H-PT Board hears focus factors for academic support of students

HOUGHTON — The ABCs of education data assists with the academic support of students, a special education told the Houghton-Portage Township Schools Board on Monday.

Anna Bradfish gave an update on the high school’s progress with its multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS), an educational framework which encourages early intervention with underperforming students.

Bradfish said progress has been achieved in data collection, with the focus on the ABCs: attendance, behavior and course completion. The percentage of students who attend class more than 90 percent of the time during the first 20 days of school was up from 81 percent in 2016-17 to 88 percent in 2017-18.

The third marking period is a particular concern. Last year, only 67 percent of students were there 90 percent of the time or more, the lowest mark.

“That puts students behind academically, when they’re not here,” she said.

The school addressed the problem by letting the students know and letting them know about the need for attendance through posters.

The data has also given staff a sense of the nature and timing of behavioral issues. For instance, half of all offenses occur on a Tuesday or a Wednesday, above the 40 percent that would be expected in an equal distribution.

The biggest problem time tends to be 12:45 p.m.

“By looking at our data, we can say, ‘What can we do to troubleshoot and make sure our students are aware of expectations?'” Bradfish said.

In course completion, the goal was for 80 percent of students to pass all their classes and have a grade-point average of 2.0 or higher.

To reach the goal, staff instituted an academic lab, which had a soft opening in November. Three days a week, high school students are available to tutor other students who are not doing well in their classes.

“Our hope is that as we get through the end of this year and into next year that we can expand this,” she said. “But the first thing we need to do is make it a cultural norm for a student to go to the academic lab.”