Don't Reinvent the Wheel: Transitioning THIS Year's Successes to NEXT Year

The Beginning of the New School Year Starts in April: Student, Staff, and School Transition Activities to Help Prepare for a Successful New School Year

Dear Colleagues,

While many schools across the country are currently finishing up their state's "high stakes" assessments to determine their students' academic proficiency--once that is over, it is important to remember that:

The New School Year (in August) begins this Month (in April).

The Need to Conduct End-of-Year Student, Staff, and School "Transition" Evaluations

That is, before the end of the current school year, schools need to look at their students, staff, and the school itself to identify (a) what has or has not worked effectively this year, and (b) what services, supports, or other resources are needed for success next year.

These evaluations are particularly important for schools that are in Improvement status, and/or that have large numbers of academically struggling or behaviorally challenging students. Indeed, we need to think about the "lessons" that we have learned about these students this year so that effective, successful instructional settings and intervention approaches are ready for them on the first day of the new school year.

In addition, as part of this process, you need to know the functional literacy, math, oral expression, and written expression capabilities of all students at the end of this school year so that you can strategically organize your classrooms in preparation for the coming year according to the existing skills and needs of your students.

At the elementary level, for example, this ensures that teachers have the right "mix" of students in each class (e.g., no fewer than three different functional skill groups) so that they can truly differentiate instruction.

At the secondary level, for example, this ensures that 10th grade science teachers know the incoming reading and math skills of their students on the first day of school so that they can modify lessons, materials, and activities to maximize their students' understanding of the science content-even when they have difficulty reading the textbook or understanding needed mathematical calculations.

Free Resources to Help You Conduct End-of-Year Evaluations

To help you to successfully complete these transition processes, we would like to provide you with a FREE national webinar, and a FREE Technical Assistance Paper on how to evaluate the current (and past) academic and behavioral status of your students.

The webinar (see below) is entitled,

The New School Year Starts in April - Systematically Transferring Academic and Behavioral Response-to-Instruction Success

The New School Year Starts In April

The Technical Assistance Paper is entitled,

Conducting Quarterly Student Achievement Review (Q-STAR) Meetings to Evaluate All Students' Academic and Behavioral Progress

We hope that these two resources are useful to you as you prepare for the end of your school year- while you, simultaneously, prepare for the successful beginning of your next school year.

For schools that are in (Priority or Focus) school improvement status, or that have large numbers of students receiving Tier II or Tier III services, we hope that these strategies will help turn-around your student instruction and achievement processes.

As always, if you need more in-depth attention to these (and other school improvement, student discipline, RtI/multi-tiered service) issues, we are always available to provide a lending ear and a helping hand- just give us a call or drop us an e-mail so that we can help you plan now for your next great school year.

Meanwhile, I hope that your state assessments have gone well, that (if relevant) you had a great Spring break, and that you and your colleagues are geared up to finish the last 30 to 40 school days of the current school year proactively, productively, and successfully.