Who’s ready for a math problem? Let’s say you have 4,000 English Learners in your district. After spending weeks pulling together data to track which students are ready to be reclassified, you finally identify 1,242 students that might be - cross your fingers - ready to exit the program. With a sigh of relief, you realize that half of your students are at the elementary level, so you only need to collect one teacher input form for each of them.
If the remaining half are middle and high school students and you need one form from their Homeroom teacher and one form from their ELA/ELD teacher, how many forms do you need to distribute and collect? If your head is spinning, or you’re worried about how much toner and paper you would need, you’re not alone.
Many districts in California, including Napa Valley Schools, can relate. With such a large population of English Learners, it can be difficult to get input from classroom teachers on reclassification and RFEP monitoring.
“Prior to Ellevation, we spent most of our time pulling together the data and crossing items off our compliance check list,” says Ivan Chaidez, Executive Director of Napa Valley USD.
Napa invested time and energy into understanding what makes an EL ready to exit their program. Because of the results from their extensive research on student cohorts, the district developed custom exit criteria with multiple data points differentiated by grade level. Prior to Ellevation, this process was “all hands on deck” with manual data pulls, cumbersome excel functions, and days spent tracking down Teacher Input Forms. Additionally, Napa Valley didn’t have a fool-proof system to collect RFEP monitoring forms and often had to rely on the word of site administrators.
“We didn’t have time to sift through 800 reports to see if teachers were monitoring our former ELs appropriately, or even if teachers were monitoring at all!” says Sarah Williams, Director of Assessment, Achievement and English Learner Services at Napa Valley.
Implementing technology to improve student outcomes is nothing new for Napa Valley Schools. As an innovative and forward thinking district, Napa Valley is just one of a select number of districts in California that provides all students with access to a laptop or tablet. The district also partners with a local non-profit to incorporate project-based learning and assess pedagogical research. When it came time to finding a technology solution that would address their EL program pain points, Ellevation was the obvious choice.
“Ellevation allows me to easily distribute and collect teacher input forms online, giving me a direct line of communication to classroom teachers without having to rely on Principals or APs,” says Sarah. “Now we’re able to quickly access our student information, along with their data, and have a more meaningful conversation about what to do next.”
And that’s not all. Napa Valley also uses Ellevation to identify what’s working with ELs for the benefit of all students.
“We often think about our EL program as helping the canaries in the coal mine, meaning that if our ELs are doing well, then our instruction for all students is good,” says Sarah. “We use Ellevation to find sites where ELs are progressing, capture that school’s best instructional practices, and duplicate the findings across the district.”
Now, back to our math problem. Are you ready for the answer? In the scenario above, you’d have to print, distribute and collect 1,863 forms. Your reclassification and RFEP monitoring numbers may not match those of the district in our fictional scenario, but we know how time consuming and challenging it can be to manage it all, regardless of how many ELLs you serve. Let us help!