Welcome to our monthly gallery of best practices and tools from your Center for High School Success partner schools in Oregon and Washington. Below, your coaches have collected timely tools and featured practices from across our region to help support you, your team, and your 9th graders! Please reach out to your coach if you have any questions, feedback, on input.
Welcome! As we prepare to welcome our colleagues and incoming students to a new school year, we have some exciting events, resources and tools to share below. We have two main themes in our upcoming Summer Institutes that we will revisit throughout our professional learning this year:
- Teaching Self Regulation skills to students: In order to sustain the hard work of your team it is essential that students who have struggled to remain on track are learning generalizable skills to assess and improve their own performance in their classes. To support this, we encourage teams to consider providing a continuum of supports that are preventative (direct skill instruction to teach self-regulation skills) and responsive (recruiting for after school or Saturday tutoring).
- Creating and Sustaining a Culture of Belonging: We know with confidence from empirical research and practical experience that all students and adults learn and teach better in schools where they feel like they belong. Investments in creating safe, predictable, rigorous and culturally affirming environments improves attendance, academic progress, school safety and climate, and staff performance and retention. For a great example from one of our CHSS network schools, please check out this recent 34-minute podcast by the Center for Educational Effectiveness with Ferndale Superintendent Kristi Dominguez. She highlights their focus on creating a culture of belonging, K-12. Outliers in Education from CEE: S2, E8: Building Belonging with Superintendent Kristi Dominguez on Apple Podcasts
Team Lead Onboarding: Register here. If you are a new or returning 9GST team lead or administrator, this 90-minute webinar is designed to give you an overview of the essential role of team lead, the CHSS Team Lead Toolkit, and we will talk through some predictable challenges teams often face.
August 15, 2023, from 9:00 am – 10:30 am
CHSS Leadership Network: Register here. This school year, CHSS is launching a Leadership Collaborative specifically designed for principals, assistant principals, and district leaders to collaborate with one another, strategize, and learn with and from each other. Information and registration will be sent to all CHSS network school and district leaders in mid-July. Please encourage your leaders to be a part of this Collaborative!
CHSS Summer Institutes: Register here. Summer institutes will provide in-person, new learning about increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of our interventions, with a focus teaching students self-regulation skills. We will also provide time for teams to plan.
- Central and Eastern WA: 8/11 (zoom) & 8/14
- Northwest WA: 8/23: Whatcom County & 8/24: Skagit & Snohomish County
- Central Puget Sound: 8/16
- Southwest WA: 8/9 & 8/29
Coming Soon: Dates and locations for Fall, Winter and Spring Collaboratives.
Teaching Self Regulation (Erickson & Noonan, 2022): This book supports our focus on preventative instruction to build self-regulation skills, offering practical & applied secondary-focused curricular ideas to integrate into your 9th grade scope and sequence.
Powerful Student Care (Chandler & Budge, 2023): To improve student belonging, schools and teachers need guidance, and this book provides awesome tools for building community, knowing all students, and reflection/planning.
The College and Career Competency Wheel: To help your teachers and students conceptualize, organize, and teach the types of competencies that will help them well beyond 9th grade, this framework and its linked resources is an essential tool for your team.
Back To School 101: Our featured practice this month is all about starting the year strong with Highly Effective 9th Grade Success Teams. We have highlighted 6 powerful practices to help you focus as you prepare to launch!
- Build a strong team: Having dedicated teachers and staff on your 9th Grade Success Team is critical. Recruiting teachers from all content areas and support staff brings an important variety of voices and perspectives. Examples of building better teams include: Heritage HS is increasing membership adding additional teachers in each content area, Toppenish HS has PLC leads on the team so they can share 9GS learning with PLCs, Meridian HS is expanding team membership to include expertise from Special Education and Multilingual departments.
- Set up systems: Are the systems at your school connected? 9th Grade Success Teams thrive when they work in concert with other teams at your school. Tier 3, Tier 1, PBIS, Special Education, Multilingual, Professional Learning Communities, MTSS, Content Departments are just a few teams that can be strengthened by communication, collaboration and clear referral systems. Identify “champions” to connect and create cohesion between teams and initiatives. Regularly share critical updates and celebrations between teams. Spend some time at staff meetings building understanding, capacity and connecting teams and initiatives.
- Plan the work, work the plan: Schedule 9th Grade Success Team meetings, Triangle Meetings (CHSS Coach, Team Lead, Principal), District 9GS Leadership Meetings, staff meetings as early as possible. This 23-24 9GST Calendar Template can help you see these meetings in one place.
- Communicate with Families and Students: As students begin 9th grade, Parents and caregivers are actively seeking information about how to ensure their student is successful, and you should take advantage of this! As you are presenting at orientation events or reaching out via your school communication channels, be sure to include this Did You Know flier in Spanish and English, key information about your 9th Grade Success Team and how families can check students’ grades online. More information and research, also available in Spanish, can be found in the UChicago Consortium On-Track Briefs for Students and Parents.
- Communicate with colleagues: Here is a 15 minute video Heritage High School created to share their team’s work with their staff. This 90 minute documentary, The Second Window: How a Focus on Freshman Transformed a System, is a great introduction to why we focus on 9th grade. This minute long video, Why 9th Grade Matters, gives a clear and brief explanation of 9th Grade Success work. Consider planning time to watch and talk about any of these videos with your staff.
- Leadership is key: The CHSS Team Lead Toolkit is full of additional checklists, templates, tools and information that can support new and returning teams.