USD 490 is continuing its efforts to help students be successful through Extend and multi-tiered support system training at El Dorado High School.

USD 490 is continuing its efforts to help students be successful through Extend and multi-tiered support system training at El Dorado High School.

The USD 490 Board of Education heard an update on what has been happening and the results during their January meeting.

This past December Extend graduated 10 students at semester out of the 12 who were eligible for graduation.

Linda Johnson, assistant EHS principal, explained the students are eligible for graduation, although it is up to them to follow through with their coursework.

Of their graduates, some go on to sign up at Butler Community College, technical colleges and cosmetology school.

One aspect that has been focused on in the curriculum at Extend is a work ethic piece, which Superintendent Sue Givens said she was glad to see added.

Johnson said while it had been there before, it was more in the background and now they are putting more focus on ethics.

Extend uses a rubric for students to evaluate daily coursework and employable life skills. The rubric includes effective use of time, cooperation – polite, respectful behavior and setting good examples for others. The rubric will be available for employer review when needed.

To help students get the best education they can at EHS, the staff has implemented an MTSS plan.

“The things that we’re doing are going to flow into Extend and hopefully some of these strategies we’re learning now at the high school we will see in the elementary schools,” said EHS Principal Kevin House.

House said they tried to figure out what was going to be the best thing for them to do to get better. One thing they are focusing on is reading strategies.

This came after administrators were doing a walk-through in classes and one student was working on a state assessment question on compare and contrast and having difficulty.

“She understood what compare and contrast was, she didn’t understand the two words they were comparing so really it was a reading problem,” House said.

The teachers are now focusing on ninth grade reading.

To see how much help students need, they are collecting reading data from the eighth grade MAZE assessment and the ninth grade NWEA.

For some of the students, after they have collected the data, they will administer a new MAZE to students reading below target level.

“We are going to sit one on one with a student and listen to them read for one minute,” he said. “From this data we collect, we will divide them into one of four groups.”

Those groups are read accurate and fluent, accurate and slow, inaccurate and slow, and inaccurate and fluent.

Some strategies will then be used in small groups or one-on-one during seminar.

“We’re going to provide these teachers with strategies to help kids improve on their reading skills,” House said. “We have to do something.”

Some of the strategies they are going to incorporate building wide and possibly throughout the district include Fantastic Five; suffix, root and prefix chart; and vocabulary strategy. The teachers will be learning how to implement these strategies during an in-service day on Monday.

Fantastic Five includes modeled fluency where the teacher reads; echo reading, where the student repeats the teacher; choral reading, where the students read together; independent fluency; and reverse echo reading, where the student reads, then the teacher reads it back.

Another strategy looks at how new words should be introduced, teaching students how to pronounce and read a word, as well as spell it through student-friendly definitions and using the word.

Another strategy will teach the 20 most common prefixes and suffixes in academic test root words, giving meaning and examples.

“Our goal is improvement,” House said. “To help that child be a little more successful.”