Intervention Enrichment Program Best Practices

A hot topic at #NASSP2018 was how schools are successfully managing proactive schoolwide intervention & enrichment programs. Nationwide, schools have implemented innovative programs with a variety of approaches, from weekly -to- daily sessions, from specialized programs -to- intervention & enrichment for all. The school leaders I spoke with believe these programs deliver tremendous student value however, the dynamic and personalized nature of the programs make them a challenge to administer.

Jeff Erickson, Minnetonka High School Principal and Robb Virgin, Eden Prairie High School Principal, were featured speakers at #NASSP2018 and shared their successful intervention program, MAST. Key to their program’s success has been AchieveMore via VACAVA. AchieveMore software reduces the complexity of scheduling, communicating and tracking their weekly schoolwide program. With real-time data at their fingertips, the Minnetonka faculty have been able to fine tune their focus to reach students before failure, changing their trajectory towards success.

If you missed Jeff and Robb’s session, checkout the following best practice information on proactive schoolwide intervention and enrichment program implementation.

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Proactive And Effective High School Interventions

Proactive school wide academic interventions are gaining national interest. Recently, Ed's (Not) Dead Podcast - The All Things Education Podcast featured an interview with Jeffrey Erickson, principal and Robb Virgin, assistant principal - both from Minnetonka High School. They discussed the way Minnetonka is supporting students throughout the school year, known as "Minnetonka Academic Success Time" or "MAST." During the interview, they discuss what MAST is all about, what kind of results they have seen from their interventions, and how they have managed the systemic changes to their daily schedules to incorporate MAST.

Listen to the podcast to learn more. You can also learn more at the upcoming 2018 National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) Summer Conference in Chicago. Jeffery and Robb have been invited to present at the conference and you will find my team talking about AchieveMore in the expo area.

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An Academic Intervention Example

Schoolwide academic intervention programs can deliver remarkable results; however, implementation is not a simple task. An excellent example of a successful academic intervention program can be found at Minnetonka High School. Robb Virgin and Jeff Erickson recently shared how Minnetonka has implemented their proactive, schoolwide approach to interventions, changing the trajectory of struggling students before they fail and redirecting them toward academic success. Their intentional and just-in- time intervention approach has reduced failing grades by 33 percent.

VACAVA is honored to have played a key role in advancing the Minnetonka program with AchieveMore software. AchieveMore enables systematic program administration, informed by data analytics.

See how Minnetonka is making their program work in ‘Implementing Individualized Interventions to the Max’. Authored by Robb Virgin, Assistant Principal and Jeffrey Erickson, Principal Minnetonka High School, this article was originally published in Principal Leadership, March 2018, a National Association of Secondary School Principals publication.

Enabling Academic Innovation

While most of us understand the "goings on" in a school, unless you're an educator you don't see the work that goes into delivering innovative academic programs. Launching a new program may require everything from working with the Teacher's Union to change processes defined in a contract, coming up with new approaches to relationship building between students and teachers, to real-time monitoring of who is succeeding and who's not. I have been very fortunate to have worked with several Minnesota schools implementing new academic programs. Through that experience I have learned there are many components that enable a successful academic program.

One of my clients, Jeff Erickson, Minnetonka High School Principal, was recently invited to speak about their innovative intervention program at the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals - MASSP conference. Based on the high attendance at Jeff's sessions, there was considerable interest in how to run a school wide intervention program and the results that can be achieved. Yes, VACAVA developed the AchieveMore software used by Minnetonka. But the success of their program is not just a technology story, it's how the technology is used to enable positive outcomes. As an example, Jeff's team has seen significant improvements in intervention session attendance. When a teacher assigns a student to a session the student is notified, as well as the student's parents and counselor. Additionally, Minnetonka hall monitors and para's are in the hallways prior to intervention time with the list of student session assignments -- and when they see a student not in their proper place, they help them find their way. AchieveMore software has helped the faculty significantly improve attendance by sending session communications, tracking data, and creating reports.

Jeff also talked about how they manage students invited to multiple intervention sessions. Counselors receive real-time student information combined with historical data to identify potentially broader student issues.

I can't say that AchieveMore is responsible for Minnetonka's 33% drop in student failures, but the software has helped enable their success. Jeff told the conference attendees that he doesn't spend time talking about technology issues now, as in past. AchieveMore has removed the logistical roadblocks for their intervention program, allowing them to focus on their students.

It feels great to do good work, with good clients, to enable the success of educators' academic innovation.

Academic Intervention Program Management

Personalized academic intervention and enrichment programs can boost college readiness and enhance student graduation rates. However managing a large academic intervention program can be a scheduling, communications, and tracking challenge.

School leaders are finding that with the right software, they can simplify program management, reduce the burden on faculty and advance a program's success. To accomplish this goal, a software solution must enable:

• Quick and easy session scheduling, student assignment, and attendance tracking

• Timely communications to students, parents and faculty

• Straightforward resolution of weekly scheduling conflicts

• Uncomplicated access to historical data to identify and help students with the greatest academic needs

Can the right software really advance a program's success?

Read how Jeff Erickson and Minnetonka High School faculty have lowered student failure rate 33% in 3 years with the MAST intervention program, 'Developing an Academic Winning Streak'.

See how Conn McCartan and his faculty at Eden Prairie High School manage their CORE intervention program, 'Innovative Academic Intervention Program Moves to the Cloud to Increase Success'.

AchieveMore by VACAVA was developed in collaboration with Eden Prairie and Minnetonka High Schools to reduce the complexity and cost of administering academic enrichment and intervention programs. This dynamic scheduling and tracking tool enables schools to easily schedule, communicate and track enrichment and intervention sessions, reducing the burden on teachers and staff.

How can AchieveMore help your intervention program? Visit or contact me to discuss your school's needs.

Developing an academic winning streak

What began as an academic intervention prototype, 3 years later has transformed into a schoolwide program that has lowered the student failure rate by 33%.

Achieving balanced student enrichment across a diverse student body is challenging. Minnetonka High School began an academic intervention prototype in the fall of 2014 to increase the focus on making each student successful in their classes and on track for academic success. Jeff Erickson, Minnetonka High School Principal, and his faculty implemented a proactive approach to identify struggling students and offer additional assistance throughout the semester. For those students that could arrive at school early for the extra help, the program demonstrated very positive results. Once these results were evident, the faculty wanted to expand the program, creating the time and structure to support all students.

Expanding the program to reach all students was complicated. It required inserting an extra period each week into the core school day, developing a plan that delivered individualized learning opportunities to all students, and mastering the logistics of a weekly class period that would have dynamically changing topics and students.

Working with faculty, office hours were clarified and the school schedule adjusted one day a week to include Minnetonka Academic Success Time, MAST. The weekly 40 minute MAST time is for teacher-initiated intervention sessions.

Each week, teachers identify challenging topics from last week's curriculum and assign students that need individualized help. School counselors prioritize and resolve conflicts when a student receives multiple invitations. Students and parents are notified of MAST assignments via email, and reminders are generated on a student's iPhone or iPad just before the MAST sessions begin.

Smooth and simple program logistics is key to executing the program. The Minnetonka High School 2016/2017 student population exceeds 3000 students. On average 500 of those students are assigned weekly to a MAST session. "Critical to our program is the right software tools that enable the faculty to be successful", Jeff Erickson, Minnetonka High School Principal. The burden of scheduling, communicating, and tracking MAST participation is simplified for faculty via a custom software solution from VACAVA. Developed to meet the specific needs of the MAST enrichment program, the software enables teachers to quickly schedule sessions, assign students, and track attendance. "The software is easy to use and it's wonderful having a record of students I have previously invited to sessions. The notifications we receive when students are invited to multiple sessions has been essential in prioritizing student needs," Minnetonka High School Chemistry Instructor Patricia Price.

School counselors have easy-to-read reports to resolve weekly scheduling conflicts and historical data that provides clear visibility to those students with the greatest needs.

The MAST program has provided academic opportunities for all students, most significantly those with the greatest risk of failure. Tracking results from 2nd semester prior to the program -to- 2016, there has been:

- 45% drop in failing grades given, from .9% to .5%

- 33% drop in students with a failing grade, from 3.6% to 2.4%

- 25% drop in students with multiple failing grades, from .8% to .6%

Students recognize the value of MAST with 95% of those surveyed rating MAST academic sessions as helpful. Chemistry Instructor Price, shared "MAST allows me to better connect with students who need additional support. Having time within the normal school day has really improved accountability and results."

"We could not execute a program of this scale without VACAVA's AchieveMore software to remove the logistic roadblocks and provide insightful data. VACAVA has exceeded our expectations", Jeff Erickson.

Originally developed as a custom software solution, AchieveMore via VACAVA is a dynamic scheduling, tracking and communication software solution, now available to schools of all sizes. Let us show you how the right software can accelerate your program.

Innovative Academic Intervention Program Moves to the Cloud to Increase Success

Eden Prairie High School, is one of Minnesota's largest high schools with nearly 3000 students. Focused on the academic success of each student, an innovative new program was established to lift struggling students and encouraging every student to achieve their goals. The program provides additional academic intervention to those students who need it most. The CORE program, "Centered On Reaching Each", allocates a few days each term for 45--minute lessons where students of all abilities receive help to get a better grasp of difficult subjects.

When the CORE program was first established, it was managed using Google docs, spreadsheets and staff resources. This required inputting nearly 200 CORE sessions per week, then scheduling and communicating sessions to 3000 students. Add mid-week schedule updates and attendance tracking, and the program quickly took a toll on teacher and staff resources.

"Using Google docs and a spreadsheet to implement the CORE program was a scheduling nightmare, leading to inflexible schedules and communication gaps with teachers and students," said administrative teacher on special assignment Sarah Jordan. Less than a year into the new program, the school decided a change was needed to enhance the experience for teachers and students.

VACAVA Inc., an expert in process reengineering and custom solutions, recommended a dynamic scheduling and tracking tool hosted on the IBM Cloud. "An IBM Cloud solution was perfect for this challenge, delivering flexible capacity, anytime-anywhere access, and a price point that matched the school's tight budget," said Terry Bird, Founder and Managing Partner, VACAVA Inc.

The CORE program is now in its second year. The new VACAVA solution has allowed the school to easily input information each week and create more efficient work practices, reducing the burden on teachers and staff. Schedule and update communications with students, teachers and staff has dramatically improved with anytime access from any device or location. The IBM Cloud advantage is especially evident handling the 10 minute class passing periods, when student requests can instantaneously spike to 2000 users. Additionally, their new solution has enabled the school to develop new CORE educational opportunities across multiple teachers to more effectively serve all students. Conn McCartan, Eden Prairie High School Principal, states that "The VACAVA application has allowed us to stay focused on our purpose-- ensuring student success-- rather than managing lists of students for intervention sessions."

The quantifiable benefits Eden Prairie High School has realized from the new application are impressive:

  • 85% reduction in Administrator time. Prior to the application 6-8 hours per week were required by one administrator. Now that effort is down to 1 hour per week.
  • 66% reduction in the time 150 teachers spend preparing for each week, equating to a savings of 100 teaching hours saved each week. The 150 participating teachers previously needed 1 hour per week for the program, now each teacher requires just 20 min per week.

"We are thrilled with our custom application from VACAVA. This dynamic scheduling tool has dramatically reduced the staff resources required to implement our academic intervention program to nearly 3,000 students. We believe the increased ease of communications and new program flexibility will further increase the positive results we have already seen with CORE," said Jordan.

The custom application developed for Eden Prairie High School is now available to schools of all sizes. AchieveMore by VACAVA® was developed in collaboration with Eden Prairie High School and other Minnesota secondary school educators to reduce the complexity and cost of administering academic enrichment and intervention programs. This dynamic scheduling and tracking tool enables schools to easily schedule, communicate and track enrichment and intervention sessions, reducing the burden on teachers and staff.

Select AchieveMore for your school and VACAVA will customize the solution to match your school’s specifications. Call VACAVA today to learn more, 507-252-9076.