# 11 Closing the Gap Narrative
Makaha Elementary is currently participating in a complex-wide initiative developing multi-tiered systems of support with consultant Diana Browning Wright. Due to Waianae students’ high needs, school and complex plans include this critical priority. Based on analysis of school data, leadership recognized that students with emotional/behavioral concerns also frequently manifest academic struggles. Makaha’s battery of Kindergarten entry screening assessments including Hawaii Early Learning Standards (HELDS) show incoming student readiness at 20 points below the U.S. mean with substantial weaknesses in adaptive social behavior and cognition. Students also continue to struggle through school. Waianae High School student scores on college readiness indicators, ACT Reading and Math, are 50% lower than Hawaii averages. A critical component of our Response to Intervention-Behavior (RTIb) three tiered system, is the implementation of universal screening and intervention-matching to proactively identify students needing specific, focussed behavioral supports before negative outcomes such as behavioral incidents and academic failure occur. The Brief Externalizing and Internalizing Screener for Youth (BEISY) identified students “At-Risk” for these concerns. “At-risk” students were then targeted for an appropriate Tier 2 interventions following teacher completion of the Student Intervention Matching form (SIM).
After students were identified through screening, we supported teacher completion of the Student Intervention Matching form (SIM) and students were matched with specific interventions. For this plan we selected students who were matched with Check-In Check-Out (CICO). This comprised the largest “intervention cluster”, required direct counselor support, and we wanted to develop adult mentorship opportunities as research indicates improves resiliency and school connectedness. The spring 2015/16 BEISY showed 98/570 (17%) students were “At-Risk” for internalizing, externalizing, or both behaviors. All students were screened, but for our Closing the Gap Action Plan, we targeted general education students. Special education students received their interventions through a behavioral health specialist (BHS). Eliminating students with IEPs and those who transferred out, we ended up with 47 students of whom 13 (28%) were matched to the CICO intervention. All 13 students also qualified for free/reduced lunch and 92% were members of ethnic minorities including 10 Native Hawaiians.
Because all 13 also scored within the two lowest rubric indicators, “Rarely” and “Sometimes”, on their report card GLO #1: Self-Directed Learner, (the ability to be responsible for one’s own learning), we created this goal: By the end of SY 2016-17, 100% of general education students with an identified Tier 2 intervention, (#13 students), will improve by one “rubric step” on their General Learner Outcomes report card indicator. Teachers use GLO rubrics to grade students, assessing the whole child’s learning behaviors. Keeping long term outcomes in mind, we also tracked reading lexile levels.
Overall, BEISY perception data indicated that 8/13 (62%) students demonstrated post-intervention externalizing score improvement, 6/13 (46%) had internalizing improvement and 4 students (31%) improved on both. In addition to CICO, each child had a goal chart scored daily by their teacher, and 6/16 (38%) of the goals were met consistently (80+%). Two were rescinded from the intervention due to substantial progress and teachers recommended 3 students continue CICO in the next school year. Teachers reported that although some students did not meet their goal consistently, they observed improvement. We will use this information to inform how we develop future goals to better shape student success.
We also provided a lunch-bunch mentoring group with a counselor with a dual purpose, as a “purchased incentive” and as social skills group. Students could select participation on a counselor provided menu of incentives. The counselor used this time to develop positive relationships, to read social stories and to facilitate conversation. Quarterly, the “cost” of attendance raised, and yet, all students consistently chose to attend, which indicated their engagement in the group and served as evidence of their progress on B-SS2 and B-SS3.
Outcome data showed 7 students (54%) moved up one rubric step on their GLO#1 and 10 students (77%) demonstrated lexile reading level improvement. Out of the 10 with lexile improvement, 6 also demonstrated behavior gains, a significant correlation We will share this data with our teachers hoping that this evidence will encourage teachers to select CICO for students matched with multiple interventions. We also need to find ways to creatively group or cluster students for CICO or to train additional staff to implement it as the intervention requires a lot of time. Finally, we would like to collect additional perception data to more directly connect our interventions to student mindset