I am an instructional coach for an alternative high school in D.C. Our school presently uses Summit Platform. Our teachers are challenged with managing instruction when students are at all different places on the platform due to truancy. How do other schools manage?

1 answer

Michael Fauteux, Expert Advisor, May 4, 2018

Hi Stefanie. Do you feel the challenge is managing instruction for truant students or for students at different places on the platform in general?

While my schools do not use the Summit Platform, we have a math course called Navigate Math that has students move at their own pace, requiring us to figure out how to support students working multiple units apart (students in our 9th grade Nav Math classes enter with 5th grade math skills on average). The spread comes from students having different academic and non-academic skill capacities and different mindsets. Here is an overview of the course at the Learning Accelerator's (TLA) practices website.

We found that unmotivated students (this includes some truant students for us) were one type of challenge for us while supporting asynchronous learning was a separate issue. Two solutions we came up with that attempted to address both were small group pulling in a flex model to work with the teacher based on data and Cooperative Learning Teams.

We use the Gooru Learning Navigator (we co-created the Learning Navigator w/ Gooru) but the platform doesn't really matter. What did matter to us was having ways for both teachers and students to track their progress. While students first engage with learning resources themselves, the teacher uses the data to pull groups of struggling students for mini-lessons each day in a flex model. This has helped us manage learning, whether it be helping students make meaning from resources they explore or by conducting direct instruction and investigation with students.

The second practice we use is Cooperative Learning Teams. Essentially, it's an approach we created off of some research at Johns Hopkins that creates positive horizontal accountability among groups of students to help them function as a team and support one another. It creates greater buy in, helping address students working in different places and a diverse range of mindsets and motivation, possibly speaking to the truancy challenge you have. It helps make visible to students specific behaviors that support learning in an asset-based way that builds community and accelerates learning. You can view a guide with links to resources including prototype dashboards here at TLA's Learning Commons.

Hope these ideas help!

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