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D Action Plan

Mt. Olive Middle School: D Action Plan
2010-2011

Welcome to what promises to be an exciting year at Mt. Olive Middle School. By this time, I'm sure that everyone is aware of the change that occurred in the District's grading policy. What you may not know, however, is the plan that we have developed to help ensure that students who previously earned the now-eliminated grade of D are able to meet our higher academic standards.

The middle school's action plan is designed to address the three primary factors that are associated with underperformance: ability, attitude and attendance. Once the causal factors are identified for each student, a system of supports and structures will be put in place to address the obstacles that inhibit student achievement. The plan includes both uniform, school-wide practices and individualized interventions that are tailored to each child's needs. By implementing a plan that simultaneously approaches the problem from a macro/systemic level and a micro/individual level, we will reduce the number of failing grades while raising standards and increasing levels of student performance. A brief overview of the actions we will take to address the factors that contribute to low grades follows.

Ability

Some students fail because they lack the knowledge and skills necessary to meet grade level standards. For these students, we will provide the instruction, remediation and support required for improved academic achievement.

Study Island, an on-line resource that provides practice and remediation of skills in mathematics and language arts, will be used in classes, during 3Rs, after school and at home to supplement instruction. A total of 1200 site licenses were purchased and will allow teachers to create assignments that are tailored to the needs and abilities of the students in general education and special education classes. A system of incentives will be created to encourage students to use Study Island. Blue Ribbon Races will be used to motivate and acknowledge student participation. A parent workshop will be provided to demonstrate the value, content, format and use of this instructional resource.

We are currently working to increase after-school support classes from two to five days a week. After-school support will include team-based homework clubs as well as open assistance in the media center. We are also planning to introduce daily before-school support sessions. Participation will be optional for some students and required for others.

Each team will identify and track the performance of students who earn mid-marking period and end-of-marking period grades below 70%. Guidance counselors will meet with teams to monitor performance and develop interventions as necessary. Parent conferences will ensure that supports are being provided at home as well as at school.

Students who are struggling may be removed from a cycle class and placed in a support class for one marking period or until they have earned grades that place them in good academic standing.

Our tutoring program will be enhanced to provide more permanent pairings (1-1 assignments) of students. Tutors will include students in the National Junior Honor Society, students who are recommended by teachers for high academic achievement, and Future Educators of America (high school students who are interested in pursuing a career in education).

Powergrade will be updated on a weekly basis so that parents and school personnel can frequently monitor student progress and performance. Information on how to access Powergrade was sent home in a recent mailing. Students will be provided Powergrade access information shortly.

After each reporting period (mid-marking period and end-of-marking period), the principal and guidance counselors will identify students who would benefit from a Contract for Success. The counselor, principal, parent and student will meet to create an individualized Contract for Success that details specific responsibilities for teachers, the parent and the student. The contract will be reviewed at the end of each reporting period to determine if it needs to be continued, revised or discontinued.

Students who earn a grade lower than a 70% will have the opportunity to re-do, retake or remake the assignment or assessment. Parents of students who score below 70% will receive a phone call or email alert if they are signed up for a F alert. Students will have three days from the date of the posting to complete the same or a comparable assessment. If they neglect to avail themselves of this opportunity, their original grade will remain. If they retake the assessment, the highest grade the student can earn is a 70%. The re-do policy does not apply to homework that has not been turned in on time. Homework is expected to be completed on the day that it is due.

Attitude

Some students fail because they are unwilling to complete assignments and study for assessments. As a result, they get zeros and low grades which negatively impact their average. Students who lack internal motivation will benefit from a system of incentives and consequences to encourage them to work hard and succeed. A school-wide "status" system will be created to encourage, acknowledge and reward effort.

At the end of each reporting period (mid-marking period and end-of-marking period) we will review students' performance and assign them to one of two groups: Academic Privilege or Academic Support. Students have the opportunity to change their status every grading period.

Academic Privilege indicates that students are in good academic standing. These students will be eligible for privileges and incentives such as a homework pass, a snack coupon, opportunity to choose their 3R activity, opportunity to participate in after-school (nonacademic) clubs, and other incentives suggested by students.

Academic Support will include students who are failing due to missing assignments and noncompliance with opportunities for re-takes of assessments. These students will not be allowed to participate in recreational after-school activities and will be assigned to a 3R study hall and/or before or after-school tutoring where they can receive help and complete assignments. Students on Academic Support will meet with guidance counselors at least twice a month and/or during Advisory sessions.

Attendance

Students who are absent often or who frequently miss classes due to tardiness or early dismissals tend to perform poorly. For these students, we will enact measures that encourage them to come to school on a consistent basis.

Attendance will be monitored on a weekly basis. Parents will be contacted by school personnel after five absences or missed classes. A written parent alert will be sent after eight absences. A mandatory attendance conference will be held with the parent, student, guidance counselor and administrator after ten absences. During this meeting, an action plan will be created to address the issues that are interfering with attendance.

Study Island, peer tutoring and after-school support will be provided to address missed learning.

Guidance counselors will meet with students during 3Rs to encourage and acknowledge attendance, address issues that may be interfering with their ability to come to school, and review academic progress and performance. Students without legitimate, documented excuses will be placed on Academic Support and will not be permitted to participate in nonacademic after-school clubs and activities.

Through the implementation of this multi-faceted action plan, and with the assistance of parents, I am confident that we will see a significant reduction in the incidence of course failures and an increase in performance on standardized assessments, while maintaining rigorous academic standards. Let the learning begin!

Mount Olive Middle School
160 Wolfe Road Budd Lake, NJ 07828
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Phone: 973.691.4006 Fax: 973.691.4029

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