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ERIC Number: EJ872394
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan-27
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0277-4232
Tailoring Lessons for English-Learners
Zehr, Mary Ann
Education Week, v29 n19 p1, 10 Jan 2010
Educators in the Chula Vista Elementary School District determined what kind of instruction students needed through a "response to intervention" (RTI) process, which provides extra help to struggling students with an aim of reducing the number of referrals to special education. As RTI catches on throughout the country, the district is on the cutting edge in its focus on how the approach applies to English-language learners (ELLs), who make up 36 percent of the K-6 district's 27,450 students. Chula Vista started using RTI during the 2004-2005 school year. In the 2006-2007 school year, it hired Douglas Fisher, a professor of teacher education at San Diego State University, as a consultant to figure out how to apply RTI to students who don't have a command of English. RTI has helped the district dramatically raise test scores in mathematics and reading for ELLs. In 2008, the California Association for Bilingual Education recognized the district with its "seal of excellence" award. For the past two years, the district has ranked high on California's academic performance index. It scored 833 on the state's growth accountability index in the 2008-2009 school year, as 31 of its 44 schools exceeded the target of 800. In addition, the Chula Vista Elementary district has never missed its state's goals for adequate yearly progress under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which is unusual for a school system with so many students who aren't fluent in English. The approach applies instruction with differing intensity, duration, and frequency for different students. In Chula Vista and across the country, RTI provides instructional triage with three "tiers." All students receive Tier 1 instruction, in which teachers ideally take into account the individual needs of students in their regular instruction. In Tier 2, a subset of students who need additional help receives interventions in small groups. Lastly, some students are identified for Tier 3; they receive even more intensive help such as daily one-on-one instruction. In many school districts, Tier 3 equals special education. In Chula Vista, that is true for some students who aren't ELLs. However, schools are urged to wait until after Tier 3 intervention has been tried before referring an English-learner for special education evaluation. Educators need to ensure they aren't mistaking a language barrier as a disability. The most impressive changes in the Chula Vista district have occurred with improving the quality of core instruction, or Tier 1 instruction, to meet the needs of ELLs.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001