By Peter Lorinser, Network Facilitator
A common phrase heard throughout the Fall 2019 RISE Network Convening was “planting the seed.” Through the RISE Network learning agenda, we strive to create excellent professional learning opportunities and venues for cross-school collaboration, that also serve as a catalyst for further work. At the November Convening we shared the Student Support Inquiry Framework (SSIF), a tool RISE developed to support teams in thinking expansively about the student experience. We hope the framework will improve our abilities — as educators and adults — to reflect not only on the student actions and behaviors that contribute to certain outcomes, but to also consider the impact of educator actions, instructional practices, and policies at the classroom, school, and district levels.
We are amazed by the response the SSIF and the ways in which educators are using this tool to push for deeper conversations, reflection, and planning! Since the convening, each school has integrated the SSIF in some form. East Hartford High School led a month-long professional development plan with the Grade 9 team around the SSIF, challenging their team to review school discipline data and refine the KidTalk protocol to be more aligned with the SSIF principles. An educator from East Hartford shared that she was “very excited about the SSIF and the way it will help us consider the needs of the whole student.” Career, Naugatuck, and Middletown High School led similar trainings with all Grade 9 teachers that brought the learnings from the convening to a broader audience. Hartford Public, Westhill, Maloney, and Manchester High School teams have used the SSIF to evaluate student interventions and support plans.
RISE partners also engaged with the SSIF during our quarterly Innovation & Learning (I&L) Cycles. During the Quarter 2 Grade 9 I&L Cycle and On-Track Coordinator Summit, we asked educators to consider the historical drop in grades and attendance during Quarter 2 through the lens of the SSIF. The framework supported fruitful conversations about potential root causes and efforts to respond. Additionally, at both the Grade 9 and College and Career Readiness I&L Cycles, the SSIF supported educators in planning next steps in relation to their chosen focus areas. The SSIF challenged each team to consider action items relative to each domain of the SSIF (i.e., student, home/family, educator, classroom, or school/district).
The RISE team developed the SSIF to provide educators with a tool to think expansively about root causes contributing to specific outcomes, and to think creatively about strategies to promote greater levels of student success. When we introduced the SSIF at the Fall Convening, we were hopeful that teams would engage with the tool and find utility in their day-to-day practice and team collaboration. We are very excited to see how schools and educators are infusing the SSIF in their everyday work. This proves that learning and improvement don’t stop after RISE convenings; rather, the convenings are the start or the “seed” for so many new and great ideas from RISE educators!