The other evening at Meet the Teacher night, I introduced myself to parents by explaining that I would be providing Academic Intervention Services in literacy to their children, who would benefit from small-group instruction. Except that the part about the small-group instruction was kind of a lie.
AIS providers are supposed to service at-risk students who are reading below grade level. In our school, unfortunately, that's a lot of students. At our AIS meeting, I learned that our groups can be as large as 15 students (above the 10 I had previously thought). In other grades, where the classes have as many as 30 students, this means that the AIS teacher and the classroom teacher have an even split. But in second grade, with class sizes mercifully hovering around 22 students, it can mean that if I take everyone who's reading below grade level, my group is larger than the classroom teacher's.
Most of my teachers have agreed that this is ridiculous. In one of my ELL (English Language Learner) classes, we capped my group at 10 students even though it means that there are F readers in the classroom teacher's group (remember: at this point in the year our kids should be reading at level I). But in two of my classes, my group is larger than the teacher's. In one class, I have 13 students and the teacher has 8. Of my 13 students, four of them are non-English speakers. I'm talking no English at all. Five of them, though, are on level H, and they are the kind of attention-sucking students that will steal all the focus from the ELLs who could really, really benefit from focused, small-group instruction. This is the class that burns me the most, because with the inclusion of those five H students I have five different levels and thus five different guided reading groups.
Rather than the rule being "AIS providers can take up to 15 students," I think the rule should be "AIS providers can take up to half the number of students in the class." But what do I know? I just work here.