Title 1

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Introduction of Reconfigured Title 1
Proposed Model for 2016-2017

May 4, 2016

Dear Parents and Guardians,

At the School Committee meeting on Monday, April 25th, the Superintendent of Schools introduced a plan to the School Committee regarding the reconfiguration of the Title 1 program currently existing in three of the four K-5 elementary schools and at the Richardson Middle School. He introduced an overview of the proposed changes and rational followed by supporting statements from the Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, David S. Hill, Greenmont Principal Nicholas Botelho and Englesby Principal Andrew Allen. The proposed change was based on an increasing body of national research indicating the value of transitioning to a coaching model and the study of other similar size districts with this model currently in place.. Initial feedback from these districts indicate significant improvement in increasing teacher pedagogy and instructional rigor and increased student achievement.

We strongly believe that this coaching model has the capacity to bring tremendous value to our schools. The model will provide the opportunity for a blend of professional coaching for our teachers while still maintaining a defined system of support for identified students. The model proposed is as follows:

Elementary Schools - Grades K-5

  • Two full time Literacy Specialists/Coaches

    • ​​Mrs. Sheila Brisson - Brookside ES and Greenmont ES

    • Mrs. Sue Carmona - Englesby ES and Greenmont ES

  • Three part time Instructional Tutors  

    • ​Mrs. Mary Ellen McCarthy - Brookside ES

    • Mrs. Julie Jones - Greenmont ES

    • Mrs. Ana Vasconcelos - Englesby ES

Richardson Middle School - Grades 6-8

  • One full time Math Specialist/Coach

    • ​Mrs. Jill Butler

  • One part time Literacy Specialist/Coach

    • ​TBD

The primary responsibility of the Literacy Specialist/Coach will be supporting elementary and middle school English Language Arts teachers in grades K-8 with the successful implementation of the Readers and Writing Workshop model. Additionally, each of the three elementary schools will maintain a part time Instructional Tutor, who will work directly with identified groups of students.. At the Richardson Middle School, a full time Math Specialist/Coach will support the work of math teachers in grades 6-8.

The role of the Literacy Coach/Specialist focuses on three areas including a comprehensive understanding of reading, a specific repertoire of effective strategies to draw upon when providing professional development and finally opportunities for teachers to assess and progress monitor student growth. The literacy specialist/coach will work with teachers on how to effectively work with the academic diversity that the classrooms at each school. In addition the literacy coaches will be charged with providing opportunities to use student growth data as a means of working collaboratively and growing together to benefit the student population.

We firmly believe that the proposed change has the potential to provide significant growth in teacher capacity and student achievement given the following objectives:

  • At the district level, the Literacy and Math Specialist/Coach will be instrumental in designing professional development with our Principals and Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment based on the defined needs of the building. They will also facilitate and support the development of common formative assessments within the grade levels as a continuation of the district wide curriculum work already begun and provide expert advice on the potential selection of additional instructional materials.

  • At the school level, the Literacy Specialist/Coach will partner with the Principal and  teachers to collect data, review and dissect grade level standards, provide opportunities to discuss best practices including targeted response to intervention strategies and model lessons in “lab classrooms” as assigned by the Principal. The Literacy Specialist/Coach will provide opportunities to examine elements of reteaching with teachers as needed, providing different methods of instruction that targets student need.

  • Also at the school level, the Literacy Specialist/Coach will work with grade level teachers and the part time Instructional Tutors to support literacy instruction and learnings through analysis of data for the purposes of targeted interventions using programs such as Fundations and LLI (Leveled Literacy Intervention) system.

In the infancy stages Literacy Specialist/Coach will provide direct instruction/support to faculty members highlighting the Dracut Units of Study (for Balanced Literacy) with a direct focus on Reading Workshop. Partnering with teachers, the literacy specialist/coach will provide specific examples of how teachers can identify student needs and differentiate instruction to meet each child’s needs in their care through modeling, co-teaching, informal observations, etc.

We are confident that the reconfiguration of Title 1 will provide significant value added to our teachers, students and families. Should you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to call your building principal or the Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment.

Sincerely,
David S. Hill 
Maria McGuinness
Nicholas Botelho
Dawn Smith
Chris Snyder

The following link provides additional information regarding the proposed configuration of Title 1 support through a School Committee Power Point presentation facilitated by the Director of Curriculum with Building Principals.

School Committee Presentation