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Addressing Diversity in Rural Education Lynne Vernon-Feagans, UNC-CH Jill V. Hamm, UNC-CH Thomas W. Farmer, Penn State Univ.

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Presentation on theme: "Addressing Diversity in Rural Education Lynne Vernon-Feagans, UNC-CH Jill V. Hamm, UNC-CH Thomas W. Farmer, Penn State Univ."— Presentation transcript:

1 Addressing Diversity in Rural Education Lynne Vernon-Feagans, UNC-CH Jill V. Hamm, UNC-CH Thomas W. Farmer, Penn State Univ.

2 The Targeted Reading Intervention: How Rural Diversity makes a difference for implementation Targeting instructional match in every interaction… Lynne Vernon-Feagans Marnie Ginsberg Steve Amendum

3 NRCRES: TRI staff Lynne Vernon-Feagans, PI Steve Amendum Peg Burchinal Kate Gallagher Marnie Ginsberg Kirsten Kainz Steve Knotek Nathan Vandergrift Pam Winton Pledger Fedora Iris Padgett Megan Livengood Kelley Mayer Jason Rose Andrea Sauer Heather Ward Tim Wood

4 What is ‘Rural’ US Census Bureau: Census Tracts Population density Population size NCES: Locale Codes Population size Distance to an urbanized area

5 What makes Rural different from urban? Promotive Factors More two parent families Less population density Much less violent crime More homes owned by families Proportionately more children attending Head Start Fewer behavior problems in school Smaller schools More experienced teachers

6 What makes Rural different from urban? Risk Factors Higher percentage of children living in poverty, especially minority children Outmigration of talented young people because of job losses Fewer college graduates More maternal depression and prescription drug abuse Lower child achievement levels Less educated teachers with lower salaries Longer bus rides to school

7 The consensus intangibles in rural education In a place at a distance from large cities Historical roots to agrarian culture Access to fewer resources Smaller communities and schools Ready to meet community needs Grounded in a “sense of place” and rooted in the lives of families

8 The TRI Study Cluster Randomized Clinical Trial to assess the effectiveness of the TRI in Low Wealth Rural Schools. Part of the National Research Center on Rural Education Support Funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES)

9 Purpose The TRI is designed to improve the literacy teaching strategies of rural kindergarten and first grade teachers, using an individualized diagnostic teaching model, with a specific focus on strategies that are effective with struggling readers who do not make reading gains using traditional reading instruction.

10 Why focus on teacher training? Research has shown that the first few years of school are critical for children’s later school success, especially in the area of reading (Alexander& Entwisle, 1992; Juel, 1988). Teachers in rural areas have more experience in teaching and knowledge about the background of their students but teachers have less access to professional development opportunities (GAO report, 2004; Lee & Burkham, 2003) Teachers and parents are more satisfied with their schools in rural areas but children come to school with less formal and high quality preschool experiences (Israel, 2004; Vernon-Feagans et al., in press).

11 The TRI Strategies for Success

12 The TRI Model of Reading

13 Examples of TRI Strategies: Teaching in the context of the word and text from the beginning

14 Word Work


16 Guided Oral Reading

17 TRI Materials Posters Reading Model Stages of Word Work TRI Reference Tool TRI diagnostic map TRI Picture Dictionary TRI Professional Development Guide

18 TRI Summary Based on research based evidence Based on research in special education that emphasizes individualized diagnostic teaching Specifically geared to children considered struggling readers because they do not make progress with traditional reading approaches. Can be used with any reading curriculum and Reading First Teaching conducted by the classroom teacher in one on one teaching sessions between the teacher and child at least 4 times a week until the child makes rapid progress Teaching literacy that is always geared to the context of the word and text. Material developed to be extremely affordable by any school Delivered through a Collaborative Consultation Model, specifically geared to the needs of rural teachers

19 Implementation : Diversity Issues in Rural Education

20 Examples of challenges Teachers are often in classrooms with no aides and no special services Teachers know the families of the children and have both positive and negative preconceptions about child learning Teachers are often weary of new families who have moved to the area Teachers have not been observed in their classrooms and may not be comfortable with in class consultation and the use of new reading strategies Children come to school with particularly poor readiness skills with respect to learning Children come to school with better behavior than urban children

21 Vernon-Feagans, Ginsberg & Amendum, 2006

22 How to create a Community of Practice (Buysse & Wesley, in press) Teacher responsibility and leadership identify struggling learners choose who to start working with do not change their current curriculum chart progress of students Teacher collaboration (Lesson Study) (Stigler & Hiebert, 1999) exchange ideas with others understand the value of observation suggest the ideas for monthly workshops

23 Collaborative Structure for Rural Teachers 3 Day Summer Institute Teachers identify 5 struggling readers Biweekly classroom visits from TRI Consultant. Grade level meetings to discuss strategies and problem solve. Daily consultation from the on-site TRI consultant Bimonthly workshops on topics teachers choose.

24 21 high risk (4 teachers) 20 high risk (4 teachers) 30 high risk (6 teachers) 30 high risk (6 teachers) 22 low risk 19 low risk30 low risk 24 high risk (5 teachers) 25 high risk (6 teachers) 30 high risk (6 teachers) 30 high risk (6 teachers) 30 low risk Year 1Year 2 Kindergarten1 st GradeKindergarten 1 st Grade Experimental Control TRI Design

25 Child Characteristics Race Black White Other 61% 32% 7% 33% 37% 31% Gender Male Female 73% 27% 63% 37% Parents Married46%54% Maternal EducationM = 11.8 yrs M = 13.3 yrs EXP CON

26 Teacher Characteristics # of years teachingM = 18 yrs Teacher AgeM = 43 yrs Teacher Race White Black Other 65% 30% 5% National Board Certification 5% Certification type Temp Regular Specific grade certification Masters Degree 10% 40% 50% 20%

27 Gain Scores over 4 months Phonological awareness (CTOPPS) F(1,69) =1.29CECE.52 1.67 Word Attack (Woodcock Johnson) F(1,151) = 4.09*CECE 27.15 35.86 Letter/Word Identification (Woodcock Johnson) F(1,152) = 5.25*CECE 34.12 42.22 Vocabulary (PPVT) F(1,120) = 0.38CECE 1.20 2.32 OutcomeF-TestGroupLSMean

28 Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement

29 Future Directions Webcam technology TRI consultation in remote rural classrooms in real time TRI grade level meetings across sites through web cam technology Problem solving across sites to create a community of practice



32 Summary Rural Schools are different contexts for learning Need sensitivity to rural structure and beliefs in schools Need to break the barrier of access Need to break the barrier of isolation Individual consultation in real time using the TRI provides a major solution to these barriers while providing research based literacy strategies for struggling learners

33 Implementation and Evaluation of the Rural Early Adolescent Learning Project (REAL): Commonalities in Diverse Educational Settings Jill V. Hamm, Dylan Robertson, Kimberly Dadisman, Matthew Irvin, Allen Murray, Jana Thompson, Kelli O’Brien, & Jenny Westrick University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

34 General Aims of Project REAL Professional development for rural teachers who serve middle level youth (5 th – 6 th grades) Responsive to local resources, needs, and school configurations Promote strategies that provide universal support for all students during early adolescence Promote strategies that help teachers advance the learning of low-achieving students

35 Academics Behavioral Engagement Social Relations

36 Support for Conceptual Framework in Rural Areas Pilot Sites Research Participants Recruited from all 5th grade classrooms of eight public elementary schools in two states of the rural Appalachia region –61% agreed to participate 315 participating students (170 girls and 145 boys) Over 95% White Schools were eligible for U.S. Department of Education’s Rural and Low-Income School Program (RLISP) –locale code 6, 7, or 8 and at least 20% of students are from families living below the federal poverty level

37 Support for Conceptual Framework in Rural Areas Measures: Adjustment in Multiple Domains Teacher-ratings on 18-item questionnaire (ICS-T; Cairns, Leung, Gest, & Cairns, 1995) –Sub-scales/factors: Aggression (α =.84), Popularity (α =.83), Academic competence (α =.80), Affiliative (α =.74), Internalizing (α =.52), Olympian (α =.78) Measures: Achievement End-of-Year Grade Average –School records data for end of 5th grade for: math, English/reading, social studies/history and science –Mean across four subjects (in the form of a percentage) was obtained and used in analyses State-level Standardized Achievement Test Scores –School records data for end of 5th grade for similar subjects: math, science, social studies and English –Mean across these four subjects was obtained and used in analyses scaled scores were on different metrics by state; average standardized achievement score were standardized within state.

38 Support for Conceptual Framework in Rural Areas Data Reduction Techniques 4 unique patterns of variables emerged in girls (i.e.,clusters, behavioral configurations) –Troubled: above average aggression and internalizing; below average academic competence, affiliative, popularity, and Olympian –Tough: well above average aggression; average popularity, academic competence, affiliative, and Olympian; below average internalizing –Sensitive: above average internalizing; below average affiliative; average aggression, academic competence, popularity, and Olympian –Model: above average academic competence, affiliative, and popularity; below average aggression and internalizing.

39 Support for Conceptual Framework in Rural Areas Data Reduction Techniques 5 unique patterns of variables emerged in boys (i.e.,clusters, behavioral configurations) –Troubled: above average aggression and internalizing; below average academic competence, affiliative, popularity, and Olympian –Low academic: below average academic competence and Olympian; above average affiliative; average aggression, popularity, and internalizing –Tough: well above average aggression; above average affiliative, popularity, and Olympian; below average internalizing; average academic competence –High academic: above average academic competence; below average aggression; average affiliative, popularity, Olympian, and internalizing –Model: above average academic competence, affiliative, popularity, and Olympian; below average aggression and internalizing

40 Support for Conceptual Framework in Rural Areas Results from Pilot Sites


42 Moving from Pilot Sites to Efficacy Sites: Research Design for Project REAL 8 intervention and 8 control schools –8 with middle school transition configuration –8 alternative configuration (e.g., k-8, k-12) Baseline data collected in spring of 5 th grade; Process/transition data collected in fall and spring of 6 th grade Outcome data on school adjustment and academic achievement collected in spring of 6 th grade



45 Implications of Rural Diversity for Interventions Special needs by region, locale Challenges to delivery, implementation Pinpointing transition

46 Positive Behavior Enhancement Academic Engagement Enhancement Social Dynamics Training Academic Engagement Enhancement – -General strategies that promote an instructional context that is responsive to the need of a broad and diverse range of students Positive Behavior Enhancement – - Strategies to create structure and consistency across classes - Encouraging self-directed behavior - Proactive approaches to prevent behavioral difficulties Social Dynamics Training – - Promoting teachers’ awareness of the impact of peers on motivation & achievement. - Recognizing peer groups and social roles - Identifying youth with social difficulties that interfere with their own or others’ learning - Strategies to use peer group dynamics to foster classroom engagement - Strategies to help students with social difficulties develop positive, supportive relationships

47 REAL Intervention: Universal Components Summer Institute –15 modules completed between fall and spring by teachers –On-line articles and activities –Topics include: Early adolescent development Motivation and academic engagement Instruction for low-achieving students School and classroom social dynamics Information processing Literacy support REAL Intervention: Targeted Components –Bimonthly videoconferences with Project REAL staff Directed Consultation Model: Focused on issues salient to the site, addressed through REAL intervention framework Supporting struggling writers

48 Pilot Sites Findings of Intervention Effects Participants included 448 students (239 girls) who transitioned from 5 th to 6 th grade –Transitioned from 11 public elementary schools –Transitioned into 4 6-8 middle schools (2 intervention, 2 control) –Over 95% White Schools were eligible for U.S. Department of Education’s Rural and Low-Income School Program (RLISP) –locale code 6, 7, or 8 and at least 20% of students are from families living below the federal poverty level Data collected: 5 th grade spring, 6 th grade early fall, 6 th grade late spring

49 Social Impact of Intervention Results: Pilot Sites


51 Summary of Pilot Site Findings In control classrooms, students’ perceptions of the classroom social context evidence a significant decline across the transition year. In intervention classrooms, students’ perceptions of the classroom social context remain stable and positive across the transition year. If teachers use strategies to enhance social, behavioral, and academic adjustment, they can maintain a positive social context for learning. Future analyses will examine the implications of these patterns for students' achievement in intervention versus control sites. Future analyses will investigate these patterns across a larger and diverse sampling of sites, and in relation to differences in student risk pre-transition and school characteristics, and using HLM.

52 Representing School Differences in Meaningful Ways –Configuration differences –Concentrations of students at-risk Cross-state Comparisons –State differences in achievement tests Implications for Analyses of Diverse Locales

53 Conducting Educational Interventions in Diverse Rural Contexts: Issues, Challenges, and Lessons Learned Thomas W. Farmer Pennsylvania State University

54 Common Issues In Diverse Rural Areas Educational needs of at-risk youth Issues of critical mass and geographical isolation Limited resources and professional development Commitment to local issues and concept of “place”

55 Diversity in Issues Faced by Rural Areas Different types of at-risk youth Different school structures and approaches for addressing isolation and issues of critical mass Different levels and configurations of providing supports and professional development Local values, expectations, and support for education differ from community to community

56 Challenges for Developing and Evaluating Standardized Interventions Must include universal and targeted interventions that can be adapted to both the general and unique populations of each district while maintaining standardization Must accommodate different configurations of grouping students and supporting teachers while guarding against biases that may be introduced by these differences Intervention must complement existing curricula Must be responsive to the fact that each community views themselves as unique and not fitting a standard curriculum or model of support

57 Lessons Learned: Rural Intervention Research There is more than one “rural” –Intervention design must be responsive to different contexts –Research design can be challenging and identifying comparable sites for randomization is very difficult Increased research costs –Variability in district and school configurations, critical mass –Isolation increases both staffing and travel costs “Place” matters –Pride, loyalty, and identity linked to the land or the community –Expectation that curriculum and instruction is linked to place –School is viewed as a primary anchor of the community

58 General Lessons Learned: Developing Interventions that can be “Scaled-Up” Anticipate highly varied contexts in the intervention development phase Assess the degree to which the intervention is “instruction dependent” and “context dependent” –Instruction (e.g., reading, writing) –Context (e.g., social, behavioral) Create a delivery format that promotes flexibility and “local tailoring” in preparing teachers for implementation –Directed consultation (standard content and aims) –Embedded in the local curricula and instructional philosophies

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