Reynolds School District: State Findings
[Notes: These findings are public record, and are available upon request from the state. These are paraphrases They are close to the original language, but are not exact copies of the original wording. I have omitted some parts. The names of the complainants are also public record, but I have chosen not to place them online. Following each message, I have added a brief comment of my own--this is MY OWN COMMENT, not a legal opinion. My own interpolations are all within square brackets--everything else is a paraphrase of the document.]
A parent filed an appeal alleging that Reynolds School District was not providing instructional programs to his two TAG students based on the students assessed levels of learning and accelerated rates of learning. One of the students was in High School, the other in Middle School.
The District prepared a response. In addition, the State interviewed a vice principal and six teachers who worked with the students.
Findings Reynolds had two full-time TAG specialists who provide a pull out program for grades 2-5. Their only time to consult with other teachers is during their planning period, which is also the time they assess TAG students. The TAG specialists did not have the authority to provide technical assistance or consultation to other staff except on an invitational basis; therefore, there have not been any district wide inservices on assessing a student's advanced level and accelerated rate of learning, or inservices to show teachers how to modify curriculum to meet TAG students' individual level and accelerated rate of learning.
Multnomah Education Service District [ESD] has presented various TAG inservices. These have included the characteristics of TAG students, cognitive skills, communication processes, and motivational lesson plans for TAG students. The workshops have not specifically addressed modifying curriculum to meet the needs of TAG students and delivering rate and level instruction.
These are essential elements of TAG students' instruction. The workshops are optional. The district has neither required attendance nor provided its own mandatory inservices.
Counselors provide a list of identified students. Identified TAG students are grouped together for Language Arts and Social Studies at 7th. and 8th. grade levels. However other high achieving students are included. The overall curriculum has a high degree of sophistication and depth and requires a more advanced reading level for all of the students. The teacher does not, however, individually assess the TAG students' needs and provide instruction at their individual levels and rates of learning.
The Language Arts class uses a variety of opportunities for students who have completed the core assignment. "From the materials and activities, it appears that any student can be challenged; however, there is no direct instruction delivered at individual students' advanced levels and accelerated rates of learning."...
HIGH SCHOOL The High School program listed programs including a TAG Exploratory, AP English, social studies, math and science classes and an honors credit program, though interviewed teachers were not familiar with the last option. Teachers were not aware of which students were identified as TAG. When a TAG student was in a regular classroom there was no instruction addressing the student's individual learning needs.
The law does not require a special endorsement nor segregated or pullout classes, but when TAG students are taught in a regular classroom by a teacher without TAG training, inservice is essential....
CONCLUSION The district is not assessing TAG students.
ORDER the District must submit a plan of correction which minimally shall include inservice to all District teachers on the legal requirements of the TAG mandate and, for middle school and high school teachers, specific assitance on how to implement the requirements of the law in their particular subject areas.
[COMMENTS BY MARGARET--This was a district that evidently already grouped its elementary students for specialized instruction for part of the day. The State does not specifically comment on this because the complaint was for students in middle and high school. If parents feel that a comprehensive review of the district is needed, it would help them to find other parents to join a complaint and to include information that covers all areas of concern to them. Reading between the lines, however, it appears that the elementary school program would probably pass muster with the State if the trained TAG teachers have primary responsibility for the students. If, however, the students are spending most of their day in the classrooms of untrained teachers, I believe that the state might uphold a complaint against this program.
The State has found in this case that "cafeteria" programs that offer high school programs a choice of courses may be insufficient: the students must still be individually assessed. The order implies, but does not specifically state, that teachers will be expected to adapt their curriculum to meet the needs of individual students (since that is what the inservice is to explain).]