Often, when we hear “Early Warning Systems,” we think of Chicago, Baltimore, and Philadelphia—large, urban school districts where these systems have been in place for many years. But Early Warning Systems (EWS) are swiftly becoming the norm in school districts across the country.
The Allentown School District (ASD) in Allentown, PA, for example, has a sophisticated early warning system developed by the district under the auspices of the state's Response to Instruction and Intervention initiative (RtII). The school district generates a data dashboard in conjunction with their Data Warehouse (which is updated on a nightly basis) providing academic (e.g., test scores, grades) and non-academic (e.g., mobility, attendance, discipline) information, assigning a "Red Flag" to students who have reached what the district's analyses identify as a "tipping point" for being at risk of school failure—4 "points" on the academic scale and 10 "points" on the non-academic scale. From this report, a "watch list" is created and used to communicate with staff, parents, and teachers. Using RtII, a multi-tiered approach to support, students on the watch list are introduced to gradually more intense academic interventions as appropriate and as identified and implemented through a collaborative team process. In this team process, interventions are supplemented by the ability to link from the RtII report to a specific Student Profile Report, which gives the most up-to-date 5-year demographic and assessment information each and every student.
ASD, recently awarded a High School Graduation Initiative grant, will continue to use its early warning system to improve student achievement and attainment.
For more information on Early Warning Systems, see the National High School Center’s information on Early Warning Systems, including the recently released Early Warning System Tool v2.0.
Note: This blog post was originally authored under the auspices of the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The National High School Center’s blog, High School Matters, which ran until March 2013, provided an objective perspective on the latest research, issues, and events that affected high school improvement. The CCRS Center plans to continue relevant work originally developed under the National High School Center grant. National High School Center blog posts that pertain to CCRS Center issues are included on this website as a resource to our stakeholders.