"Moving TIS Forward" is more than the slogan for our annual fund drive. It is a mindset. It is a mindset that indicates that we are constantly evaluating, analyzing and adjusting our practice to improve the learning environment of our students.
One result is a new TIS group called Student Support Services (SSS). This group provides support for students who, for some reason, be it academic or behavioral, need something different in their day to be successful. The regular members of this group are the Head of School, Head of Early Childhood, PYP Coordinator, English Dept Head, and another teaching staff member with certification and experience in Special Needs Education. The other members would be the referred student’s homeroom teacher, English teacher, and at times, the specialist teachers.
Students normally enter SSS through a referral completed by the homeroom teacher. The referral usually contains a description of the situation as well as any strategies already tried by the teacher. Students who have been formally recognized by an outside specialist are also included.
The type of support is tailored to each student. The SSS group reviews each case and recommends strategies that will best help the student progress. The group holds follow up meetings to determine the effectiveness of the strategies and, if necessary, to make adjustments.
For example, let’s say a student has a processing difficulty resulting in a need for more time to complete work. The SSS group can help the homeroom teacher structure such an approach to run smoothly within the class. We can also check with other teachers who work with the student to see if similar adjustments might be appropriate in their areas. Another student may have a different processing difficulty making it hard for him or her to take notes or copy from the board. SSS can work with the student and the teacher to use technology like an iPAD to take pictures of the material or do a short recording.
There are many advantages to SSS. The teacher can draw from the collective experience and training of the SSS group. The group can act as a conduit so that a student’s history and successful strategies can be passed from year to year. SSS also provides an additional level of review for major concerns before recommendations are made to parents.
This is just one illustration of efforts reflecting the mindset of “moving TIS forward”. I look forward to sharing more with you in future editions of ITK.
Robert Woods, Head of School, RobertW@intlschool.org, 503-226-2496 x122