To truly empower schools to improve, including changing adult school practices, mindsets, structures, and policies to enable the educational success of all students, it takes a village.
Community organizations partner with us to:
- Advocate for student success systems in local communities
- Advise the GRAD Partnership on resources and tools that would be useful for communities in the context of student success systems
- Participate in local focus groups related to student success systems and connect communities to the GRAD Partnership
There are a small number of indicators that are highly predictive of school success including grade promotion, high school graduation and postsecondary readiness.
Evidence and experience in a wide range of schools has shown that if schools constantly monitor progress for all kids on these key indicators and create human systems which use the insights students teachers, students themselves, and parents to identify the best solutions, individually and systematically, schools will be much more proactive and effective in enabling all students to succeed.
Attendance, behavior/social-emotional status, and course performance have been shown time and time again to be the key indicators.
To succeed students need to be in school, be able to focus in class, engaged with learning, and do their schoolwork. Challenges and success in any one of these areas, can impact the others.
We need to be aware this is happening and understand what’s underneath it and change or support the underlying conditions to lead to better results.
To do this work effectively, schools have to reorganize their schedule so they can have teams of teachers who know students well be able to meet and work together on a regular basis throughout the school year. There is some skill involved in making these schedule changes cost neutral or low cost, but many schools have accomplished this and it is the type of knowledge we are seeking to spread widely with the GRAD partnership.
Schools also need to invest in initial training and professional learning typically for two years. The work advances more rapidly and successfully, when schools identify a team leader or facilitator who is responsible for organizing the student success system including the regular meetings/work sessions and data systems.
There are five key areas of work:
- Spreading awareness and understanding what a high-quality student success system is and the value it brings to schools and students.
- Developing a series of rubrics and self-assessments to help school leadership evaluate if their student success systems are high quality and how to move towards them from their current state.
- Directly partnering with 30 to 50 school districts to help them spread and sustain high quality student success systems in their middle and high schools.
- Building the capacity of more people and local organizations to be able to support schools with this work.
- Building infrastructure for the long term by creating a national improvement network, where everyone working to implement and spread high quality student success systems can share learnings, continually improve, and work on problems together and a digital learning platform to enable widespread learning and certification and credentialing of key roles in student success systems.
Typically, $20,000 to $50,000 a year for two years per school to establish a high quality student success (on-track) system. This includes the launch and training cost. There then maybe several thousand dollars a year in on-going data cost and school-based student success system team leaders or facilitators may require stipends. Most modern student-information systems have some sort of early warning/on-track module that schools can use to track the indicators and process the data (but sometimes this involves a modest annual fee).
For training and launch costs, schools should invest the federal money or aid from other sources. The training and launch costs of high- quality student success systems is less than the cost of adding an additional staff member and can support more students.