LYS Coaches Lesa Cain and Barbara Fine share the following: The first round of TAKS (for Elementary and Middle School) is in the books. Some of you improved and some didn’t, but it is time to focus on what really counts for your accountability – the 2nd round. Those of you that we had the opportunity to visit with about your plans for the 2nd round are really in good shape. I wanted to take some time and give you the most critical list of what to do to attack the 2nd round so that the scores show off how hard you guys have been working. So – here goes… 1. Regroup failures according to number of questions missed. For example – all students who missed passing by 5 or fewer questions should be grouped together, then students who missed passing anywhere from 9-6 questions together and students who missed by 10 or more questions together. All the students must have support, but how you do it will vary. 2. Ensure that the students who missed passing by 5 or fewer questions work with your best teacher. Regroup and reschedule if necessary – the best teacher will get these kids for sure! If he or she can work with the next group that would be great too – if not, then you have to choose another staff member to work with them. 3. Pour over your data to determine which objectives the students had the most trouble correctly answering. Focus the instruction on those objectives. You do not have time to teach everything, so use the data you have to focus the areas of support. It is smart to begin with the areas that are the least missed and work to those that are the most missed. For example if the students on average only miss passing objective 1 by 2-3 questions start with that before you go to objective 4 in reading or 6 in math. You have to teach students in a manner that boosts the “easier” questions, so that they have some padding for the harder ones – (like summarization in reading and process questions in math.) That way you get the most bang for the buck. 4. When talking to the students about what they have to do to pass – build on the success. Use the fact that they missed it by 1, or 2, etc. to demonstrate that they can be successful, that they were very close and that you believe in them. 5. The teachers who work with the students who did not pass must be Polly Positives! Whatever stress they feel must never go to the kids. The practice that they do and the conversations they have with the kids must be positive at all times and a focus on effort everyday is the key. Honest, positive work on the right kinds of questions will get all of us over the hump. 6. Your students also need social support. As the building Principal, it is your job to pump up the teachers and the kids. Call the parents of the kids who failed and let them know what you are doing to provide support for the next 2 weeks – you will build community and trust and it is a time for you to remind them of the importance of a great night’s sleep and positive talk to their child. The night before the re-test, make a point of calling EVERY student who is taking the test again to compliment them on the hard work they are doing, and to let them know you believe in them. It is a great time to remind them to stick with it and never give up – that effort is key to success. 7. Realize that you and/or your AP may also need to take a group. The best support for the students that didn’t pass is in a small group. If you have too many kids together, you will not be able to get to all of them, so be the best model you can be and take a group each day. If you can work with them even for 30 minutes, it will make a difference. 8. No matter how you feel today – the students and staff should witness a calm, focused, positive leader – remember you set the tone by your words, and actions. So, make your plan, stick with your plan, and be confident in your plan. 9. The greatest gift of all? This is just the first leg of the race! We get another shot and that’s the one that counts!! You have to remember that – (yes, we all want everyone to pass on the first administration), but we can take full advantage of the time we’ve been given to get the kids where we know they need to be. 10. Whether you take a group or not, you must monitor these small groups EVERYDAY. You have to make sure that what needs to be done is what is being done and you will demonstrate support for the teacher and the students. If you do not monitor this intervention time, you have just put the success of your campus in the hands of hope – that is not a good strategy. So, no matter what the day holds, put it on your posted schedule for all to see that you will visit the small groups of 5th graders as they prepare for the re-test. Please let us know if you have questions or if we can be of any help. Think. Work. Achieve.Your turn…Follow Sean Cain at your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction” www.TheFundamentalFive.comDon’t miss the LYS presentations at TASSP, TASB, and TEPSA in June.