Question 1: What is Instructional Support
Answer: IS stands for Instructional Support. It was formerly called Basic Skills Instruction and you might hear it referred to as BSI sometimes. It is a supplemental program that provides developmental support for students to learn and strengthen skills in Math and Reading. In Math, the lessons emphasize improvement of abilities in problem-solving and computation. In Reading, lessons focus on strengthening skills and developing strategies to decode and comprehend various reading material. The Instructional Support (Basic Skills) program is not the same as special education which is much more individually tailored and requires in-depth testing to identify specific learning needs. Back to FAQs
Question 2: What does an IS class look like?
Answer: Students take part in small group instruction two times a week, 30 - 40 minutes a class, for the subject(s) needed. Many times IS lessons are conducted in the regular classroom, while the regular teacher is working with other students in small groups or individually. Once a comfort level is established with students, some classes are held in the IS room in order to make use of a variety of hands-on materials. In some situations, IS may take the form of “in-class support” with the IS teacher being available to help clarify and reinforce a regular lesson. The best arrangement is worked out depending on the classroom teacher’s plans, student’s schedule, and academic needs of the group. Back to FAQs
Question 3: How are students identified?
Answer: Wildwood School uses standardized test scores of 1st - 5th graders as a first measure to identify students who may need additional help in Reading or Math. By looking at scores, in combination with recommendations from the classroom teacher, it can be determined if a student’s skills and confidence level could benefit from supplemental support. Parental input helps to make the final decision as to whether or not a student should receive support. At the end of the year, the same criteria are used to determine if a student should be moved out of IS or should continue with help for the next school year. (A large majority of students make sufficient progress to move on without extra help for the next year.) Back to FAQs
Question 4: What is the duration of the program?
Answer: The program starts by early October, giving students time to acclimate to the new school year and allowing time for scheduling and teacher observation of students to take place. The program continues throughout the year on a regularly scheduled basis. Towards the end of the school year, fewer meetings take place as Spring testing and end-of-year projects take much of the students’ time. Back to FAQs
Question 5: What are some of the benefits of Instructional Support?
Answer: Students who qualify for IS benefit by getting some extra help and time to develop skills and strategies that their peers may already have mastered. Great attention is paid to the self-esteem of these students since often students have already started to compare themselves to others. Many feel badly that they can’t do some things that come easily for their friends. Confidence is often increased because IS allows students to discover and articulate strategies and methods to tackle academic challenges in classwork and testing. The pleasant, interactive nature of IS lessons can alleviate some pressure felt by students. Their overall performance in school often improves as students learn to apply new strategies and skills in their daily work. Back to FAQs
Question 6: Will special reports or conferences be provided?
Answer: With so many students at various grade levels, it is difficult for the IS teacher to attend the regular parent-teacher conference. However, individual conferences can be scheduled when the need arises. Of course, telephone calls can be made for conversation about how things are going. And, a narrative progress report will be included once or twice a year - at mid-year and end-of-year report card time. In addition to these communications, an occasional newsletter will be sent home and a web based information source is in the works. Back to FAQs
*If your questions or concerns were not answered by this Q & A sheet, please feel free to call Gigi Lax, the Instructional Support teacher, at (973)334-3609. Leave a message and she’ll return your call ASAP.