THE ROLES OF SCHOOL/DISTRICT LEADERS AND TEAMS IN EWS 2.0
One of the strongest recommendations from PAS members who have substantial experience working with EWS at the school, district, and state levels is that to be effective, EWS needs both strong and supportive leadership from principals and districts to organize the adults in schools into effective EWS teams.
Thus, one of the key differences between EWS and other student support strategies is the essential role played by teams of adults working together to use predictive indicators, and then taking strategic actions to keep all students on track to high school graduation and postsecondary success.
This section provides guidance on organizing effective EWS teams, based on the insights of PAS workgroup members.
GUIDANCE FOR TEAMS
In schools, having standing team(s) of adults who meet regularly and frequently to review student data and indicators is a central part of EWS 2.0.
The team(s) should analyze the indicator data, determine which students to focus on and how, and then take action to set more youth on the path to postsecondary persistence.
Team(s) should also evaluate their actions over time so they can improve school practices and policies. Each team should bring together knowledge and experience from multiple sources to forge a collective response for individual students, groups of students, or the entire school.
Decisions should not depend on a single adult in a classroom or counseling suite. Instead, adults should collaborate to support each other as they address issues facing students.
An EWS 2.0 team can be an expansion or retooling of existing team(s) or entirely new, depending on the school and district.
An EWS 2.0 team should focus on the needs and possibilities for supporting students to graduate from high school and to persist and succeed in the first two years of postsecondary education (including college or career/technical training).
The team(s) should help the school review and streamline existing practices. The team(s) should be able to pursue solutions for students who are struggling, who need to elevate aspirations and effort, and/or who are high-achieving but could aim higher. Teams should include at least one key decision maker who can help put decisions into practice.
An EWS 2.0 team(s) should build on strengths and capacities in the school. A team may already exist that can take on EWS 2.0 — perhaps a new version of the current EWS team. A school may already have one or more teams in place, such as:
~ School leadership team
~ Existing EWS, dropout prevention, or graduation enhancement team
~ Response to Intervention (RTI) team, focused primarily on students with disabilities
~ Positive Behavior Intervention System (PBIS) team
~ Multi-Tiered Student Support team (MTSS)
~ Advanced Placement (AP) access team
Far fewer schools, however, have teams focusing on topics that impact students’ success after high school, such as college and career readiness, academic intensity, civic engagement, or health and well-being.
In designing and implementing EWS 2.0 student support team(s), a school should determine
Who should serve on the team?
Classic EWS teams focused primarily on ninth graders often include an administrator, a counselor, teachers of core subjects, and others who interact frequently with students.
However, data may show that 10th and 11th graders are floundering, that the entire school has a challenge with mathematics, or that college and career readiness is an issue.
The team should be composed of the adults with the most relevant knowledge to address the challenges, and may include non-educators, including social workers, coaches, support staff, school resource officers or others.
Involving district-level representatives may also help to inform policy or large-scale decisions.
How large should teams be?
We suggest a team size of six to 10 members.
How many students can a team support, and as a result, how many teams are needed?
In a large school, multiple teams and/or additional educators or other professionals may be needed to help address the large number or diversity of students in need of supports.
How will the EWS 2.0 team(s) be integrated into the fabric of the school, and what training and preparation might the team need to handle this responsibility?
If there are multiple teams in a school serving different but related functions (e.g., EWS 2.0, school leadership teams, instructional teams, RTI or MTSS teams, and/or multiple EWS teams), how can they be integrated, with clearly defined information flow, decision-making, monitoring, and impact on students?
How will a schedule and/or sub-teams be created to perform the key functions of EWS 2.0 teams?
Continual monitoring of all students on the EWS 2.0 predictive indicators and responding with individual or group-level actions as necessary
Looking for systems-level solutions for the classroom, grade, school, district, community, etc.
Using EWS 2.0, together with other data, to monitor how well the school/district/community is providing key supports to keep all students on the path to adult success focusing particularly on critical areas as identified by the data (e.g., academic intensity, mathematics, ELL, etc.)
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
When engaging in system-level analysis, teams should keep in mind that some solutions or improvements, in areas such as academic intensity or those involving schedule changes, must be done at the right time to mesh with the planning, budget, and hiring cycles of the school.
Implementing a functional EWS 2.0 team and a student support/progress-monitoring process can be a challenge for some schools. One common stumbling blocks is that data is not collected, organized and presented in a timely way.
One solution is for the principal to designate one or more adults with responsibilities to gather, record, and organize data at specific intervals of time. The principal or another leader may also need to establish protocols for data collection and organization for the team’s use. Options include:
~ Responsibilities may be divided among adults
~ A school or district “data coach,” “promotion coach,” or other professional can review the indicator data and make “student watch-list” recommendations for team meetings
SAMPLE TEAM SCENARIOS
Building on the traditional EWS-team model already in use by many schools, EWS 2.0 teams may need a broader focus. In addition to school administrators, counselors, teachers of core subjects, and others who interact frequently with students, EWS 2.0 teams may also include social workers, coaches, support staff, school resource officers, and community representatives, depending on schools’ needs. Involving district-level representatives may also help to inform policy or large-scale decisions.
~ How will the team make decisions? What criteria will be used?
~ How will teams ensure they apply the EWS 2.0 guidelines for Data, Indicators, Analysis, and Action?