At the BTU School children are scholars, and the faculty strive to meet the academic needs of each scholar in the school. This begins with the people who know your scholar best – parents and teachers meeting together and sharing what they know. Teachers at all grade levels engage in ongoing, formative and normative benchmark assessments in oral language, reading, writing and math. These assessments are diagnostic and provide valuable information from which teachers design effective lessons for all learners. These effective lessons are called Tier I interventions
Ongoing assessments also identify scholars who may benefit from what is called a Tier II or Tier III intervention. Tier II and Tier III interventions are targeted, prescriptive lessons provided by the classroom teacher or by one of the BTU School’s learning center teachers in the classroom or in one of the BTU School’s learning centers. These lessons, which may last a couple of weeks, a couple of months or an entire school year, are designed to accelerate the academic skill development of an individual scholar who is struggling with the mastery of a specific skill. Scholars who receive Tier II and Tier III interventions are closely monitored to ensure that the intervention being provided is helping that scholar develop the skills he/she needs to be successful in school.
If my child is struggling, how can I get him or her help?
Parents with concerns about their child’s academic progress at the BTU School have several options open to them. First and foremost, if you are worried about your child’s progress, please talk with your child’s teacher(s). Please feel free to ask how your child is doing in class, how your child scored on his/her most recent grade level benchmark assessments and ask what you can do at home to help your child be more successful in school. Please feel free to ask if your child might benefit from a Tier II or Tier III intervention.
Second, if your child is already receiving a Tier II or Tier III intervention, please talk with your child’s learning center teacher as well. In addition to all the questions you want to ask your child’s general education teachers(s), please feel free to ask the learning center teacher how your child is progressing given this additional level of academic support.
Third, if you are still concerned about your child’s academic progress, please feel free to contact Ms. Berta Berriz, Lower School co-lead teacher or Ms. Betsy Drinan, Upper School co-lead teacher. You may also contact Ms. Ellen Marshall, school-based evaluation team facilitator any Tuesday or Thursday. Ms. Berriz, Ms. Drinan and/or Ms. Marshall will gladly sit down with you and your child’s teachers to address any concerns you have about your child’s progress in school.
The Learning Center Teachers are:
- Ms. Betsy Morgan for grades 1, 2, and 3 (Monday through Thursday)
- Ms. Ellen Marshall for grades 6 and 7 (Monday, Wednesday and Friday)
Other Learning Specialists assigned to the BTU School:
- Ms. Susan Walsh – Speech and Language Pathologist
- Ms. Yolanda Davila-Cohen – Occupational Therapist
- Ms. Kelly Anderson – Physical Therapist.
At the BTU School we will try many forms of support and services for a scholar because we believe that prevention and early intervention help ensure success. Learning Center teachers and Learning Specialists work closely in and out of the classroom with teachers and students to help design and modify instruction so that all scholars can succeed.
How do I find out if my child’s challenges are the result of a disability?
Both the special education law and the Boston Public Schools require a documented process for referring scholars for an evaluation to determine if a “disability is preventing them from making adequate progress in the general education classroom without the additional support of specially designed instruction or related services (ex,: language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy).” If a disability is identified, a scholar qualifies for special education services or 504 accommodations. It is important to remember, however, that at the BTU School qualifying for special education services or 504 accommodations is not a requirement for getting extra academic support.