The board of trustees on May 20 approved $91,900 for the purchase of new universal screening and progress-monitoring tools called TPRI/Tejas Lee and aimswebPlus.
"Since October of '18 an emphasis was placed on helping teachers identify individual students’ specific interests of need with a laser focus," GCISD Deputy Superintendent Brad Schnautz said. "In those conversations, a need for a more consistent progress-monitoring assessment throughout the district was identified."
Progress-monitoring assessment screeners help teachers determine which students in grades K-8 may be in need of intervention, Executive Director of Communications Kristin Snively said. They provide digital and print lessons for teachers to use where they deem appropriate and give an indication of a student's learning progress.
RTI Coordinator Amy Montemayor said as part of the reboot some questions arose with the district's existing screener Istation. A committee of faculty, staff and administrators convened to compare and contrast screeners. Around that time, the state-revised dyslexia handbook rolled out, giving the district a twofold reason to look at new tools, she said.
Officials piloted the new screening tool on campuses in January. At that time the quote to use Istation for the upcoming school year increased from the previous school year's price by about $47,000, Montemayor said.
"We met with the reps from Istation and asked what ... this [was] going to provide us, and we didn’t feel like the [price] increase of the product matched what they were going to be able to provide in addition to what was already possible through Istation," she said.
The quote for Istation was about $178,000, said Shannon Tovar, director of continuous improvement and accountability. In addition, the district would have to purchase more pieces to meet the dyslexia handbook requirements. The new products would help reduce costs for the district, she said.
With the new system, the part of the assessment for grades K-1 will be face to face, Montemayor said, which differs from Istation. The assessment will also take less time for students to complete.
"For those kiddos that were taking it monthly, [Istation] was about a 90-minute assessment, ... so those teachers are truly earning back some ... instruction time with their students," Montemayor said.
The new RTI tools were approved by a vote of 6-0, with trustee Jesse Rodriguez abstaining.