Lowery Elementary Improves Student Behavior & School Performance
A turnaround school, Lowery Elementary implemented Kickboard in fall 2013 to support its Response to Intervention (RTI) programs for behavior. From 2013 to 2014, the rural Title I school reduced the number of behavioral infractions by 29 percent and students in grades 3-5 achieved gains on state assessments. The school also raised its School Performance Score (SPS) by 5.5 points, improved its school letter grade, and increased its teacher retention rate.
In 2013, Lowery Elementary received an “F” school grade from the state of Louisiana, after years of failing performance.
“We knew student behavior was impeding learning. When we looked at the number of minutes students were out of class for infractions or suspensions, we saw a strong correlation with whether or not students passed our state assessments,” said Principal Dawn Love.
“Another issue was that our classrooms were disconnected,” she said. “A child might get written up for their behavior, but not everyone was aware of this. We had a Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program with a chart for each child that went from teacher to teacher, but it would sometimes get lost, marked up, or thrown away. We needed to be more consistent and proactive in our interventions.”
Lowery Elementary began using Kickboard in Fall 2013 and it is now used in every classroom.
Kickboard helps build safe and happy schools where students and staff thrive. Educators, school leaders, and district administrators use Kickboard to improve school culture through positive behavior reinforcement, intervention management, classroom management, and district-wide school culture analysis. This unique combination of features allows districts to address problems such as absenteeism, disciplines & referrals, suspensions, teacher turnover, and low student achievement due to ineffective school culture.
“We used to track behaviors and out-of-class referrals in an Excel spreadsheet, which was time-consuming,” said Love. “With Kickboard, we can now access that data in real time. This allows us to more easily identify students for Tier 2 behavioral interventions. Since we can intervene earlier, fewer students now make it to Tier 3.”
Using Kickboard, educators can quickly establish consistent practices for effective classroom management, resulting in fewer disruptions and disciplinary incidents, and improved academic outcomes.
“We used to track behaviors and out-of-class referrals in an Excel spreadsheet, which was time-consuming,” said Love. “With Kickboard, we can now access that data in real time.”
“When we first implemented Kickboard, it was more about the punitive piece — giving marks for negative behaviors. Then we saw that the teachers who gave the most positive marks had the best classroom management,” said Love. “When we began rewarding students with points for positive behaviors each day, we saw our infractions decrease significantly, which created a big shift in our school culture.”
In addition, Kickboard provides a data-driven foundation for Lowery’s PBIS. With Kickboard, teachers can closely monitor student responses to interventions and determine even small changes in behavior.
“Kickboard helps us to be more proactive. If a student is having a bad day, we can intervene early — which might be the difference between getting suspended or staying in school that day,” said Love.
From 2013 to 2014, students in grades 3-5 improved their performance on state assessments. In addition, Lowery Elementary improved its SPS from 46.5 to 52, and its letter grade from an “F” to a “D”.
“This improvement is huge for us,” said Love. “When we ask teachers what they think the difference was, they say the classroom culture. They’re able to be more proactive — in the moment — so they can keep students in class and have quality learning time. That is directly correlated to the improvement in our SPS and school grade.”
From 2013 to 2014, the number of behavioral infractions decreased by 29 percent.
“We usually set a goal for a 10 percent decrease each month. The first month of the 2013-14 school year, we saw a 238 percent increase in infractions — and thought we were in for a rough year,” said Love. “By the next month, we had Kickboard and our behavioral RTI program in place and saw a 24 percent decrease in infractions. We had decreases every month after that.”
“In a high-poverty school like ours, students come to us with many social and emotional issues, and it’s a heavy job for teachers. As a result, we’ve had many staffing issues. Last year, we lost 12 teachers. This year, we lost only six and kept everyone we wanted to keep. When I asked what made them want to stay, they said they now feel like they’re part of a team that’s working together to support each child,” said Love.
Kickboard supports a sense of shared responsibility for our students, which provides an extra layer of support for our teachers,” she continued. “It gives us the data we need to help one another be more successful, so no one feels alone. We feel like we’re in this together and we all want everyone’s children to be successful. I can truly say that Kickboard has helped us to transform our culture!”