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A Middle School Principal’s Perspective: Data Review and Storage

By: Jonathan G. RossPublished: December 10, 2012
Topics: Data-based Decision Making, Implementation Planning and Evaluation, Middle School


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Just before we began our second year of implementation, our standardized test results came back from the state. We were elated to discover that we had made Adequate Yearly Progress for only the second time since NCLB began. Much of the success, we felt, was due to the improvements generated through RtI. Our school-wide scores continued to rise, going from 70.1% in 2008 to 73.3% in 2009. In math, we went from 70.5% of our students reaching proficiency in 2008 to 76.2% in 2009. Not only that, but we also went up on both test in every one of our five measured subgroups (White, Black, Asian, IEP and Economically Disadvantaged). In some cases the scores went up by as much as 10%. These improvements were even more impressive given that we had already improved out scores the previous year. This proved to us that RtI was instrumental in taking out program to the next level.

Another area of focus for us that summer was our data storage. It was the one remaining problem that we could not find a solution to. No matter what program we tried, the collection and storage of progress monitoring data for almost 1,500 students was overwhelming. Not only that, but whenever anyone wanted to review the data, they had to print out massive spreadsheets and tape them together on a large conference room table. We felt as though we were not optimizing our use of data because so much time was being spent on the administrative end. 

Fortunately, one of the benefits of our continued involvement in the state Secondary RtI Pilot Site program was a connection to various vendors that aimed to provide the type of service that we needed. One vendor that we met with was RTIm Direct. They were able to provide a warehouse for all of our data that would be easily accessible to us and was well within our budget. In fact, it was so impressive that our Assistant Superintendent was considering using their services for other schools in the district. Luckily, our building expenses would be covered under the money from working as a learning site.

Another cool thing that took place in October of our second year was the invitation to present at the state school board association conference. A small group of us went to the conference and did a session on how we were using RtI to improve achievement for our diverse population. Having presented at several state-level conferences, I must say that it was indeed an honor to get to stand before school board members and superintendents form across Pennsylvania to talk about the success of our program. On a side note: I would strongly encourage anyone at any stage of implementing a program such as this to consider sharing what they know at a conference of some sort. As much as you may think you have nothing to share, you truly do not realize how much you do know until you begin to share with others. There is always someone who can benefit from hearing about what you are doing.

As we moved into our second year, a few more minor tweaks were made to our program. I will go further into those minor changes and cover, what wound up being a huge change, in my next couple of installments.
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