team consists of the classroom teacher, school psychologist, speech and language pathologist, reading specialists, academic coach, guidance counselor, and administrator. The RTI team and the classroom teacher collaborate to formulate a plan to begin providing additional support for the student. The team uses information from the Assessment Wall, in addition to other sources, including samples of student work and anecdotal records of teachers, to provide a look at a student’s individual progress. The RTI Team continues to meet regularly and monitor the progress of the student. Our Assessment wall is not only updated with student progress, but also enables us to track the effectiveness of these interventions over time.

Interventions are also embedded into the everyday work of instruction. Teachers at Fairview Elementary use a variety of formative assessments to assess student needs. Gathering information helps teachers see what the students know, where they are, and where they need to go to close the gap in the intended learning. Formal and Informal assessments are used to gather evidence for the purpose of improving learning. Teachers use formative assessments to diagnose student needs, help determine next steps in instruction, provide students with useful feedback, and help students feel in control of their success. To help eliminate the issue of teachers finding time for interventions in the classroom, a daily school-wide 30 minute intervention block has been implemented at Fairview Elementary. This block of time provides teachers with an uninterrupted time slot to provide remedial intervention, record progress monitoring, as well as provide enrichment opportunities, to ensure that the needs of every student are being met.

Early intervention and a proactive approach to intervention, both inside and outside the classroom, are vital components to success at Fairview. It is our belief that early intervention is crucial for the success of all students.

When a person departs from Fairview Elementary School, one cannot help but read once again…“Expect More…Achieve More.” The Fairview community believes that philosophy is applicable, not just within the building, but also throughout life and the world beyond the classroom walls.