Moving from Reactive to Proactive – How Does Your School Plan for Student Transitions?

Richard DuFour and Robert Marzano, in their book Leaders of Learning (2011), speak to how schools traditionally operate in a reactive mode when it comes to responding to the needs of students,

The school should have a process for assessing both the proficiency levels and the unique needs of students as they enter the school in order to provide a proactive response to students.  In too many schools there is no such process, and months can go by before a student’s difficulty becomes apparent to anyone other than the individual classroom teacher.  Every day a student is in a downward spiral makes it more difficult to resolve his or her problems.  If the school is to respond, steps must be taken to ensure educators beyond the classroom teacher are aware of the student’s difficulties.  The simple question, “Which of your students will need us the most?” should be asked by receiving schools when students make the transition from one school to the next.  The same question should be asked by grade-level or course-specific teams as students advance through the curriculum of a single school. (p. 181)

In a Collaborative Response Model, how we plan school-wide for student transitions is an Essential Cultural Shift that needs to be investigated and addressed.  To assist schools in this examination, we have developed a Reflection on School-Wide Student Transitions template to gather staff perceptions and plan next steps to really proactively knowing who are the students who will be needing us the most!

If you would like a word version of the template, please email us at jigsawlearning@shaw.ca.

DuFour, R. & Marzano, R. J. (2011). Leaders of learning: How district, school and classroom leaders improve student achievement. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

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