Monday, November 30, 2015

Interventions: A Necessity for Standards Based Grading

First of all, Tiny Town High is not a Block Schedule School. We have never been on Block Schedule.

Every day, we have seven 47 minute class periods and a 40 minute eighth "advisory" period. This advisory period means that most teachers have somewhere between 13 and 16 students, freshman through senior, for the last period of the day. Block schedule schools might call this their seminar period.

One day a week, advisory is used for club and activity meetings. For the other four days of the week, advisory consists of 20 minutes of silent sustained reading and 20 minutes of study time if needed. (Otherwise, they read for 40 minutes.) Because students are from different grades, the older students will sometimes help the younger students in classes they are struggling with. Truthfully, most of my students read the entire 40 minutes each day. I'd like to think it is because the book they are reading is so exciting that they can't put it down. Chances are pretty good that they are just avoiding homework.

And that brings us to the CHS interventions for struggling students.

If students are compliant (trying) and struggling:
1. A teacher can contact an advisory teacher and ask them to remind the students to use study time to finish an assignment or see if a classmate can help them.
2. The teacher can assign the student to our HUB tutoring room. Students would then report to the tutoring room for the entire 40 minutes of advisory on the day assigned. They would receive help from a teacher, para, or NHS student who is assigned to work in HUB. These three teachers (Math, English, Science) do not have an advisory and run the tutoring room four days a week. All Tiny Town High teachers share a google document where we assign students and then check on their progress. (Students receive a Hub pass/reminder in their 7th hour class, delivered by an aide.)
3. Contacting the parent is always encouraged to let them know that their student is struggling so that they are informed and can help, too.

If a students is noncompliant (not trying):
1. Teachers are to contact the parent. Again, everyone is working together to help the student achieve.
2. The teacher can again contact the advisory teacher and have them require the student to work on assignments during the last 20 minutes of advisory. Nagging An additional reminder sometimes works.
3. Finally, the teacher can assign the student to an academic lunch. Students take their lunch tray to the office where they eat lunch while an administrator oversees the completion of the work. (Fun for all involved!)

Our tutoring center is a great place for a student in need of re-teaching and re-testing on formatives; however, when the majority of the class needs further work, I do the re-teaching in my room during regular class time.

These interventions are incredibly important. I remember the days of Mastery Learning. We created Form A and Form B tests. If students didn't master on Form A, we re-taught those students and then gave them a Form B. If the students mastered on the Form A, the teacher had to create "enrichment" work for them to complete while their classmates were still working. It was a great idea in theory; however, I never felt confident in my "enrichment" assignments. Frequently, I felt there was quite a bit of wasted time.

Tiny Town High's interventions allow students to receive extra help without disrupting the flow of the rest of the class. Some students ask to be put in the tutoring center, knowing they need more time.

I'm not sure Standards Based Grading would be happening at Tiny Town High without these interventions in place.

One last benefit for teachers:  our PLC's now meet one day every week during advisory time. We have a Buddy Teacher who takes our advisory students on our meeting day, and we take their advisory students on their meeting day. Those 40 minutes are a valuable part of our curriculum planning and department work.

I feel fortunate to teach in a school that has made it possible for teachers and students to succeed. Tiny Town High has gone above and beyond to insure success for each of us.

No comments:

Post a Comment