Daniel Warren Principal Jane Scheinman has instituted a pilot program to enhance the education of elementary school students under her watch.
By Janice Llanes Fabry
Daniel Warren Principal Jane Scheinman has instituted a pilot program to enhance the education of elementary school students under her watch. “At this age level, academics are challenging and rigorous. The bar has risen, so the children are constantly learning,” she said. “We are providing the foundation and the framework for the rest of their lives.”
This year, Scheinman incorporated Intervention Blocks into the schedule. Designed to ensure that all students are mastering their fundamentals, the program was initiated in the first and second grades in September and will be introduced in kindergarten in March.
An educator for 40 years, Scheinman has observed vast changes in kindergarten, first- and second-grade level curriculum. “Today, the students are engaged learners who have deep discussions and meaningful conversations about things they do in and out of school.
Kindergarteners are reading now. They even know the difference between fiction and non-fiction,” she said.
By the time the children move up to first grade, where they develop into good readers and writers, and second grade, which integrates social studies and science, the curriculum intensifies, as does the need for differentiated instruction. The Intervention Blocks, or I Blocks, are designed to meet the needs of all students. Those kids excelling at a rapid pace are challenged more in an enrichment group, while those kids struggling in certain areas benefit from the additional support.
Scheinman formatted the school schedule so that all classes in each grade have one common 40-minute period per day, allowing students to change classrooms to work on particular skills. The kids are separated into groups of 12 to 15 students and assigned to a teacher, who will focus on reading comprehension, phonics, vocabulary or grammar.
“The kids love it because it gives them a chance to walk to another room, be with similar students, meet different kids, and to work with a different teacher,” Scheinman explained. “Teachers like the idea of the focused instruction.”
The pilot is monitored closely and each student is reevaluated every eight weeks. “Our hope is that the skills the kids are working on will be integrated into their everyday classroom activities, so they can thrive and become more successful.”