Working together to transition freshmen & transform schools from the bottom up!
In order to help "sell" our freshman transition program, I am looking for data as to how effective it is. I haven't found much recent data. If anyone knows of any research out there that supports the efficacy of this teaming approach, I would appreciate knowing. Also, even data just from within individual districts that use this model would be most helpful! Thank you, everyone in this network is great and so eager to share, it's amazing.
I'll look and see what I have. It will be more dated than that, though.
I realize that if you're being asked for data, you need data. However, I think there's a fundamental flaw with the concept of needing Freshman Transition data to verify that efforts to transition freshmen are needed.
The odds of finding reliable and APPLICABLE data are relatively slim. Just because a school has success with its transition efforts, doesn't mean the same model will work at a different school. I would caution against trying to replicate exactly a model used by another school. There are too many factors - socioeconomic, number of students, courses taught, master schedule, size of target population, purity of teaming, etc - to say that Freshman Transition "officially works." There is no such thing as "Freshman Transition" - there are instead many such things known as Freshman Transition.
I think the data that is most useful is the data you already have in your school that identifies the problem. More than likely, your freshmen have the highest negative rates of everything. More than likely they are the least "plugged in" to your school.
If you have an identified weakness, why would one not seek to transition them? To wait for data to prove a point could be an unnecessary use of time.
The next thing I'd look to see is what exactly will a teaming model "cost." Most schools are able to implement a meaningful teaming model with no - or almost no - cost.
If this is possible, then I think the next question to ask is "Why wouldn't teaming be helpful?"
All that may or may not be helpful, but I really would caution against relying too much on data from schools that will by definition be inherently different from yours in their transition efforts - even if you model your program after theirs.
A snapshot of data within our district shows that our interdisciplinary teaming is having a profound impact on how many student successfully transition to 10th grade. All three high schools in our district are similar in size, about 1900 students (9th - 12th). My school has greater diversity and greater poverty and yet we are out-pacing the other schools who are presently not using a team approach.
% of students who have successfully transitioned to sophomore status after their first year in our district during the 2014-2015 school year (Classes are about 450-550 students):
My High School - 94%
HS #2 in our district - 90%
HS #3 in our district - 85%
As a district we are seeking to look at options.
Here is a beginning of the way we are doing things on a blog I've started this year:
Hope this helps,
Hi John - I took a different approach with the data. I just started here in July and I have spent a lot of time reviewing my school's data over the past 5 years. I have been taking an "Inputs/Outputs" approach and the data over the past 5 has not been great. We have a low ACT composite average and our graduation rate is below the WI state average and is in a downward trend. Last year we had 34 students drop out (an average of 1 every 2 weeks). I pulled an eclectic group of teachers that are not the usual suspects in committees and we looked at our current state. No finger pointing of the past, but just an honest look. Everything they pointed to was related to our freshmen (an input) being the key place to make the changes. It doesn't hurt that we're a Union district (our HS is a district unto its own. all feeder K-8s are their own districts with their own boards, etc.). The "sell" came from within. They want to collaborate and the teaming concept will afford us the time. HOWEVER, the structure does not change the adult behavior which is 90% of the "input" in my mind. That's my next job. In closing, I've approached this like the Green Beret - insert into small groups, win hearts and minds, speak the language of the locals, and be honest. Hope it helps.
Great ideas, John! I love it. Let me know if I can help. Perhaps some of the resources from www.gobeyondthecontent.com might help with changing the adult behavior. We have really found this concept to be the key to meeting the needs of freshmen - that and strong assessment for learning strategies/philosophies.