I’ve had some great conversations this week with parents about our weekly Student Progress Analysis (SPA) meetings, and I thought it might be worthwhile to share with all of you what happens in those meetings and why we decided to carve out time for their existence.
Every day at Pilot, interdisciplinary teams (teachers, therapists, and administrators) meet in Lower, Middle, and Upper Divisions. This time is specifically carved out of teachers’ schedules so as not to impede prep or instructional times and to ensure everyone is available for discussion. A different roster of students is on the schedule each day in such a way that all students at Pilot are talked about once per week.
During the meeting, a student’s aimsweb data is projected for the team to analyze. Right now, that includes their Fall benchmark scores. As we move into the school year, that data will also include their progress monitoring scores and later benchmark assessments. Additionally, teachers bring work samples from their classes and discuss observations of work habits, social emotional development, and general strategies that are working. In this way, the successes experienced in one discipline can be shared with another and, whenever possible, we can leverage positive experiences to support students in classes where they struggle.
The research on progress monitoring is crystal clear–it has positive outcomes for identifying students who would benefit from greater intervention, for adjusting programming appropriately in response to need, and for ultimately reaching instructional goals. Educational team members who progress monitor using Curriculum-Based Measures (see last week’s Pilot Post for more on CBM) are far more likely to describe aspects of student performance in their concerns and less likely to describe characteristics outside their control (like learning diagnoses or attention problems).
Most importantly, the timing and routine of the SPA meetings at Pilot are structured in a way to maintain maximum responsiveness. Rather than wait for marking periods to go by, progress monitoring (of both hard data and qualitative observations) on a weekly basis allows us to make grouping or level adjustments quickly, create short-term action steps, and effectively communicate home about patterns we are seeing in school. Our SPA meetings are a direct reflection of our sense of urgency around supporting our students’ growth and development.
This was our fourth week of SPA meetings, so I hope it is heartening to think about how many times your child’s teaching team has already met to discuss your child’s experiences at Pilot!
Wishing you all a restful weekend. As a reminder, we are closed next Wednesday, October 5th, for Yom Kippur.