Learn more about what the Spire Phonics team at Beta Lower School is doing to support students during distance learning!
All about the Spire Phonics Team
"Our SPIRE phonics team addresses key foundational reading skills! We have an incredible team made up of many staff who normally would have other roles (including Fernando, our PE teacher, Aydee, our nutrition lead, Jackie Grossman, our librarian, as well as Instructional Assistants, classroom teachers and special education teachers). They hold Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 phonics interventions and have created a bank of hundreds of phonics videos and assignments to share with each other. Students get to participate asynchronously and some receive live sessions!" - Assistant Principals and Beta Lower
A recent interview with some SPIRE Phonics Team members:
Tell me more about the work you do with the SPIRE team?
"As part of the Spire team, the initial focus during this school year was on increasing student participation.
In an effort to do this we closely monitored student work completion and followed up with families to support student
engagement and problem solved any obstacles they were experiencing. We also followed up with students to foster
motivation for completing their work. Once students were participating, the focus shifted to mastery of
skills being taught. Through weekly assessments we look for patterns of misconceptions and determine whether
it is appropriate to move students on to the next lesson or provide reinforcing instruction to help solidify the skill.
I found that with the group of students I have been working with that all but a few were consistently mastering the
targeted concept after only two days of asynchronous learning. Now after testing students on concepts for which they have not yet received instruction, it became evident that most of these students didn’t need further Spire instruction
and we could now shift our focus to synchronous learning for the kiddos that need Spire instruction the most. Up until now all of my teaching has been asynchronous. I am really looking forward to interacting with my students face to face." - Marna Cooper
"I am currently working with students in the 3rd and 4th grade. SPIRE phonics is a reading program that allows students to develop their reading levels and master their phonemic awareness through repetition of sounds, words, and reading. My responsibilities are to bring out the awareness to my student by providing different activities that will help to instill confidence in reading and also to develop a better understanding of the English language."- Fernando Ramos
What has been your favorite moment or memory since starting distance learning?
"I had to administer a post assessment to a student. While beginning our zoom session, she couldn’t get her
microphone to work so I called her on the phone while we both remained on the zoom call. We stayed on the
zoom call because I had to share my screen with her so she could see the list of words that I needed her to read.
She was such a trooper and happy to read for me. When we were all done she asked if she could show me around her terrace. She wanted to show me all the different pots of flowers that her mom planted. She was so proud. It was a beautiful connection and is one of the highlights of distance learning."- Marna Cooper
"My favorite moment since starting social distance learning has been the responses, which have greatly caught the attention of student engagement and student learning. I really enjoy how much effort students put into their work. It is obvious that there is a desire to learn and it motivates me to continue producing content."- Fernando Ramos
How have you seen your students grow with the support you and the team have been providing?
"My students have grown in two major ways as a result our commitment to connect with students and families.
Through multiple attempts to communicate with families via email, text, phone calls, translators and/or google translate, student work completion has improved significantly. In addition, students have been passing their weekly skill assessments. This means what we are doing is working." - Marna Cooper
"Yes, each week we provide each student with assessments based on the previous concept. The assessment will determine the level of mastery of each student. It is our responsibility that all students reach mastery level before moving on to the next concept. Students are at different levels so for friends who require additional support we provide lessons to reinforce the lesson. The goal is to increase the phonemic awareness of each student. The data shows that learning is taking place and that students are growing and furthering their skills each week."- Fernando Ramos