Bridget Weiss is director of student services for the district. She wants to do a better job identifying all the students who need an extra hand meeting the district’s core curriculum standards.Harborview Elementary School Monday, May 11, 2015 (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh, KTOO – Juneau)It’s well-known not all children learn in the same way or at the same pace, but it’s not always easy to realize which kids need extra attention. Weiss is excited about a method that tracks kids’ academic progress and shows the district which ones need an intervention. The method is called RTI. She said it stands for Response to Instruction.“In some places, it’s often referred to as Response to Intervention. It is a program based on the philosophy of identifying students’ needs early and attacking those with special interventions outside of the regular core curriculum,” Weiss said.She said the strategy is being used in other schools around the country. The Juneau School District has used parts of it in a few schools in the past, but now it’s trying to use the strategy district-wide. Weiss said elementary schools used Response to Instruction last year to improve reading skills.“Some schools are saying, ‘Hey, we really want to spend another year just focusing on reading, because we’re close, we’re not quite there, we really want to get expert at this whole RTI process with reading.’ Some schools are saying, ‘We’re chomping at the bit. We really want to get after math,’” Weiss said.Student behavior is also on some schools’ RTI to-do lists.This strategy has a lot of moving parts, but Weiss gave a brief explanation on how it works:She said it lumps students into tiers according to their performance. Tier 1 is the district’s core instruction that every kid in every classroom is getting. At this level, educators are evaluating how effectively they’re reaching every student in the district.Tier 2 is for kids who have a “higher level of need.”“Which would mean they get some additional time in a small group, adding some instructional methods to what they’re getting in the regular classroom,” Weiss said.She said if a student is “significantly behind,” they’re moved into the Tier 3 category.“Which just means more time. So we increase the amount of time and focus that they’re getting and some of the strategies that we use,” Weiss said.She said one of the most powerful parts of RTI come into play after kids are placed in a tier. They’re monitored for improvement. If a student in Tier 2 is getting additional small group instruction and it’s working, educators might keep giving that student more of the same.“Or is it not working and they need more time, or do they need a different intervention altogether,” Weiss asked.Finally, if students just aren’t showing enough improvement after multiple assessments and interventions, the district will consider the possibility that they’re dealing with a learning disability and move them towards special education.Weiss said, “There’s a continuum of work happening here from looking at all kids who might need some assistance, and then narrowing and applying effective practice, as well as identifying students who might need even more than what RTI can do for them.”She said because RTI is not just relying on teachers’ thoughts and feelings about their students’ abilities, there’s a better chance of catching kids who might otherwise fall through the cracks. It’s a systematic review of students’ performances over time.Weiss believes RTI can help identify kids’ individual challenges so they can solve them early in their educational careers.Each student’s data is also unique to them, not to the school. So when students change schools, their data travels with them.
Participants pose for a photograph at a roundtable on ways to prevent HIV-AIDS and unwanted pregnancy at Karwan Bazar’s CA Bhaban on Wednesday. Photo: Prothom Alo.Consistent use of condom and creating awareness can prevent unintended pregnancy and spread of HIV virus, health experts told a roundtable on Wednesday.Prothom Alo, in association with Social Marketing Company (SMC) and USAID, organised the roundtable on social awareness and ways to prevent HIV-AIDS and unwanted pregnancy at Karwan Bazar’s CA Bhaban.Assistant director general at Director General of Health Services (DGHS), AHM Enayet Hussain, said that to meet ‘90-90-90’ target of UNAIDS, there are obligations such as diagnosis of 90 per cent of all HIV-positive persons, providing antiretroviral therapy for 90 per cent of those diagnosed, and achieving viral suppression for 90 per cent of those treated by 2020.He said the government has clear commitment to prevent HIV/AIDS, but affected people are still not interested to take treatment. Creating awareness is a solution to this problem, Enayet Hussain added.Managing director and chief executive officer of Social Marketing Company (SMC), Ali Reza Khan, said expatriate Bangladeshi and Rohingya population are at greater risk of HIV-AIDS. Around 200 Rohingyas were diagnosed with AIDS in Cox’s Bazar last year.He said there is no scope to be complacent although Bangladesh has a low prevalence rate of HIV.According to the government estimation as of October 2018, 6,455 people have been diagnosed with HIV-AIDS and 1,072 died since first detection of the disease in Bangladesh in 1989, said health department’s AIDS/STD programme’s deputy director and programme manager Belal Hossain.As many as 879 were detected with HIV positive in 2018, he said.Family planning department’s director Mohammed Sharif said the authorities should consider feasibility of screening HIV at airports.USAID’s project management specialist Samina Choudhury said only promotion of condom is not sufficient to prevent AIDS as awareness has to be created about other reasons of AIDS.Dhaka University’s professor of population sciences department, Mohammad Bellal Hossain, regretted that the use of condom in Bangladesh is still low and inconsistent due to various myths and phobia associated with it.Emphasising on awareness campaign, senior manager of health department’s AIDS/STD programme, Akhteruzzaman, said that there are 25 HIV testing centres across the country but affected people do not go to the facilities.UNAIDS Bangladesh’s country manager Saima Khan stressed on creating social awareness saying that most of the HIV positive patients do not want to disclose their illness due to social stigma about the disease.UNFPA’s programme expert Abu Sayed Mohammad Hasan said that 48 per cent of 4.8 million pregnancies in Bangladesh in a year are unwanted and most of them resort to unsafe abortion.Speakers also stressed on the necessity of consistent use of condom by sex workers to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.Icddr’b’s project coordinator of programme for HIV and AIDS AKM Masud Rana, Save the Children’s chief of party of HIV/AIDS programme Lima Rahman, SMC programme operation’s head of behaviour change communication Mohiuddin Ahmed and Mukto Akash Bangladesh’s deputy director Mizanur Rahman, among others, spoke at the roundtable moderated by Prothom Alo associate editor Abdul Quayyum.
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