WHAT IS IST?
The letters "IST" can stand for two different educational acronyms. IST after a person's name, like mine, stands for Instructional Support Teacher. IST can also stand for the Instructional Support Team, which includes the Instructional Support Teacher as well as the classroom teacher, the building principal, as well as many of the the following educational specialists: School Psychologist, Guidance Counselor, Learning Enrichment Teacher, Speech and Language Specialist, Occupational Therapist, Emotional Support Teacher, Title 1 Teacher, ESL teacher as well as any other specialists that may be working with the student on an as needed or regular basis.
The team's school staff participants will vary depending on the needs of the student, however, parents are always very important members of the team. The philosophy of the Instructional Support Team process is one that always starts with sharing each team member's observations about what a child is successful at doing, and what they enjoy, and how they learn best. Then we identify the child's needs and struggles, explaining in detail the kinds of skills and behaviors that the child exhibits that indicate that the student may need some extra support or additional opportunities. All members of the ISTeam then contribute according to their own areas of specialty and experience, and the team makes decisions about how to best assist the child.
At Radio Park, the Instructional Support Team meets on most Tuesday mornings. Teachers or parents can request that the team convenes for a particular student. A substitute teacher is hired to cover the classroom teacher's classes for the time that the team is meeting concerning a particular student. Once the team makes some decisions, a written summary of the meeting is distributed to all the meeting participants, and we then intervene in whatever way the team decided, coming back for another meeting as necessary. The decision making process is data driven and team developed, is revisited regularly, and keeps the best interests of the student in mind. The Instructional Support Team is a valuable part of our school's support for all students!