Thursday, February 21, 2008

At-risk Discussions

Today the principal met with each grade level during their traditional Teacher Meeting time. She asked each teacher in turn about the children in her Progress Monitoring notebook that were"at-risk." She has a notebook for each grade level. She looked at each child's Diagnostic scores, she wanted to know if a PMP (Progress Monitoring Plan signed by the parent) had been written, if a retention note had been sent, if the child had ever been retained, if the child had been referred to the  Intervention Team and what the teacher was doing to make sure that the child would be as successful as possible. The Guidance Counselor also attended the meetings all day making notes of children who need to be seen because they are going through a hard time or whose parents need a call or families who may need help with repeat head lice causing repeated absences or children who just need motivation or maybe a mentor. Next week teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, office staff and custodians will be asked to step up and "mentor" one of these identified children.

In kindergarten we discussed about 30 children, noting that many of them were siblings of those identified earlier in the day. What sets these discussions apart is that teachers bring their data. They know their children and can quickly list the interventions - Reading Mastery with Julie, a parent volunteer coming in to drill letters and sounds, multiple parent conferences, small group or one-to-one work, Target interventions - that they are using to make a difference. You cannot hide in these meetings because you are held accountable, but the conversation is also not threatening. The other thing you feel in these meetings is that teachers really care about children. You don't hear sarcasm and snide remarks. The teachers don't spend time blaming parents or making excuses. They are reflective. They ask questions. They ask for help when they need it... and I hope they leave with a more cohesive plan of action. That, after all, is what this day is all about!

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

This is a powerful way to make sure that every child is getting the appropriate support through safety nets or interventions that they deserve. I find it exhilerating to work in a school where not a single child has the opportunity to slip through the cracks.