After on-going discussions throughout the year, last month, I created a Google Form to see what common areas needed to have our focus at Riverside Elementary School. Of all the responses, there were four that rose to the top:
- Flex teams/Flex time, which is what we call our Response to Intervention (RtI) block of time. This is something that I've talked about in two previous blog posts ('Things that I am proud of and are worth celebrating' and 'Flex'). After hearing RtI guru, Mike Mattos (@mikemattos65) of Solution Tree (@SolutionTree), in Cedar Rapids at an event put-on by the Grant Wood Area Education Agency (@GrantWoodAEA) this past September for two days, we created this Flex system that we implemented while hitting the ground running. Overall, it seems to be beneficial. However, there is a desire to focus on how to improve the initial system that we have put in place.
- Student data binders - To some degree we have used student data binders for at least a couple of years now. However, they are still more of a teacher resource and they have yet to really become a tool that students are using to monitor their own learning. This is our task - to increase our students' ownership of their own learning. We think that we can help ourselves in this area based off of some ideas that we have for how to use our student data binders more effectively.
- Data meetings - Again, this is something that we already do. School staff is having regularly scheduled meetings where we are spending time talking about what is working well with our instruction for students and what needs improving. The system is in place, but how can we enhance our system so that we are maximizing the impact that this can have on student learning?
- Data walls - These have started to pop-up in various classrooms, the data room that we've created as a place for teachers to meet and center our discussions around data, and in the front entryway of our school. We want to be transparent with our data (the good, and even the not so good). There are two mains reasons that we see this as beneficial - 1) when it is visible for students, it helps increase their ownership of their learning, and 2) for school staff it is about our accountability and our sense of urgency in regards to student learning.
We'll keep you posted as we focus our improvements on these areas, next year, in an effort to enhance student learning at Riverside Elementary School.