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Marlena, @bentleyacademy
Head of School , Bentley Academy Charter School , Massachusetts
Low income population

At Bentley Elementary, academic achievement was a persistent problem. In Massachusetts, schools are classified into one of five accountability and assistance levels, with the highest performing in Level 1 and the lowest in Level 5. In 2011, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education classified Bentley Elementary as a Level 4 school for its low test scores and academic achievement. In 2012, Bentley was again classified at Level 4, ranking in the bottom 4 percent of elementary schools in the state. In 2013, one year into its state-mandated turnaround, the school dropped to the bottom 3 percent.

In 2014-15, Bentley Elementary set a goal to move out of Level 4. In 2015-16, the school reorganized into the Bentley Academy Charter School and began serving students in grades K–5.

Product Use: We began using the Kickboard school culture system in 2014-15 to support our efforts to become a flagship school. As part of this endeavor, we utilized Kickboard’s configurable, web-based platform to establish school-wide behavior expectations for students, including expectations to support our core school values (grit, collaboration, integrity, discipline, and zest) and expectations for safety, the school building, hallway, cafeteria, bathroom, schoolyard, and bus. Now, with just a tap, we can easily record and reinforce the behaviors that make up our ideal culture.

With Kickboard, we can see if students are meeting our core values and expectations, and act on this data in real-time. This allows us to better support our students, teachers and parents. Our teachers use this data to give students constant feedback, which keeps them motivated and increases their accountability. Each week, we send data home to parents to illustrate how well their children are embracing our values and expectations. In addition, with Kickboard’s interactive dashboards and reports, we track school trends so we can celebrate our successes or identify which values or expectations we need to work on as a school or in a particular grade level.

What Worked and What Didn't: Since 2014, Bentley has achieved gains on several state accountability measures, including state assessments, the Composite Performance Index (CPI), and Student Growth Percentiles (SGPs).

From 2015 to 2016, Bentley Academy Charter School was only one of two schools in the state to move from a Level 4 to a Level 1 school and exit turnaround status. In addition, our school has seen decreases in suspensions and office referrals. The number of Level 3 Infractions, which can result in suspension hearings including in-school suspension, decreased by 50 percent from 2016 to 2017.

We know there are no silver bullets in education, but Kickboard has definitely been part of a strategy that has turned around our school’s culture and academics. With Kickboard, not only do we say we have these core values and behavior expectations, but we can hold ourselves accountable and share that information with students and their families. It allows us to work on many of our key pillars so we can ensure that we are providing the best education experience possible for our students.

Age Group: N/A (I am an administrator)

Aug 3, 2017 Provide Feedback
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