Archived Story

Joe Sylvester: Dowagiac students become successful readers

Published 11:59am Wednesday, February 17, 2010

In 2009, Dowagiac began its participation in the MiBLSi program.

MiBLSi stands for Michigan’s Integrated Behavior and Learning Support Initiative.

MiBLSi is designed to help students become better readers through teaching appropriate behaviors.

Fewer behavior problems result in increased student success in school and in the community.

Patrick Hamilton Elementary and Justus Gage Elementary schools will be implementing this program in the spring and continuing with increased programming in the fall.

The goals of MIBLSI are:
1. Increasing reading performance
2. Reducing  behavior problems
3. Collecting data of behavior and reading performances
4. Using student performance information to develop and implement interventions
The idea is that targeted instruction engages the students and leads to fewer behavior problems.
Frequent progress monitoring helps teachers decide if interventions are working.
When students are struggling academically, they often display inappropriate behavior.
Inappropriate behavior leads to lost learning time. Research tells us that poor academic skills are the strongest predictor of a student who could eventually drop out of school.

Some ideas that are being used schoolwide to improve behavior are:
1. Identifying and defining expectations for behavior
2. Teaching the expectations
3. Monitoring the expected behavior
4. Encouraging and acknowledging appropriate behavior
5. Correcting inappropriate behavior with consistent consequences

Since improving reading is a part of the process, strategies are utilized that improve reading skills.
These implementations are:
1. Developing clear goals and objectives
2. Continuing with research-based instructional practices
3. Using responsive intervention programs
4. Frequently assessing students
5. Participating in professional development

This plan involves looking at our at-risk students and having a climate of success that promotes both academic and behavior improvements.

Positive interactions with our students help build relationships that promote success.
Tracking our data insures better-informed decisions on how to adjust programs for student success.

This week’s column is a collaboration by Joe Sylvester, Title I, Patrick Hamilton Elementary, and Sue Balazer, special education coordinator.

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