SOUTH BEND — Riley High School is one of three South Bend high schools fighting to avoid a state takeover. A program is in place to help achieve results by the end of the year that will gain state approval.
“The eight-step process is a process that has been proven,” said Edward Bradford Jr., Riley High School principal.
The program began in a school in Texas that was also failing to meet state standards. The teachers were able to make drastic changes in the way they taught students, and how students performed on state standardized tests.
Bradford has big goals for his students.
“I would like to see test scores improve 7-10 percent,” he said.
He said the program has a proven track record. Plus, he said it can be adapted to an individual school, based on its needs and demographics.
“It was just a perfect model,” said Bradford.
A consultant meets regularly with a leadership team of teachers and administrators to help them learn how to implement the process.
The Eight Steps:
- Disaggregation of data. Teachers analyze how students perform on tests to determine their individual needs.
- Instructional Timeline. A 4-week calendar outlines which state standards will be taught. All teachers integrate English and math in their curriculum. For example, a Spanish teacher could do math problems in Spanish for ten minutes of each class period.
- Instructional Focus. Riley has “Success Classes” made up small groups of students who need extra help in English or algebra.
- Assessment. Students are tests regularly to see if they’re retaining what they learn.
- Tutorials. Extra assistance is given to students who need it.
- Enrichment. This is provided to students who have mastered the instruction.
- Maintenance. The eight-step process does not end in a year. The school constantly builds on the progress. Changes are made as needed.
- Monitoring. Teachers are constantly monitored, and the overall process is constantly assessed.
“The schools that have used the process have managed to reach a point of student improvement that's accepted by the state, and they continue to improve each and every year,” Bradford said.
Bradford said he believes in the teachers and students at Riley High School, and is optimistic that this year's test results will reflect their hard work.
“My personal feeling is that it's going very well,” he said.
Students will take the end of course assessments in May. So they will not be able to determine the success of the first year of the program until then. The state has not made it clear what rate of improvement will be necessary to avoid a state takeover.