2013 Pathways to the Prize - District Winners - Page 16

Pathways to the Prize Lessons from the 2011 SCORE Prize District Winner Student responsibilities and supports. Maryville teachers believe in developing their students both academically and behaviorally, and push students to take responsibility for their own learning. All high school students hav e planners and keep notebooks that track their test scores and other measures of performance and progress. The district also publishes grades for students in grades 4 through 7 online so that they and their parents can review them at any time. If students are falling behind in any way, they are expected to go to a teacher, counselor, or other adult and ensure they get the assistance they need. Every student at risk of failure also has an adult assigned to watch over them, helping them to bond with the school and understand that seeking assistance is encouraged and valued. High school students often attend the after-school tutoring sessions and Saturday schools. Most believe it is a great way to keep up or get ahead. Maryville recognizes that students need behavioral and academic supports and provides them with both as prevention measures and remediation. Teachers, counselors, and administrators develop action plans with any student who is underperforming or at risk of underperforming in their coursework or on the TCAP. The plan sets out the specific activities the student will undertake to address the concerns. For example, if the concern is absenteeism or tardiness, the student will be tasked with signing in with a specific adult first thing every morning. If lack of mastery in a content area is the concern, the student will participate in after-school or Saturday programming, work with a National Honors Society student or other higher performing peer, or complete online course modules. High school students may be referred to one of the two alternative education programs where they receive more personalized instruction. One program, the Maryville Academic Success House (MASH), provides a therapeutic, safe learning structured explicitly around a student’s academic and behavioral needs. Over the past four years, up to 52 students per year have been served by MASH. MASH also provides credit recovery and tutoring after school and during the summer. To ensure that the educational programming of the alternative programs is rigorous, several administrators and teachers review the programs annually. 16 2011 SCORE Prize District Winner: Maryville City Schools Pathways to the Prize Lessons from the 2011 SCORE Prize District Winner Principals are also held to high expectations in terms of their performance as leaders and managers. Their responsibilities lie not only in helping individual teachers succeed, but also in nurturing an environment for success. To that end, buildings are run efficiently and effectively, and administrators create safe, orderly environments that strongly encourage learning. Disciplinary infractions are relatively rare and, when they occur, are dealt with swiftly. The district allows principals to focus on important areas by taking other concerns—such as human resources—off their plates. “We have helped the principals with personnel management by creating a code of conduct,” Thompson said. “The code is a good tool that creates a fair playing field for expectations. Principals just need to follow it and not get involved in nuances around professional behavior. This gives principals the time they need to support instruction.” weekend food bags for students who report little or no food at home. Resource referral: The center has made local families more aware of free programs, such as those offered by the Child and Family Counseling Center of Tennessee. Families have been connected to appropriate agencies for utility assistance, medical services, and housing, and the center has distributed information about events that addressed substance abuse, mental health, and suicide. The center collects data from surveys and analyzes referral forms to plan its services. The most recent survey, conducted in 2010-11, gathered data from principals, assistant principals, school counselors, special education staff, school nurses, and Adventure Club directors. Evaluations of the Center show that the Center made 660 referrals during 2010-11 and provided more than 2,400 services. Ninety-eight percent of those responding to the evaluation survey rated the services as very effective. Young men in the center’s Teens Need Training (TNT) middle school program engaged in homework assistance, career exploration, community clean-up, outdoor activities such as camping in national and state parks, and team and self-esteem building activities at the Maryville College Mountain Challenge Program. This last program resulted in 43 percent of students becoming employed because of the relationships that they had developed through interviews with local business leaders. More than 86 percent of students enrolled improved their grades and school attendance. The Family Resource Center. The district has created a Family Resource Center, which offers: Educational services: The center helps high-risk families use the school and community resources necessary to meet human needs for educational success. Over the past several years, the Family Resource Center has provided backpacks, school supplies, and calculators to children in need, arranged for access to computers and tutors for after-school homework assistance, raised funds for students to participate in extracurricular activities, such as music and summer programs, paid for college placement examinations, books, and courses for students who qualified for college admission, and assisted families in locating housing within the school district so the student would not have to transfer to another school. Parent training services: The center helps parents address problematic behaviors, such as truancy and anger management. Staff members visit homes to encourage parents to address their children’s needs and become more involved at schools. As needed, staff members have accompanied parents to service providers to assist them in understanding procedures or requirements for services and helped with translation for Spanish-speaking referrals. Family Resource Center staffers have facilitated meetings between school personnel and parents through calls, home visits, and other correspondence. The center also provides transportation, in addition to monthly newsletters and calendars. Health and social services: The center also helps parents become familiar with and enroll in community programs. The Maryville City Schools’ Children’s Fund, opened in 2003, provides clothing and other basic needs. The fund is staffed with volunteers trained by the Family Resource Center. More than 1,000 students and their families have received assistance. The Family Resource Center also connects families to sources of food, clothing, toiletries, furniture, and appliances. It also provides emergency assistance, supplied items and instruction for treatment of head lice, and prepared and distributed Using data to enhance student learning Assistant Director of Schools Dr. Mike Winstead conducts analyses of data after every benchmark or summative assessment test. He provides local, regional, state, and national comparisons and identifies patterns, trends, and contributing factors that “I cannot imagine what some of these students may have influenced results. He routinely meets would be doing in life without the positive and conwith groups of teachers in grade levels or destructive influence that TNT has provided for the partments in each of the schools to share results, last 18 years,” said teacher Jay Malone, as quoted helping schools identify and target students in in the MCS Annual Report. need of interventions. In addition, Dr. Winstead trains faculty and staff members at each school to use the state DVALT website where test scores are housed. He helps them understand how to download and analyze the data on the website, how to track the extent to which schools are meeting annual learning goals, and assists principals with strategy planning for their Title I and other school improvement plans. The district also deploys Dr. Winstead in helping school board members, parents, city council members, and community members become familiar with and interpret the test data for the district. The district utilizes PowerSchool—software that resides on the district’s website—to generate high-level reports. Using benchmark information, the staff can accurately predict how well a student will perform on state assessments about 98 percent of the time. In addition to the data analysis resources provided by the district, each school has a data team and conducts an in-depth analysis of both the benchmark and summative test results. The principal and the other members of the data team scrutinize the data for trends and to identify individual teachers and students who may be facing challenges in reaching proficiency. 2011 SCORE Prize District Winner: Maryville City Schools 17