Concerns about parental involvement led to the tabling of a vote on a plan for delivering additional academic assistance to students in grades K-6 at the August Board of Education meeting.
The plan, presented by Assistant Superintendent Larry Mautone and Director of Elementary Education Sue Gies, describes the district’s Response to Intervention model, which is mandated by the state. The plan is meant to identify students who need additional academic support early in their schooling. These students are primarily identified by their classroom teachers, who are required to provide universal screenings three times a year in the elementary grades. In Saugerties, this is done using the STAR Reading assessment and classroom observation.
Once a student is identified as struggling, the teacher meets with other professionals in the building to come up with a plan for intervention. The team meets periodically to look at the student’s response to this intervention. If a student is making progress, the intervention may be discontinued. If the student is not progressing after several cycles of intervention, he or she may be referred to the Committee for Special Education.
After hearing the presentation, several board members raised questions about how parents would find out about these interventions. Trustee Krista Barringer asked how parents were informed of the process and their rights. She said she did not see this in the plan presented to the board. Trustee Damion Ferraro said if parents were given information about the specific interventions, they could work on them at home with their children, adding to the support.
Mautone said the information is sent home with the report card if a student is receiving services. But Trustee Angie Minew said she had not been notified by the school that her son was receiving services — neither by his teacher nor the report card.
Board President Robert Thomann said there should be a way to document this information. He also noted that parents could provide useful information about why a student may be struggling, particularly if there is something happening at home.
The board voted to table the approval of this plan, and formed an ad hoc committee to look more closely at the plan. The committee will be chaired by Minew, with board Vice President Jim Mooney and Trustee Krista Barringer also members.