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Titan Up - All Means All

Titan UpDescription of the Model:
Kennedy High School has successfully implemented an entire school system based on the RTI (Response to Intervention) framework. In short, we have completely changed our approach to planning, teaching, assessment, intervention, and behavior management based on a 3 tiered system of RTI. We have accomplished this task through the continued work with Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). Through a methodical process of identifying Essential Standards and learning targets, developing common assessments, and providing intervention (by student, by standard) for our students, the staff has created a guaranteed and viable curriculum for all students. In this model, “All means All.”

Teachers at Kennedy meet for one hour each week to work on identifying essential standards, creating common assessments, analyzing student data, and providing intervention, enrichment, and support within the school day for all students. Students receive intervention, support, or enrichment during a 28 minute period during the school day. This period is known as Titan Up Time, and it occurs 4 days per week. Furthermore, interventions are categorized by academic (SKILL) or social‐emotional / behavioral (WILL). This model is based on a number of very important factors which provide opportunities for all students. While many schools may operate as PLCs, few have applied the practice of effective collaboration to a particular concept and end. Kennedy High School has applied the collaborative nature of PLCs and combined that with the philosophy of the RTI Pyramid. The result has been a completely changed school where students are extremely clear about what they need to know, and are given the opportunity to receive support for the areas in which they are struggling. This has provided a guaranteed and viable curriculum for all students at JFKHS.

This system is driven by what are known as the 4 Essential Questions: (1) What do we want students to learn? (2) How will we know if students are learning? (3) How do we respond when students are not learning? (4) How do we respond when students have already learned?

In 2007, Kennedy High School had a reputation for being an underachieving school with major academic and disciplinary concerns. Major concerns for parents were student safety, exposure to rigor, very little school pride, and low A-G eligibility. This was perpetuated by high numbers of student related fights on and off campus and a stabbing incident in two consecutive years (2006 and 2007). In addition to this, JFK reported an A-G rate of under 30%, and over 300 suspensions in 2007-2008 school year. This trend continued for one more year. In 2009, parents and students were asked for input regarding what changes they needed to see at the site and they were very clear. Parents wanted their students to feel “connected” to the school. Students wanted opportunities to advance and be college eligible. Parents wanted students to feel safe and respected at school. Finally, parents and students both wanted to see much fewer suspensions and particularly less suspensions for students of color. These parent concerns became part of our shift towards changing the trends that had plagued our school for years. Parent and student representative groups became an integral part of our planning through PTSA, School Site Council, ASB and information nights.

In 2014, there were 152 suspensions. Data showed that Kennedy High School’s suspension rate for African American and Latino students were disproportionately high when compared to other subgroups. In addition to this, there was a clear gap in achievement among our African American, Latino, and Socio‐Economically Disadvantaged students. In Spring of 2015, our leadership team attended an RTI Workshop with Mike Mattos, where we learned that we could change this if we committed to making data‐based decisions that drive our school. We decided to begin to form a Professional Learning Community as a means to create a guaranteed and viable curriculum using the RTI approach.

The FUSD District LCAP plan has identified African Americans, Socioeconomically Disadvantaged, and Latino students as subgroups who have the greatest needs due to the achievement gap that exists in FUSD. The goals guiding expenditures to achieve this are building Professional Learning Communities, Increasing A‐G eligibility, and creating a Multi‐Tier System of Supports for all students.

Kennedy High School has made a very deliberate effort to find ways to address these goals based on our unique site needs. We have used data collection and surveys to identify the specific needs and supports as they relate to our site. While there are goals for building Professional Learning Communities, Kennedy has developed a PLC culture where there is 90% participation even though participation is optional. The 4x4 block schedule allows for students to take 8 classes each year, which increases opportunities for students to take A‐G courses. The title “All Means All” refers to the fact that every student at Kennedy High School has the opportunity and exposure to a wide range of supports described in this narrative. Every single student at our school has been exposed to this system. This is where equitable exposure makes a difference.

Kennedy has spent the last 4 years using Title I funding to create opportunities for professional development, technology, and collaboration time to develop a true RTI model at our site. The most valuable resource we have is our teaching staff. We have invested heavily in time and professional development in an effort to bring this culture to our school. We have also invested in programming and software which allows us to assess students and disaggregate data in order to make decisions that have reversed the trends mentioned above.

In 2016, Fremont Unified School District adopted and supported all schools in developing PLCs. With the support of the district, our leadership team set out to educate our staff and begin the process of Professional Learning Communities with the following goals in mind:

  1. Create Essential Standards for classes through opportunities for teams to meet weekly.
  2. Create common assessments to determine whether or not students are meeting standards.
  3. Use data collection and assessment results to identify students for intervention (by student, by standard)
  4. Create time within the school day to meet the needs of students who require support.
  5. Reverse the trend of disproportionate suspensions and achievement gaps for our African American, Latino, and Socio‐Economically Disadvantaged students.

Titan Up Time is a 28 minute period that is designed to meet the needs of every student on the campus. Teachers can assign students for Tier 2 Intervention sessions based on their need for support in meeting particular learning targets. Our Intervention Team also assign students to sessions for positive mindset, behavior management, goal setting, or organization. Counselors run groups for students who require emotional support or substance dependency. Students who are not assigned to sessions can attend enrichment activities that range from academic based (AP Prep, SAT Prep, Spanish Café, Quiet Study Hall, etc.) to life skills based (Income Tax preparation, Meditation, Changing a Flat Tire, etc.) In short, there is truly something for every student to learn during Titan Up Time. These 28 minutes are the most sacred minutes of the day. Administrators do not meet with parents and students are not called out of class. The behavior management and social emotional supports we are offering to students during this time have created positive relationships between students and at least one adult on campus. This is a clear and very deliberate effort to increase attendance and decrease suspensions.

Implementation & Monitoring:
There is an RTI Steering Committee that has been the nucleus of this effort. This committee is responsible for planning direction, professional development, monitoring of effectiveness, and innovation in regards to next steps. As a result of becoming a true guiding coalition, the RTI Steering Committee has since been referred to as The Jedi Council due to their careful planning and training of all staff. The Implementation of School‐Wide RTI started with The Steering Committee doing a 4 hour PD with all teachers where we shared the basics of RTI with departments. Shortly after, the staff was brought in as a whole and has been voting on every element of this process as a collective group. This established our RTI journey as a true grass roots movement.

The first two years of implementation were spent developing norms and establishing practices that supported professional Learning Communities. We developed Essential Standards and Formative Assessments during these times. In addition to this, we developed Essential Behaviors for our school as well. The third year, we began looking at how we could provide intervention time within the school day to reach our most needy students. The staff voted to change the instructional school day and provide for 28 minute “RTI” time every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. In September of 2017, the Kennedy staff began to create several prototypes in an effort to pull students for RTI during this time. After reflection and discussion of data, we realized that the 28 minute period was only serving 10% of our students. In April of 2018, the staff voted to adopt a supplemental scheduling software where every teacher could offer either intervention or enrichment during this time. The result was the development of Titan Up Time. This innovation has proven to target the entire student body, while making intervention a priority. Each day, there are between 50 to 60 different sessions offered for intervention and enrichment.

Parents and students became parts of site teams that helped to create goals and approve spending for categorical expenses. Parents were invited on multiple nights to attend forums where they could make informed decisions and learn about programming that the school was considering. Everything that moved forward had some input from students and parents. In addition to this, Kennedy provided parent education courses and Principal Town Hall Meetings to answer questions and hear suggestions about the new direction of the school. We then invited parents to Title I Nights and solicited input through parent surveys to both inform them and poll them as to the new direction of the school. In 2017, Kennedy High School released the first edition of “The Titan Magazine”, a full color magazine publication that was sent to every household in the attendance area. “The Titan Magazine” is now a bi‐yearly publication that informs the community about all of the new programming at JFK, highlights student success, covers Title I budget, and focusses on RTI and the systems of intervention that are in place at JFK.

The Staff has adopted a process of informal and formal assessments to monitor student learning. They use results of these assessments to drive instructional practice and identify students for intervention. PLCs look at results from assessments and make informed decisions about curriculum based on those decisions. In 2017, our English Department gave a reading assessment to every 9th grader at Kennedy. The results showed that 58% of our 9th grade students were reading 3 or more grades below grade level. 23% of our 9th grade students were reading 1‐2 grades below grade level, and only 19% of our 9th grade students were reading on grade level. As a result of these findings, the department instituted additional support for every 9th grader in every 9th grade English class. After 6 months of deliberate instruction and intervention students were assessed on reading levels again. The post assessment showed that the number of 9th grade students reading on grade level doubled to 38%. The number of students reading 3 or more grades below grade levels dropped to 34%. All departments are using collaboration time in similar ways to drive instructional practices based on data analysis.

The Site Intervention Team is constantly collecting data to measure the effectiveness of our Titan Up Time as well as identifying students for behavioral / emotional support. There is an Intervention Coordinator who cross references grades, attendance, and discipline every 10 weeks and identifies students for Tier 2 Support. There is also a PBIS Specialist who identifies every student who has had a major discipline incident and provides support and guidance to prevent these behaviors from reoccurring. There are 4 more members of the intervention team who monitor the students receiving intervention in an effort to define the best approaches and dispose of approaches that are ineffective.

As a result of the School‐Wide RTI Model, we have seen a tremendous change in student achievement and investment. In 2018‐2019, there were 27 students who were re‐designated as English proficient as a result of targeted intervention and support. Our CAASSP scores have showed much more than a closing achievement gap. In fact, in 2018, Kennedy High School had 68% of our students in the “Meets or Exceeds Grade Level” category in ELA. As you dive deeper into these numbers, we find that the achievement gap for African American, Latino, and Socio‐ Economically is significantly smaller than any other high school in Fremont. The most rewarding piece of data was the fact that 75% of our African American students “Met or Exceeded Grade Level” in ELA. That is a 10% reversal of the achievement gap. This data alone was evidence that we were truly meeting our goal of equitable exposure to a guaranteed and viable curriculum.

As we looked at suspensions, we are on pace to reduce total suspensions by 15% when compared to last year. Further analysis of these numbers shows a reduction of suspensions for all of our identified subgroups.

JFK has used multiple sources of quantitative and qualitative data to measure the success of the PLC goals. Student Development and success is measured through A-G numbers, student pass rates, and student enrollment in Honors and AP coursework. In 2006, the A-G rate for JFK graduates was 23%. In 2018, 59% of JFK seniors were A-G eligible. That is more than double the number in 12 years. Seniors are also interviewed as they graduate to share what made the biggest difference in eligibility. In 2011, 11% of JFK students were enrolled in an Honors or AP course. This year that number has grown to over 46%. This data is compiled and shared with all members of the PLC. The most valuable data collected for student development are the student requests which lead to the development of the master schedule. Data collected measures how prominent the strategies are in our classrooms. Data collected from Instructional Rounds is shared with staff and other stakeholders as well. In April of 2018, Instructional Rounds data revealed that at least 1 of the Big Three strategies were being used in 66% of classrooms school-wide. In addition, results showed that 16% of students were working at level 1, 22% were at level 2, 41% were at level 3, and 21% were working at level 4 in the Depth of Knowledge. Since 2013, 12 athletic teams have earned recognition of NCS top Academic Team, and have received banners for their accomplishment.

A comprehensive parent survey was given at the end of the 2018 School Year in an effort to collect data about how parents felt about the changes at Kennedy. The results from the survey showed that 85% of all parents agreed that Kennedy creates an environment that helps children learn. 92% of parents agreed that Kennedy values the diversity of Children’s background, religions, and beliefs. 82% of parents agreed that Kennedy’s communication about their child’s academic progress is understandable and timely. 86% of parents agreed that Kennedy encourages all students to enroll in challenging courses regardless of racial, ethnic, or socio-economic background. 78% of parents agreed that Kennedy provides effective counseling and social-emotional support for students. 85% of parents agree that Kennedy promotes parental participation in school. 86% of parents agree that Kennedy makes them feel respected and welcome when they visit.

In June of 2018, the leadership team conducted a survey of our Titan Up Time with both staff and students. The results showed that 85% of both staff and students were in favor of continuing the model. We then surveyed students and asked for suggestions and needs for future supports. Using this feedback, we have continued to evolve to meet the needs of all students through data analysis, surveys, and reflection on professional practice. The final measure of success in regards to this program is that the Department of Education and State Superintendent Tony Thurmond has recognized our school as a California Distinguished School. Kennedy high School receives this honor for our efforts and success in closing the achievement gap and showing academic growth for ALL student groups. This is data and a measure of success that cannot be ignored, as it is the first time John F Kennedy High School has ever been recognized for this honor.