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Strategy Systematic catch-up for K-5 students


Students who are behind cannot catch up merely by accelerating up to the pace of their peers who are on target. They must learn even faster or learn less. To learn faster per week, they will have to spend more hours per week learning mathematics or learn more efficiently than their peers, or both. Moving faster won’t help unless the process of falling behind is stopped.

Because students will need different levels of intervention at different times, and because intervention can be expensive, especially if districts rely solely on the most intense types; a systematic layering of strategies is needed. The first layers serve the most students, least expensively. Each succeeding layer costs a little more per student and serves fewer students. The layers discussed are:
  • Enhancing regular classroom instruction – the base level
  • Classroom lesson planning for concentrated teaching of small groups
  • Increase minutes per day for mathematics
  • Diagnostic teaching
  • Math clinics
  • After school/community programs: homework and tutoring
  • Summer school “catch-up” programs
  • Tutoring
  • Intensive interventions in the style of reading interventions.

Make a multi-year plan that builds layers of extra help, up from the adopted program. Each layer you omit will lead to more students needing the next, more expensive layer. Phase in grade levels.

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