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Chat: Assuring Needy Groups of Students Aren't Overlooked

Students who lag in achievement can sometimes be overlooked in schools that are otherwise high performing or above average. Two experts will answer questions on how schools can make sure that struggling students get the attention and resources they need to improve.

Assuring Needy Groups of Students Aren’t Overlooked

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016, 2 to 3 p.m. ET

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Chat: Assuring Needy Groups of Students Aren’t Overlooked(11/08/2016)

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3:01
Penny Bidne:
You are welcome, I hope our information has been helpful.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 3:01 Penny Bidne

3:01
Carlas McCauley:
Thank you for the opportunity.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 3:01 Carlas McCauley

3:01
Denisa:
Thank you to everyone for joining us and for the great questions!

Tuesday November 8, 2016 3:01 Denisa

3:01
Denisa:
Ms. Bidne and Mr. McCauley — thank you for taking the time to share your experiences/expertise with us.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 3:01 Denisa

3:00
Denisa:
Looks like we’re out of time.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 3:00 Denisa

3:00
Carlas McCauley:
This may include the development of early warning systems - that enable a school to identify student who may be failing behind

Tuesday November 8, 2016 3:00 Carlas McCauley

2:59

Carlas McCauley:
Great question Kim. Schools and districts should identify learning benchmarks that could be used to track the progress of each student.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:59 Carlas McCauley

2:59
Penny Bidne:
We make the expectation clear and provide as much support as we can. We trust that our teachers are doing the work that needs to be done. Our PLCs provide conversation space around fidelity.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:59 Penny Bidne

2:56
[Comment From KimKim: ]
Can someone address what accountability measures you have taken to ensure that curriculum, strategies, instructional delivery, etc are done with fidelity versus compliance?

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:56 Kim

2:55
Penny Bidne:
Don’t lower your expectations. In order for these kids to succeed teachers need to believe that ALL students are capable of learning.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:55 Penny Bidne

2:55
Carlas McCauley:
Equally, its important to understand what is showing some promise as well and the data helps to identify those efforts.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:55 Carlas McCauley

2:54
Carlas McCauley:
It’s an excellent question Corey. Schools and LEAs should always continue to gather teacher/grade level/subject level data that allows for determinations to be made about adjusting efforts.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:54 Carlas McCauley

2:53

Carlas McCauley:
I would say that schools should NEVER stop gathering and analyzing data!

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:53 Carlas McCauley

2:52
[Comment From CoreyCorey: ]
When it comes to helping needy groups of students, are there things you recommend that schools don’t do?

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:52 Corey

2:51
Penny Bidne:
Our EL population is consistently growing! 20% of our students are English Learners. We follow two different models for EL instruction. Our EL teachers pull out small groups for our level 1 and 2 students. We also have EL teachers push into literacy for planning and instruction to meet the needs of all EL students.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:51 Penny Bidne

2:48

Carlas McCauley:
I do think think RTI is a strategy that could be used across all schools and agree with Penny that works.

I would point all to the following resource as an example http://centeronschoolturnar....

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:48 Carlas McCauley

2:47
[Comment From Learning LanguageLearning Language: ]
How do you address the proficiency gaps in math and reading between English-learners and native English-speakers? How large is your ELL population at Brimhall Elementary?

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:47 Learning Language

2:47
Penny Bidne:
Even though we are a high performing school, our tiers of intervention work to meet the needs of all students. RTI is embedded in our PLC work and professional development.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:47 Penny Bidne

2:46
Penny Bidne:
CS, in our experience RTI does work to keep students from being overlooked.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:46 Penny Bidne

2:45
[Comment From CSCS: ]
Some schools and districts use RTI to support lower performing students....does that work to keep students from being overlooked, or do high-performing schools feel like they don’t really need to use that RTI process?

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:45 CS

2:44
Penny Bidne:
Reevis, we too find that there is a spectrum of need in each of our classrooms. We expect our all of our staff to work together and find ways to answer those needs.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:44 Penny Bidne

2:44
Carlas McCauley:
For example, in some instances wrap around services play a critical role in supporting the development of students. The work within a school should never go to one particular individual or set of individuals.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:44 Carlas McCauley

2:43
Carlas McCauley:
However, it’s important to build leadership teams and structures within and outside of the classroom that enables an approach that moves beyond just the teacher and the principal.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:43 Carlas McCauley

2:42
Carlas McCauley:
Great question Reevis. The balance question is an excellent discussion question. Educators are working hard to meet the needs of all students.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:42 Carlas McCauley

2:41
[Comment From ReevisReevis: ]
Of course, educators understand that we have that one student who requires the most attention... but, how much attention is too much? Is there a balance? What can we do to get things that they need?

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:41 Reevis

2:40
Penny Bidne:
It is a collective responsibility. The systems we have put into place reflect those collaborative efforts. PLCs being a major focus.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:40 Penny Bidne

2:39
Penny Bidne:
I agree!

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:39 Penny Bidne

2:38
Carlas McCauley:
However, if the teacher has identified that certain students are struggling through the analysis of the data. The teacher should identify this through discussions with PLCs, principal and colleagues - in an effort to identify a plan of action to address the challenge.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:38 Carlas McCauley

2:38
Carlas McCauley:
Great question Sarah. It is the collective responsibility of all adult educators (teachers, principal, superintendent, etc.).

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:38 Carlas McCauley

2:38
Penny Bidne:
Sarah, this is a great question that we have also struggled with over the years.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:38 Penny Bidne

2:37
[Comment From SarahSarah: ]
When educators in an otherwise high performing school or district know they have a struggling group of students who need additional support and resources, who (teacher, principal, superintendent) should take responsibility for making them a priority and ensuring those resources are tapped for those purposes?

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:37 Sarah

2:36
Penny Bidne:
In literacy, we schedule 25 minutes of intervention for each grade level throughout the day. At this time all of the building’s resources are put into that grade level (TA’s, tier 2 intervention teachers, Minnesota Reading Corps tutors, etc.). During this block, teachers are using researched based literacy interventions (phonics, fluency, comprehension) to teach students based on need. Students are flexibly grouped across classrooms based on teacher observation and data.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:36 Penny Bidne

2:34
Penny Bidne:
The first, and most important would be our collaborative PLC work. Each week, grade level teams meet to review math and reading standards and to answer the DuFour Questions. 1) What do we want students to know and be able to do? 2) How will we know they are learning it? 3) How will we respond when they don’t learn? 4) How will we respond if they already know it?

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:34 Penny Bidne

2:32
Penny Bidne:
Denisa, there are several things that have made an impact on closing the achievement gap at Brimhall.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:32 Penny Bidne

2:32
Denisa:
Ms. Bidne, Carlas just gave us an umbrella view of what he has seen work across the country. What are some of the strategies you deployed at Brimhall to narrow the proficiency gap in reading and math?

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:32 Denisa

2:29

Carlas McCauley:
Great question Denisa. I have been fortunate to see a number of examples of schools making significant progress.

First, those schools that have focused on few key priority levers. For example, those schools have prioritized school improvement by strategically developing leadership teams and building leadership capacity within their buildings.

The principals in those schools have established clear structures for monitoring short- and long term goals aimed at rapid progress aligned with their vision.

Those schools have focused on diagnosing and responding to each students learning needs as a high lever strategy.

And finally, I’ve seen examples in which these schools have created a culture that values effort, respect and academic achievement by recognizing each improvement effort and keeping the focus on results.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:29 Carlas McCauley

2:23
Denisa:
This question is for Mr. Cauley: You’ve traveled the country studying schools that have made strides in moving the needle for all —or most— of their students. Briefly, what are some of the successful strategies that you’ve seen?

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:23 Denisa

2:22
Penny Bidne:
We expect our teachers reach out to families right away and build relationships. We have a high percentage (98%) of families that come to conferences each year. This sets a great foundation for building an educational partnership all year long.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:22 Penny Bidne

2:21
Penny Bidne:
Our district gives each school the resources and funding to reach out to families. We are a Title 1 school and host family nights 2-3 times a year. We provide transportation, a free dinner and childcare, so that families can come to school for these nights. Our teachers regularly reach out to families in many ways -- e-mail, phone calls, notes home, etc.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:21 Penny Bidne

2:21
Penny Bidne:
Hi Madeline. Our district does many things to engage all of our families.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:21 Penny Bidne

2:18
[Comment From MadelineMadeline: ]
How has the district worked to engage the families of struggling students?

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:18 Madeline

2:17
Penny Bidne:
Our district vision is “Learning for All, Equity in all We Do”. We use this lens when we plan for instruction. Our district provide culturally responsive classroom teaching training and we have a team of equity coaches to ensure that teachers are implementing strategies that work towards closing the achievement gap.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:17 Penny Bidne

2:14
Denisa:
Ms. Bidne, can you elaborate on how the equity piece ties into the PD?

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:14 Denisa

2:13

Carlas McCauley:
With any professional development, high PD require the vetting and identification of quality PF for creation of mixed instructional modes.

For example, at the school level its important to periodically check for appropriate grouping of students and teachers. As well as, providing teachers with time to carry out plans developed in connection with PD.

I would argue that the value of the PD becomes most critical and more important than additional time.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:13 Carlas McCauley

2:13
Penny Bidne:
Hi Madeline, we are fortunate that our district provides regular professional development to teachers in equity, math, literacy, social studies and technology. Our teachers participate on a number of professional development district-wide committees and bring any learning back to our staff. We also have instructional coaches on site that support instructional needs and help provide instructional strategies for all students.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:13 Penny Bidne

2:09
[Comment From MadelineMadeline: ]
Do teachers need special or extra professional development so that they can better work with these vulnerable populations of students? What does that look like?

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:09 Madeline

2:07
Carlas McCauley:
I would agree with Penny. There must be a focus on understanding content. I would also add when a school identifies any group of students that may not be making gains its important to consider what steps one might take. For example, you might consider placing a small group for reteaching opportunities or provide individualized instruction.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:07 Carlas McCauley

2:03
Penny Bidne:
Thanks for your question Kori. Our teachers at Brimhall use the Minnesota state standards to plan differentiated lessons to meet the needs of all students. I think it’s important to remember that in any classroom, you will always have “average” performing students. Our teachers use regular formative assessments to make sure students have a solid understanding of content, and then use those results to inform instruction. With this approach, we’ve found that average performing students make just as many gains as our low and high performing students.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:03 Penny Bidne

2:02
Denisa:
Ms. Bidne, do you want to take this question?

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:02 Denisa

2:02
[Comment From KoriKori: ]
I work in a high performing school district. We provide extensive interventions for our students who score in the lowest 25th national percentile in reading and math, and we are very good at providing enrichment for our over 60% gifted population. We struggle most with meeting the needs of “average” students in our rigorous academic environment, as these students are perceived by the teaching staff as “low.” Does anyone have any suggestions/resources to offer that I can share with my teaching staff to help them accommodate these average learners in an above-average academic environment?

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:02 Kori

2:02
Denisa:
Let’s start with a question from Kori.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:02 Denisa

2:01
Penny Bidne:
Thanks for inviting us to participate Denisa!

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:01 Penny Bidne

2:01
Carlas McCauley:
Thanks for having us.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:01 Carlas McCauley

2:00
Denisa:
Welcome to you both, and thanks for being here.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:00 Denisa

2:00
Denisa:
We’re also joined by Penny Bidne, the principal of Brimhall Elementary School in Roseville, Minn. Brimhall is one of the state’s “Reward” schools.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:00 Denisa

2:00
Denisa:
We’re joined today by Carlas McCauley, the director of West Ed’s Center on School Turnaround. Carlas also worked at the U.S. Department of Education, where he oversaw the Obama administration’s School Improvement Grant (SIG) Program.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:00 Denisa

2:00
Denisa:
Hello, everyone. Thank you for taking the time to join us today. My name is Denisa Superville, and I’m a reporter here at Education Week. I cover district news and leadership.

Tuesday November 8, 2016 2:00 Denisa

9:50
Mike Bock:
Good morning, and welcome to today’s free live chat, ‘Assuring Needy Groups of Students Aren’t Overlooked,’ sponsored by Dreambox. I’ve just opened the chat for questions, so please start submitting them now. We’ll be back at 2 p.m. E.T. with Carlas McCauley and Penny Bidne. Hope to see you then!

Tuesday November 8, 2016 9:50 Mike Bock

For decades, as the the most intensive efforts to improve student achievement focused largely on the lowest-performing schools, students who struggled in above-average or high-performing schools were often in danger of being overlooked.

In this chat, Carlas McCauley, director of WestEd’s Center on School Turnaround and Penny Bidne, principal of Brimhall Elementary School in Roseville, Minn., will take questions on why it’s been challenging for some high-performing schools to acknowledge that some students are struggling and explain how educators can identify and address the needs of those students who may be lagging on key measures such as test scores, graduation rates, participation in SAT, ACT, or Advanced Placement courses, or absenteeism.

Guests:
Carlas McCauley, director, WestEd’s Center on School Turnaround
Penny Bidne, principal, Brimhall Elementary School, Roseville, Minn.

Moderator:
Denisa R. Superville, staff writer, Education Week

Related Articles:
Special Report: Moving the Needle on Achievement

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