OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego City School District’s Curriculum Committee recently heard a brief overview of the Academic Intervention Services being provided to students.
Director of Literacy Laura Ryder and Director of Mathematics Carrie Plasse provided the report to the committee.
AIS provides students with additional specialized instruction, which supplements the general curriculum and is designed to help students achieve New York State Learning Standards, Plasse explained.
The instruction happens within the school day, she added.
“We’re talking about grades 3 through 8, and beyond, in both ELA and math,” she said.
Students who score at Level 1 or 2 in the state tests are considered “not proficient.”
“The state mandates that each district give academic support to those students,” she said.
Elementary and middle school students at risk of not meeting state standards defined by district approved procedures must also receive AIS.
High school students who score below the approved local passing grade on state assessments required for graduation are also given AIS.
Report card grades and teacher assessments also play a part in who might receive AIS.
Board member Tom DeCastro they need to put a student’s academic progress in terms everyone, not just educators, can understand.
“You start talking about ones and twos and threes and fours and (most people) don’t have the foggiest notion what you’re talking about,” he said.
AIS is delivered by highly-qualified teachers as small group discussion focusing on skill deficits, Ryder noted. Groups can be anywhere from 6 to 10 students.
Students aren’t pulled out of their regular classes, she added.
It is usually done in 30 to 40 minutes on an as-needed basis.
A mother at the meeting told about how her daughter had trouble passing a math regents and how she had trouble getting the extra help she needed.
“Keep in mind she did pass throughout the year. She has actually been on the honor roll every single quarter. She is just not a test taker, so she couldn’t pass the Regents,” she explained.
The family wound up paying $300 for a private tutor over the summer to help the student finally be able to pass the Regents.
“For her, the AIS did absolutely no help. Although, I think it’s a great idea; if you have the right teachers doing the right thing it would be wonderful,” the mother said.
She suggested the teachers go over old Regents problems with the students “on a daily basis instead of just playing bingo and helping kids with just homework. Then I think you’d get a lot more success.”
Changes are under way at the high school level, Plasse told her.
“It gives a pre-test to see what skills the students do have and what skills they have a deficit in and then it works just on that skill,” she said.
Instruction is now being done specifically by just the AIS teachers, also.
According to Ryder and Plasse, the benefits of AIS include:
- Increased student academic performance and attendance
- Increased percentage of students achieving proficiency on state assessments
- Increased percentage of students graduating from high school.
“It’s kind of a domino effect,” Ryder noted.
“This is an unfunded mandate,” Board President Dave White pointed out. “We have no choice but to do it.”
It will be among the items placed on the agenda for the Dec. 21 regular Board of Education meeting agenda.
All committee meetings are held in the Board Room at the Education Center.
The meetings are open to the community and public comment is available in relation to the items being presented to the committees.