Why do the majority of school’s SMART Goals fail to improve math scores?
Schools frequently turn to third parties for “reactive” support, rather than arming teachers with the tools and strategies for proactive student assistance. Many consultants and PD training focus more on time-filling activities than on imparting the practical “HOW”. Why? Either because they’ve lost touch with the classroom setting or they don’t know how.
“A Multi-tiered System of Support (MTSS) is a comprehensive , systematic framework predicted on a culture of collaboration and high-quality first instruction. MTSS incorporates data-based decision making, evidence-based interventions, and assessment and accountability practices that are applied across all levels of the system to align resources and equitable support necessary for each student’s individual academic, behavioral, and social-emotional success.” –quoted from district Board Meeting.
The Multi-Tiered Safe Pouch system, with its tiered approach to behavioral and academic interventions, aligns well with the LCAP goals set by your district. Here’s a detailed and persuasive explanation of how the system supports these objectives:
LCAP Goal 1: Promote Academic Growth for Every Student:
- Distraction-Free Learning: One of the most significant obstacles to academic growth in the modern classroom is distractions, particularly from smartphones. By employing a systematic approach to keep phones locked up and out of reach during instructional time, students are more present, engaged, and receptive to learning. This direct attention to instruction can boost comprehension, participation, and overall academic achievement.
- Consistent Learning Environment: With all students adhering to the same rules and expectations, classrooms become more predictable and conducive to learning. The reduced disruptions mean that teachers can effectively deliver lessons without constantly managing off-task behaviors related to phone usage.
LCAP Goal 2:Establish College and Career Readiness for Every Student:
- Developing Discipline and Time Management: By minimizing smartphone distractions, students cultivate habits of focus and discipline—skills crucial for success in both college and the workforce. Learning to prioritize tasks over instant gratification prepares students for the demands of higher education and future careers.
- Soft Skills and Interpersonal Growth: With phones safely tucked away, students are more inclined to communicate face-to-face, fostering critical interpersonal skills. Group discussions, collaborations, and debates—all essential for college and career—become more genuine and productive.
LCAP Goal 3: Ensure Equitable Opportunities for Every Student:
- Level Playing Field: The Multi-Tiered Safe Pouch ensures that all students, irrespective of their socioeconomic status or background, have the same access to a distraction-free learning environment. This equitable approach ensures that no student is at a disadvantage due to the allure of smartphones or the potential peer pressure related to phone-based activities.
- Tailored Interventions: The tiered system allows schools to address behavioral issues in a graduated manner. While some students might just need a gentle nudge (Tier 1) to adhere to classroom norms, others with more chronic issues can be provided with the support and structure they need (Tiers 2 and 3). This ensures that each student is given an intervention suited to their unique challenges, promoting inclusivity and equity.
- Support Beyond Punishment: Especially in higher tiers, the system goes beyond mere punitive measures. With counseling, reflection periods, and reintegration strategies, it works to address the root causes of behavioral challenges. This holistic approach ensures that all students, even those with behavioral issues, are given the support they need to succeed academically.
In conclusion, the Multi-Tiered Safe Pouch system is not just a tool for classroom management; it’s an instrument for change, growth, and equity. By aligning with LCAP goals, it provides a structured yet flexible framework that empowers every student to reach their full academic and personal potential.
Tier 1 For All Students
- Equitable and Phone-FREE Learning Environment:
- Blue Safe Pouch (Tier 1): At the beginning of each class or school day, students would place their phones into the blue pouch. These pouches would be locked and only be unlocked at the end of the class or school day. This ensures that all students, regardless of their background or phone model, have an equal opportunity to engage in learning without the distraction of their phones.
- Benefit: Equitable access to education without the unequal distraction phones might bring. Some students might have more notifications or tempting apps than others, so this level playing field is crucial.
- Pouch Points Reward System Foster Positivity and Accountability:
- Students can earn points for consistently placing their phones in the pouches, adhering to rules, or demonstrating positive behavior in class. Over time, these points can be redeemed for rewards or privileges. This not only encourages compliance with the phone-free policy but also promotes a positive classroom environment.
- Benefit: Positive reinforcement can lead to better student behavior and a more engaged learning experience.
- Equitable Support for Students in Danger of Failing:
- Students who might be struggling academically can benefit from the phone-free environment by having fewer distractions. Moreover, teachers can provide additional support or resources to these students during the time they would’ve otherwise been distracted by their phones.
- Benefit: Ensures that every student has an equal chance to succeed and benefit from the learning environment.
- Positive Consequences for Tardiness & Unexcused Absences:
- Instead of punitive measures for tardiness or unexcused absences, students could face “phone-free days” where their phones are placed in the safe pouches for longer durations or additional periods. Alternatively, consistently punctual and present students could earn “phone breaks” or additional pouch points.
- Benefit: Encourages attendance and punctuality in a positive way, while still adhering to the phone-free environment.
- Reduce Restroom Abuse by Students:
- Often, students might use restroom breaks as an excuse to use their phones. With the phones locked away, there’s less incentive for students to request unnecessary restroom breaks. Teachers can also implement a system where students who wish to use the restroom have to hand in a token or card, ensuring that only one student is out at a time.
- Benefit: Reduces the number of students wandering the halls or using the restroom as an excuse to be out of class.
Note on the Orange Safe Pouch: This could be a Tier 2 system for students who have repeatedly violated the phone-free policy or other classroom rules. Their phones could be locked up for longer durations, serving as a more significant consequence while still focusing on the overall objective of creating a focused learning environment.
In essence, the Multi-tiered Safe Pouch system is a comprehensive approach to ensure an equitable, focused, and positive learning environment by managing one of the most common distractions in modern classrooms: the smartphone.
Tier 2 for Targeted Students
The introduction of a Tier 2 intervention, using the Orange Safe Pouch, serves as a stricter measure for students who exhibit repeated or more severe behavioral issues. Let’s delve into how this intervention supports positive student learning outcomes, especially when dealing with severe violations:
- Repeated Tardiness and Unexcused Absences:
- If students know that being tardy or absent without reason will lead to a more stringent phone-locking measure, they may be more motivated to attend class on time and avoid unexcused absences.
- The longer duration of the lock-up can serve as a reflection period for students to think about the consequences of their actions and the importance of punctuality and attendance.
- Phones are a common tool used for cheating. Having a strict phone-locking system can drastically reduce the ability to cheat using mobile devices.
- The strict consequence of the Orange Safe Pouch may deter students from even attempting to cheat, knowing that they could lose their phone privileges for an extended time.
- Phones are frequently used for cyberbullying or sharing derogatory messages and photos. By locking up the phones of those who engage in bullying, you’re removing a significant tool used in these acts.
- The act of having to retrieve their phone from the main office can be a humbling experience, forcing the student to confront their actions more directly.
- Watching School Fights:
- Fights in schools often draw crowds, and many students film these incidents on their phones. This not only escalates the situation but also perpetuates a negative school culture.
- Knowing that being caught filming or watching fights can lead to their phone being locked up may deter students from participating in or encouraging such behaviors.
- Tier 2 as a Learning Opportunity:
- The process of being moved to a Tier 2 intervention should be accompanied by counseling or a conversation about the reasons behind the student’s behavior. This provides an opportunity for reflection and understanding.
- Schools can implement a restorative justice approach, where students discuss the impact of their actions and understand the reasons for the consequences they face. This can be a more effective way of promoting behavioral change than simply punitive measures.
- Parental Involvement:
- The Orange Safe Pouch system can also be an avenue for schools to involve parents. When a student’s phone is locked up due to severe violations, the school can communicate this to the parents, ensuring they’re aware of their child’s behavior. This collaboration between school and home can further encourage positive behavioral changes.
By employing the Orange Safe Pouch as a Tier 2 intervention, schools send a clear message that severe violations won’t be tolerated. More importantly, it provides an opportunity for students to reflect on their actions and understand the importance of positive behavior for their academic and personal growth. However, it’s crucial to ensure that this system is applied consistently and fairly and is combined with supportive measures that address the root causes of misbehavior.
Tier 3: Support High-Risk Students
Tier 3 interventions are typically reserved for the most severe and chronic behavioral issues. Instituting a system where phones are locked up for multiple days, combined with suspension, is a significant step. Such strong punitive measures, when applied judiciously and in conjunction with rehabilitative strategies, can bring about changes in student behavior. Here’s how this could potentially improve student behaviors and learning outcomes:
- Deterring Chronic Offenders:
- The prospect of losing phone privileges for multiple days and facing suspension can serve as a strong deterrent for students. This significant consequence could make them think twice before engaging in severe violations.
- Time for Reflection:
- Suspension, when used constructively, can provide students with time to reflect on their actions. Without the distractions of school and their phone, they might be more inclined to understand the gravity of their actions and the reason for their consequences.
- Parental Engagement:
- Multiple-day phone lock-ups and suspension will undoubtedly draw parents’ attention. This can open lines of communication between the school and parents, allowing for collaborative efforts to address the root causes of the student’s behavior.
- Opportunity for Counseling and Rehabilitation:
- Tier 3 interventions should be accompanied by counseling sessions where students can discuss their behaviors, motivations, and feelings with a professional. These sessions can offer insight into the deeper issues at play and guide students towards better decision-making in the future.
- Restorative Justice:
- This approach emphasizes understanding the harm caused by one’s actions and making amends. In the context of severe behavioral issues, after serving their suspension and phone lock-up, students could participate in restorative circles or meetings, fostering empathy and a sense of responsibility.
- Personalized Interventions:
- Given the severe nature of Tier 3 violations, it might be beneficial for the school to design personalized intervention plans for affected students. These plans could focus on the unique challenges and needs of each student, offering a tailored path to improvement.
- After serving their suspension, a structured reintegration process can help students transition back into the school environment. This can involve check-ins with school counselors, setting up mentorship programs with peers, or even academic tutoring to catch up on missed work.
While Tier 3 measures might seem harsh, it’s crucial to remember that the ultimate goal is to foster positive behavior and promote learning outcomes. Relying solely on punitive measures can sometimes backfire, leading to resentment, further alienation, or worsening behavior. As such, it’s vital to balance these strict consequences with supportive interventions that address the root causes of misbehavior and guide students towards more positive paths.