How One Atlanta School Used Behavioral Data Analysis to Implement PBIS and MTSS Schoolwide Culture Systems
KIPP Atlanta Collegiate – Fast Facts
- Grades 9-12
- 740 Students
- 74% AP Participation Rate
- 100% Economically Disadvantaged
- 90% Graduation Rate
- 97.7% African American
- 1.5% Hispanic
- 0.6% Multiple Races
The highly motivated team of educators at KIPP Atlanta Collegiate (KAC) are driven by the belief that all students deserve access to rigorous academic material to ensure their success in college and beyond. Leaders at KAC also recognize that a healthy school culture is essential for students to thrive in a demanding academic atmosphere. From the daily tutorials and advisories that strengthen teacher-student relationships, to the mandatory student service learning projects that enhance community engagement, KAC strives to develop the child both academically and on a social emotional level.
Aligned with the nationally recognized Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) framework, Georgia’s Department of Education developed a statewide plan to provide preventative and differentiated measures of support to maximize student achievement and reduce behavioral issues. KAC bolstered the state’s vision when they created schoolwide systems that allowed leadership teams to track behavior effectively for all students and design appropriate, evidence-based interventions. The school’s success in implementing a dynamic progress-monitoring system through the Kickboard platform has allowed leadership teams to track student achievement from multiple angles. This approach has allowed the school to align their efforts with the progressive national shift of analyzing the whole child through a MTSS based lens.
Need for Change
Before superior levels of academic achievement can be realized, a structured and safe environment that fosters student learning must be created. Behavioral disruptions can impede quality instructional time from taking place and thus derail student focus. KAC knew they needed support to implement PBIS and MTSS successfully and create an environment for academic achievement.
Director of Operations, Keosha Moon, of KIPP Atlanta Collegiate explained the evolution of behavior tracking methodologies that the school had employed. The first system was a merit and demerit system based on attendance, grades, and behavior. Overtime, the system has evolved into the current iteration, Warriors In Good Standing, WIGS for short. This system tracks attendance, grades and behavior and in turn a student’s eligibility to participate in extracurricular activities. With this new comprehensive system came the need to track behavior in a more streamlined way. There was also a need for a better communication platform to connect teachers, administrators, students, and families regarding progress in student behavior and academic achievement.
A Formula for Success
A Behavior Tracking System must:
- Provide a 360-degree view of the “whole child” from a behavioral, social, and emotional development perspective.
- Allow for differentiated behavioral interventions based on a multi-tiered framework.
- Provide transparency and accessibility of data to all stakeholders involved in student growth.
- Engage students in data analysis to promote self-advocacy and empowerment.
- Be easy to use and generate buy-in from administrators and teachers to ensure long-term and widespread implementation.
- Support PBIS strategies such as schoolwide reward systems to generate a positive school culture.
Preparing for Implementation
Data collection is essential to properly evaluate and improve school culture; however, making the commitment to adopt one particular tracking system can raise many points of doubt and uneasiness. Will the school-wide systems stick? Will this add more work to the already busy schedules of teachers and administrators? Will teachers actually use the system with fidelity? Will the tracking mechanisms produce data that is actually useful and will they help us identify proper behavior interventions?
Ease in Implementation
As the Director of Operations, Moon was responsible for implementing Kickboard at KAC. She confirmed that “implementation was very simple.” She said that after identifying the school’s chosen bonus points and infractions, “the implementation guide was self-explanatory. It wasn’t a hard lift for me.”
Support for Administrators and Teachers
Since implementation, Moon stated that “Kickboard has helped our culture team and administrators with data tracking. We can look at any infraction that is happening repeatedly and do more research to understand what is going on. We can easily pull information and pull reports for students.”
The same goes for teachers in the classroom. Moon knew the school was achieving the desired outcome with Kickboard because she could see teacher usage data in the system. She said, “When you look at the data and it is an accurate depiction of what is going on in the school, you know that you are on the right track.”
As for teachers, having a user friendly, one touch behavior tracking system can actually lessen the teacher workload instead of adding to it. “Kickboard gives teachers the tools to manage behavior within the classroom rather than having to call for help or call parents in the middle of class. It gives them something actionable for them to do. We can’t always have a Restorative Practice circle in the middle of a lesson, so now, with Kickboard, we have something quick and meaningful that tracks the behavior and will impact students,”explained Moon.
The readily available information delivered in real time on Kickboard allows for the data to constantly be in use from various stakeholders involved in student growth. “The transparency with the Family Portal is really great. Students and teachers have access to their information, it is not a black hole of information that can’t be accessed,” stated Moon in reference to how Kickboard has improved KAC’s transparency.
The decision to use Kickboard for their behavioral monitoring needs allowed the teams at KIPP Atlanta Collegiate to acknowledge the multifaceted nature of the student population in which they serve.
Kickboard has allowed KAC to implement schoolwide Tier I rewards as well as interventions to manage behavioral issues. Keosha Moon from KAC spoke to the importance of the “Consequence Roster” in the school’s daily processes such as tracking, informing students, and holding students accountable for detentions assigned. She affirmed that, “Kickboard is tied to our school culture. For example, the weekly reports help us know who can dress down for that week.”
Kickboard has also helped KAC leaders identify students who need more support. When referring to Tier II and III behavioral interventions, Moon stated that Kickboard “helps with progress monitoring and helps you to identify trends. The access to this information and the ability to analyze if from a school level and a parent level is powerful” she explained. She gave an example of a scholar with ADHD who she had noticed was continuously exhibiting unfocused behaviors after lunchtime. After identifying this pattern from the data, they were able to work with the student’s family to alter the medication scheduling to help the student be more successful.
Family and Community Engagement
KIPP Atlanta Collegiate places a heightened emphasis on creating strong channels of communication with parents and family members regarding student achievement to ensure that parents play an integral role in their child’s education. The school sets up several Parental Input Meetings throughout the year, monthly “Principal’s Coffee and Conversations”, and a Parent Resource Center where MacBook Pros are provided for parents to communicate with faculty and staff via tech-based platforms such as Kickboard.
Instantaneous feedback provided by teachers through the Kickboard platform allows parents to be aware of their child’s performance on a regular basis. The Family Portal on Kickboard supports KAC’s commitment to family involvement by opening up further levels of communication. Moon explained that “teachers can enter an infraction and write a note and parents can see it when they check the Family Portal. All of the student’s bonus points and infractions can be seen on the weekly report. It is a point of communication for parents and students.”
Not only is constant progress monitoring extremely important for educators to determine if behavioral interventions are having the desired effect, but extremely useful for students to understand if they are reaching their goals and to receive recognition for meeting such goals. A strong behavior monitoring system allows leaders to show student patterns and growth in a tangible way.
Moon explained the future of school culture after having adopted Kickboard as their behavioral management system: “The next phase in the school culture journey for KAC is cultivating student accountability; making students prepared for what is beyond school. Self-advocacy, self-correcting behaviors, being prepared for college, the military, career and beyond. Now that they have the structure to support managing culture, now it’s time to do the work to change mindsets and change the actual culture around them.” Kickboard has given KAC’s school culture a strong foundation in which deeper skills, such as student self-advocacy, can be further developed.