Franciscan Sister Responds to Students’ Learning Needs

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Mary Karen Oudeans shares more on her role as an Instructional Interventionist Leader for the Diocese of Tucson.

To accomplish the mission of meeting the needs of All students in the Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Tucson, the Catholic Schools provide a Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtI2) framework and CARE Team process. This initiative allows all students to meet their learning potential: getting the critical high-quality instruction and interventions they need so that minor learning needs do not grow into significant impediments. The hope is that students who need enrichment do not go unnoticed within the Catholic school environment.

Although originally designed as a multi-step delivery system to determine eligibility for special education services, RtI2 in the Catholic schools is more a functional framework to determine where there is misalignment between the educational environment and the learner, utilizing the expertise of school personnel to establish a problem-solving milieu to adjust the school’s response when learning is not occurring at the expected rate. If the school’s response doesn’t increase the rate of expected learning, instructional supports are intensified to meet the needs of the student. According to Dr. Michael J. Boyle (2018), “…Catholic schools can marshal what resources they have and create a systems response to those students who may not be making expected responses [to instruction]. Using the RtI/MTSS framework can also provide the necessary schema to address students who have more significant learning needs. RtI2/MTSS provides the foundation to creating a systematic approach to address the more complex learning needs of students.”

To complement this initiative, the diocese invited Dr. Michael J. Boyle, Ph.D. as keynote speaker to the convocation. Teachers appreciated meeting someone whose expertise was actually being used in in our schools.

Franciscan Sister is Diocese of Tucson Interventionist

As we highlight our Sisters living at St. Anthony of Padua Convent, Casa Grande, Arizona, we follow now in the footsteps of Sister Mary Karen Oudeans. As an Academic and Behavioral Interventionist for the Diocese of Tucson, August is a busy time for professional development sessions.  Sister Mary Karen assists Principals and teachers to use this time to work together to help all children succeed.

One important part of her ministry is to to be an active member of the  Department of  Education’s Catholic Schools Planning Meetings. New school years beg for conscientious brainstorming sensitive to new needs. This meant having a significant role in the  diocescan-wide New Teacher Formation Workshop.

Sacred Heart School , Nogales’ Professional Development Sessions are key to this institution’s on-going faculty education. Sister Mary Karen was called upon to help facilitate group strategies. She also traveled to do Professional Development Sessions at St. Francis School in Yuma, Arizona. May the Lord bless her continued service in the days ahead whether on the road, on the internet or through conference calls.