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During the authors fifteen years a teacher within the secondary school system in Ireland, and having taught in a variety of religious and state funded schools. The author is only to aware that there is no standard intervention programme operating within the secondary school system specifically focused on promoting the social and academic competency of their students.
The author realises that there is no single “magic bullet” intervention programme that will directly meet the academic and social needs of all her students. It is important therefore, to establish the aim and the desired outcome of the intervention programme and that no child is beyond help. The author will need to examine the specific needs of her students, and establish what intervention is needed to attain that specific outcome. Once the needs of an individual student and/or the entire student population are understood, it important for educators to be familiar with specific intervention strategies that are evidence based (Kratochwill & Stoiber, 2000). It is vital that one respects developmental, cultural, linguistic, and gender differences among students when selecting and implementing intervention programmes (Jimerson, Pletcher, Kelly 2006). Knowing what works, how to implement them can help shift the balance between the risk and protective factors that shape a child's ability to thrive (Shinn, Walker and Stoner, 2002).
Roscommon Community College was identified by government as a school operating within a disadvantaged community. With a high student population of socio-economically disadvantaged attending the school, the schools was designated as a DEIS (Delivering of Equality of Opportunity In Schools) school in 2005. DEIS is a governmental action plan which focuses on educational inclusion. This initiative focuses on addressing the educational needs of children and young people from disadvantaged communities from pre-school through to second level education (3 to 18 years). The action plan is, therefore, one element of a continuum of intervention to address disadvantage.
The action plan is grounded in the belief that:
§ every child and young person deserves an equal chance to access, participate in and benefit from education
§ each personal should have the opportunity to reach her/his full educational potential for personal, social and economic reasons and
§ education is a critical factor in promoting social inclusion and economic development.
The following existing schemes and programmes have been integrated into the School Support Programme (SSP) over the past five years:
1. Early Start
2. Giving Children an Even Break (incorporating the primary Disadvantaged Areas Scheme and Breaking the Cycle)
3. The Support Teacher Project
4. The Home/School/Community Liaison Scheme
5. The School Completion Programme
6. The Disadvantaged Areas Scheme for second-level schools and related projects in second-level schools supporting access to third-level.
(Appendix ?, DEIS - Action Plan
Department of Education and Science, 2005)
Roscommon Community College has had the benefit of the DEIS intervention strategies for many years. During this time the author has witnessed the overall beneficial effects on her school environment for both staff and students. Previous to the implementation of the DEIS strategies the school was very far away from aspiring to increasing academic attainment when most of the student population were without fundamental basics such as nutrition, literacy and numeracy, parental support etc. Five years on, the author feels that the school is now in a strong position to implement an academic intervention programme.
ACADEMIC INTERVENTION MODEL
AIM is an abbreviation for Academic Intervention Model, a programme designed by the author to provide a student-centered, academically supportive environment that helps students investigate, research, test and develop their educational and career needs. Through the understanding and development of ‘self' we promote academic excellence, personal growth and social awareness. This is achieved with the support of students, teachers and parents who help the educational community evolve and where all members are valued and respected as equal stakeholders.
§ Programme Advisor (author)
§ School Principal
§ Career Guidance Counsellor
§ School Completion/Home School Coordinator
§ Head Teachers
§ Student and Parent
The six steps of AIM are as follows:
STEP 1 - ATTENDANCE: Induction meeting.
STEP 2 - REGISTRATION: with the AIM Programme Advisor, Study Skills and Evening Study Coordinators. Attendance of parent and student at the initial one-to-one meetings with the PA.
STEP 3 - UNDERSTANDING SELF: Review of Primary School Assessment Records: Sigma C and Micro T Tests, Continual Yearly Assessments. Review of Entrance Exam Results, Completion of an Educational Needs Analysis, Academic Self-Image Scale, Self-Esteem Inventory DATS, Personality and Behavioural Tests. Discussion with Resource Teacher. Preparation of Educational Needs Report by AIM Coordinator.
STEP 4 - ACADEMIC PROGRAMMING: Attend STEPS PS2 Programme. Report on the findings of the Educational Needs Report to student and parents/guardian. Arrange meeting with Career Guidance Counsellor. Attend Study Skills Seminar, Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP), Daily attendance at Evening Study. Attendance at University/College Open Days. Goal setting through career aspiration.
STEP 5 - ACADEMIC MONITORING/MENTORING: Creating a supportive and enriched academic for students by regular mentor meetings, seminars and workshops. Open-door policy when teachers/students are experiencing difficulty. Completion of student CAO form.
STEP 6 - ACADEMIC ASSESSMENT AND RECOGNITION: Ongoing assessment is a major component of academic success for students. Recognition of academic achievement and discussion of areas where improvement is needed with the PA, teachers and parent teacher meetings. Review of CAO form with student, PA and Career Guidance. Attendance at the Annual Student Award Ceremony.
§ ePortal System will assist the PA in the constant monitoring of attendance at school and evening study programme. Student attitude and behaviour. Assessment results.