Reading Intervention FAQ

Reading Intervention Program FAQ

At the beginning of a school year, how does the SAHS Reading Team decide who has access to the reading program?

Student data is considered including but not limited to Performance Series Assessment,  recent MCA Reading test data, Explore, and additional standardized reading tests when available.  Furthermore, the Stillwater Area High School Reading Team consults with the junior high language arts teachers as well as guidance counselors for additional input. The Reading Team’s decision is intentional and final.

What is a typical schedule like in the reading program at the high school?

A typical schedule for a reading student is similar to any other student at Stillwater Area High School.  The only difference is that two periods are dedicated to reading intervention.  One period each day is comprised of direct reading instruction and practice, and a second  period of the day includes a language arts experience based upon Minnesota State Language Arts Standards in reading, writing, speaking, viewing and listening.  This pairing is intentional and helps students reflect gains as well as add to the strength of our intervention.

Is it possible to split the reading program courses and have a student in only one of the two class periods in the Intensive or Strategic Reading levels?

The Stillwater Area High School Reading Program has been designed by experts in the field of reading.  Therefore,  placement is guided by best practice where licensed professionals determining placement.  Two courses are required in the Strategic and Intensive levels of the Reading Program and cannot be split because they are dependent upon one other.  The courses are built to complement one other in that one course provides reading skills and strategies and the other course allows students to apply them, consequently, splitting the courses is not allowed.

When can students join or leave the Reading Program?

Students who have passed the state reading graduation exam (GRAD portion of the MCA) are not eligible to be in Reading Intervention.  Once a student passes the state reading graduation exam they are subsequently moved out of Reading Intervention. Reading Intervention is a highly sought after intervention at Stillwater Area High School and there are space and staffing limitations.  Due to these restrictions, in selected situations, students will be moved out of or not accepted into Reading Intervention based upon data points even if they have not passed the state reading graduation exam.

Finally, all placements into or out of Reading Intervention are completed before school starts in the fall or at the mid-year, semester break.  Access to Reading Intervention is carefully considered by the Reading Team and the respective assigned administrator who considers balanced courses and added staffing decisions to allow students fair consideration for access.

How have other students performed on the 10th grade MCA Reading test without an intervention?

Students scoring 6-10 points away from achieving proficiency on the 8th Grade MCA Reading test have historically demonstrated a 32% chance of achieving proficiency on the 10th Grade MCA Reading test.  Data often tells us is that we must facilitate interventions.  Hard work alone will not re-mediate a skill deficit which requires very specific instruction.

What will happen to a student when they exit the reading program?

The reading program is designed to meet the basic reading requirements of the MCA Graduation Reading test.  Typically, when students leave the reading program they continue to need support in their language arts courses.  The reading program does not “cure” students rather it begins the long process of improving students reading skills. 

Have students been held back from graduating at Stillwater Area High School because of the MCA graduation-reading test?

Yes.  As recently as 2010 we had a small number of students who completed all credit requirements of the school district only to have their graduation denied by the State of Minnesota due to not achieving proficiency on the MCA Graduation Reading test.

What if my student passes the required MCA Reading Test, can they drop the program and move into another class?

We do not move students during the semester as schedule changes would require unnecessary transition and could be made at the close of a semester.  Once students have been placed in a reading level, the work is highly customized and therefore students will stay in their current course/schedule.  Students have the opportunity to continue in the Reading Intervention to increase reading and writing skills.  What we know about students who exit from the Reading Intervention is that many have just begun the road of “catching up” to peers, thus the additional time in the intervention is always helpful.

If a student is on an Individualized Education Plan through Special Education, can a Special Education Team “place” a student in the Reading Program?

Students on an IEP have additional rights and entitlements which must be honored.  IEP teams consider services provided and may approve a student being placed in the Reading Intervention Program through consultation with our Reading Interventionists and administration.

Who do I speak with if I have further questions regarding the reading program or what do I do if I disagree with having my/a student placed in the Stillwater Area High School Reading Program.  What do I do if I would like my student placed in the Reading Program?

Please contact Dr. Aaron Drevlow at 651-351-8016 or at Given that feedback is garnered from your student’s past language arts teachers as well as guidance counselor, please contact Dr. Drevlow directly.  Dr. Drevlow will take your input to the Reading Team for consideration, but generally placement in the reading program is non-negotiable.

How are students and parents notified?

In May of each year a letter is sent home to current 9th grade students who will be placed in a reading intervention.  In July of each year a letter is sent home to current 10th, 11th and 12th grade students who will be placed in a reading intervention.  The reason why the 10th, 11th and 12th grade notification is later is because many students take a June MCA Reading Graduation retest in May or June and results of the assessment are often not available until July.  A copy of these letters are linked below:

Does my student recieve credit for the Reading Intervention Program?

Students receive language arts credit, which fulfills a language arts credit required for graduation, and a language arts elective credit, which fulfills one elective credit toward graduation.  This plan does restrict students to only one elective credit during the time that they participate in certain reading intervention courses.