Friday, September 23, 2016

Supporting Struggling Learners

I am pleased to share that Isle of Wight County Schools is undertaking a three-year effort to improve the effectiveness and equity of services for supporting struggling students both with and without disabilities.
 While we are proud of the quality of services provided to struggling students and the hard work of our staff who help all children achieve at high levels, ever-higher expectations require us to look for ways to further increase student learning and improve the way we deliver services to our students. The division has engaged the District Management Council, a Boston based organization, to assist with this project.

 This systematic study will examine our current regular and special education services, programs, procedures, and staffing for serving struggling students through the use of quantitative (both in-division and benchmark division information) and qualitative data gathering (using focus groups, stakeholder interviews and classroom observations). The review will also help the division understand how various categories of staff use their time as they serve struggling students. With this information, the division will be able to make thoughtful and informed decisions to ensure all of our students receive appropriate support. Later in the process, DMC will help codify practices that will best serve students in the division as well as help with the development of staffing guidelines in accordance with these practices.

The result should be a better picture of what is working well in the division, a better understanding of what the appropriate level of staff and services are, and overall improved delivery of services to struggling students and parents, and better utilization of division resources.

 We are excited to be undertaking this study, and appreciate your support in this process. I will be sure to keep you updated as the project achieves key milestones. In the meantime, please let me know if you have any questions. For more information contact: Mr. Thomas Chelgren at

Jim Thornton, Ed.D.