Mesquite’s Academic Services include:
Advanced Math Placement Classes are offered for students from second through fifth grade. Students are identified for placement in advanced math classes by teacher recommendation and standardized test scores. This service allows students to accelerate and advance beyond the regular classroom standards. For example, a second grader may be working on the fourth grade standards in math. These classes are instructed by a highly qualified math specialist.
Reading Interventions are provided by a reading specialist for first and second grade students. Mesquite’s reading specialist assesses struggling students to determine their individual needs. Individualized reading instruction is then provided. This supports the classroom teacher by ensuring that all reading state standards are mastered by all students. As one teacher stated, “Having the additional support of a reading specialist increases the confidence and self-esteem of the students and self-worth in their learning as they achieve success in reading.” Teachers have collectively agreed that they have seen a difference in struggling students self-image as they become successful readers.
Curriculum Based Measures (CBM’s) are used to phase students into the regular first grade classroom as they master significant grade level standards. We have seen many successes with the students in this class. According to CBM scores, many students have moved from functioning at a frustrational level to the instructional level of learning.
OASIS Intergenerational Tutoring Program is implemented by retired community members. These volunteers address new and innovative approaches to reading. Mesquite’s OASIS volunteers tutor students using materials and curriculum based on state reading standards. Students functioning below grade level receive an OASIS tutor for weekly one-on-one sessions throughout the school year. One unique feature of this tutoring program is the mandatory training sessions these tutors receive. These tutors help foster students’ self-esteem and positive attitudes toward reading and learning.
Math Reteach and Enrich is a block of time reserved for ensuring mastery in mathematics standards. All of Mesquite’s certified and classified staff members are utilized. Each day from 12:30 – 1:00 p.m., students are either retaught or enriched on a specific standard through scaffolded instruction, task analysis, and spiral review. Based on grade level curriculum calendars, assessments measuring standards mastery are administered. These assessments are administered after specific state standards have been thoroughly taught. Once the assessment is scored, students performing at or above 80% are considered to be at mastery. Mastery students are placed in enrichment classes to revisit the standards using higher level thinking skills, including logic and reasoning. A student receiving a score of 79% or below is targeted for Reteach. Reteach classes instruct students using scaffolding and high student engagement activities such as Kagan structures. After students experience reteach lessons, they are reassessed for mastery on the specific standard. Some of the many advantages of Reteach and Enrich include: students work in small groups and are given individualized instruction; if a student does not achieve mastery after being reassessed, that student is targeted for more individualized instruction.
Headsprout is a program for students in kindergarten and first grade. It is an intensive phonics based reading program aimed toward students who fall far below grade level in reading. Students are identified for this program based on their performance using CBM or DIBBLES data. Students who rank in the bottom 12% of kindergarten and first grade reading scores are placed into the Headsprout Program. During the classroom reading block, Mesquite’s Achievement teacher works with the students to assist them in becoming fluent readers. Eighty technology based lessons are supplemented with books and posters to keep track of how students are progressing. As one parent stated, “My son loves it! It filled in the gaps. He likes to take home the little books and sing the songs.” This program meets the needs of low readers by providing additional support with books and materials geared towards reading fluency. The built-in incentive program keeps students motivated.
Study Island (AIMS/AzMerit Test Preparation) has been created to improve students’ understanding of the state academic standards. This program also provides teachers with valuable diagnostic tools and information that enables them to help students master the state standards by preparing them for testing. Students can access Study Island from any computer on campus. A pre and post test are given to students. Once the pretest is given, students work at their own pace to complete essential standards in tested subject areas such as math and reading. As the standards are assessed and passed, a post test is given to measure progress and deficiencies. Reports give the teacher statistics which assist them in analyzing student performance. Study Island prepares students for the AIMS/AzMerit test.