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5 ways to create a performance-based school climate

To create a successful performance-based classroom, educators must be aware of multiple elements that affect learning within that environment


Students’ learning is affected by academic as well as nonacademic factors. Enabling them to achieve their full potential requires integrating learning outcome data with information about special needs, interventions and social/emotional factors.

During my time as a classroom teacher, I quickly realized there were many technology tools for managing students’ academic data but few for tracking nonacademic factors that also play a critical role in classroom management.

In fact, 30 years of research indicates that classroom management is rated first in impact on student achievement. Well-managed classrooms allow teachers and students to stay on task and facilitate lesson delivery, learning, and constructive communication. Conversely, a poorly managed classroom is prone to disruptions and discipline issues, which interrupt instruction and adversely affect learning.

In our K-12 educational system, which places an increasing emphasis on academic outcomes each year, we can no longer ignore the link between academic achievement and nonacademic factors such as student behavior. Tracking and managing these factors is not simply a “nice-to-have” capability; it is a “must-have” to create an environment that is truly conducive to learning.

What is so exciting about K-12 classrooms today is that educators have the ability to collect and analyze a variety of data points, so they can make instructional decisions based on an understanding of the whole child. Instructional management solutions can simplify this process by integrating and organizing the data to make it easy to understand, act upon and share.

(Next page: Five ways educators can create performance-based climates)

The following are five ways educators can use an instructional management solution to create a performance-based school climate that leads to long-term student success.

Improve classroom management with high-quality relationships.

Positive teacher-student relationships form the basis for all other aspects of classroom management. To nurture these relationships, teachers need information that provides a 360-degree view of students. By tracking student grades, standards mastery, reading growth, prescribed interventions, rubric observations, attendance, and behavior within a single, secure application, schools not only save time but also create a more transparent, collaborative environment. These details enable educators to truly understand what drives, motivates, and impacts each child’s behavior and performance, while ensuring their students feel respected and valued.

View academic and behavioral data together.

A 360-degree student view means that educators have the capacity to track students’ academic performance as well as their positive, neutral, and negative behaviors on a daily basis. Teachers are also able to review other teachers’ observations and notes so that all educators involved can share insight into a student’s performance. Teachers and administrators can also track broader trends across a school or by groups, grade levels, teachers, or individual students to determine problem areas or strengths, and share best practices.

Support data-driven instruction and interventions.

An instructional management solution with an intuitive interface can support teachers’ reviews of student performance on a specific assessment or across multiple assessments by converting the raw data into charts and graphs for easier interpretation. Teachers can disaggregate class data into records for specific students or subgroups. With this data, they can proactively identify students’ academic and behavioral needs, and deliver targeted instruction and interventions to make the most of their instructional time.

Identify warning signs early and support special needs.

The early identification of students’ academic or behavioral challenges increases the efficacy of interventions and reduces the potential for disruptive behavior. While many Response to Intervention (RTI) or special education data systems track only students requiring intensive intervention, an instructional management system can track the progress of general education students alongside peers with special needs. With this data, teachers can spot academic or behavioral warning signs early and immediately address areas of concern, reducing the need for more intensive interventions, eliminating unnecessary referrals to special education, and creating more accurate documentation to support compliance requirements.

Increase parent involvement.

Since many families now have some form of online access, educators may also opt to activate a parent-student portal. Using this portal, parents or caregivers can see their children’s most recent academic and behavioral progress, and become more involved in their ongoing growth and improvement.

To create a successful classroom, educators must be aware of and respond to multiple elements that affect learning within that environment. Managing these elements means that they must handle and analyze an amount of data that would be overwhelming as a manual task or hampered by storage in disparate systems. An instructional management solution provides the 360-degree data analysis that educators need to address classroom management, data-driven instruction and special education data management.

Jennifer Medbery is the CEO of Kickboard. After receiving a Computer Science degree from Columbia University, she spent several years teaching disadvantaged children through Teach for America. She then served as a founding teacher at a New Orleans charter school, where she developed the idea for Kickboard. 

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