Castaic Middle School in CA is one of the first schools to be named a Redesignation IV Schools to Watch®. Below is their promising practice article.
The academic and personal success of all students is the number one priority at Castaic Middle School (CMS) and the Castaic Union School District. At CMS, all students have access to quality instruction, and we hold high expectations for our students. As a result, we are constantly looking for ways to provide support to all students to better ensure success. In the past few years, we have been able to add multiple opportunities for student support and intervention, including Response to Intervention advisory, study skills classes, more ELD support classes, strategic reading and math classes and SDAIE history and science classes. We have also been able to enrich our high achieving students with advanced classes to meet their needs, such as accelerated math, algebra, enriched science, enrichment advisory and advanced electives like band and art.
Working with our district staff and school board, we modified our school day to include a thirty-minute RTI advisory period. We utilized teacher input to create a fair and balanced schedule. For three days each week, students attend an intervention, enrichment class or study hall during this RTI advisory period. All students are given the opportunity to receive support or enrichment, not just those who can come to school early or stay late. Intervention may include test review, re-teaching of a lesson or even making up a run in PE. Enrichment may include book clubs, thematic units of study, or even team preparation for math field day. Students who do not have access to a computer at home can also use this time to go to the computer lab to conduct research or type assignments. What we have found is that most students are grateful for the in-school intervention opportunities to get extra support. Teachers report a higher turn-in rate for student work and a feeling that they are truly able to offer intervention to the students who most need it.
An additional tier to our RTI program is the addition of study skills classes throughout the school day. Students are placed into these classes if they are failing, or are in danger of failing, one or more classes. Students take study skills in lieu of an exploratory. They sign a contract with their teacher and their parents promising to complete work and ask for help. Once students fulfill their individual contracts and meet their prescribed goals, they are removed from study skills and are once again able to take an exploratory class. Students who do not meet their goals remain in the program with further intervention.