prevent them from attaining their goals or reaching their true potential. Each year, students begin their educational journey with a mixture of excitement and anticipation yet for some students, fear and anxiety are the predominant emotion because academic success is out of reach. Students question their place in school and what school really offers or does not offer! Will I succeed, fail, struggle endlessly or just be ignored? Will my teachers care for me, understand me, be supportive and challenge me? Student success plans need to look at the whole student and find fun engaging innovative ways to meet academic goals.
Recent studies show that students who believe they can improve their skills and abilities have higher achievements and great motivation, then the students who believe that their skills are fixed. That’s why it is important to teach students that never give up is more than a teacher platitude. Teachers, parents, and students must develop strategies and plans when students are not thriving academically or when students are not reaching their maximum potential in school.
- Educational systems that develop a growth mindset in teachers, students and parents can help all children thrive academically
- Early interventions that include SMART goals, ISSP's are critical to preventing problems from getting critical
- The implementation of a comprehensive, compensatory and corrective response to intervention model is necessary for an educational system to help 100% of students to succeed.
- Evidence-based interventions should be implemented and adapted, modified to meet students and teachers need.
- Progress monitoring that provides actionable data must be implemented to inform instruction decision
- Data should be used to make and set goals yet input from teachers, parents and students is critical for buy-in.
What is Student Action Plan (SAP) Or Individual Student Success Plan (ISSP)?The ISSP (also known as individual student success plan) is a customized student action plan that is designed specifically to address the needs and interests of students to help them in achieving their educational and or career goals and also help them to stay connected, positive, and happy in school. ISSPs can be similar to IEPs, the federally mandated special education service plans that follow IDEA special education law. ISSPs are not subject to federal or state oversight but can cover students that do not qualify for special education services. ISSPs are traditionally used for the 25-35% of the students that are not thriving academically but do not qualify to receive special education services. A student success plan is a proactive approach which is useful to remove the obstacles to success and positively impact student success or change poor academic habits and replace them with positive academic habits. Usually, the ISSP process begins in the early grades to catch students that are at risk of failing. Students, parents, and teachers can continue to us ISSPs through the high school grades, providing proving assistance and support in setting goals for academic, physical, emotional and social growth.
- Since each district/school culture is different, it is important to have input from parents, students, teachers, guidance counselors, administrators, resource staff, etc. when developing (and implementing) the ISSPs.
- Make the format of the ISSP user-friendly enough to be understandable and usable by all, as well as specific enough to be useful.
- A district may have a well-developed ISSP format, but the quality of the ISSP will depend on the details of the information listed. So, school staff needs to be properly trained to develop and complete the ISSPs worksheets and SMART goal setting worksheets. Caution must be used when developing ISSPs so that incorrect data, irrelevant or old information is not transmitted and also to make sure that valuable data, information, and critical input is not lost.
- Make the ISSPs readily accessible to the teachers, parents, and students who are working towards meeting the goals and performance objectives.
- Distribute copies or provide appropriate access to these documents, so that they can be a resource that teachers, intervention specialist and administrators to use (and update) regularly.
- Consider providing time for access and/or discussion during professional development days, common planning time, and/or departmental meetings.
- For smaller districts, a paper ISSP may be the best way of communication. For larger districts, an electronic ISSP may be a more effective way for teachers to communicate.
- Create a process for monthly or quarterly progress monitoring, collecting information regarding skills learned, successful strategies, etc. to add to the ISSPs.
- All teachers have some knowledge about a specific student’s learning strengths and challenges. While many teachers communicate informally with each other about students, collecting these pieces of information onto one document can allow it to be more uniformly shared. Such a practice can help the school work as a whole to assist the students with meeting the state standards, rather than having it be the sole responsibility of the English and math teachers.
Effective Ways to Encourage a Growth Mindset in the Classroom
- Establish Micro goals to increase their confidence: Motivate students by setting small achievable goals to encourage their progress, confidence, and skills.
- Give feedback that focus on their actions and strategies: When they succeed, praise their progress and efforts rather than praising their smartness. That is so because most students consider intelligence as a fixed trait, if you start complimenting their intelligence this may undermine their performance and motivation. So help your students to understand the importance of their own actions in achieving success.
- Focus on cooperative activities rather than competitive activities: each student is different from in terms of their intelligence, skills and abilities. If a student is poor in reading then he or she will never think of participating in any activity which involves reading. So it is important to design activities that involve the cooperation of all students rather than individualistic or competitive. Moreover, recent studies also suggest that students feel more successful and motivated when working in cooperative environments.
- Value Learning: Let’s face it, most students show less interest in learning. It is important to help children value the process and focus on learning. Without this, students will stick to the traditional strategies of reading notes just for acquiring good grades with a fixed mindset. While grades are important but the value of learning should need to be prioritized by today’s students.
- Create a risk tolerant learning zone: It is important to create a risk-free environment in the school where students are free to learn without fearing of mistakes. Let your students know that you value persistent progress, learning, challenge seeking as compared to the perfect performance. It’s ok to make mistakes, they are part of life and we can all learn from mistakes. Remove their fears of mistakes and let them learn in an atmosphere that supports growth and learning.