Keeping Middle School Students On Track For Success: Risk Identification And Intervention In The Middle Grades

Issue Reports & Briefs

January 7, 2014

The middle school years are critical to children’s future success in high school and beyond, making these grades a crucial time for identifying struggling students and intervening appropriately. Some schools in New York City, and throughout the country, have developed early warning systems so principals and teachers are able to spot these students and help them get back on track.

CCC’s new brief, Keeping Middle School Students on Track for Success: Risk Identification and Intervention in the Middle Grades, includes findings and recommendations from our research designed to document national best practices and explore how NYC specifically is handling intervention for middle school students.

Through reviews of literature and interviews with education experts, CCC found that a few key indicators, including attendance, behavior and course performance, can help to determine which students are at risk of falling off track. A school’s climate and the capacity of the school to respond to students’ needs are also important in setting students up for success. Schools that have systems in place to identify struggling students and intervene use student data strategically to inform decisions about resources, as well as approaches to instruction, staffing and linkages with community-based organizations.

CCC’s recommendations center on four key themes:

  • The use of student data to identify struggling students, as well as to inform interventions.
  • The importance of professional development and support for teachers.
  • Ongoing support for parent engagement and linkages within communities.
  • The expansion of restorative justice approaches to discipline that keep students in the classroom and engaged in school rather than excluding them from school.

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