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Policies and Practices Resources

Policies and Practices Related to Student Failure and Dropping Out: Tools and Resources

The format of the inventory identifies a policy or practice, the potential negative effect on students, and possible alternatives to the policy or practice. It allows the user to identify whether or not the policy or practice is a perceived problem and what action should be taken locally. Local administrators and school board members are encouraged to use this inventory to gain information to help design local plans for at-risk student services.

Students, teachers, parents, business persons, community agencies, and other interested persons could be involved to help develop consensus on local problems and solutions to the problems. The questionnaire in this inventory, which was used to help develop it, serves as an example of how information could be collected from students at the local level.

Inventory of Policies & Practices Related to Student Failure And Dropping Out

Although this resource was produced for schools and school districts in Iowa, it is a quality example that schools in Colorado could use as they examine their policies and practices that may affect students.

School Culture Surveys/Action Plan

The terms school culture and school climate describe the environment that affects the behavior of teachers and students. School culture is the shared beliefs and attitudes that characterize the district-wide organization and establish boundaries for its constituent units.

School climate characterizes the organization at the school building and classroom level. It refers to the “feel” of a school and can vary from school to school within the same district. While an individual school can develop a climate independently of the larger organization, changes in school culture at the district level can positively or adversely affect school climate at the building level.

An Audit of the Culture Starts with Two Hand Tools

“Schools have tried various improvements to create more effective schools, but many educators and researches are discovering a “missing link”…The Missing link has more to do with the school’s culture than with elaborate curriculum alignment projects, scrimmage tests, and the latest buzzword reform efforts. Researchers agree that school culture is an important, but often overlooked, component of school improvement (Levine & Lezotte, 1995; Sizer, 1988; Phillips, 1996; Peterson & Deal, 1998, Frieberg, 1998).”

Reading this article will assist the committee with developing and implementing a whole-school audit.

School Climate Assessment

This page links to recommended tools for evaluating the social and emotional climate of your school. Student, staff, and parent surveys are available.

The School Climate Challenge: Narrowing the Gap between School Climate Research and School Climate Policy, Practice Guidelines and Teacher Education Policy

We have detailed a glaring gap between school climate research findings and policy, school improvement practice and teacher educator efforts. Current accountability systems that exclusively focus on reading and math scores have reinforced this gap. This gap undermines K-12 students’ ability to learn and develop in healthy ways.

We have suggested a series of specific steps that support policymakers, practice and teacher education leaders to narrow this gap. And, in doing so, we are strengthening the school community and students ability to learn the 21st century skills and dispositions that provide the foundation for school — and life — success. Measuring school climate and using these findings to build community and further learning and positive youth development will — literally — make a difference for the future of America: our children.

Health and Wellness Policies

Schools can develop healthy habits. Research has shown the link between health and wellness and student academic achievement.

2009 Health and Wellness Best Practices Guide for Colorado

This guide highlights school district level best practices for healthy schools, students and staff. It’s designed for administrators, school board members, parents and community members. Don’t underestimate your role! You can make a significant difference. We’ll show you how in this online guide. You’ll also find links to a wealth of resources and tools to help you get started.

The Whole Child

Research proves that students learn best when their academic, emotional, physical, and social needs are met.

These web pages serve as a clearinghouse of information on the Local Wellness Policy. Sample policies and reference materials are provided to help school districts as they develop their own wellness policies. These materials are intended for guidance and reference; however local policies are not limited to the examples listed here. Although these sample policies and materials have been provided to assist school districts in developing their own local wellness policies, USDA has not approved or endorsed any of them.

Flexible Scheduling

Flexible scheduling is defined as creative use of the time in the school day in an attempt to match the instructional time and format to the learning needs of students.

With large blocks of time to facilitate involvement, students benefit from less fragmentation and more engagement in project-based learning and interdisciplinary activities, promoting skill application, interpersonal relations, and decision-making skills related to concrete, relevant problems (Vars, 1993). Similarly, Arhar (1992) found that flexible scheduling increased student engagement and achievement and positive social ramifications (Arhar, 1992).

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