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our program


Senior Member
I teach in a small school. There are two Title I teachers and two teaching assistants. Our program has been extended this year to include 4th and 5th grade, which is new for us. I service 37 students in grades 3-5. My assistant and I split our time so that on certain days, we go into the classrooms together and, along with the classroom teacher, we do guided reading and writing groups. On the other days, we go in separately so that when I'm with one grade she is with another. It seems to be working very well and the teachers we work with are very happy. My question is this: Is this too much time spent in these grades? The teacher who services grades K-2 (also 37 students) complains that she needs more help and that we do not need to be in grades 3-5 as much. She is trying to convince our administration that this is a problem that needs to be addressed. I love the rapport I am developing with my students and the teachers I work with and feel we are all seeing great results. I don't want to switch but I'm afraid it may happen. Any advice on how to justify what I'm doing? Or is she right? Do the younger kids need more than the older kids? I've never taught primary, but the kids we service really need the help. We have a meeting about this situation next week and I'm very nervous about it. How should I prepare?


Senior Member
what I would do

I've heard a statistic about this; 90% of the kids struggling with reading after first grade are still struggling by 4th grade. It is very important to get the help to the students early in school. On the other hand, you are working with students who are struggling with reading and they need your help too. I don't think it's a matter of older students needing less time with a specialist. The way you described it, it seems like the neediest students are being served with a teacher and an assistant for each group of 3 grade levels. Is it possible that the other teacher isn't handling the scheduling like you do?

To prepare, have some documentation of your students' reading and writing abilities from the beginning of the year and anything recent that will show growth. Bring your schedule, and bring any comments from the teachers that you can share. In the meeting, offer to help the other teacher maximize her schedule and time so that she can be as effective as you are. Okay, that sounded catty and I don't mean it that way.

If, in their wisdom, administration decides to make a change, you'll have to go along with what they say and make all the changes to all the schedules. But that just doesn't make sense to me to pull help (either you or your assistant) from 37 kids you are serving well to help with the 37 kids that have a teacher and an assistant. That just makes it sound like there is a problem with the teacher, assistant, or schedule.

Sue W.

Senior Member
Last chance?

They ALL need help! Your younger kids need help making a good start. The kids you are serving in 3-5 still NEED help. You are giving them one more chance to catch up with hope of being able to keep up. Elementary is more learning the basics that will be used in middle and high school. If they miss that now they will continue to struggle.

You have the support of your 3-5 teachers, ask them to go to bat for services. Do you have any test results that your could use? How about something about the kids who arrive at middle school with skill deficits? Administrators are often more concerned about numbers than that intuitive feeling we have about the kids we serve.

When our district funding was re-appropriated, we were cut from serving 1-3 to only serving first grade. My former students greet me in the hallway telling me they want to come back. They know they still need help. Teachers frequently say they wish we were still serving thei students. Referalls for testing for LD and special ed are rising.

I wish you good luck!