Part III: Student Success Interventions

Overview and Student Success Teams

Overview

Student Success Planning is an individualized, student driven process that is designed to help every student to achieve post-secondary educational and career goals. The process is designed around three core components: Academic Development, Career Development, and Social, Emotional and Physical Development. These core components drive a series of experiences for students grades 9 - 12 that are delivered through: 1) whole school, or grade level, or course level experiences; 2) the School Counseling 6-12 Curriculum Framework; and 3) individual and online experiences with documentation (i.e., Bridges and Naviance). This process creates multiple opportunities for students to acquire and demonstrate academic, career, and personal life skills. It also provides students with on-going support to set and monitor goals for personal and academic growth and serves as an individualized, student-driven plan.
The pyramid of student interventions, Scientific Research-Based Interventions (SRBI) Model, moves from least intense to highly individualized and intensive (bottom up), whereas students do not typically access more elevated/structured supports unless and until they have exhausted the more universal ones first.

Tiered Pyramid Graphic




 

Student Success Teams

Student Success Planning Team (SSPT)

Rationale: To provide additional support to meet the academic, social/emotional, and physical development of all William H. Hall High students.
Mission: The SSPT collaboratively assesses individual student needs, identifies appropriate supports, develops systematic approaches to address those needs, and continuously monitors for student success.

Student Success Planning Graphic

Throughout the school year, the Student Success Planning Team (SSPT) – a team comprised of Academic Service Providers (teachers and academic interventionists), Student Support Providers (school counselors, nurse, pupil services personnel, and community agency representatives), and an administrator - meet weekly to discuss the effectiveness of various interventions on the pyramid and how to fine-tune and improve the system. Students may be referred to one or more committees of the SSPT.

Tier I Interventions

Defined Supports

When students need support in school, there are a variety of resources – both internal and external – available to them. The front lines of defense for any purely academic struggle that students may experience is their teacher (considered a Tier I resource). By arranging to meet with and speak to teachers in a prearranged fashion, students can often elicit the encouragement and assistance they need to become more successful. If teacher conferences or extra-help sessions with teachers are not effective, students should consult their school counselor, who can link them to additional resources and services.

As previously mentioned, the foundation of Tier I interventions are classroom-based interventions and/or supports that all students may access. Basic classroom-based interventions include such things as preferential seating, providing additional class notes, teacher meetings, and student-parent-teacher conferences.

The Developmental School Counseling Curriculum

The School Counseling Department delivers a comprehensive program to students in all grades spanning the three functional areas of personal/social, academic, and career. In addition to the more formal classroom-based program components, school counselors also meet with each of their students at least once annually to go over course selections and to address any other academic, social, or personal concerns that students may have.

The Freshmen Seminar Series is a district-wide initiative for all grade 9 students and is delivered weekly through their study halls during the first quarter of the school year. Freshmen school counselors come into freshmen study halls to present on topics such as self-advocacy, study skills, organization, time-management, and communication.

During sophomore year, school counselors focus on students exploring their identities, aptitudes and interests. During this year, they deliver a career lesson to sophomores in the spring, where they come into one of their core classes and walk students through a survey and lesson on career and post-secondary exploration and goal-setting.

During students’ junior year, school counselors deliver the Junior Seminar Series – a series of lessons targeted on meeting the post-secondary planning needs of all students. The Junior Seminar Series is a 9-week series where counselors meet with juniors in computer labs during their free periods and discuss topics such as using Naviance, The Common Application, college visits/interviews, SAT (College Board) & ACT (ACT), and resume & brag sheet writing.

Early in their senior years, students meet with their school counselors in more extensive individual meetings to finalize post-secondary plans and complete the application process.

School-Wide Supports

Tier II Interventions

Defined Supports

Tier II interventions are not automatically provided to every student and must be accessed through a teacher, school counselor, pupil services worker, or an administrator (usually recommended through an Action Team). These interventions target specific needs of individual students and may require intentional scheduling compromises. These measures are not meant to last indefinitely, with the ultimate goal of moving students back to Tier I. 

Action Team Meeting

If Tier I interventions are ineffective, an Action Team Meeting may be convened to discuss further interventions and supports for the student. This team is composed of the student’s school counselor, teacher(s), social worker (if necessary), school nurse (if necessary), and administrator. An Action Team Meeting is called when a student’s ability to successfully access their education is impacted by academic performance, attendance issues, or habits of mind (time management, effort).

The Action Team brings all the stakeholders together to develop a student support plan, agree to terms of implementation, and to schedule a follow up meeting. Administrators and school counselors review assessments, grades, attendance, and Tier 1 and Tier 2 (when appropriate) data. If a pattern of inconsistent or unsuccessful school performance is observed, an Action Team Meeting will be scheduled with the student, teachers, support staff, administrators, and parents. Teachers are asked to provide information about the students’ performance on the Teacher Reporting Form and attend the meeting. School counselors run the meeting and administrators record the minutes and follow up plan.

After reviewing data, all stakeholders will contribute to the development and implementation of a support plan, known as an Action Plan. Measure(s) and criteria for success will be determined along with persons responsible for progress monitoring. A follow up meeting will be scheduled for approximately six weeks from the initial meeting. Sometimes, if Tier II interventions are not deemed sufficient, the outcome of an Action Team may be to refer students to a higher level of support, such as a 504 or PPT meeting.

Alternative Search for Knowledge (ASK)

The purpose of Alternative Search for Knowledge (ASK) is to help students with chronic or acute patterns of underperformance achieve at a level of which they are capable and help them overcome their obstacles to success. ASK is primarily targeted for juniors and seniors, but may also admit second semester sophomores on occasion. Through the expert guidance of seasoned ASK teachers, students are encouraged to actively participate in and take ownership of their education. ASK not only helps students improve their academic performance, but also seeks to help them work on underlying issues that may be impeding this progress. ASK also aims to help students improve their attendance and reduce disciplinary referrals. Graduation rates are enhanced, as students are guided to explore their future goals and expand both their present and future opportunities by improved school performance.

The process of admission to ASK includes an extensive review of grades and transcripts throughout the year, as well as recommendations from staff, counselors, peers, and families. Finally, an interview with the Coordinator of ASK and the student’s parents may result in a voluntary 1-2 year enrollment. Students meet for two periods during the school day and receive one credit in English and one in social studies. Listed by department, each course fulfills a graduation requirement and is aligned with department standards.

Freshman Academy (Skills Seminar)

The Freshman Academy provides identified Grade 9 students with additional academic and social-emotional support. As part of the Freshman Academy, students enroll in Skills Seminar, a one-credit, Pass/Fail course. During Skills Seminar, English, history and science teachers foster academic skills that resonate in students' core classes, and students continuously reflect on their academic and socio-emotional progress. To further promote success, students meet with the Grade 9 school counselors every Wednesday.

Math Intervention

Math intervention is typically available to freshmen and sophomores (algebra and geometry) who are struggling in math. Students who are not able to improve their math skills through extra help with their teachers or peer support may be referred by their math teachers to the math interventionist, a certified math teacher, for additional one-on-one support. If their schedules align, the math interventionist and the student will meet weekly (or as often as needed) either during the student’s lunch or study hall to supplement foundational understandings and assist in work completion.

Sophomore Support Group (SSG)

Targeted to second year high school students who may be experiencing a wide variety of issues or challenges, this program is intended for sophomores with low academic standing or who have already participated in Skills Seminar and may benefit from extra assistance. Identified students meet with school counseling interns on a regular basis (usually weekly) to discuss a variety of topics and strategies. School counseling interns focus on organization, study skills, classroom behavior, time management, test-taking, note-taking, stress and anxiety, self-advocacy, and learning styles. Student’s GPA and attendance will be recorded each quarter to keep track of their progress. Students take a pre and post survey at the beginning and end of the program to help track its effectiveness.

Peer Tutoring Program

Social learning theory states that students learn best from their peers. There are many high performing students at Hall, as well as many others who struggle in a variety of areas. Therefore, a process for matching these students with mentors is desirable. Mentorship becomes an intervention when a structure is in place to ensure students are focused on specific improvement measures during their interactions with their matched peers. Based on need and availability, students may request and be potentially matched with a peer who can tutor them or whom they can tutor in a variety of subjects. The Student Activities Director, located in the Career Center, runs the Peer Tutoring Program and has information for any student interested in becoming a peer tutor.  

Peer Tutor Sign Up Form

Reading Intervention

Reading interventions are provided for students who will benefit from additional support because they are reading below grade level. Students are identified for this intervention through a variety of ways including, but not limited to: academic history review, standardized test performance, Action Team meetings, and/or teacher referral. Students reading significantly below grade level are identified and enrolled in Reading Seminar I (Grade 9), Reading Seminar II (Grade 10), or a co-taught Grade 10 English class. Interventions include Tier I, II, or III. Mandated students requiring reading interventions are enrolled via Parent Placement Team (PPT) meetings through the Pupil Services/Special Education Department.

Workshop

The purpose of Workshop is to create a connection to school, develop good study habits, target work completion, and study for tests through more structured support for students who have not met with success through teacher interventions, Library/Media Center, or Sophomore Support. Workshop is located in the computer lab of the Library/Media Center after school daily until 3:45 (2:45 on Wednesdays) and is staffed by a certified teacher. Participants are expected to arrive prepared with their agendas completed and all necessary resources to complete their work. Since the maximum enrollment of Workshop is only 10 students, each one is able to be given individualized support as needed. Participation in this program/intervention is limited; students should be referred by an Action Team, 504, or PPT Meeting. Contracts are used to specify the exact start and end dates of the 6-week (minimum) intervention period, and the student, parents, school counselor, and administrator must all sign off on it. At the end of the 6 weeks the contract will be reviewed and renewed if appropriate.

Drug, Alcohol & Tobacco Team (DATT)

The Drug, Alcohol & Tobacco Team (DATT) is comprised of administrators, social workers, and school counselors. The DATT is convened in response to the reporting of an incident regarding the actual use, the suspicion of the use, or the possession of drugs, alcohol, or any other controlled substance. When this happens, the identified student and their support network (parents, guardians, teachers, etc.) become part of the DATT for the purpose of identifying the underlying issues and helping the student work through them.

The team works with the student and their support network to define the extent of use and facilitate interventions. Following a Drug, Alcohol and/or Tobacco Assessment and/or Urinalysis, the student is assigned an activity (e.g., attend AA/NA meetings, read a relevant book, create a work of art, etc.) and write a written reflection that will be shared with The DATT. The student and their support network meet with The DATT to discuss their activity, the results and recommendations of the assessment, and to establish next steps, if needed. For a more comprehensive understanding of the West Hartford Policy on Drug & Alcohol Usage, as well as an outline of school administered consequences, please refer to Part IV.

Pupil Services

The Pupil Services Office is also available to any student who may be experiencing any personal or family-related issues and is in need of any counseling or support.

The Bridge

Based in West Hartford, Connecticut, the Bridge Family Center is a comprehensive, regional nonprofit agency that provides a broad range of services for children and families throughout the Greater Hartford area. Founded in 1969, the Bridge offers a safe haven for children and families in crisis, as well as positive, healthy intervention and prevention programs.

Students who are dealing with personal and/or emotional issues may be referred to the Bridge by their counselor or a social worker for additional counseling or mentorship at no cost to them. Counselors or mentors linked to students through the Bridge typically meet with their students weekly, and sometimes include families, until the student no longer needs or requires their service.

Tier III Interventions

Defined Supports

Tier III interventions represent the highest level of care and individualized support regular education students can access without becoming mandated under either the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act (IDEA) for special education students or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) pertaining to Section 504. These interventions may include intensive support.

At Risk Assessment & Support

When students are deemed at-risk of harming themselves or others, they are brought to the school psychologist or social worker for a preliminary assessment. Students may be identified as at-risk by any caring adult or even a peer. Upon referral, a team consisting of the student’s counselor, nurse and administrator then makes a decision about supportive next steps and coordinates with the parents or guardians. If the threat is deemed imminent, the student may be hospitalized and/or the parent contacted to come to the school to pick up their child. The student may return to school once deemed safe by medical staff and a re-entry meeting is scheduled. At the meeting, where the student, parents, counselor, social worker or psychologist, and administrator are present, a plan is created to support the student moving forward. As with most formalized plans, follow up with students, parents, and outside agencies (if applicable) is key to reintegration and decreasing future at risk behaviors.

Responsible Educational Alternative for Conard & Hall (REACH)

REACH is an alternative high school run by the District of West Hartford, for students who, for a variety of reasons, have not demonstrated a capacity to achieve in their home schools. REACH is located next to Conard High School and follows the same annual calendar as Conard and Hall. School hours are from 8:55 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. except short Wednesdays (12:48 p.m. dismissal). Students may be referred to REACH a number of ways, but typically through an Action Team Meeting at their respective home high schools. Since REACH is also a voluntary program, upon initial recommendation (by teacher, counselor or administrator), the student and parent must complete an intensive application process which includes a written statement and formal interview (at REACH) with their parents or guardians present.

At REACH, students have the opportunity to develop a sense of pride and ownership for their education through a smaller and more intimate school and classroom setting. Academically, the school takes a collaborative approach to learning with a maximum emphasis placed on independent learning styles and the use of technology to enhance the learning experience. The focus is on helping students earn credit in core courses needed for graduation. Students develop and maintain a career focus throughout their programs. As such, they are required to participate in a progressive Career Exploration Program. Students are also required to take an active role in a Group Dynamics course, which incorporates cross-disciplinary topics into a discussion/activity based learning experience. Individualized support and counseling is also available for students on a daily basis. Some students come to the REACH Program to complete their high school credits and graduate, while others come to refocus on their academics and learn the necessary skills to return to their home school.

Department of Children & Families (DCF)

Educators in the State of Connecticut are mandated to report any suspected abuse and/or neglect of any student. This is a statutory regulation designed to protect the children in our care from the harms of physical or sexual abuse, neglect, abandonment, and any other injurious behavior to their physical, intellectual or emotional well-being. Any type of abuse or neglect affects students in a pervasive fashion, affecting many aspects of their functioning and well-being. State law mandates that we provide an oral report to the DCF via the Careline at 1(800) 842-2288 no later than 12 hours after the mandated reporter has reasonable cause to suspect or believe that a child has been abused, neglected or placed in imminent risk of harm. Within 48 hours of making an oral report, the reporter shall submit a written report the DCF Careline on the DCF-136 form entitled, “Report of Suspected Abuse or Neglect.”

We refer to DCF in a timely manner whenever abuse or neglect is suspected; best practice also suggests that we follow up with these students to provide additional support and interventions as appropriate and necessary within the confines of the school day and environment. Referrals to outside agencies to address underlying trauma and family dysfunction are also recommended. Regular communication and contact with a caring support staff with whom students feels safe are also important risk mitigation factors for the children in crisis. Students, families, and the general community population are all important stakeholders in children’s support network.

Mandated Services

Pupil Services

The Pupil Services Department provides a variety of supports for students and parents experiencing any number of personal, social or emotional issues that impact learning. Some of these supports include counseling, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, instruction for the hearing impaired, instruction for the visually impaired, vocational training, and training in adaptive daily living skills.

The Pupil Services staff, which includes social workers, the school psychologist, special education teachers, and the Pupil Services Department Supervisor, are also involved in the identification and assessment of students with disabilities (mandated services) identified under the Individuals with Educational Act (IDEA). This process involves individualized program development, service delivery, and progress monitoring through the adherence to Individual Education Plans (IEPs) in accordance with federal and state guidelines. IEPs are developed and reviewed yearly to ensure that students’ instructional supports, goals and objectives, and accommodations and modifications across school settings are designed and implemented with integrity, and are actively addressing the pre-identified areas of concern related to students’ present levels of performance. Students who receive special education services are included in general academic courses and electives to the greatest extent possible in accordance with federal and state laws (least restrictive environment).
 

Success through Responsibility, Initiative, Vision & Education (STRIVE)

The purpose of STRIVE is to provide the needed academic, personal and social support to mandated (SPED) students who are not able to meet with success in the larger school environment. The STRIVE program is for elementary, middle and high school students with significant behavioral and emotional disabilities. Behavioral plans are developed and implemented for each student. Daily group and/or individual counseling is provided. Access to general education is a universal goal, but is a gradual process that must be planned and implemented as appropriate. The programs are housed at King Philip and Sedgwick Middle Schools (Grades 6-8), and 11 Wampanoag Drive (high school students).

Responsible Educational Alternative for Conard & Hall (REACH)

REACH is an alternative high school run by the District of West Hartford, for students who, for a variety of reasons, have not demonstrated a capacity to achieve in their home schools. REACH is located next to Conard High School and follows the same annual calendar as Conard and Hall. School hours are from 8:55 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. except short Wednesdays (12:48 p.m. dismissal). Students may be referred to REACH a number of ways, but typically through an Action Team Meeting at their respective home high schools. Since REACH is also a voluntary program, upon initial recommendation (by teacher, counselor or administrator), the student and parent must complete an intensive application process which includes a written statement and formal interview (at REACH) with their parents or guardians present.

At REACH, students have the opportunity to develop a sense of pride and ownership for their education through a smaller and more intimate school and classroom setting. Academically, the school takes a collaborative approach to learning with a maximum emphasis placed on independent learning styles and the use of technology to enhance the learning experience. The focus is on helping students earn credit in core courses needed for graduation. Students develop and maintain a career focus throughout their programs. As such, they are required to participate in a progressive Career Exploration Program. Students are also required to take an active role in a Group Dynamics course, which incorporates cross-disciplinary topics into a discussion/activity based learning experience. Individualized support and counseling is also available for students on a daily basis. Some students come to the REACH Program to complete their high school credits and graduate, while others come to refocus on their academics and learn the necessary skills to return to their home school.

Section 504

The purpose of a Section 504 intervention, also known as a 504 Plan, is to provide students with mental or physical disabilities access to the curriculum – to establish an “even playing field”. Students meeting federal criteria are recognized under Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act and may be, if needed, provided with necessary and reasonable accommodations in order to access the curriculum. In order to become recognized under this section of the law, students have to demonstrate 1) evidence of a physical or mental disability, and 2) a substantial impact on one or more “life functions” (which usually translates to a substantial and noticeable impact on learning, as evidenced by their grades). This impact is determined to be the result of their disability unaccommodated for (i.e. without medication). It is also, as commonly practiced, to refer to temporary conditions which impact student learning beyond a 6-month period, such as concussions.
504 meetings may be held at the request of parents, teachers, counselors, social workers, or administrators and typically involve all the above parties. Students on a 504 Plan have annual reviews of their accommodations, with the ultimate goal of being exited from their plan.

NOTICE OF PARENT/STUDENT RIGHTS UNDER SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, commonly referred to as Section 504, is a nondiscrimination statute enacted by the United States Congress. The purpose of the Act is to prohibit discrimination and to assure that disabled students have educational opportunities and benefits equal to those provided to nondisabled students.

An eligible student under Section 504 is a student who (a) has, (b) has a record of having or (c) is regarded as having, a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits a major life activity such as learning, self-care, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, working, and performing manual tasks.

Many students will be eligible for educational services under both Section 504 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), but entitlement to services under the IDEA or other statutes is not required to receive services under Section 504.
The following is a description of the rights and options granted by federal law to students with disabilities under Section 504. The intent of the law is to keep you fully informed concerning decisions about your child and to inform you of your rights if you disagree with any of these decisions. You have the right:

1. To be informed of your rights under Section 504;

2. To have your child take part in and receive benefits from the West Hartford School District’s education programs without discrimination based on a student’s disability.

3. For your child to have equal opportunities to participate in academic, nonacademic and extracurricular activities in your school without discrimination based on a student’s disability;

4. To be notified with respect to the Section 504 identification, evaluation, and educational placement of your child;

5. To have an evaluation, educational recommendation, and placement decision developed by a team of persons who are knowledgeable of your child, the assessment data, and any placement options;

6. If your child is eligible for services under Section 504, for your child to receive a free appropriate public education. This includes the right to receive reasonable accommodations, modifications, and related services to allow your child an equal opportunity to participate in school and school-related activities;

7. For your child to be educated with peers who do not have disabilities to the maximum extent appropriate;

8. To have your child educated in facilities and receive services comparable to those provided to non- disabled students;

9. To review all relevant records relating to decisions regarding your child’s Section 504 identification, evaluation, and educational placement;

10. To obtain copies of your child’s educational records at a reasonable cost unless the fee would effectively deny you access to the records;

11. To request changes in the educational program of your child;

12. To an impartial hearing if you disagree with the school district’s decisions regarding your child’s Section 504 identification, evaluation or educational placement. The costs for this hearing are borne by the local school district. You and the student have the right to take part in the hearing and to have an attorney represent you at your expense.

13. To file a court action if you are dissatisfied with the impartial hearing officer’s decision or to request attorney’s fees related to securing your child’s rights under Section 504.

14. To file a local grievance with the designated Section 504 Coordinator to resolve complaints of discrimination other than those involving the identification, evaluation or placement of your child.

15. To file a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.

District 504 Coordinator and Additional Help

The Section 504 Coordinator for this district is:
Gretchen Nelson
Director of Pupil Services
West Hartford Education Center
50 South Main Street
West Hartford CT 06107
Telephone: 860-561-6600

For additional assistance regarding your rights under Section 504, you may contact:
Boston Regional Office Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
J.W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse
Boston MA 02109
Telephone: 1-617-289-0111

U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
330 C Street, S.W.
Washington DC 20202
Telephone: 1-800-421-3481

Connecticut State Department of Education
Bureau of Special Education and Pupil Services
P.O. Box 2219
Hartford CT 06145
Telephone: 860-713-6910