Leaves are starting to change color, the air is getting a little crisper, and students have been back to school for almost a month!
Aidan is back in full force now! I wanted to share what support services and standardized testing looks like at Aidan. Back to school benchmark assessments in reading are taking place now to help collect data on student development that happened over the summer. Standardized testing in reading and math will be coming up in October for grades 3rd-6th. These assessments are just one informational piece of a giant puzzle that we put together when considering the growth of a student here at Aidan. With that being said, what do support services at Aidan look like for a student?
At Aidan students referred to our specialists can be put on a support plan. Students in need of support in math, reading, writing, and executive functioning work on a weekly or as needed basis in support sessions with our specialists. These sessions can be one-on-one work or work in a small group setting outside of the classroom. In these sessions students get specialized practice in the areas they are struggling with while receiving directed support. Sessions can also be performed within the classroom so that other students might observe the topic or join in the practice as well. Sessions can range from being 30-45 minutes once or multiple times a week. I am in constant contact with the teacher to make sure we are all on the same page when supporting a student and to track the progress that is happening in and out of the classroom.
Students are referred to our specialists for various reasons.
- A student could have an IEP (Individualized Education Program) that the school is supporting.
- A student may have a disability or developmental gap that can be supported.
- A teacher or parent could recommend a student based on the work/behavior they are witnessing.
- Standardized tests or other assessments could indicate that a student needs support in a specific subject area.
- Other specialists/tutors outside of the school might have an education plan the school can incorporate into its programing.
The list can go on, but what I would like to share is that your student will be supported. While there are some resources that may not be available at Aidan, for example a speech therapist, I am happy to work with your family to direct you to the resources and connections we have in this area. Students could also be referred to out-of-network evaluations depending on the student's needs.
The specialists and teachers at Aidan can not give a student a diagnosis. However, by working with the students daily we may recognize something in their work, behavior, or practices. DCPS is one platform that works with the school to help evaluate a child to determine if a student is eligible for special education and can develop an IEP for a student. Pediatricians, psychologists, and specialized therapists, can also perform specialized evaluations to create support plans for your student.
Once a student has an IEP or other specialized instructions, a conversation is conducted among the family, teachers, and specialists to determine how that program can be implemented at Aidan. As I stated before, not every service can be offered at Aidan, but we are happy to help you and your family find the right support your student needs.
Assessments & Standardized Testing:
Students are assessed all the time in the classroom while they are working on mastering various skills. Along with those observations, it is also important for us to continue assessing students on specific benchmarks in reading and math. One way we do that is through standardized testing. I understand that standardized testing is not everyone’s favorite topic and it cannot give us the complete picture of a student, but it may be able to help us identify gaps in a specific skill and is another resource to track growth.
Standardized testing is performed in math and reading for grades 3rd-6th in the fall and spring. The program the school uses for standardized testing tracks and compares the students' development to the common core state standards. I would like to emphasize that the program is not perfect and at Aidan we do not base a students grade level on their test scores.
Benchmark assessments in reading are also given at the beginning and end of the year for 3rd-6th years. At the end of Primary 3rd year (Kindergarten), a reading assessment is also given to students who are continuing their Aidan Montessori path up to the Elementary. These assessments can help uncover gaps or developmental delays in students' phonological awareness.
Assessments can be given at any time at the request of a specialist, teacher, or out-of-network provider. They are great resources on uncovering students' needs and tracking student progress.
If you have any questions about the services provided, comments about the program or assessments, or would like to set up a meeting, please feel free to contact me through phone (202-387-2700 ext. 136) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Learning Support Specialist