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LAC School Spotlight - American School of Bucharest

American School of Bucharest

(by Andrew Pontius, IB MYP Coordinator, and Fiona Moss, Secondary Vice Principal at AISB)

THE SCHOOL
Number of students: Approx 950
Grades: EC2 - Grade 12
Number of faculty: 180+
Curriculum: IB (PYP, MYP, DP)
Accredited by: NEASC, CIS, IB
Joined LAC in the 2017-18 School Year 

THE CHALLENGE
What was the challenge the school was facing? 
The original challenge was just visualizing data. We looked at IB DP Scores, but very little other data was consulted on a regular basis, and the few spreadsheets that were created were looked at only by the leadership teams.

Why was LAC chosen? 
Andrew had used LAC at his previous school (ISPP), and found that it had helped build some productive conversations in a multitude of ways. When shown to the then Director, the ideas of what else could be implemented grew, and we began working with LAC. 

HOW IS THE LAC PLATFORM BEING USED NOW
Who uses the platform at the school?
  • Mainly used in Secondary by a range of people. It is the center point of our conversations about students, so Teachers, Mentors, Grade Leaders, Counselors. Learning Support and Leadership Team look at it, some more often than others. Teachers can go in and check information for their students, and Learning Support analyzes data on students as needed.  
  • Learning Leaders use the department data at different times throughout the year, trying to ensure consistency and starting to look at some gap analysis on anything that becomes apparent, using MAP for some departments, as well as Criteria Levels in MYP to see areas that may be needed for growth. 
  • Counselors look at it regularly, but it can be useful to university counselors in writing college recommendations. 
How often and at what critical times of the year is being used the most? 
  • Start of year to help teachers and grade level leaders become more acquainted with some of their students and the information we have gathered about them. 
  • After each reporting period, we come back to this in a multitude of ways to look at Approaches To Learning and identify students, who may need different support mechanisms. It is easy to see historical information for students and any changes that have occurred.
  • We have just added PASS data, which is students’ attitude towards school to start to include Social Emotional information into the conversations.
  • Hoping towards the end of the year we will start looking at it better by departments to analyze Grade Level department information. 
  • We are also adding the class placement engine this year to use it to place students in homerooms for next year.
What are the ways in which data and the platform are being used by teachers and leadership?  
  • We are using basic protocols right now, such as SEE, THINK, WONDER, especially in trying to identify patterns.
  • This is a go to in our Student Care meetings where we discuss students who are having learning or behavioural challenges every two weeks.
What is the impact, how has it changed the culture/ conversations/ work, etc. ? 
  • It has definitely changed conversations around students, as we can see patterns and trends, and sometimes we forget that while a student may still be struggling in some areas, they are actually improving, and need praise on that, rather than being continually reminded of their struggle… So being able to look back and see those trends can be very useful. 
  • Also useful for teachers to see the assessment scores across the Secondary section and within a department, as this allows them to look at data and take the conversation away from the person, and make it about what we can actually see in order to facilitate the conversation in a productive way. 
What key decisions are being made with the use of data and the platform? 
  • How to best support students
  • Where to next as a team (department, grade level, etc.)
  • Placing students in classes, and thus building a schedule that matches this as well (hoping for Spring of 21) 
WHAT ARE THE WAYS IN WHICH YOU SEE THE SCHOOL USING DATA IN THE FUTURE?
  • This is an interesting one. The next trial we are doing is putting in data that will help us place students in classes for the next year. As we run a block schedule that has some more choice in student classes as they get older, but also allows us to group students in advisory/mentor groups for many of their classes, attempting to use our data to group students in the best possible cohorts is an area we are excited about. 
  • Talks in past years led to putting in climate survey, admissions data, and similar all in LAC, which might allow us to visualize data more regularly for long-term trends and help the school plan more strategically. Sharing this with the board in an ongoing basis, rather than a once-a-year presentation might be useful. This is not a top priority at the moment, but the potential is there. 
  • Looking at possibly developing our own student attitude towards school and learning survey to replace PASS, which we have just implemented. Something along these lines might help us get more of the student voice in our data collection and allow for different conversations about students.
  • Departments spending more time looking at data to plan curriculum in the future is also a long-term goal, once we get past just holding the ship together. 

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