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News from NIFDI

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Are you a skilled Direct Instruction practitioner with at least four years of DI teaching experience, experience coaching others in DI delivery techniques, and analyzing DI program student performance data? The National Institute for Direct Instruction is looking for qualified applicants to work as Implementation Managers in our partner schools. An Implementation Manager (IM) is the primary on-site NIFDI representative for implementing the comprehensive DI model. The IM is assigned to a small number of schools, provides the bulk of on-site coaching, and deals mostly with the technical aspects of classroom instruction, such as student placement and grouping, instructional delivery, and correction procedures.

If you would like to take the first steps in exploring an IM position, forward your resume to Christine Wlaschin, Chief Operations Officer for NIFDI
at christine@nifdi.org.

Please join us in congratulating the three newest inductees to the Direct Instruction Hall of Fame. The DI Hall of Fame
was started in 1999 as a way to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the use of Direct Instruction. This year, at the National Direct Instruction Conference, Mary Gleason, Kathy Madigan, and Vicky Vachon will be presented as the 2022 recipients of this recognition. The presentation will take place at 3:15 on Friday, July 29th, in Eugene, Oregon, at the Graduate Hotel.

Following is a brief biography of each of these outstanding educators.

Mary Gleason

Dr. Mary Gleason’s career has focused on students who struggled with learning, especially with reading, writing, and math. After teaching those students herself, using DI programs, she trained teachers and coaches to serve that population through her 20-year faculty position at the University of Oregon. While at the U of O, she worked closely with Siegfried “Zig” Engelmann (co-creator of Direct Instruction and senior author of the DI curricula) and eventually left the U of O to work with him at the National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI). As NIFDI’s Director of Training for six years, she developed training materials for teachers and coaches and trained the trainers in the use of those materials at various NIFDI sites.

Mary is also an instructional designer of literacy programs. She is a co-author of many curriculum materials, including Skills for School Success and the REWARDS programs.

Kathy Madigan

Dr. Kathy Madigan has been a teacher, principal, college professor, researcher, and curriculum coordinator. Kathy started in Direct Instruction in the late 70s as a field- test teacher for the Corrective Reading Decoding and Comprehension programs. Since then, she has worked with a full range of learners and age levels using Direct Instruction, applied behavior analysis, precision teaching, and other evidenced-based approaches. Kathy’s expertise in working with individuals with traumatic brain injury brought national recognition for using Direct instruction with this population. In the 90s, as the assistant dean for the College of Education at the University of Oregon, she helped design new teacher education programs and increase funding for key research projects. She also worked as the Vice President for Advantage Schools, where she was responsible for curriculum, behavior management, staff development, and principal supervision in 16 start-up charter schools using DI across the US. In 2016, she was selected as one of four members to serve on the Presidential Transition Team in Education. Kathy is a nationally recognized leader in special education and education reform. Dr. Madigan currently works with NIFDI as a Project Director for the implementation of DI in select IDEA Schools academies and college preparatory schools as part of the Critical Student Intervention (CSI) program in grades 3-8.

Vicky Vachon

Dr. Vicky Vachon has extensive experience with the use of Direct Instruction in a wide variety of school settings at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. She began her career as a classroom teacher in Ontario, Canada. After receiving her Master’s degree in Education from the University of Oregon in 1983, she worked at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto for nine years as a member of a multidisciplinary team providing tertiary assessment and designing instruction for children with developmental concerns. She was an Instructor in the Department of Special Education and Community Resources at the University of Oregon and an Implementation Manager/Project Director for the National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI) for two years while completing her doctorate degree at the U of O, which she received in 1998.

Vicky has consulted with schools in several settings, from small, rural schools to large, urban schools in the United States and Canada as well as in remote communities in Cape York, Australia. She was the Project Director for NIFDI implementations throughout the US and Australia. Vicky is a co-author of the REWARDS series of instructional programs.


04 2022 CoachingBanner
Join veteran trainer Tamara Bressi on April 28 and 29 for NIFDI's popular academy– Analyzing Data, Classroom Observations & Providing Feedback. This two-day training at the Doubletree Hotel–Atlanta Airport is designed for instructional coaches, peer coaches, and others responsible for observing instruction and improving student performance.

Through demonstrations, practice, and hands-on activities, participants will learn how to:

  • Gain meaningful information from lesson progress and in-program mastery data.
  • Model how to improve written records.
  • Conduct supportive classroom observations and demonstrations aimed at increasing student success.
  • Provide effective oral and written feedback to instructors to directly impact student performance.
  • Conduct classroom demonstrations, in-class coaching, and team teaching.
  • Design and deliver effective, on-going professional development sessions.

A description and registration information is available on our website. You can also contact Bryan Wickman, NIFDI's Outreach Events Coordinator, at 1.877.485.1973 or by email at bwickman@nifdi.org with questions or for more information.

One of the most important steps a school that is starting to implement DI can take is to contact school leaders who have been successful with DI. Through this contact, new DI practitioners can learn from the experiences of veteran DI practitioners to ensure that their students are also successful with DI. Over the course of 25 years, NIFDI has had the privilege of partnering with schools across the US and in other countries. (Click here for success stories of NIFDI partners.) This month we are featuring two interviews (lasting about 10 minutes) with instructional leaders from the United Kingdom. They share their experiences working with NIFDI and how it has affected the instructional practices of educators they supervise and, in turn, the performance of the students they teach.

In the first video, Nazam Hussain, School Psychologist in Bradford, United Kingdom, describes the implementation of Language for Learning and Reading Mastery in 2 Primary Schools. NIFDI began working in Bradford when Nazam attended the National Direct Instruction Conference in 2019. He was interested in improving the professional development opportunities for teachers beyond what he describes as “one-off presentations that have no effect.” He further describes how NIFDI support is the polar opposite of that type of training. “The thoroughness and robustness of the training was rigorous and professional but sensitive to the individual. The schools like the support, and they are seeing the results.”

The second featured interview is with Robin Shakespeare, Director of Education, Midland Academies Trust based in Nuneaton, United Kingdom. NIFDI began partnering with the Midlands Academy Trust and the UK Direct Instruction Hub in 2018. The Education Endowment Fund was calling for research on improving math skills in students in their secondary schools (US equivalent to 7th-9th grade). The staff had been using DI for several years but had not received formal training. Once we began working together, the Midlands leadership quickly realized the benefits of the NIFDI partnership. As Robin describes, “When you work with NIFDI, you work with a group of people who are professional, passionate and challenging–in the best sense of the word.” To describe the impact of NIFDI support, Robin says, “I would use the word transformational to characterize our relationship with NIFDI.”

Click here to view these short, 10 minute stories.

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