MTSS AND EWS MOVING FROM REACTION TO PREVENTION: EARLY INTERVENTION FOR DISENGAGED STUDENTS Melissa Long Janet Stephenson Based on the work of Dr. Rebecca Sarlo - USF Today’s Objectives • Discuss the compelling why of Early Warning Systems • Identify early indicators of dropouts • Describe the development and utility of Early Warning Systems • Explore the multi-faceted nature of engagement • Discuss data collection methods appropriate for identifying students who are disengaged academically, behaviorally, socially, or psychologically • Discuss effective dropout prevention strategies for each type of disengagement (MTSS) • Discuss progress monitoring of students at-risk for dropout …and more • What will it take to implement effective Early Warning Systems in Brevard that impact student achievement? • What are our major barriers and how will we overcome them? …and lets SIMPLIFY it even more! 1. Find ‘em! What is the problem? EWS – Who? How BIG? 2. Figure out WHY it is occurring Patterns, variables, what can we control? 3. Do something with them - MTSS Get students more engaged Proactive, preventative 4. Progress Monitor to see if it worked The Goal of Having a Multi-Tiered System of Support in Middle and High Schools is to… A. Identify kids who are at risk. B. Make sure students are on track for graduation – college and career ready. C. Use data to find out our school’s weaknesses and how to best use resources. D. Help students who struggle in math and reading. E. Drop out prevention F. All of the above Stop and Jot • What are indicators we know of potential drop outs? • How do drop outs affect society? The WHY of our Work: A National Crisis • Nearly 30% of all high school students leave high school before graduating • Approximately 50% of African American and Latino American Students do not graduate • High School Dropouts – Have shorter life spans – Are more likely to be convicted of a crime – Cannot access 90% of the current fastest growing career fields – Cost the nation more than $325 billion in lost wages, taxes, and productivity High School Dilemma • Deadly combination – Poor Skill Development – Limited or No Productivity (work completed, practice) • How do you remediate gaps AND provide students with access to content simultaneously? • How do you sustain student engagement when skill gaps are significant? What We Know • Middle- and High-School teams “inherit” the strengths and weaknesses (and Gaps) students bring to the level • 64% of students repeating a grade in elementary school eventually drop out • 63% of students held back in middle school eventually drop out • Successful high school completion begins in kindergarten • Most successful high school “intervention” is to ensure that students enter with as much strength as possible What We Know • Vertical Programming—articulation K-12- is the most effective way of ensuring that students are prepared for high school • Middle- and High-School staff should know student needs at least 12-16 month ahead of time. • The best high-school “screening” tool is the compilation of data in K-8 • An agreed upon “method” of vertical communication of student data/needs—that leads to vertical programming– is critical What We Know We know DROPPING OUT is a process, not an event. Dropout Prevention cannot be Sole Responsibility of High Schools The Forgotten Middle • “Making sure that all eighth-grade students have attained the knowledge and skills that put them on target to becoming ready for college and career is the single most important step that can be taken to improve their college and career readiness.” • The Forgotten Middle: Ensuring that All Students are on Target for College and Career Readiness before High School (ACT, 2008) High School Transition • 9th grade is a “make or break” year • More students fail 9th grade than any other grade level • A disproportionate number of held-back 9th graders subsequently drop out of school • Powerful early signs of dropout are evident during the first semester and year of high school • Early intervention has proven effective for maintaining students in school Table Talk • How does our district currently approach dropout prevention? • When are dropout prevention services initiated? For Whom? • How effective are the dropout prevention services? • What could be done to improve their effectiveness? 1. FINDING THEM How BIG is our problem? Who? …and later…any patterns? What are Early Warning Systems? Systems which: • Utilize routinely available data housed at the school • Help identify students at-risk for dropping out utilizing highly predictive data • Allow districts and schools to target interventions that support off-track or at-risk students while they are still in school • Allow districts and schools to uncover patterns and root causes that contribute to disproportionate drop-out rates at a particular school or within a particular group of students Developing a District-Wide Early Warning System – Why? • The best predictor of future failure is current failure and disengagement • Assessing risk across multiple variables allows teams to provide early intervention and prevent disengagement from school and course failures – At-risk and off-track students are identified through analyzing a combination of engagement and academic data. • Many students experience course failures as a result of disengagement (e.g., excessive absenteeism, lack of productivity, inattention) • Systematically assessing student engagement allows schools to identify students in need of support before they have failed courses or acquired skill deficits related to missed instruction EWS – 2 Key Questions 1. What are our problems? (How many students off track? Who?) 2. Why are they occurring? EWS Indicators • Academic – – – – – Course Grades GPA Credits Earned Retention Good Cause Exempt. • Engagement – – – – Attendance Suspension Tardies Referral Early Warning Systems • Identify all students who miss more than 20% of the available instructional time and/or • Identify students through engagement scales or behavior indicators • Identify all students who fail their math course • Identify all students who fail their English course • Flag students who display both engagement and academic failure as high risk Building Your Early Warning System • The best predictor of future failure is current failure and disengagement. • By the time students enter secondary schools they typically have years of data which indicates whether or not the student is at-risk for school failure and high school dropout. • Assessing risk across multiple variables allows teams to provide early intervention and prevent disengagement from school and course failures. Extreme Off Track 2-3 Years Behind No chance for graduation in a traditional school setting Disengagement Risk Factors: 1. Disengagement •20% absenteeism 2. Behind in Credits •Particularly Core Course Failures 3. GPA less than 2.0 4. Failed FCAT High Off Track 3 or more risk factors Off Track 2 of 4 risk factors indicated Students entering with 20% absenteeism and/or 2 or more F’s in 8th Grade At Risk for Off Track 1 of 4 risk factors indicated On Track No risk factors indicated Hendry County Schools At-Risk Eighth Graders • Those who attend school less than 80% of the time (78% became drop outs) • Those who receive a failing grade in math and/or English (77% became drop outs) • Did not have strong predictive power: – Gender, race, age, test scores Attendance: The Canary in the Coal Mine School More than 9 Absences – students not in school 80% of the time Central 9 Clearlake 4 Cocoa Beach Jr/Sr 2 DeLaura 2 Edgewood 2 Hoover 7 Jackson 7 Jefferson 4 Johnson 12 Kennedy 5 Madison 9 McNair 3 Southwest 5 Spacecoast 1 Stone 7 Westshore 0 Total 79 Of these 79 students 78 % could potentially become high school drop outs. 61 drop outs. Stop and Jot • Make a list of indicators you will want in an Early Warning System. • Next to each item, record what data source Brevard currently has for retrieving that data. 2. FIGURE OUT WHY IT IS OCCURRING Patterns and root causes What can we control? Dropout Early Warning Signs Disengagement • Most students dropout mentally before ever physically leaving the school • A lack of engagement with school is a precursor to dropping out • Indicators of disengagement: – Attendance problems – Classroom/School engagement scales – Behavior marks • Students most often cite school-related reasons for dropping out Student engagement has emerged as the cornerstone of high school reform initiatives. • National Research Council publication, “Engaging schools: Fostering high school students’ motivation to learn” – I can, I want to, I belong – Competence, Autonomy, Belonging • The other “ABCs” • URL: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10421.html Baumeister & Leary, 1995; Connell & Wellborn, 1990; NRC, 2004; Ryan & Deci, 2000 Student Engagement • Engagement is the primary theoretical model for understanding dropout and is, quite frankly, the bottom line in interventions to promote school completion. • Student engagement has emerged as the cornerstone of high school reform initiatives. • Both academic and social aspects of school life are integral for student success; engagement at school and with learning are essential intervention considerations. Christenson et al., 2008 31 Both academic and social aspects of school life are integral for student success; engagement at school and with learning are essential intervention considerations. • School completion is dependent on more than just academic performance and an absence of inappropriate behavior • Yet… academic performance and behavior problems typically represent the totality of what schools monitor • A complete early warning system will include identification of students who are socially and psychologically disengaged in addition to academic and behavioral disengagement and provide interventions specific to students’ needs McPartland (1994); Dynarski & Gleason (2002) Engagement is the primary theoretical model for understanding dropout and is, quite frankly, the bottom line in interventions to promote school completion. Finn (1989 & 1993) • Participation-Identification Model – Indicators of withdrawal and engagement over several years – Belonging, Identification, Relationships – Engagement has an exponential effect on achievement and overall school success “The Rich Get Richer” Time Spent Academically Engaged Feelings of Connection and Identification w/ School Successful Performance Participation in School Activities Perceive more teacher and peer support Feelings of competence and control Engagement Theory • 4 subtypes Antidote to: students characterized as bored, Academic unmotivated, and uninvolved Academic – being a good learner; getting good grades Behavioral-good citizen; participant; attending Social Behavioral Psychological – believing school matters Social – having a feeling of belonging in school Adapted from Christenson & Anderson, 2002; Newmann, 1992; Russell et al., 2005 Psychological Dropping out is the most extreme form of disengagement Contextual Variable which Impact Student Engagement • Family – – – – • Peers – – – – – • Academic and motivational support for learning Goals and expectations of successful school performance Monitoring/supervision Learning resources in the home Educational expectations Shared common school value High attendance rates Academic beliefs and efforts Peers’ aspiration for learning School – – – – – – School climate Instructional programming and learning activities Mental health support Clear and appropriate teacher expectations Goal structure (task vs. ability) Teacher-student relationships Academic Engagement • Indicators – Course Failures • Particularly Math and English in Middle School – Credits earned – GPA – Homework completion – Time on task • Academic engagement variables have a moderate to large effect on achievement • Most visible form of engagement and the most often tracked by school personnel Dropout Early Warning Signs Course Performance Indicators • Course grades and failure rates are highly predictive of which students will or will not graduate from high school. • Students who fail one or more courses in the fall semester of their first year of high school are significantly more likely to eventually drop out – 85% of students with 0 semester failures in their freshmen year graduated in 4 years – 70% of students with one semester F during 9th grade graduate in 4 years – Only 55% of students with two semester Fs in 9th grade graduated in 4 years – Students with 3 or more semester Fs are not likely to graduate from high school Calculating Risk with Course Performance Data • Freshman Course Failures, particularly in core academic courses – At the end of each marking period, identify the number of Fs earned by each student – Include both failures in any course and Fs earned in core academic courses • Freshman Grade Point Average (GPA) – At the end of each marking period and at the end of the cumulative year, identify students who earn a 2.0 or less • Credits earned in each term – Include the total number of credits accumulated per term for each student. – Identify students who fail to earn enough credits to be promoted to 10th grade (typically 5) – ¼ of the total number of credits required for graduation minus 1 Behavioral Engagement • Among the most common concerns expressed by educators and parents • Indicators – Attendance – Suspensions – Participation in classroom activities • Significantly related to academic achievement and school dropout Dropout Early Warning Indicators Attendance • Attendance during the first year of high school is directly related to high school completion • Even moderate absences (5-10 days) in the first semester of 9th grade are associated with eventual drop out • Attendance is the biggest risk factor for failing 9th grade • 9th grade failure is the biggest risk factor for high school drop out Dropout Early Warning Indicators Attendance • Missing more than 10% of instructional time is significant – Translates to roughly 10 days of school per semester in most high schools • Students who miss more than 10% of the first 20 days of school (2 days) are particularly at-risk for high school dropout • Any student missing more than 10% of instructional time (at 20 day mark or at each quarter) should be flagged for intervention Dropout Early Warning Indicators Behavioral Problems • Early violent behavior • Chronic misbehavior, especially if it results in suspension or expulsion • Criminal behavior in the community • Middle and High Schools should identify students who display chronic misbehavior or accrue 2 or more suspension incidences in a semester period Social Engagement • Indicators – Perception of support – Affiliation with school – Sense of belonging – Perception of the value of school and school related activities – Peer group . Identifying Socially Disengaged Students • List all students names at grade levels and have adults in school initial next to students with whom they have a personal relationship. – Students with no initials by their names may be socially disengaged • Utilize a survey to identify students who are bullied, alienated by peers, or who simply perceive that they have difficulty connecting with peers • Employ a systematic student-nomination process within which school personnel indicate the students whom they have concerns regarding peer and/or adult connections • Determine which students are not actively engaged in extracurricular activities through the review of club and sport rosters and attendance logs Stop and Jot • Make a list of indicators you will want to add to your Early Warning System to monitor students who are socially disengaged. • Where will we get this data? • Who could monitor? Psychological Engagement • Indicators – Sense of confidence and control – Use of learning and problem solving strategies – Investment in learning – Perceived relevance of school for future outcomes • Significantly related to academic achievement, school attendance, and high school graduation. Identifying Psychologically Disengaged Students • Utilize a survey to assess students’ sense of control, relevance of schoolwork, and future aspirations and goals • Employ a systematic student-nomination process within which school personnel indicate the students whom they are concerned regarding their interest in learning or lack post-secondary goals Putting it all together… Middle School Early Warning Systems School systems should focus on dropout prevention efforts in the beginning of the middle grades at the latest • Academic indicators – Fail either math or English • Engagement indicators – Attend school less than 80% of the time – Consistently miss instruction due to behavioral issues – Psychological or Social disengagement • Lack of peer group • Lack of involvement in school extracurricular activities • Low educational expectations • Retention – Retained 1 or more years • Mobility – Multiple schools during educational career Putting it all together… High School Early Warning Systems • Academic indicators – GPA less than 2.0 – Failed Courses – Behind in Credits • Engagement indicators – Attend school less than 80% of the time – Consistently miss instruction due to behavioral issues – Psychological or Social disengagement • • • • • Lack of peer group Lack of involvement in school extracurricular activities Low educational expectations Lack of personal relationship with adults at school Retention – Retained 1 or more years • Mobility – Multiple schools during educational career 2. DO SOMETHING WITH THEM Interventions, MTSS Designing Effective Prevention/Intervention Services • Identifying students at risk for dropping out is only the first step • Next step is to identify and provide effective and appropriate dropout prevention/intervention strategies • Intervention planning is informed by the scope of the identified problem (Tier 1, 2, 3) and the specific needs of the students Dropout Prevention Interventions • Dropout prevention programs that are disconnected from the core instructional program of a school are unlikely to be a good use of resources • Schools should develop a continuum of intervention supports which are readily accessible as soon as a student is indicated as at-risk or off-track Early Intervention is the Answer • Disengagement is a gradual process that includes impaired or reduced participation, less successful outcomes, and reduced identification and belonging • Identifying students at the first sign of withdrawal significantly improves the likelihood of re-engagement and successful school completion • Shift from a focus of preventing negative outcomes, such as dropout, to promoting student competence and support Extreme Off Track 2-3 Years Behind No chance for graduation in a traditional school setting Disengagement Risk Factors: 1. Disengagement •20% absenteeism 2. Behind in Credits •Particularly Core Course Failures 3. GPA less than 2.0 4. Failed FCAT High Off Track 3 or more risk factors Off Track 2 of 4 risk factors indicated Students entering with 20% absenteeism and/or 2 or more F’s in 8th Grade At Risk for Off Track 1 of 4 risk factors indicated On Track No risk factors indicated Hendry County Schools • Given the following… A common theme among effective practices is that they have a positive effect on the motivation of individual students because they address underlying psychological variables such as competence, control, beliefs about the value of education, and a sense of belonging. National Research Council, 2004, p. 212 Stop and Jot • What do schools already have in place? – Psychological – Social – Academic – Behavior • How else could we be proactive and preventative? Intervention Linked to Underlying Barrier Disengaged Learners • • • • • • • Mentoring programs Goal Setting & career planning support Frequent progress reports Targeted rewards Mandatory study hall Mandatory homework help Study skills classes CAUTION: Failed Learners often become disengaged over time and may require both categories of intervention support Failed Learners • Targeted, differentiated instruction • Additional instructional time • Pre-teach essential skills, content, and vocabulary • Review/Reteach prerequisite skills to address the learning gap • Prevention (requires vertical articulation with middle/elementary school and early identification of atrisk students) Effective Dropout Prevention Services Effective Schools and Teachers Promote: • Students’ understanding of what it takes to learn • Confidence in their capacity to succeed in school • A sense of belonging by personalizing instruction, showing an interest in students’ lives, and creating a supportive, caring social context. • High expectations for all students And, Provide: • • • • Challenging instruction Support for meeting high standards Opportunities for choice and control Curriculum and instruction that is relevant to adolescents’ experiences, cultures, and long-term goals National Research Council, 2004 First Steps • The most important first step in successfully implementing MTSS/RTI and increasing learning is ensuring the quality of full class instruction. • The least expensive way to increase learning at your school is to improve full class instruction. • The change that will affect the most number of students at your school is to improve full class instruction. Improving Tier 1 • Syllabus • Pre test – prerequisite assessment • Common Assessments – analyzing and using the data • Differentiation of content, process, product • Proactively seeking out data of incoming students • Vertical alignment between 6th & 7th grade • Vertical alignment between 8th & 9th grade Group Collaboration Intervention Jigsaw • Review assigned material • Discuss most important points • Prepare to share back with your jigsaw group You will be given 20 minutes to complete these tasks Group Collaboration • Return to your jigsaw group You will have 20 minutes to share information • Share any additional dropout prevention/intervention strategies that your schools have implemented with success. • Given the information shared, discuss potential next steps for your school sites. • How can you support this next step? You will have 10 minutes to discuss these points Helping Students who Are Off Track • Tier 2 - Academic – Credit Retrieval – Reading Intervention Class – Math Intervention Class – Learning strategies – AVID – Academic Tutoring – No Zero Zone • Tier 2 – Behavior – – – – – Mentor Programs Check In/Check out Goal Setting Behavior Contracts Attendance Contracts Support for FEW (Intensive, Individualized Instruction – Tier 3) Academics • More intense targeted skill interventions • Customized interventions • Frequent progress monitoring to guide intervention design Behavior • Student centered planning • Customized function based interventions • Frequent progress monitoring to guide intervention design Infrastructure of a Multi-Tiered System of Supports Think about…could we… • Direct a significant amount of resources to critical transition years (6th and 9th) to prevent academic and behavioral problems • Provide opportunities for mentoring, advisement, and academic support within the master schedule for all students • Include classes which provide instruction in organization, study skills, note-taking, problem solving, and communication in the school’s master schedule • Intensify instruction by providing additional time and personnel or smaller class sizes for classes which typically result in high rates of course failures Scheduling of Multi-Tiered Supports Suggestions – Are we already doing these? • Build time into the school’s master schedule to allow for weekly common planning/PLC time for content teams and for cross content teams at least monthly • Intervention teachers plan with core content teachers and align intervention strategies with core instruction • Develop school leadership team members who can monitor and participate in the work of all other school teams 4. PROGRESS MONITORING Is what we are doing working? Progress Monitoring the EWS • The indicators in the Early Warning System can continue to be used to monitor the progress of students participating in dropout prevention interventions • Interventions should be considered effective for students who move back on-track for graduation • Students who continue to be identified as offtrack for graduation may require more intense drop out prevention interventions. • When evaluating results, be sure to check for delayed outcomes associated with early interventions What Schools Do Matters! • Freshman with weak academics entering high school who reported having a positive 9th grade year were almost twice as likely to graduate from high school than students who entered with strong academics but reported a negative 9th grade academic experience • Dropout prevention strategies which focus on improving school climate, academic rigor, and student support and monitoring have been found to reduce dropout rates by as much as 50% Where are we? • What will it take to implement effective Early Warning Systems in Brevard that impact student achievement? • What are our major barriers and how will we overcome them? Take Away Message… Intervene early, persistently, and across the contexts of school peers, school adults, and the home and community to change student developmental trajectories. Christenson et al., 2008 T References & Resources • • • • • Anderson, A. R., Christenson, S. L., & Lehr, C. A. (2004). School completion and student engagement: Information and strategies for educators. In A. S. Canter, L. Z. Paige, M. D. Roth, I. Romero, & S. A. Carroll (Eds.), Helping children at home and at school II: Handouts for families and educators (pp. S2-65–S2-68). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists. Retrieved October 25, 2006 from http://www.naspcenter.org/principals/nasp_compleducators.pdf Appleton, J., Christenson, S.L., Kim, D., & Reschly, A. (2006). Measuring cognitive and psychological engagement: Validation of the Student Engagement Instrument. Journal of School Psychology, 44, 427-445. Christenson, S.L., & Anderson, A. R. (2002). Commentary: The centrality of the learning context for students’ academic enabler skills. School Psychology Review,31(3), 378-393 Christenson & Thurlow (2004). School dropouts: Prevention, considerations, interventions, and challenges. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 13(1), 3639. Christenson, S.L., Reschly, A.L., Appleton, J.J., Berman, S., Spanjers, D., & Varro, P. (2008). Best practices in fostering student engagement. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds). Best Practices in School Psychology (5th Ed). National Association of School Psychologists. References & Resources • • • • • • • Finn, J.D. (1989). Withdrawing from school. Review of Educational Research, 59, 117142. Fredericks, J.A., Blumenfeld, P.C., & Paris, A.H. (2004). School engagement: Potential of the concept, state of the evidence. Review of Educational Research, 74, 59-109. Lehr, Sinclair, & Christenson (2004). Addressing student engagement and truancy prevention during the elementary school years: A replication study of the Check & Connect model. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 9(3),279-301. National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine (2004). Engaging schools: Fostering high school students’ motivation to learn. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press Reschly, A. & Christenson, S.L. (2007). Reading and School Completion: Critical Linkages Among Reading Performance, Grade Retention, Special Education Placements and High School Dropout. Manuscript under review. Sinclair, Christenson, Evelo, & Hurley. (1998). Dropout prevention for high risk youth with disabilities: Efficacy of a sustained school engagement procedure. Exceptional Children, 65(1), 7-21. Sinclair, Christenson, & Thurlow (2005). Promoting School completion of urban secondary youth with emotional or behavioral disabilities. Exceptional Children, 71, 465-482.