Strategies for Student Success 2015 - Page 41

day, a demanding schedule for families and staff members alike. School leaders challenged themselves to think more strategically about time spent in school. The result was an overhaul of the master schedule and creation of AMT. Now, regular classes finish at 3:30, then AMT happens until 4:30. While the school has other tutoring programs, Ms. Shores describes AMT time as “sacred” – a mandatory part of the school day. During AMT, teachers spend time with small groups of students covering high-priority material. Some AMT groups meet continuously throughout the year, and others might convene for only a few weeks, so scheduling is fluid. One program objective is to provide remediation. Kids who are behind in reading, for example, might attend AMT blocks in that subject every day. AMT also provides time for ACT test preparation, as well as extra time for the material covered in Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Every student enrolled in an AP class is automatically placed in an AMT block for that subject as well. Results from time spent in AMT have been dramatic. AP test scores have risen each year since the program was introduced. Last year, a significant number of AP courses recorded their highest-ever AP test scores, including Soulsville’s first “five” scores. EOC test score growth has also been significant. A vast majority – 92 percent – of AMT students exceeded their EOC projections, or scored “proficient” or “advanced.” Students enrolled in this year’s Reading AMT groups have grown an average of one grade level in reading in just the first two months of the school year, from August through October. Projections are made using TVAAS reports. The school often shares test score projections with students, then celebrates when those predictions are exceeded. “We’ve found that data to be really empowering. For students to exceed these projections, it can have a huge impact on their identity,” said Ms. Shores. “We’ve seen things that honestly seem somewhat miraculous.” AMT is run by Mr. Hearn, who makes sure students know where they’re supposed to be each day. Families receive automated calls and emails each day that a student is scheduled for AMT, and also receive each week’s after-school schedule along with a progress report every Monday. “We’ve had so many students see improvement that we don’t really get pushback,” said Mr. Hearn. 40