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Support for Puerto Rico: Selecting Appropriate Interventions for At-Risk Students

Posted by Jenny Scala on December 3, 2014

On October 10, 2014, REL Northeast & Islands conducted a workshop in Puerto Rico on how to select appropriate interventions for at-risk students. More than 60 participants attended the workshop, mostly school-based social workers staffed in primary and secondary schools throughout the island.

The workshop, held at the Interamerican University at Recinto de Arecibo, was framed by the evidence-based recommendations in two IES Practice Guides: “Using Student Achievement Data to Support Instructional Decision Making” and “Dropout Prevention.” In small groups, participants discussed examples of where they have seen and/or were already implementing these recommendations in their school contexts. Participants also engaged in conversations on multi-tiered systems of support as a framework for strengthening the instruction and supports for students. Overall, participants expressed an interest in learning more about multi-tiered systems of support, especially with a focus on behavior and social and emotional needs.

Additional content on selecting appropriate interventions was organized into three sections: identify needs and priorities, identify programs, and implement practices. During this section of the workshop, participants had an opportunity to brainstorm possible needs of their students. Reponses varied, including behavioral supports, social and emotional supports, as well as some academic supports. As social workers, the participants noted the needs of students beyond academic supports. Participants were interested in exploring programs listed in the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) website.

In general, the workshop offered school-based social workers in Puerto Rico the opportunity to learn how to ensure that supports students were receiving are matched to student needs, with strong research supporting the effectiveness of the strategies in use.

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