Departments required to record students who attend support sessions
The Blair administration has established a new policy requiring all departments to record the names of students attending lunch time academic support and is providing additional school wide support to meet their School Improvement Plan (SIP) goals, according to assistant principal Edith Verdejo.
According to Verdejo, the administration is implementing this requirement so that they can monitor which students come to academic support, how many students come and if support is actually helping those students. Verdejo said that the data will not be used to evaluate specific teachers or specific departments. She emphasized that the administration is only asking teachers to record the department name, time, subject area and number of teachers and students present for pre-designated department-wide academic support, not all individual assistance.
Verdejo said that the Instructional Leadership Team (ILT), comprising all administrators, all department heads, three elected faculty and teachers' union representatives and the staff development teacher, will probably look at the data when there is enough to analyze the effectiveness of academic support. She said she does not know what exact changes the data will prompt until there has been enough collected to examine.
The ILT will use the data to evaluate the success of academic support in each department and decide how to further ensure assistance to the students who need it. Verdejo said that the data collection is the way Blair has chosen to follow their SIP, rather than a mandate from the county.
According to Coleman and Verdejo, the SIP is a plan required by the county for how a particular school is going to improve any problems it faces. "It's the big picture for the success of a school," Coleman said. "It's really just data for [Blair] to use," Verdejo said. "We're all here to support the success of the students."
The math and science departments currently offer individualized teacher support during lunch, but no single department-wide support session with all the teachers in one place, according to assistant principal Andrew Coleman.
Science resource teacher Summer Roark-Thiero said that she is requiring that teachers still fill in the sign-in sheets for the administration if they help students individually. According to Roark-Thiero, it was more efficient for students to go to the individual teachers for help in individual disciplines, so the teachers could provide relevant support in there area of expertise. "While we have made ourselves available, we don't do it departmentally," she said. "For us it's very specialized."
Academic support has expanded this year into school-wide support sessions in the media center, Verdejo said, which is another initiative for the purpose of fulfilling the SIP. Mafida Siddique, a long-term substitute in charge of the library support sessions, said that teachers offer help during both lunches on Tuesday and Thursday in order to assist students in keeping track of their grades and overall time management. "If one of our students needs help in a certain [class], we can make a plan of action," she said.
According to Coleman, the school wide academic support is open to any student willing to work with administration-identified teachers to improve students' performance, targeting students who have issues with attendance and a grade point average below 2.0.
Coleman has compiled the times, dates, locations and nature (by appointment or standardized) of academic support this year in a presentation to help pull together the broader view of how Blair is working to fulfill their SIP this year.
According to Verdejo, the SIP helps a school work towards meeting the student proficiency and graduation requirements set by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) — the hope is that the academic support data collection will provide the important information on what Blair needs to change to meet these requirements.
Rebecca Guterman. Rebecca Guterman loves being on Silver Chips! In what little spare time she has left over, she loves to play the piano, dance really badly, and listen to music. Above all, seeing and talking to friends 24/7 is a must. Even though most of her ... More »