News piece – The Promise of K-1

I heard a wise school leader speak this morning explaining why they thought that Asian students outperform White, Hispanic, and African America students in academics. His answer “The Asian community is organized and recognizes that the system (here or in China) can't do it alone”. They recognize and invest in providing “Tier 2” interventions- tutoring after school/in the weekend/ in their language/etc. It is part of their culture!

He also said that Hispanic/Latino families and African American families rely solely on the “education system”. A simple expectation except the “education system” was designed for middle class white families who mothers stay at home and are ABLE to provide “tier 2” interventions at home for their children such as “reading and supporting homework”. It made so much sense. I get home at 5:30 and I am not the typical middle class WHITE mother (I am Hispanic), except I know that I should be proving “Tier 2” interventions for my own children because of my career (former professor of education and current school reform consultant). In fact, my son gets a repeated reading strategy to help him become not only a great reader but an excellent reader. One of the same strategies I taught teachers to do in a school implementing a Response to Intervention model with great success on student achievement.

It made sense that as a nation we are in need of effective Response to Intervention models that provide “tier 2 and Tier 3” interventions and services to all students in SCHOOL– only then can we provide equality of education and true opportunity for all children in our public school system.
How can we do this?
View one step Boston is taking –an excerpt from the Today show on the benefits of early education:

Program gives new meaning to ‘prep’ school
Sept. 27: TODAY’s Matt Lauer visits a school in Boston that is making strides in closing the achievement gap among young students by preparing children for the routines and rituals of being a student before they even enter kindergarten


Conference on Multicultural Education Oct. 14, 2010

Improving Student Achievement through Multicultural Learning: Engagement and Success for All

Improving engagement is now understood as critical for improving student achievement. NECME 2010 will promote an in-depth
5th Annual New England Conference on Multicultural Education
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understanding of how achievement, engagement, and multicultural education are interconnected, as well as provide concrete strategies for educators to successfully engage students of all backgrounds.

Ñanduti- Portal of the Benefits of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism

Are you familiar with the Center for Applied Linguistics? the Equity Alliance at Brown University? Ñanduti Their partnership has joined in order to provide ongoing efforts to provide resources and guidance on the teaching of foreign languages in elementary and secondary schools. In their description “The Ñandutí Web site provides up-to-date resources and guidance on foreign language learning in Grades PreK–8, with the intention that such information will help provide a strong foundation for long-term language instruction._
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Their website has a nicely develops set of resources that includes:
Early Learning Benefits of Bilingualism
Program Developments for Educators & Administrators
Teaching Resources for Second Language Learners and Bilingual Students
Professional Development for educators, administrators, and parents
and event a TEACHING TOOL KIT!


Web MD Find- Being Bilingual Boosts Brain Power

I wanted to share a great article I found on WebMD. This was sent to me to reference here so thank you Jeremy!
Please link here to access the entire article on WEdMD
Second Language Brain Benefits Start in Childhood, Study Shows
By Miranda Hitti

The study summary was published Oct. 13, 2004 and provides a summary of study conducted in England using neuroscience to evaluate the brain and differences among monolingual and bilingual individuals.

Here is a short excerpt:
— People who are bilingual have an advantage over the rest of us, and not just in terms of communication skills. The bilingual brain develops more densely, giving it an advantage in various abilities and skills, according to new research. Researchers Andrea Mechelli of London's Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience and colleagues, including experts from the Fondazione Santa Lucia in Rome, looked at brain densities of bilingual people. First, they recruited 25 people who speak one language, 25 who learned a second European language before age 5, and 33 who became bilingual between ages 10 and 15.
All the participants spoke English as their primary language. Those who had learned a second language later in life had practiced it regularly for at least five years.
Bilingual Brains Do Better!
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Read the entire article for a broader summary!


Where Do I Start? Advice for First Year Special Education Teachers

One of my former students called me today in a panic “what do I do I keep getting teachers telling me to take this student because they don't know what to do with them” My former student asked me do I take them? What about my students with IEPs? I can't take all students– I don't want the teachers to think I am not a good team player…”

Compliance and Access to the regular curriculum should be at the forefront!

I have seen this scenario with growing difficulties over the years and into multiple years in many schools. Regular education teachers say they don't have another option to help students in need. Special education teachers have to say that the child doesn't meet eligibility criteria or they can't take them because they already have a full caseload.

What about compliance for special education students?
What about regular education teachers not able to help students.

The answer is collaborative research-based practices as part of a Response to Intervention model. What is the difference? All teachers at the particular grade level plan for all students using screening and progress monitoring data and ensuring access to regular education curriculum.
Prevention & Intervention
Research-based instruction and intervention
Differentiated and collaborative problem-solving and planning
Student growth
Options for regular education teachers
More instructional time for special education teacher
Appropriate referrals to special education


How can you start? If you are thinking about reading here is a good way to start:
Begin by reading this article by Reading Rockets
This article will help you guarantee that your Tier 1 or Core reading instruction is based on research-based instructional practices, a main component of RTI.

Then visit the DIBELS website to download for free a reading universal screening assessments in reading k-6th grade in English, Spanish, and Math.
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Then, for strategic Tier 2 interventions and intensive Tier 3 interventions visit the National Center for Response to Intervention to evaluate and decide which packaged programs and approaches would best fit your needs. Another option with online free training can be found at The IRIS Center from Vanderbilt University


Favorite Website for Teachers Starting the New School Year

I would like to highlight Reading Rockets and Colorin Colorado and my newest find on their website. According to their description: “The Reading Rockets project is comprised of PBS television programs, available on videotape and DVD; online services, including the websites and; and professional development opportunities. Reading Rockets is an educational initiative of WETA, the flagship public television and radio station in the nation’s capital, and is funded by a major grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.”

Their newest page presents blog specially designed for teachers by teacher researchers. One example is:The Sounded Out Blog Page. This page provides relevant and up to date research based teaching ideas for teachers. This week they highlighted first day activities!

Other pages is a list of multicultural stories for those teachers ready to do some culturally relevant teaching