Back

Burke School (2018)

Burke, VA

Closing the Gap

Burke School is a special education center that provides specialized support to students who have a specific disability and come to our school on varying academic levels and individually have different needs. Some students placed at Burke School qualify for advanced academics, but struggle accessing curriculum due to anxiety. On the flip side, about 40% of the school’s population come with reading deficits and need to attend a reading support class in place of an elective. With administration I was able to analyze data and pinpoint there is an achievement gap between students with reading deficits and a correlation has been found that students with reading deficits are also ESOL students and these students need more adult support in order to access learning. Further data shows that historically at Burke School, it is difficult to schedule parent/teacher conferences with many of our academically at-risk students because they live far away and or parents do not have transportation. Another achievement gap identified was the difficulty in meeting all students’ needs in one classroom when you have one student academically above grade level, and another student who is academically below grade level.



During a 2015-2016 meeting with administration, various interventions were discussed on how to close the achievement gap at our school. I discussed how reading deficit students seemed to be at the highest risk for receiving Fs and Ds in their core classes. At the end of the 2016 school year, 30% of our 8th graders received a D or an F in one or more core subject areas and were identified as having a reading deficit and academically at-risk. Academically at-risk students were identified as reading deficit students who received a D or an F in a core subject area during their 7th grade year, and I created an academic SMART goal targeting these students. Once the academic goal was made for the 2016-2017 school year, further information was discovered when talking with the ESOL support teacher identifying a correlation with identified reading deficit students also being an identified ESOL student. Also, data collected at the end of the 2016 school year found that most of the classes these 8th grade students were getting Ds and Fs in were Civics and Science, which are heavy vocabulary subject areas.

Analyzing academic data collected from last year, advisory council discussions where closing the achievement gap for our reading deficit and ESOL students were discussed, and meeting with core curriculum teachers, reaffirmed that many of our students do not know how to take personal responsibility for their academic success, and I needed to take a leadership role in helping bridge that gap for teachers and students. In collaboration with administration, 8th grade students were divided into academic level classes which made academic differentiation more attainable. I conducted teacher/student conferences so students could learn to advocate their concerns and teachers could communicate expectations, parents were also invited. The ESOL teacher and the Reading teacher were also invited to these meetings so reading strategies and ESOL strategies could be reiterated. Finally, I collaborated with the ESOL teacher, Miss Cronin and we created a study skills group that incorporated key ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors such as self-confidence to succeed, applying self-motivation to learning, demonstrating self-discipline, and social maturity in being able to teach students how to select a topic to study, explore reasons to study any given topic, and then nine specific study skills to be able to use to study any assigned or interested topic.



The results for all three of these interventions was promising with teachers and students reporting that differentiated classrooms made it easier to teach, students were able to access curriculum and ask questions. Differentiation classrooms for our 7th graders will be explored. Students reported feeling more connected and understood by their teachers after the Teacher/Student Conferences. The study skills group focused on helping students pick a topic, and then use nine specific study skills to prepare for tests and projects for that topic. Outcome data revealed that reading deficit students were able to raise their grades in at least one core class which suggests all 8th grade students could benefit from the study skills group. Executive functioning is a skill that can be reviewed and strengthened, especially to prepare our 8th graders for high school. Because of the correlation between ESOL and reading deficits, more research will be conducted next year on how to better support our ESOL students.

Goal: By June 2017 70% of identified 8th graders with a reading deficit will improve at least one letter grade in each core class they earned a D or F in June 2016.

Target Group: 8th grade students who received a D or F in a core subject area during their 7th grade yr. (June 2016).

Data Used to Identify Students: 7th grade final grades from June 2016 report cards.

School Counselor(s): Janene Pack

ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s): M 2, M 4, M 6, B-LS 1, B-LS 3, B-LS 4, B-LS 5, B-LS 8, B-SMS 2, B-SMS 1, B-SMS 10, B-SS 1, B-SS 2, B-SS 6, B-SS 7, B-SS 8, B-SS 9

Type of Activities to be Delivered in What Manner?: 1. Study Skills Group for 8th grade reading deficit students who earned a D or F in a core subject area at the end of their 7th grade year, June 2016. Some of these students have also been identified as ESOL students. Session1: Purpose of the group, group norms and Ways to Study pre-test. Session 2: Explore different topics to study, learn how to make foldables, flash cards, and labeling a picture from Science study guide. Session 3: Learn how to highlight important vocabulary words from Civics study guide, put them into lists and translate the words. Session 4: Find deeper meaning in studying, put selected Civics words into categories and write sentences with them. Session 5: “Studying can be fun.” Pick an interested topic want to learn more about and create a game with the interested topic. Session 6: “Studying can be a life-long skill.” School counselor will conduct individual Ways to Study evaluation post-test. 2. Teacher/Student/Counselor conference for 8th grade reading deficit students who earned a D or F in a core subject area at the end of their 7th grade year, June 2016. Some of these students have also been identified as ESOL students. (see attached conference document). 3. Differentiated 8th grade homeroom classrooms for all 8th graders according to academic level. (Homeroom classrooms rotate to their classes together as a class). Divided up 8th grade academic rotations into 4 levels: Level 1-Advanced Academics level Level 2-Basic -Grade level Academic Level Level 3-Below Grade Level Academic Level Level 4-Significantly Below Grade Level Academic Level.

Process Data (Number of students affected): 1. 5 students (8th grade) 1 student moved mid-group. 1 student mainstreamed back to base school. 2. 8 8th grade students 3. All Burke 8th grade students: 25-35 students (depending on time of year).

Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used): 1. Study Skills Group Pre/post-test: (please reference attached “Ways to Study” pre/post-test: Key: 1=I don’t know, show me. 2=I have a question and need help. 3=I can do it independently. 4=I can do it, and explain to someone else. Before the study skills group students reported on average that they felt they could independently pick a topic to study (level 3). After the study skills group, on average students increased their confidence and reported they could pick a topic independently, and explain to someone else how to pick a topic to study (level 4). On average students reported that they did not know how to complete the 9 study skills featured in the “Ways to Study” pre-test assessment (level 1). After the study skills group all students showed growth in their ability to demonstrate the understanding of the 9 different study skills featured in the group. On average, students reported they were able to complete the 9 different study skills independently and demonstrated this ability with the school counselor (Level 3). 2. After the teacher/parent/ counselor conferences 100% of students who participated in the conferences reported feeling more connected to their teachers and supported by their Reading and ESOL teachers. 3. At the end of the year 8th grade students reported being able to understand and access curriculum more easily. Staff reported being better able to differentiate curriculum according to the academic level of their 8th grade class and better able to understand student’s individual disabilities and academic needs.

Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data): 1. Achievement: Out of the three students who remained in the Study Skills Group for all 6 sessions, 66% of the students (2 students-student A and G) improved their grade by at least one letter grade in the core class they received a D or F in June 2016. One student’s grade stayed the same. Student A received a D+ in Science June 2016 and by June 2017 had raised their grade to a C+. Student G received a D in Science June 2016 and by June 2017 had raised their grade to a B-. Student E had a D+ in Science June 2016 and by June 2017 it was still a D+. 2. Achievement: 87% of the students who received a D or F in a core class June 2016, improved at least one letter grade in at least one core class by June 2017. 63% of students improved at least one letter grade in one or more core classes, with 37% staying the same in one or more core classes by June 2017. 0% of our identified reading deficit 8th grade students dropped a letter grade in a core class from June 2016-June 2017. Student H improved at least one letter grade in all three classes he received a D or F in June 2016. 3. Achievement: A comparison of June 2016 8th grade failing grades for the whole school and June 2017 failing grades for 8th graders showed promising results. Seven 8th graders received an F in a core class. In June 2017 grades showed only five 8th graders out of the whole school received an F in one or more core classes, reducing the number of F’s by about 30% for 8th graders from June 2016-June 2017.

Implications: These results indicate that all three interventions were effective in helping close the achievement gap for students who struggle with a reading deficit and or are an ESOL student. I think the data also shows that differentiating classrooms, which was a new systemic change put into effect, has helped students in better accessing and understanding curriculum, and thus improving grades and academic success for the whole school. The Study Skills group was effective in helping students understand what study skills look like and increased their confidence in what they believe they can do on their own. In the one-on-one final assessment, students reported to the school counselor that “studying was easier than they thought,” especially when they were reminded they can pick a self-interested topic to study such as fashion or sports. They also seemed to enjoy some of the specific study skills such as making a game out of vocabulary words. The perception data should encourage teachers, administrators, parents, and other stake holders that there could be more students who do not know HOW to study and may need an adult to guide them in how to make flash cards and how to use them to study subjects with a lot of vocabulary. It would also be beneficial for teachers to make the study skills interactive and fun to promote teacher/student engagement. Similarly student/counselor/teacher conferences seemed to help students feel more connected to their teachers and better able to ask for help and utilize reading and study skills they need to be able to access curriculum, understand, and complete assignments. The differentiated classrooms for 8th graders also contributed to student academic success in that teachers were more easily able to understand where each individual student’s academic level was, where there were achievement gaps and how to close those gaps through scaffolded curriculum and readily available academic supports such as utilizing the reading tools taught to students in Reading class, and having the ESOL teacher visit classrooms and assist in curriculum building and delivery. The outcome data tells me that I need to continue with differentiating classrooms and possibly begin differentiating classrooms for 7th graders. The success of the student/teacher/counselor conferences leads me to believe that all students could benefit from a check-in conference, especially since our students come from different family situations with varying levels of parental/guardian support. I need to makes a Parent SIS QR code readily available to parents at back to school night and or include the QR code in my school counseling letter so parents are readily able to check their student’s grades. I would also like to continue my Study Skills Group, but would like to have more than one group throughout the year and start earlier in the year so students are being introduced to study skills at the beginning of the year.

Attachments


Word
Download

Word
Download

Word
Download

Word
Download

Word
Download

Word
Download

PDF
Download

Word
Download

Word
Download