Friday, June 1, 2012

TAGOS Leadership Academy Celebrates Successes

This year TAGOS Leadership Academy was one of four Janesville schools to receive the Wisconsin School of Promise Award. The TAGOS staff attributes their success to having great students, the emphasis placed on WKCE Testing, their transparency with students through the use of their advisory system and an emphasis that was placed on reading and writing.
Emphasis on WKCE Testing
Last year TAGOS teachers and staff placed a stronger emphasis on WKCE testing than they had in the past. They rearranged their schedule to allow for uninterrupted study time. Teachers were also transparent with the students about WKCE testing, what the scores mean and the effects of the scores.
Advisory System and Transparency with Students
Twice a day, TAGOS students meet in small group advisory circles. Teachers and staff utilized this time to be transparent with the students. Because students have a voice in the school operation, this transparency helped students to take more responsibility for their test scores. Students realized that they are participating in a unique school. For this school to remain open, there needed to be data showing that the school was successful, and one of the areas that data comes from is WKCE testing. These advisory groups also gave time for students to discuss questions and answers regarding the test and previous data. In advisory groups, they would discuss practice tests and data from those tests to specifically target areas where students needed extra instruction.
Literature and Reading Emphasis
In addition to the advisory circles, students also participated in Literature circles, which stressed the importance of doing research, finding truth and reading. Every day, students at TAGOS spend 45 minutes in sustained silent reading. The silent reading component has a level of structure through using a reading plan. TAGOS teachers help students find books that are at their reading and interest level.  Using common-based assessment, TAGOS teachers worked with the students at their individual grade levels. When students are reading relatable books, it helps them stay engaged. The teachers also invested time in teaching students strong writing skills. They offered prompt writing help and used repetition as they taught students the different elements of strong writing.  By moving into a more structured reading time, along with the literature circles and focus on writing, students have made academic growth in reading.

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