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95 RAP shines a light on Tier 3 literacy intervention in North Carolina

literacy teacher hold tablets during lesson with elementary school students

Two schools in Franklin County, North Carolina are unlocking literacy for Tier 3 intervention students with 95 RAP™, our teacher-led, digital, small group intervention solution. Read the full story to hear about how they have implemented this science of reading-aligned tool in order to help close literacy skill gaps with personalized learning.

Franklin County Schools Snapshot:

  • Northeast of Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Rural
  • A diverse student population of 8,000 students
  • Schools: Louisburg Elementary School and Youngsville Elementary School

Located just northeast of Raleigh, in rural North Carolina, Franklin County Schools pride themselves on “cultivating a dynamic learning environment focused on success beyond the classroom.” With roughly 8,000 students total and about 85% black and Hispanic enrollment, their self-proclaimed mission includes “building a stronger community one life-long learner at a time.”

Solid literacy skills are essential to lifelong learning. Foundational skill gaps in Franklin County 3rd and 4th graders eventually led educators in the district to search for a more targeted approach to reading intervention. They turned to 95 RAP™ (formerly HillRAP) as a tool for teachers and intervention instructors.

Third and fourth grade students were missing the mark on literacy

Over the years, schools in Franklin County, North Carolina have seen low reading scores. As some school leaders realized the skill gaps present—particularly in their 3rd and 4th grade students—they knew they needed a more targeted intervention program. Students were missing interconnected, foundational skills like phonemic awareness and phonics, and this was causing larger issues with reading comprehension once students entered the upper elementary grades.

Explicit and systematic: 95 RAP is closing gaps in reading skills

Within the small group, 95 RAP targets each learner’s area of need, and doesn’t allow them to move on to the next skill until they have mastered the one they are working on.

Amber Bottoms, ELA Specialist

Franklin County Schools, NC

Now, students in Kindergarten through 5th grade at Louisburg Elementary in Franklin County are receiving intervention instruction using 95 Percent Group’s teacher-led, learning platform, 95 RAP. Louisburg ELA Specialist, Amber Bottoms, weighed in on why 95 RAP is such a good fit for her students.

“There is an explicit, systematic scope and sequence, and instruction is differentiated in order to meet the needs of every student in the group. The 4:1 teacher ratio is helpful—but even in small groups of 4 students,” Bottoms continued, “even if they all have similar needs, it can be difficult to ensure each student is getting the instruction they need in order to reach their full potential.”

Louisburg Elementary really honed in on 3rd and 4th graders last year with 95 RAP. “It was something students could do,” Bottoms asserted. “They felt successful and confident because it was on their level, and they were continually progressing through skills they hadn’t previously grasped in their reading instruction.”

95 RAP targets each learner’s area of need, and doesn’t allow them to move on to the next skill until they have mastered the one they are working on. This aspect was something that really stands out for Ms. Bottoms as an intervention instructor. “This means there are no questions about whether they have a deep understanding of the material; it makes it easy to communicate with teachers where each student is and what skills they still need to work on.”

A tale of two schools & their phonics curricula

It’s very systematic. It’s linear. They’re building on each skill, and if there was a digraph or a blend they struggled with, they are able to focus on that and then build from there.

Lynn Zellmer, Intervention Instructor

Franklin County Schools, NC

On the east side of Franklin County, Lynn Zellmer is an intervention instructor for 1st through 4th grade students at Youngsville Elementary. Ms. Zellmer is using 95 RAP with her 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade intervention students for the second year in a row. She loves the very linear approach to each component of reading instruction.

“I definitely like how once you do that assessment, it sets the word list for you—so you know they’re working on exactly what they need to work on.” She continued, “It’s very systematic. It’s linear. They’re building on each skill, and the program really ensures that if there was a digraph or a blend students struggled with, they are able to focus on that and then build from there.”

Ms. Zellmer says it’s exciting to see her students feel success and increased confidence. “One student in particular really excelled last year. “The systematic nature of 95 RAP really helped to fill all the gaps for him. I think all of the different components—marking up and reading the words and understanding all the language rules—has really helped him build confidence. Teachers have let me know that they are seeing progress in the classroom with the students I’m working with. Not just in isolated skills, but in the big picture, in their overall reading and writing.”

Learning at all skill levels

95 RAP’s professional development is comprehensive, and it’s embedded right in the product. Bottoms commented on the initial training, “It was a lot of training in the beginning—very explicit—and gave me great strategies to share with other teachers at our PLC meetings.” Zellmer, who is currently engaged in the LETRS® training (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) has also been pleased with the professional learning provided by 95 Percent Group.

“The awareness I have about the importance of timely student feedback has been really helpful to me in our group work. Because it’s part of the program, I’m so much more aware of when I need to be offering corrective feedback or further explanation on something.” She also feels she can easily connect the dots between her science of reading training in LETRS and the intervention materials with 95 RAP. “They really work in tandem. I hear it in LETRS and then I see it in 95 RAP. It’s all coming together.”

Student confidence is soaring in reading and beyond

Data and teacher feedback from both schools tell us that 95 RAP is working for Tier 3 intervention students. According to Ms. Bottoms, at Louisburg Elementary, nine out of her 38 Tier 3 students were able to meet their goals and move out of Tier 3 at the end of the last school year. And out of five students that she’s worked with for two consecutive years, two of them scored a 4 on their End of Grade assessments (you must score a 3, 4, or 5 to pass the grade).

“I’m excited to make better use of the real time insights and progress monitoring this school year now that I feel more confident with the program,” she said.

Over at Youngsville Elementary, Ms. Zellmer believes 80% of the students she was working with last year had improved reading scores or hit benchmarks on their end of year assessments and M-Class. “My 3rd graders made a lot of progress,” she said excitedly. “I’m only working with two of them now that they are in 4th grade—out of a group of 10 students. Most of the group met their intervention goals and were able to move out of Tier 3 intervention.”

Each student has their own path…95 RAP really fits the needs of Tier 3 intervention.

Amber Bottoms, ELA Specialist

Franklin County Schools, NC

Both educators were excited to be starting the year with more experience and knowledge about how to help their students with 95 RAP. Bottoms noted, “It’s such a great program. It’s very individualized so you don’t get caught up on any one skill. Each student has their own path, and if they get stuck or you notice they are slipping, you can add in materials or strategies for reteaching to help. It really fits the needs for Tier 3 intervention.”

“Give yourself grace,” Zellmer added. “95 RAP will turn into a nice routine for both students and teachers.”

To learn more, download our latest insight, Experts corner: Champions for better, wiser Tier 3 instruction.

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