The Power of Perseverance, our Road Show theme for 2017-18, draws from the title of Angela Duckworth’s bestseller GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.
In order to predict success, Duckworth studied top cadets at West Point to uncover why some succeed and others don’t. She concluded perseverance and passion are predictors of long term success, not just IQ. This quality is what defines grit. Does LEUSD have grit? We think so!
If 2017-18 becomes the most transformative in LEUSD’s storied history, it is because of grit. The next four Road Shows will tell about moving the district forward in small steps and giant leaps. The heroes or our narrative are teachers, students, voters, our governing board, and staff—it is their perseverance and passion for long-term success that we celebrate!
Grit has kept the district on the right track. Road Show is dedicated to illustrating how perseverance is paying off. For example, LEUSD’s first year report on social emotional behavior support shows how a widespread need is being approached in a meaningful and caring manner.
Social Emotional Learning
One in seven American children struggle with behavioral, mental or developmental disorders. In a district of over 21,200 students, that struggle carries through every classroom.
Three years ago, LEUSD adopted the Multi-Tiered System of Student Supports (MTSS)—supporting the whole child, academically, emotionally and behaviorally—through a groundbreaking collaboration with teachers, the LETA and CTA teacher unions, California Department of Education, and our MTSS consultant, WestEd.
Feedback from the MTSS committee concluded a great need for increased behavioral intervention supports in elementary schools for Gen Ed children with behavioral-emotional needs.
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) support is a process to teach children necessary skills to manage emotions and self-control, and to show empathy and good decision making. It is equally important for adults, parents and teachers to learn and effectively apply SEL strategies, so their students can develop and maintain positive relationships, while acquiring skills for success in school and life.
One year has passed since a team of three SEL Support Providers (SELSP) plus one administrator was first assembled. The SELSP team currently supports 276 K-6 students, 193 K-6 teachers, 27 administrators, and 14 elementary schools. After one year of SEL, a survey of teachers and administrators was given. Survey findings reflect on the success of SEL Support Provider interventions, a teacher’s own self-reported use of SEL strategies, and how well responders feel supported by the SELSP team.
The role of SEL providers is to support Gen Ed teachers with students who display problem behaviors. Positive Behavior Intervention & Supports (PBIS) is the strategy used in classrooms and taught to teachers and staff by LEUSD’s SELSP team members.
The Boys Town model is the main framework of PBIS strategies successfully being used in LEUSD schools. Boys Town training is also made available to parents through a voluntary six week training. LEUSD teachers are continually being trained in the Boys Town PBIS model.
Of 130 elementary teachers surveyed, 85% said they felt supported by the SELSP intervention program. The success of SEL is to increase academic performance in struggling students, while decreasing emotional distress and conduct problems. A majority of teachers, 79%, reported the SELSP interventions are reducing problem behaviors, which is a strong indication of perseverance paying off!
Perseverance and access to the SEL tools are changing LEUSD classrooms by empowering the struggling student to cope, learn and thrive. Teachers also benefit from the PBIS skills and strategies being taught by our SEL Support Providers.
Next steps include strengthening LEUSD’s PBIS model district wide, to ensure social-emotional learning supports are consistently available and in use on all school campuses. As a result of our SEL success, the district has a data driven rationale for expanding SEL supports to middle schools next.
Local Control Accountability Plan
This next portion of Road Show delves into the successful approaches being taken to increase Student and Parent Engagement, or Goal 1 of our district LCAP plan. Local Control Accountability Plans are designed as three-year rolling goals, with annual reporting requirements to assess results and adjust goals going forward.
2017-18 marks the third year of our LCAP plan in action. Perseverance defines the overall effort of our LCAP committee, whose hard work to craft the annual LCAP plan culminates with each LEUSD site administrator, teacher, and staff working in concert to meet all eight state priority areas, including Student Outcomes.
Student Outcomes reflect our management of school attendance, chronic absenteeism, and suspensions and expulsions. Research shows that school attendance predicts school success. Reversing the fate of any student who falls out of a school’s orbit, becomes credit-deficient, or who drops out is the goal. Gains in student attendance and reducing chronic absenteeism are incremental, but steady over time.
Strategies to attract students with a school’s positive influence include strong athletics programs through incentivized coaching stipends, middle school intramural sports, and increasing our “university” awareness programs, from AVID at the elementary middle and high school levels, to No Excuses University (NEU) at the elementary level.
Parent and Family Engagement is another LCAP priority we will address by increasing parent volunteer opportunities, providing no cost background screening for volunteers, increasing parent survey participation, maintaining Spanish translation services, and offering new family activities and parent classes, such as Boys Town, throughout the school year.
In conclusion, 2017-18 will be a transformative year as continued perseverance, passion, and grit shown by teachers, administrators, and staff propel our LCAP forward.
Dr. Doug Kimberly