Mississippi and the SWIFT-FIT
The SWIFT-FIT is the fidelity implementation tool used by SWIFT technical assistance providers to gain a deeper understanding of the strengths of the schools we work in. This tool is used to help guide our technical assistance. As a SWIFT-FIT assessor, I have the privilege of interviewing principals, teachers, family members, community members, custodians, and others about their school. I also get to observe teachers and students hard at work in numerous classrooms. This week I had the opportunity to conduct the SWIFT-FIT assessment at three schools in rural Mississippi.
When I first arrived in Mississippi to conduct the FIT, I couldn’t help but notice how different things were from my own community. For example, one of the schools I visited only had eight teachers---total. That certainly is not something you would see in the schools in my urban community. While conducting the FIT, I am often struck by the uniqueness of all of the schools and communities I visit. The differences are numerous: class sizes, resources, types of strategies used, how schedules are arranged, curriculums, and interventions. However, with all of these differences, there is a constant thread that remains the same. It does not matter how big the school is, or where the school is located, everyone I meet is working diligently to improve the outcomes for ALL students in their community.
In Mississippi, I met a custodian who serves as a mentor to the students in his school, a parent coordinator who sets up parent and community member workshops and advertises them in the local stores, and an uncle who volunteers every day at his nephew’s school. I met countless special educators and general educators working together to help support ALL students, while dedicated principals lead the way.
I feel honored to serve as a SWIFT assessor, because I get to learn about the different ways that very different types of schools serve students in different communities. But amongst all of these differences, I witness examples of values shared by all members of school communities, whether they be large or small, urban or rural. I see educators, community members, principals and families striving to use their strengths to do what is best for ALL kids---and that is what SWIFT is all about.
- Allyson Satter