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Morris Area Schools Superintendent's Report 010414

Happy New Year and welcome to 2014!

It seems many entities, including schools, use a variety of acronyms. Sometimes, staff members are the only ones familiar with many of these acronyms. In many school districts, a visitor might hear acronyms such as IEP (individualized education plan), MCA (Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment), and MAP (Measures of Academic Progress).  

ADSIS is another acronym in our district. Has anyone, other than school staff, ever heard of ADSIS? Do you know that Morris Area Schools has been the recipient of an ADSIS "grant" every year except one since 2005? If you are still reading this, it is likely that your answer to both of these questions was no. I would like to explain Alternative Delivery of Specialized Instructional Services, or ADSIS.

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE...another acronym) allows school districts to complete an application, similar to a grant, detailing how an "extra" licensed teacher would be used to better serve students who might be in need of additional assistance. Using a variety of tools and techniques to determine student academic progress, school staff recognize students who would benefit from additional help. Yet, we are not always able to provide every student with as much help as they could use, largely because of scarce resources. ADSIS is another way for students' needs to be met.  

According to the MDE website:  "Alternative Delivery of Specialized Instructional Services (ADSIS) is an annual application process for districts and charter schools to apply for state special education aid. The purpose of ADSIS is to provide instruction to assist students who need additional academic or behavioral support to succeed in the general education environment. The goal is to reduce the number of referrals to special education by providing supports early to struggling students."  Through this program approval, our district is able to obtain additional financial resources to assist students and strengthen what is currently in place.

Our ADSIS Program focuses on two goals: increasing the number of students achieving grade level reading targets and decreasing the number of students considered "at-risk" for social or behavior problems.  Through programs such as ADSIS, we practice a "no ‘wait to fail’ approach" and provide services to students as soon as possible once the need is indicated. We do not want to wait for students to fall behind a year or two before we decide there are options for the students. In addition to intentionally using data to determine who needs services, it is also analyzed very specifically to determine what each child needs to grow and develop the necessary reading skills.  

The diagnostic measures help us to target specifically where each child is on the reading continuum and place into that child’s day the appropriately targeted interventions. Within the ADSIS Program, Mrs. Boettcher uses research-based curriculum and lessons to support student reading and academic behaviors. Along with these programs, the use of a SmartBoard, interactive computer experiences, and learning centers allow students to gain knowledge through varied strategies.  

One of our district's core values is that all students can learn. One might consider this the most important of all of the core values. ADSIS is an established, but still relatively new, program where we demonstrate this core value and help students reach their potential.