Jennifer Hasenmiller

Some of the materials used during “Bobcat Time” interventions for literacy.

The word “intervention” is often a misunderstood term during parent-teacher discussions because it has a completely different meaning in the educational setting.

Within the context of our elementary schools, “intervention” simply means skill-focused instruction a student may receive in addition to the district’s “core curriculum.”  Often, this extra instruction looks like 15-20 minutes spent in a small group either with the classroom teacher or with one of our Math or Literacy Intervention teachers who specialize in instructional routines, curriculums, and developmental continuums within their specific area of expertise.  But, it could also look like 5 minutes spent one-on-one with a classroom teacher during independent work time or an additional class-wide routine put into place for practicing a specific skill that will be tracked for growth over an extended period of time.

“Intervention” in the educational setting simply means we are providing additional small, daily doses of instruction “above and beyond” what is offered in the primary curriculum to accelerate a student’s progress in a specific skill.  These skills are typically tracked with weekly data points to monitor students’ progress.  This data is evaluated approximately every six weeks.  When acceleration is not happening as quickly as anticipated, adjustments may be made to the instructional routines, materials, or environment where instruction happens.  If acceleration is occurring at or above the pace expected, the intervention continues until the student has reached the intended outcome of demonstrating acceptable proficiency in a skill. 

So, if your child comes home with a note stating they are receiving an “intervention,” please do not panic.  It just means we are tailoring their instruction to suit their needs best and using “best practice” to help all of our students achieve success.