Our students are just like we are when it comes to setting goals. With our assistance, our students are able to set long term goals. We call those goals SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. These goals help our students to “strive for proficiency”. However, we all know that these lofty goals can often get forgotten or ignored as they feel “too far off” into the distance. As adults, we also set our own SMART goals only to fail if we wait too long to “check in” on our progress. Checking in helps us to see the progress we’ve made giving us the momentum to keep going. Our students need those opportunities, as well.
Schools that get results are schools that create internal accountability systems. Using interim measures, these schools check the progress of their students every four to six weeks. This allows leaders and teachers to make “just in time” instructional adjustments to support the needs of every student, no exception.
While a school’s internal accountability system helps to monitor and adjust instruction, it should also be a way to celebrate relentlessly. To keep the momentum needed to achieve their long term (yearly) SMART goal, students need to have the opportunities to celebrate the small wins along the way.
No matter how big or small – growth is growth! And growth matters.
One School’s Story
Kim Sheehan, the principal of Barranca Elementary (Covina Valley Unified School District, CA), and her staff realize the importance of celebrating growth. Using AR (Accelerated Reader) as their interim measure, teachers assess the growth of their students’ ability to read and comprehend grade level text. This assessment aligns perfectly to Barranca’s schoolwide instructional focus:
Broncos ROCK, Read Often Communicate Knowledge
So How Did Barranca Celebrate?
No celebration is complete without fanfare and food. Barranca students who met their growth goal were able to participate in a celebration lunch complete with In and Out Burgers. What a treat!
So What, Now What?
Principal Sheehan explains that there is work still to be done. While the number of students showing growth is on the rise, she and her staff are striving for 100% of their students being proficient at ROCK. They know that if they encourage their students to READ OFTEN and successfully COMMUNICATE KNOWLEDGE, then students will become more and more prepared to be successful citizens both in school and in their community.