At Oxford School District, located in Oxford, Mississippi, we are a whole child, whole teacher district.
What does this mean in practice? From the district level all the way down to school buildings, we've made it our mission to make sure that every student and every adult is supported socially, emotionally, academically, and professionally.
As the director of equity and intervention at Oxford, I oversee our district's multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) and social-emotional learning (SEL) programming. In our MTSS, all means all. My team of intervention coordinators and behavior coaches works to ensure that nobody slips through the cracks. This means that we need to be checking on our systems in real time, with accurate data and information.
That's where Panorama comes into play. Panorama's Student Success platform has transformed the way we do MTSS. By integrating with PowerSchool, Panorama shows us in real time how our students are doing across academics, assessments, social-emotional learning (SEL), behavior, and attendance.
For the first time ever, we've been able to:
- Unify our academic and behavior intervention programs.
- Collaborate on intervention plans in one place.
- Work directly with SEL data to support our children and teachers.
In this article, I'm going to share our journey towards becoming a whole child, whole teacher district in partnership with Panorama.
From Sticky Notes to a Digital Story of the Whole Child
In my previous role as building leader, and now, as a district leader, data has always been a constant. I need a data portrait of each and every child so that we can understand what is happening and how we can meet their differentiated needs.
How We Handled Interventions Before Panorama:
I used to have "data wall" made up of sticky notes. Each teacher would have a section on the wall with their children listed underneath. It was color coded from red to green, and we would move the children from color to color based on their assessment data. We would have conversations when students regressed, and we would celebrate when students moved from red to green.
As you can imagine, the data wall was an extremely manual system for managing interventions. Not only was it static, but it didn't help us get a portrait of the whole child since we were only able to post assessment data. Our intervention coordinators and behavior coaches were in need of a dynamic intervention system that would help us move closer to our district's vision of supporting the whole child.
How It Works With Panorama:
Now, with Panorama, we're able to see an accurate, real-time digital story about every student. In one easy-to-use platform, we have an early warning system with color-coded indicators across attendance, behavior, academics, and social-emotional learning (SEL) data so we can see immediately when students are struggling and in what area(s).
It's a game changer—our intervention coordinators and behavior coaches can create intervention plans, keep notes, and work in real time in Panorama. Now, we're having much more robust conversations with teachers about what students need.
This image depicts demo data.
"With Panorama, we're able to create a digital story in real time about every student. We have an early warning system with indicators across attendance, behavior, academics, SEL. It's a game changer. Our intervention coordinators and behavior coaches can keep notes and work in real time in Panorama. Now our conversations with teachers are so much more robust."
Unifying Academic and Behavior Interventions
Academics, behavior, and social-emotional learning are inextricably linked. Before we partnered with Panorama, however, our academic and behavior interventions existed in two different planes—they happened in isolation. We knew that this wasn't the most effective way to support our students.
One of the biggest benefits of having Panorama is that we can truly unify our MTSS. We can log interventions across multiple domains in one place—which means we're all working on the same team. All of our intervention coordinators and behavior coaches have visibility into progress monitoring notes when they do fidelity checks, and can pull up any data they need (in real time!) when they speak with teachers. Our ability to work together to understand the root of a child's struggles has improved exponentially.
This image depicts demo data.
Panorama has also been especially helpful as we return to school in a virtual learning environment. Due to COVID-19, we know our students are dealing with trauma and more barriers to accessing learning than ever. Our behavior coaches and individual coordinators have been building student groups/lists in Panorama, and are checking in with students who may not be logging on for school. The ability to collaborate and communicate in one platform has been key to ensuring that no child falls through the gaps.
How Social-Emotional Learning Fits Into Our MTSS
Especially as we move into the 2020-21 school year, our superintendent has reinforced that SEL comes hand in hand with academic content. In working towards our whole child, whole teacher vision, we've created a committee focused on building the SEL literacy of our students and our teachers.
Not only does Panorama pull our SEL assessment data into one intervention platform, but it also gives us access to strategies for improving student and adult SEL through its online professional learning library, Playbook. I have a tremendous group of coaches, intervention coordinators, and staff members who use Panorama's Playbook to plan SEL interventions for teachers and students. For example, we're doing mindfulness videos, calming corners, and SEL calendars for teachers this year.
There are three steps I would recommend to any district looking to become a whole child, whole teacher district. First, the leadership team must be bought into this vision. Second, there needs to be a "champion" who is willing to jump in, explore new tools, and build processes around MTSS and SEL. Third, it's critical to organize these processes within a committee, because you cannot do this work alone. This work takes everybody's head and hearts.
LaTonya Robinson is the Director of Equity and Intervention at Oxford School District in Mississippi.