Randy Sprick's Safe & Civil Schools – Practical Solutions, Positive Results!

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Winter 2011

Are They Making the Grade?

By Randy Sprick

Whether you are working with semesters, trimester, or quarters, toward the end of the term or the beginning of the new term you will want to determine whether your students' attendance, punctuality, in-class work completion, homework completion rates, and academic work are satisfactory. By conducting a grade book analysis, you can look at this data and decide whether you need to implement a plan to improve any areas of concern with your class, a small group of students, or individual students. Such an analysis can also help you determine how variables may interact (e.g., when his attendance rates drop, Johnny misses more homework assignments).

Just prior to the end of each grading period, follow these steps:

1. Gather relevant data.

If you use a computerized grade book, determine if and how the program provides data for:

If you do not have a computer grade book, calculate data for each student in your class.

2. Enter data for each of your students on a Grade Book Analysis Worksheet like the one in CHAMPS, 2nd ed. (PDF sample shown here).

3. In the Targeted Academic Assistance column, record any unsatisfactory grade and its related subject.

Image of a gradebook worksheet from CHAMPS: A Proactive and Positive Approach to Classroom Management, 2nd ed.

4. Analyze your results. Does your data indicate a problem with your class or individuals?

If three or more individuals fail to meet a goal, consider implementing a whole class action plan, like those listed below:

For individuals, examine the interrelationships among the data. A student may be failing due to poor attendance that results in an inability to complete in-class work. In this instance, the student needs a plan to improve attendance. Another student may need a homework plan. Yet another student may fail to complete homework due to a lack of skills and may need pre-teaching or modified homework assignments. Once problems have been identified, proactive interventions can make a difference. For example, you might:

By performing a grade book analysis, you can quickly identify those students who need help and then devise an intervention to help them boost their performance before the grading period ends.

Excerpts from CHAMPS: A Proactive and Positive Approach to Classroom Management.

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Results from the Field

Tim Morrow, Assistant Principal at South Hagerstown High School in Hagerstown, Maryland, assures us that their Safe & Civil Schools implementation is doing well.

Prior to implementation, SHHS experienced high volumes of tardies to class and school, students roaming halls during class, no consistent hallway supervision, and frequent hall incidents including fights.

After one year of implementing Safe & Civil Schools strategies (gleaned from workshops and by networking with peers at our National Conference), personnel at SHHS are working to address all of the above issues—and they are succeeding admirably!

Tardies, referrals, and suspensions are down from the previous year (2008-09). The number of fights has decreased by 28 percent and incidents of physical aggression (shoving, threats, etc.) are down by 20 percent.

According to the report Mr. Morrow sent us, "the programs made a significant and positive impact at SHHS."

South Hagerstown High School (SHHS) in the Washington County Public School system serves a diverse student body of about 1300 with more than 60% of students on the Free or Reduced Lunch program. U.S. News and World Report recognized SHHS the last three years as a bronze level school in its top 500 schools and the school consistently meets AYP goals.

Congratulations to the staff and students at SHHS! At Safe & Civil Schools, we recognize the effort you have made in making your school a safer, more civil place.