Mauldin Elementary School (2017)

Simpsonville, SC

Closing the Gap

Mauldin Elementary’s educational community is dedicated to the academic success for all students, especially those considered at-risk. Our collaborative effort to provide structured academic interventions to identified at-risk students includes both research-based programs and evidence-based curriculum. Our academic program goal was developed in an effort to assist the identified gap group students in academic growth, specifically by increasing their state-standardized MAP test scores.

To identify students in the achievement gap, our school counselors examined existing services and supports in place for our students. Currently, students in kindergarten through second grade receive the most supports including Response to Intervention reading services, District-level Interventionists, and Literacy Specialists. Due to the lack of school-based structured academic interventions for upper grade students, we focused on at-risk third-fifth grade students. The previous year’s academic achievement outcome data was used to identify all students in grades 3-5 with at least two Ds or Fs on their 4th quarter Report Card. We then analyzed these students’ ELA and MATH MAP state test scores to determine if they also “Did Not Meet” expectations in this area.

While we know early intervention and prevention are key, we focused on 5th grade because they had the largest number of students with Ds/Fs that did not meet expectations on MAP state testing. Our goal was to help increase their academic skills before transitioning to middle school. All students receiving special education services were removed from our target group because they already receive individualized academic support. Our final group included 20 remaining fifth grade students that did not share any common demographic factors (i.e. race or socio-economic status), but were coincidentally all boys.

Administrators, counselors, and fifth grade teachers were involved in developing the Closing-the-Gap Action plan. Four main interventions were progress-monitored to measure student growth and program effectiveness: Breakfast Club, Study Hall, Academic Success Groups, and Real Men Read. Student perception data was collected through pre/post surveys measuring their skills, attitudes, and knowledge before and after completing the interventions.

One of our most effective interventions was the implementation of academic small-group counseling, School Success Groups. Gap group students were divided into two groups of 10 students, a best practice recommendation for small-group counseling. The groups met once per week for ten sessions lasting 40 minutes each. Counselors used the Missouri Education evidence-based small group curriculum focused on test-taking, study skills, organization, time management, and task completion.

We also implemented Breakfast Club, a program that meets before school once per week. Students participate in CompassLearning, which uses the students’ Fall MAP scores to cater standards-based activities. CompassLearning is based on the recommendations and research of leading cognitive psychologists, experts in instructional design, and independent research groups.

Real Men Read and Lead, an outside program, enables our students to read with men in the community once per month for 45 minutes. During this time, men discuss the importance of goal-setting, post-secondary education, and careers. Real Men Read is a national program that emphasizes the best practices of positive male mentorship and increased exposure to literature.

Study Hall is an intervention designed and implemented by our fifth grade teachers. It takes place each day before and after school giving students the opportunity to complete missed assignments, work on their homework, or receive extra help from teachers. Teachers encouraged students to participate in Study Hall, although it was not required.

Outcome data shows a tremendous amount of growth for participants with 80% of students increasing their MAP score and 65% of students exceeding their Target Growth from Fall to Spring. Perception surveys indicated an increase in confidence, knowledge and skills. Perception data also identified a need to focus on the importance of turning in homework and taking notes in class.

Positive feedback from students and teachers for our Real Men Read & Lead program suggests an increase in frequency from once to twice per month. To increase the effectiveness of Study Hall and Breakfast Club, all staff will undergo training to ensure consistency in the administration of these programs. We will reconsider meeting times of our academic small groups in the future to accommodate all students. Tardy students missed some of the instruction as they began promptly at 8am.

The outcome and perception data suggests that our Closing-the-Gap interventions were successful for our target population. All 4 of these interventions will continue next year for students who are identified as needing supports. As a preventative measure, we will begin intervening earlier in students’ academic careers by also targeting 3rd and 4th grade students.

Goal: By the end of April 2017, the 20 identified GAP group students in 5th grade will increase their ELA MAP score by the individual Target RIT score from their Fall 2016 score to their Spring 2017 score.

Target Group: After disaggregating the achievement outcome data, we identified 38 students in 5th grade who had 2 or more Ds/Fs on their 2015/2016 final report card in Q4 and scored “Does Not Meet” on both ELA and MATH MAP State test scores. Of these 38 students, we removed those being served through Special Education. We focused on the 20 remaining students that were falling between the cracks and not receiving any additional services outside of regular Tier 1 instruction.

Data Used to Identify Students: 2015-2016 Report Cards, Teacher Recommendations, and Previous years’ MAP scores. Students receiving Special Education services were removed.

School Counselor(s): Beasley/Coble

ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s): Academic Domain M4: Understanding that postsecondary education and lifelong learning are necessary for long-term career success B-LS3 Use time-management, organizational, and study skills B-LS4 Apply self-motivation and self-direction to learning B-SMS 5 Demonstrate perseverance to achieve long- and short-term goals B-SMS 6 Demonstrate ability to overcome barriers to learning

Type of Activities to be Delivered in What Manner?: School Success Group- Academic Small Group Counseling Real Men Read & Lead - Workshop Breakfast Club – Academic Service Study Hall – Academic Service

Process Data (Number of students affected): 20 5th grade boys; 2 Groups: Met 1 time per week for 35 minutes; 20 total sessions Real Men Read: Met once per month for 45 minutes; 8 total sessions Breakfast Club: Met 1 time per week for 30 minutes for the entire year Study Hall met once per week for the entire yea

Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used): Pre/Post Student Survey measured students’ attitudes, knowledge and skills in the following areas before and after the group. 1. I try my best at school. 2. I follow my teacher’s directions. 3. I stay on task. 4. I take notes in class. 5. I study for my tests. 6. I have good study habits. 7. I feel prepared when I take a test. 8. I complete my homework every night. 9. I turn in my homework each day. 10. I am happy with my grades. 11. I participate in class. 12. I ask for help when I do not understand. 13. I am organized and prepared. 14. I set goals for myself. SEE PRE/POST TEST RESPONSE DATA IN GRAPHS BELOW Students’ self-report on the pre/post survey indicated growth in all areas. The post-test included a short response section for students to write-in their answers. All students were able to list 3 strategies to help them on tests and 3 ways they can study.

Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data): Based on the 2016-2017 MAP (Measures in Academic Progress) we saw the following outcomes from student’s Fall Score (baseline) to student’s Spring Score: 80% of students (16 of 20) saw growth in their MAP score from Fall to Spring 65% of students (10 of 16) showing growth EXCEEDED their individual Target Growth goal based on their Fall score 60% of students (9 of 16) showing growth exceeded their Target Growth Score by 10 points or more. Only 2 of 20 students’ scores declined from Fall 2016 to Spring 2017. Only 2 of 20 students’ scores showed no growth or decline, remaining the same from Fall 2016 to Spring 2017. Graphs of outcome data are provided below.

Implications: The outcome data and student perception data suggest that our Closing the Gap interventions were successful. Outcome data shows a tremendous amount of growth for students who participated in these interventions. Students’ self-report perception data indicates an increase in confidence, knowledge, and skills, as well as a change in behavior. This was our Pilot year for Real Men Read & Lead. Due to the success and positive feedback from students and teachers, we will increase the frequency of those meetings from once per month to twice per month. Study Hall and Breakfast Club were monitored by several staff members. To increase effectiveness, staff will undergo a more intensive training to ensure consistency among all staff members in these programs. We will need to reconsider the time of the group sessions. This group met from 8:00am – 8:40am once per week. Tardy students missed some of the instruction. After reviewing the perception data, counselors need to focus on the importance of turning in homework and the importance of taking notes in class. These areas did not show as much growth as some of the others in student perception data. We will continue to offer all 4 of these interventions next year for students who qualify. As a preventative measure, we will begin early intervention by identifying 4th grade students as well.