Spotlight – Stories from the Field
Sadiqa Al-Salam, Prince George’s County Public Schools
Ms. Al-Salam’s Challenge: How can I work collaboratively with staff to encourage a grade level meeting process and facilitate meetings with parents to advance students who are in jeopardy of retention?
A significant number of students (grades 6 to 8) were at risk of retention and there was not enough time to hold individual Student Intervention Team (SIT) meetings. Teachers were making joint and isolated efforts to collect data, update grade level contact sheets and hold meetings during school. Students who didn’t have a meeting could not be considered for retention and parent partnership was needed to holistically address each individual student’s situation.
Ms. Al-Salam collaborated with student specific teams and was able to bring these teams together with parents to share student specific information discreetly in a group setting. Parents who attended were able to have their concerns addressed, have a SIT meeting and obtain a better understanding of their students’ challenges and strengths. This strategy made it possible for all mandated attendee SIT meetings to be held in less time.
In these meetings, the turnout varied by grade and team. An increase in parent participation was evident when teachers followed the implementation steps with fidelity. Some teachers didn’t want to reward students for parent attendance and that impacted parent involvement. Other teachers were unable to participate in meetings after school to accommodate parents’ schedules.
Ms. Al-Salam learned that recording the meeting and editing out specific student information was helpful to share with parents who were unable to attend the live meeting. Using the Zoom translation option for language interpretation was another lesson learned.
Time: Planning time: 3-4 hours for all meetings. Meetings: 1 hour
Materials/Resources: Zoom, JamBoard, presentation slides
Steps to implement a SIT meeting (Student Interventions for Transformative Success):
- Identify students in jeopardy of retention (failing 2 or more content classes):
- Google form was created and differentiated based on student needs and subject area
- Teachers were tasked with entering student data into the Google form
- The Google form included strategies that work from content specialists so teachers could select what strategy they would use going forward with individual students
- Meetings held with teachers by grade level:
- Asked teachers what strategies they had previously used that were not successful or did not work previously using Jamboard
- Shared data with teachers and explained how the parent grade level meeting would run
- Provided counselors with template to code student information to make it confidential for parent meeting
- Set up meetings via Zoom and created registration and polling
- Counselors invited parents to the meeting and sent Zoom registration link:
- Counselors worked with grade level administrators so the special educator could meet with the grade level educators
- Parents were told they needed their group number, word or name identifier given to them by the school counselor
- Emailed counselors and grade level administrators information on parents who confirmed registration
- Held Parent SIT meeting: Collaboratively ran meetings with counselors and individual content teachers where data is presented on students in jeopardy of retention. Translate materials ahead of time. The agenda included:
- Greetings and Introductions
- Purpose of our meeting: Identify teacher, parent and student interventions to support “advancing students” with: learning challenges, attendance concerns, assignment completion in reaching their academic goal of successful completion of the 2020 – 2021 school year with success
- Barriers to success according to teachers and parents
- Strategies used by teachers
- Advancing student performance
- Interventions for advancing students
- Counselor took information from presentation and inputted the information into the SIT paperwork
- Data will continue to be collected on students receiving SDI and any changes
Implications for Practice/Conditions for Success
- Work collaboratively with educators
- Knowledge of Zoom platform
- Work with grade level counselors
- Translate registration questions into Spanish for non English speakers
- Flexibility to accommodate mutually agreed upon times with parents and guardians
- Commitment from teachers to give students extra credit for parent attendance
- Have students invite parents to get updated parent contact information via the zoom registration