Colonial School District's new Growth and Intervention Network (GAIN) recently brought together elementary principals, math and English Language Arts (ELA) teachers, guidance counselors and curriculum leaders to explore new opportunities to meet the needs of all elementary students.

The focus of the GAIN initiative is to establish a District-wide framework that targets elementary children who would benefit from additional support beyond the core instruction. That means extra help for the students who struggle and enrichment opportunities for the children who understand things quickly and are looking for extra challenges in the classroom.

"I liked collaborating with other schools to see how they implement some of their programs and get ideas of how we can work together to be more effective," said Lisa Swartwood, a reading specialist at Conshohocken and Whitemarsh elementary schools. Swartwood also appreciated starting GAIN in the summer. "We can just focus on this. There are no distractions."

The two-day workshop, run by Colonial's ELA Curriculum Supervisor Dr. Katy Giovanisci, Colonial's Math Curriculum Coordinator Gina Nelson and Literacy Program Administrator from the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit Amber Molloy, served as a kick-off to the GAIN initiative. The group analyzed some of the resources currently in place at the five elementary schools, discussed how to identify and address different student needs, worked on sample cases and talked about expectations for GAIN in the coming year.

"The combination of the information provided and the depth of knowledge of the team has started a rich dialogue that will benefit all of our students," said Dr. Terese Boegly, principal at Colonial Elementary School. "It was an awesome experience, and I'm looking forward to what we can accomplish."