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Sonday System used by Middle School to get off the Underperforming list


Dillon, SC

Upon arrival to the Dillon School District, Winsor Learning was faced with schools that had been on the unsatisfactory schools list for South Carolina since its inception. Low test scores, discipline problems and low teacher morale had plagued the one school, JV Martin Junior High School, for over a decade.

One of the most critical areas of concern there was literacy. Over one third of these students were reading at least 3 grade levels below their current grade, and many of these 7th and 8th graders were reading at a 1st -2nd grade Level.

At J.V. Martin Junior High School, the Principal, in an effort to save money, identified staff that had a free period during the school day and recruited them to teach daily reading intervention groups. 2 PE teachers, 1 art teacher, 1 music teacher, 1 math interventionist, 1 shop teacher, and 2 career teachers were trained by a Winsor Learning Consultant in the Sonday System intervention program, and then, the Winsor Consultant returned for 10 days of consulting/coaching to assist these teachers for the remainder of the school year.

Dillon Schools began using the MAP Assessment and the Sonday System reading intervention to inform and deliver instruction for its students receiving intervention/special services. The goal of this initiative was to build basic reading skills for students who were struggling readers to increase their proficiency in the classroom. Winsor Learning also provided a series of services to the Dillon school district to support the use of the Sonday System in other schools. The services included Initial Training, which is an introduction to the multisensory language instruction methodology, as well as an introduction to the instructional materials through modeling and practicum exercises. Winsor Learning provided additional support during the three-year period in the form of Ongoing Coaching.

This Coaching consisted of in­ class or small group sessions and shoulder-to-shoulder modeling conducted between Dillon personnel and Winsor Learning implementation experts. During the sessions, the experts showed intervention teachers how to use assessment data to optimize instructional decisions and how to implement the decisions effectively with the Sonday System instructional materials.

Before using Sonday System in the 2006-2007 school year, only 33% of the lowest-performing students met their reading targets, and after implementing Sonday in the 2007-2008 school year that number increased to 54%. After two years of implementation, that number rose to 68% of these students meeting targeted growth. The average increase of grade levels in literacy was 3.1. There was a 36% decrease in discipline referrals as a result of improved student engagement.

After years of unsatisfactory performance, in 2008, J.V. Martin Junior High School made expected progress on state testing and finally came off the Palmetto Priority Schools list for the first time in history!