Sharing Data to Create Stronger Parent Partnerships (Transcript)
Maureen: You hear about data-driven schools all the time, but we are truly data-driven. Sharing the data the way we do at our school, I think it's super important.
Because once you have everybody working together, you have the teachers, you have the interventionists, you have the aides and now you've got the parents on board, you can't have anything but success. In the last five years, we started really sending home data with explanations. When I send the data home then parents will start calling. I leave my first half hour of the day free so that if I have phone calls or if they are dropping their kids off and have a question, they can come down here. They know I'm open. We have a parent data night at the beginning of every school year. We try to have it after work hours and I get up on the overhead and I explain what the data is, what it looks like, what we do, what we're looking for and what they can do at home to help. I make a folder on every single student that I see. It shows every single test that we did, every single indicator that we did and where they fell in each individual test. It also gives them a cheat sheet on the acronyms, because teachers have a tendency to talk in acronyms and talk in teacher-ese. So if it says "oral reading fluency," I give them a cheat sheet that says, that is how many words you read a minute. They do get a standard report card too, but sometimes it's like, "I got a B in reading. What does that mean? My kid can read."
Maureen: So when Tony came in August, this is an average C student in the green. This is a below average student in the yellow. And this is well below average in the red. If he follows this path, which is what we're expecting him to do, then he will be an average student in second grade by May. The first test that we gave him is the nonsense words fluency correct letter sounds. These are your nonsense words. Now they look kind of odd for adults, but if you think of them as like syllables, like "re" is a nonsense word, "peat" is a nonsense word, but together they're a word, repeat. So at the beginning of the year when we tested him, he read thirty-one sounds. But now that we've been working with him for six weeks, he's up to seventy sounds.
Maureen: I know. And if you're going to work with him at home, really encourage him to read them as whole words.
Nine out of ten parents say, "What can I do to help?" And if you just say, "Read with them," well, read what? Getting down to specific skill gives the parents some empowerment to do something about getting that grade better.
Felicia: I think definitely it's made me more engaged. I know what to work on with Brayden, so I pay attention more. We've practiced a lot with reading.
Brayden: She helps me read a lot, helps me get the harder books and harder chapters.
Maureen: Everyone wants their kids to do well, so they want to know exactly where they are and how we're going to get better.
Carla: Jose was way behind. It started in kindergarten all the way through second grade, he was below grade level, and he started at Humboldt his third grade year.
Maureen: He was well, well below average. He had no confidence and he said, "I can't read" and "I don't read." His parents were kind of defeated because he'd been getting bad grades where he was, and mom got a data report.
Carla: She handed me the folder and I opened it up and I was just in awe and shock and tears, because I could see right away the growth on the chart where he was way down, and he was way high now.
Maureen: And he ended up staying in Title I because he had a tendency to go up and down, up and down. But to see that he was making progress, it motivated him, it motivated her.
Jose: She pressed her left hand to her cheek and smiled.
Carla: I could see the progress and I could see his achievements and I felt like what I was doing at home was helping with what they were doing at school.
Jose: I read a lot. I read about bats. I read about animals. I learn lots of things and my grades go higher and higher and higher.
Carla: He went from not wanting to read to, "Look Mom, I got a chapter book, and this book's about the-- can I read this to you?" And I'm like, "Of course." I believe if you have communication between teachers, parents, staff, that parents feel comfortable, kids feel comfortable and I think it's valuable that they communicate with you because then you know where your child's at.
Maureen: The fact that we all work together as one big group, I think a lot of our success is part of that, and the success that we've had as a school tells us that we're doing the right thing.