Dr. Craig Gaska, principal; Ms. Jennifer McVay •
Winston Churchill Elementary School • Schaumburg, Illinois
Winston Churchill Elementary School
Never Give Up
"Ensuring student success" is our district motto. Yet, every teacher has that one student that makes it difficult, if not impossible, to believe that all students can learn and succeed. This is a story of a sixth grader at our school who was one such student. Michael started the sixth grade this year reading two years below grade level. He was one of the lowest functioning children and struggling in all areas. PLC's meet on a regular basis to discuss student progress and develop intervention plans for students. Michael was a prime candidate for intervention and one of the first students discussed by the PLC this year, futile as it seemed because he was so low. The classroom teacher was not optimistic that intervention would work as Michael was one of those students who causes one to question the belief that all students can succeed. The team designed an intensive intervention for Michael using the RTL model and tier III intervention strategies. More time was provided for Michael in small groups and scaffolded reading materials were provided. Students on tier III intervention are re-assessed every two weeks. There was no notable progress resulting from our intensive interventions after the first several weeks and the frustration continued. Michael just wasn't going to close the gap. After a period of intensive interventions, Michael began to make small gains. Things began to "click" and our team began to notice progress across the curricula. Although he was still well behind on the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) test in January, we were confident that the improvement noted on common assessments and classroom performance was real. Michael scored five points above the grade level "cut" on the spring MAP assessment, is on target to meet or exceed expectations on state assessments, and is performing beyond his teacher's expectations in class. He is happy and proud of his success. His teacher states, "I am so glad that we held true to our commitment to the PLC process in helping Michael achieve success. In the future, I will be more trusting of the process because if Michael can do it, any child can!" Through students like Michael, teachers prove for themselves that all students can learn and succeed one student at a time; and that makes it all worthwhile.