Curtis Richards at West Monona Elementary is all smiles because of his literacy success!

Finding success is part of the 'Promise'!

Last month, we talked about the new Promise of Iowa campaign and its goal of rallying support for public education in our state. Here is one example of why education in Iowa is working. We are proud to play a role in the success of northwest Iowa children!

Fourth-grader Curtis Richards recently called AEA employee, Teresa Murray, at home one night to share the good news of his reading progress. He said to her, "Thanks for never giving up on me and believing in me…I did it!” 

While many children should be very proud to be listed among the top readers in their class, few could be as proud as Curtis Richards from West Monona Elementary in Onawa. Curtis, who is in fourth grade, was recently placed in the top reading group in his class. This feat meant so much more for Curtis and his family because of his involvement in the Comprehensive Intervention Model (CIM) during his third grade year.

Curtis was identified by the data obtained from the district's Comprehensive Assessment System (CAS). This system includes a process of screening students to identify those students who are at-risk of reading difficulty. Furthermore, the system includes diagnostic and progress monitoring measures.  The formative and summative data is displayed on a data wall. The data wall presents a visual display of the school's ability to meet the needs of all students. It provides a tool for assessing the impact of curriculum and intervention(s) on students' learning. The data wall becomes a focal point for problem-solving discussions around students' progress.  

Based on the collection of data for Curtis, he was identified as a student in need of intervention. It was determined he would receive a Tier One and a Tier Two intervention, based on both his screening and diagnostic data. It was determined that Curtis was just over a year behind the third-grade (his current grade at the time) literacy expectations. He lacked the confidence necessary to be an efficient problem-solver, capable of making meaning during reading. This transferred to his view of himself as a writer, as well. Therefore, neither reading nor writing was an enjoyable experience.  

“Curtis participated in a layered intervention design consisting of Guided Reading Plus, Writing Aloud and Comprehension Focus Group,” said Teresa Murray, educational consultant at Northwest Area Education Agency (AEA). 

Murray explained that these interventions, along with dedication and hard work by Curtis, made a huge impact on his self-image. He also became efficient with strategies in his reading and writing, boosting his confidence. 

In addition, Curtis' success in literacy led to his discontinuation from a behavioral intervention, Check-In/Check-Out (CICO). He had received 100 percent on his behavior reports for three weeks straight, allowing him to exit the plan. 

Murray is an interventionist and a CIM coach to 32 of the 108 interventionists implementing this model, and she sees the direct impact CIM is making every single day. 

“The fact that he was finally feeling success touched me in a very special way,” revealed Murray.

West Monona Community School District is in its fifth year of CIM. They have trained numerous teachers in the CIM model, as well as trained two Comprehensive Literacy Model (CLM) coaches at the Jacobson Center for Comprehensive Literacy at the University of Northern Iowa.

As always, be sure to check out our blogs, which we hope will inform, inspire and guide your daily work:

For a complete listing of all blogs, please go to the Northwest AEA website. You can also sign up for an RSS feed to automatically receive blog updates (instructions provided on the Northwest AEA website).

Educationally yours,

Dr. Tim Grieves
Chief Administrator