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Blueprint for PGCPS: Support for Students Struggling with Reading and Math

Background

Many teachers and families struggle to support students who are not reading at grade level or not performing well in math. We are creating a digital literacy program that focuses on evidence-based strategies to help these students – including one-on-one tutoring, peer tutoring, screening and addressing literacy deficits, and investing in new technology for kindergarten through third-grade students at more than 50 schools.

Update for School Year 2020-2021

Transitional Supplemental Instruction (TSI)

During the 2019-2020 school year, 28 schools provided academic assistance using Transitional Supplemental Instruction (TSI) funding. Specifically, across all schools that provided TSI services during the 2019-20 school year, the number of students in each grade who received TSI services is as follows:

  • Kindergarten- 1924 students
  • First Grade- 1906 students
  • Second Grade- 1912 students
  • Third Grade- 0 students

There were no after-school tutors hired to provide TSI services to students during the 2019-2020 school year. However, the predominant service delivery method for TSI services was the implementation of interventions through digital learning programs for early learners that focused on both mathematics (Dreambox Learning Math) and literacy (iRead) during the school day. 

Prior to the school closure in March 2020, funds were to be used for substitutes for professional development held during the school day and stipends for teachers who attended after school. Those sessions were cancelled due to the pandemic. Consequently, PGCPS did not spend its full TSI allocation during the 2019-2020 school year; however, the pandemic did not adversely affect TSI services and PGCPS was able to continue virtually without interruption until summer 2020. 

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the school system continues to provide virtual TSI services to 28 schools during the 2020-2021 school year using the $1,265,523 allocated in TSI funding. Further, in an effort to identify students for TSI services, the lowest 28 performing elementary schools’ scores were selected from the rank order listing of the Maryland Accountability System's Academic Achievement Reading/English Language Arts and Math indicators for SY 2018-19. 

This indicator describes students’ English Language Arts and mathematics performance on state standardized tests. Thus, students in these schools will receive small group after-school tutoring services in addition to access to digital platforms. 

The number of students in each grade who receive TSI services is as follows:

  • Kindergarten- 1634 
  • First Grade- 1874 
  • Second Grade- 1842 
  • Third Grade- 0

To implement this initiative, there are 24 certified teachers who provide after-school tutoring and two (2) tutor coordinators who manage the after school hours TSI services. In addition to the whole group and one-on-one pairs with the classroom teacher serving as tutors (after school) through our instructional delivery model, the students will also have individualized support with two commercial instructional programs using digital platforms (iRead and Dreambox Learning). In fact, the predominant service delivery method for TSI services across all TSI schools is the after-school tutoring through digital learning programs for early learners that will focus on both mathematics (Dreambox Learning Math) and literacy (iRead). Progress is being monitored through the data reports generated in Dreambox Learning and iRead. And, PGCPS is on track to spend all of its TSI funds this school year. 

December Survey 2020

Support for Students Struggling with Reading and Math update as of April 1, 2021

The Reading Language Arts and Mathematics offices continue to utilize funding to support students who have struggled during distance learning. Since January 2021, students in grades K-2 have been engaged in after-school tutoring and have access to predictive curriculum programs. Moreover, the after-school tutoring program continuewith a second session from March 15th - April 29th. 

Other interventions include DreamBox for mathematics and iRead for reading. Both are predictive programs that tailor instruction to each student based on his or her response to academic questions. Although the Reading and Mathematics Offices recommend 5 lessons per week, schools are only averaging 2 iRead lessons per week, while DreamBox lessons per week increased for 12 schools since January. More specifically, 2 schools consistently participate more than the minimum requirement of 5 lessons per week. Overall, 2 lessons per week still captures enough data for predictive insight. 

To support this effort, the Mathematics Office assisted classroom teachers in 28 schools with using student data to inform instruction and provide guidance for all students to access grade level content. Additionally, 18 of the 28 schools received coaching support from the Reading/English Language Arts Office for iRead that provided differentiated support to help increase usage and plan for small group instruction. To date, these 28 schools have the highest usage across the county at 70-80%.

To promote transparency, monthly updates are sent to schools to keep principals and staff informed. Schools requiring differentiated support, received training to help increase usage and planning for small group instruction, demonstration lessons, data analysis, and a question and answer session.