11. Closing-the-Gap Results Report – Narrative.
How the Gap was Identified:
Originally we thought we would use a closing-the-gap action plan to address the achievement goal in third grade. But as the 2015-2016 school year was under way, we could see we had another issue demanding our immediate attention. One of our fifth grade student’s misbehavior was affecting the rest of his classroom and many other fifth grade students. This student had a history in our building as having unruly, defiant and oppositional behaviors that impacted him and others. The special education department and personnel were his case managers and he was on an IEP.
It was soon evident that many sources from our school community were concerned and contacted me for assistance. Here is a list of how the concern/gap was identified:
➢ Many students visited my office reporting issues on safety, bullying, not being able to concentrate in class, not wanting to come to school and requesting to be moved to another classroom. Between October 2nd and November 4th, (eighty-six) student visits to the counselor’s office were documented.
➢ All four of the fifth grade teachers, music teacher, physical education teacher and librarian had contacted me for assistance and collaborating on how to manage the behavior of this one student and the other students’ reaction to him.
➢ Parents were reporting their child was not able to sleep at night and did not want to come to school.
➢ Eighteen “Room Clears” were made in fourteen days in the month of October due to the one student’s misconduct and refusing to leave the classroom to see the special education department or principal.
➢ I completed a District Bullying Report on this student after multiple interviews with classmates.
➢ Teachers made thirty-seven special education office reports (on the misbehaving student) to the Kelly Special Education Department from October 2nd to November 4th, 2015.
➢ Twenty-one regular “office referrals” were made on other students
➢ History - the previous year our principal cited the student for “Unruly Behavior” with the Grand Forks Juvenile Court. At the end of the year, the 4th grade teacher requested to transfer to another school within the district.
➢ The Grand Forks Special Education Department have directed the happenings and interventions with this student in and out of the classroom for the past three years.
Why Activities & Interventions were Chosen:
Overall the entire action plan was created to address the students’ needs of feeling safe, being able to concentrate in class, believing adults would handle bullying in the classroom, treating one another with respect, managing their emotions, and learning how to deal with conflicts and problem solving. When I am looking for the latest evidence-based materials and strategies to address a need, I go to the CASEL (Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning) cite. This group has been conducting research on social emotional learning for twenty plus years and has the most current publications and ratings on programs in the field. By doing this I reviewed several curriculums on coping and conflict resolution skills. In addition to what I was already planning, I found three lessons that addressed awareness, attitude, and choices: Rock vs. Play Dough Problems, Copping Out vs. Coping and Sunglasses/Attitude Lesson. The lessons were so well received that I used them with all of the fifth grade classes.
Next Steps Based on Results of Interventions:
One of the things I learned this year was even though the special education department was directing traffic with one student, we needed to make sure we were validating and addressing the needs of the general population in the classroom. As an advocate for all students, it was important to receive my principal’s support and move forward with a closing-the-gap action plan. The comprehensive plan of interventions produced positive results. The difference maker in this situation was developing a plan and gathering the data to build a case that one student’s behavior was clearly impacting the learning of all of the other students in the classroom.
Next Steps - The fifth graders moved on to middle school, but if we had another situation like this again I would follow a similar course of action. Also, I have received feedback from stakeholders involved and have been encouraged by the fact they could see that a closing-the-gap action plan makes a difference.
Enclosed: The video that was produced by students at the end of the year is a reflection of their positive perceptions and successful results.