Friday, May 24, 2024

Support program fosters student growth and academic success

By Special to the Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY — The unprecedented 2020-2021 school year brought many challenges to students and educators. The faculty and staff of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School was motivated by this opportunity to discern the most effective ways to ensure the success of all students. The Student Support program, under the leadership of co-directors Kerry Hankins and Kara Haney, is guided by their mission to “serve the unique learning needs of the Saint Vincent de Paul Parish School community. Through holistic identification, collaboration, and instruction, we foster student growth and engagement for academic success.”

The program consists of three components: literacy teams, intervention and support, and professional development.

Literacy teams, in grades K-4, are small groups of targeted instruction in guided reading, word study and Step Up to Writing. Teachers were innovative in their inclusion of remote learners in their literacy teams using Zoom and online components of the ELA program. For students that were not meeting grade level expectations or required additional support, the team was prepared to provide intervention and differentiation strategies.

With the addition of behavioral specialist Aly Wikstrom and school counselor Angela Dilks, the program could assist students with unique behavior or social-emotional concerns that arose amidst the pandemic. School librarian Anna Zanarini worked closely with Student Support to provide resources and additional literacy instruction.

The faculty and staff met consistently under the direction of the Student Support staff to collaborate and create plans for academic success for all our students. The team plans and provides professional development, with differentiation as the 2021 focus.

As the year draws to a close, student growth is evident in the data provided by end of year assessments. For engagement over the summer, the support team offers Lit Totes and an All Star Literacy Challenge.

This school year has been unpredictable, but the St. Vincent’s community is exceedingly proud of the resiliency of their students and the unwavering commitment of their faculty.

Submitted by St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School. Pictured above are the members of the St. Vincent de Paul School Support Program Team: Kara Haney, Angela Dilks, Aly Wikstrom, Kerry Hankins, and Anna Zanarini.