Blog

  • Advocating for At-Risk Students

    by Daniella Maglione, Ed.S., M.S.

    Meet Daniella Maglione, a psychologist (and mother to a son with learning disabilities)

    On any normal day, school was challenging for my ​6th grader, who ​was diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia. He exceeded expectations in other subjects, ​but written expression and ​handwriting were always a point of frustration. ​His performance in these areas was a painful contrast to his otherwise strong grades. Over time, his self-esteem became impacted by his desire to strive in all areas and we made the decision to enroll him in a private school. This decision was based on researching the additional support and resources that would be available to aid his performance in the classroom, such as the ability to type and print his assignments versus handwriting them. 

    Things were beginning to stabilize before COVID-19 caused schools closures. Schools were scrambling just to begin classes online, so custom-designed programs for kids with 504 plans couldn’t be easily accommodated. This was very overwhelming for him. As a parent and psychologist, I knew that I had to look for other options and turned to the National Institute for Learning Development (NILD), which has a tool to identify local therapists for providing ​services that address his areas of need and, in this case, even virtually. 

    The additional support has been instrumental for my son to continue his progress, but the reality is that not everyone is able to secure private help ​for a variety of reasons. In fact, I know others who have sought help, only to get stuck in circuitous paths because of limited, even misguided, direction. It is imperative to understand your student’s rights so that you can be empowered to support them. Turn to resources from organizations like the NILD and International Dyslexia Association (IDA) to explore their services, such as lessons on how best to work with your child or to take advantage of state-run programs.

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  • Dealing with internalizing issues

    Lanterns for Mental Health Awareness

    Supporting a path forward with strategies that work for anxiety and depression

    Explore strategies to help support school-aged students and families while learning at either home or school.

    Many of you have parents and caregivers reaching out for ways to support their students with the potential internalizing issues of anxiety and depression. We’ve assembled some helpful tip sheets focused on dealing with and supporting anxiety and depression in PreK–12 students. Additional insight from Kimberly J. Vannest, PhD will help you provide the guidance families and caregivers may need right now.  

    What to look for and how to help  

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  • Are your students engaged readers?

    Laptop with DRA3 on Screen

    Think for a moment about your favorite book... Were you excited to read it? Did you find yourself unable to set it down, even for a moment? Did you talk about the characters or plot line while you weren’t reading it? Did you feel a little disappointed when you’d turned the last page, knowing it was over? Do you still think about the characters from time to time? Do you recommend it to others? If so, chances are you were entrenched in the book, connected to the characters, and captivated by the story. You were engaged.

    Engaged readers find satisfaction in reading, read independently, and talk about what they’ve read — but how do we transform students who read because they have to into students who read because they want to? How do we inspire them to become engaged readers?

    Included in your DRA3 kit is an optional component, the Reading Engagement Survey. It gathers information about each student’s reading preferences, and provides insights into why the student might be struggling with engagement. Based on information obtained in the survey, DRA3 then provides a Focus for Instruction checklist specifically designed to improve reading engagement, assist in book selections, and build up reading stamina to expand their abilities to include longer texts.

    Learn more about the benefits of the Reading Engagement Survey and where to find it in your DRA3 kit!

    Watch the video

    What’s on the calendar this month?

    • Continue using progress monitoring with identified students.
    • Administer the Word Analysis to other first through third grade students who are reading below established oral reading mid-year benchmark levels.
    • Model, teach, and support areas in need of instruction.

    What’s on the calendar for the rest of the school year?

    One of the most important tasks in any school year is discovering each student’s literacy strengths and weaknesses. Identifying where they might need a little help, and how you can utilize their strengths to augment that support will help them make the most of their educational time. We have put together a reading assessment calendar to help you stay on track throughout the year, and to provide you with helpful tools to enhance your reading curriculum. December’s activities are crucial to your students’ reading success, and will set you on the path to discovering — and fostering — the lifelong reader in each of them!

    Download the calendar  

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  • Headed toward the deep end of assessment season?

    Laptop with DRA3 on Screen

    We’ve got the perfect life jacket for you!

    You’ve finally gotten your classroom back to some semblance of a learning environment and having turned the calendar to February you’ve realized that you’re now headed directly into the busiest time of year — spring assessments and conferences! Are you prepared for everything you need to prepare for? Are your students? What do you need to do in order to make sure you are all ready for what lies ahead? What adjustments do you need to make to ensure that your students are meeting end-of-year goals?

    If you’re feeling like you’re treading water, we’ve got you covered! DRA3’s reading skills assessment calendar was designed to help buoy you through these challenging times!

    What’s on the calendar this month?

    • Continue using progress monitoring with identified students.
    • Administer the Word Analysis to other first through third grade students who are reading below established oral reading mid-year benchmark levels.
    • Prepare for and conduct mid-year Parent/Teacher conferences using all appropriate DRA3 assessments and materials.
    • Model, teach, and support areas in need of instruction.

    What’s on the calendar for the rest of the school year?

    One of the most important tasks in any school year is discovering each student’s literacy strengths and weaknesses. Identifying where they might need a little help, and how you can utilize their strengths to augment that support will help them make the most of their educational time. We have put together a reading assessment calendar to help you stay on track throughout the year, and to provide you with helpful tools to enhance your reading curriculum. December’s activities are crucial to your students’ reading success, and will set you on the path to discovering — and fostering — the lifelong reader in each of them!

    Download the calendar  

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  • The long winter break is over. Let’s get your students back on track!

    Student with speech bubble with teacher looking at laptop screen

    Well, the excitement from the holidays has passed, break is officially over, and it’s time to get back to learning... but how best to get your students back in the swing of things and on track to meeting end-of-year goals? Mid-year assessments are an excellent way to guide your classroom back to your typical learning environment while checking on their progress since fall. You can use the data provided by these assessments to help guide decisions and tailor each student’s instruction to their current level of ability.

    What’s on the January to-do list?

    • Follow your District Assessment calendar for mid-year assessments.
    • Re-administer the Word Analysis with students who were previously assessed in the fall.
    • Use the updated class profile to help plan specific teaching/learning activities in each area of instructional need.

    What’s on the calendar for the rest of the school year?

    One of the most important tasks in any school year is discovering each student’s literacy strengths and weaknesses. Identifying where they might need a little help, and how you can utilize their strengths to augment that support will help them make the most of their educational time. We have put together a reading assessment calendar to help you stay on track throughout the year, and to provide you with helpful tools to enhance your reading curriculum. December’s activities are crucial to your students’ reading success, and will set you on the path to discovering — and fostering — the lifelong reader in each of them!

    Download the calendar  

    Read more
  • Making the turn into 2020

    Laptop displaying DRA3 Online report for Oral Reading Summary

    Can you believe we are here, talking about mid-year progress... already?? Fall is flashing by as quickly as summer did, and before we know it, colorful lights will be surrounding our windows, houses, and trees! Our bright little learners are bursting with excitement for the holiday season, and while it may seem like school is winding down for this calendar year, checking their mid-year reading skills progress is a fantastic way to maximize learning when school resumes after winter break!

    December to-dos:

    1. Continue using Progress monitoring with identified students.
    2. Plan and continue to model, teach, and support the areas identified in need of instruction on the Class profile form for small groups or the whole class.
    • Oral Reading Rate, Phrasing and expression (Use appropriate leveled passages from Progress Monitoring for repeated readings. See Routine Card 11–13 for routines to improve oral reading fluency.)
    • Oral retellings and written summaries (See Blackline Masters at the end of the Teacher Guides.)

    Enhancing reading progress through independent reading

    When kids have access to books on topics that interest them, they read more often and for longer periods of time... often without too much prodding. In an effort to help you guide your students’ parents in choosing the right book for their child’s age and interests, we’ve included a list of titles separated by grade level. They’re adapted from the Association for Library Service to Children and are part of their 2019 Notable Books list.

    Please choose from the following age groups, and download the appropriate PDF to send to your students’ parents.

    What’s on the calendar for 2020?

    One of the most important tasks in any school year is discovering each student’s literacy strengths and weaknesses. Identifying where they might need a little help, and how you can utilize their strengths to augment that support will help them make the most of their educational time. We have put together a reading assessment calendar to help you stay on track throughout the year, and to provide you with helpful tools to enhance your reading curriculum. December’s activities are crucial to your students’ reading success, and will set you on the path to discovering — and fostering — the lifelong reader in each of them!

    Download the calendar  

    Read more
  • Are you prepared to serve the growing population of ELLs?

    Five children

    According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the number of English Language Learner (ELL) students in the US rose from 3.8 million (8.1%) in 2000 to 4.8 million (9.5%) in the fall of 2015. This 20% growth in the number of ELL students prompts several important questions, two of which are, “How can we help this growing population succeed in school and beyond?” and “What tools do we need to do so?”

    Language is the basis for all learning, which poses a problem when a student isn’t fluent in the language spoken in their school. Despite this challenge, ELLs are expected to meet the same standards of their English-speaking classmates, and as a result, are falling drastically behind. According to a recent study, only 63% of ELLs graduate from high school, compared to 82% of non-ELLs — and of those who graduate, only 1.4% go on to take college entrance exams.

    Academics isn’t the only area where these students are running into trouble. While 1 in 10 US students are ELLs, only 7% of school psychologists surveyed are proficient (not fluent) in Spanish, 1.3% are proficient in Sign Language, and 5.3% are proficient in 27 other languages. This discrepancy is alarming as it clearly indicates an immense gap in a typical school’s ability to address these students’ diverse needs.

    What are practical guidelines for serving the ELL population?

    Get the practical guidelines for working with English Language Learners.

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  • It’s time for parent-teacher conferences!

    Laptop displaying DRA3 Online report for Oral Reading Summary

    Streamline your preparations with DRA3’s online reports.

    For some students, nothing conjures up greater anxiety than these three words: parent-teacher conferences. What will my teacher(s) have to say? Have I done everything I can to get a good report? Am I doing well?? Concurrently, parents have similar concerns. What will their teacher(s) have to say? Have I done everything I can to help my child succeed in school? Are they doing well? Taking time out to make sure that you have all of the information related to each student’s progress can be an overwhelming task at a time of year when their attention span is already waning with the upcoming holidays. Math grades, outcome tests, science grades, reading skills progress, social studies… the list of reports and papers is seemingly endless.

    DRA3 can take care of one big item on that list — reading skills progress. Our powerful online platform gives you unlimited access to:

    • Class Roster Report
    • Student Action Plan
    • Student Assessment History
    • Assessment Instance Results
    • Parent Report
    • Student Performance Over Time
    • Class Skills Summary
    • School/District Benchmark Scoring Report
    • School/District Data Across Seasons (and Across Years)

    What’s on the calendar for November?

    One of the most important tasks in any school year is discovering each student’s literacy strengths and weaknesses. Identifying where they might need a little help, and how you can utilize their strengths to augment that support will help them make the most of their educational time. We have put together a reading assessment calendar to help you stay on track throughout the year, and to provide you with helpful tools to enhance your reading curriculum. October’s activities are crucial to your students’ reading success, and will set you on the path to discovering — and fostering — the lifelong reader in each of them!

    Download the calendar  

    Read more