The Meriden Public Schools uses many innovative practices to ensure that its data systems are integrated and support the district’s mission. Learn more about Meriden’s best practices by clicking below.Click Circles To Learn More
Meriden has embraced the integration of instruction and technology and has begun to promote 21st century learning by implementing blended learning in several high school classrooms. The district has a K-12 Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, which allows students to bring technology from home into the classroom to enhance their learning. In addition, both high schools offer each student a tablet that becomes the student’s for the school year and is reissued the following year. All Meriden students participate in a digital literacy and internet safety course, and students discuss internet safety and cyberbullying during Advisory. Students at the elementary and secondary levels receive weekly instruction through technology. Meriden is also working to further expand technology literacy among all faculty members.
Importantly, the district works hard to make sure that technology isn’t used just for the sake of using technology. Content area technology specialists work closely with teachers to ensure that technology is used to enhance the curriculum. Some teachers use access to technology to flip their classrooms so that students can access instructional materials at home and be more engaged during in-person class time. Meriden students can take ownership of their school work and schedules through online technology platforms, gaining the freedom to work around extracurricular activities and make up work that was assigned if they were sick or on vacation. High school students use sites such as Moodle for assignment retrieval and tracking, giving the students exposure to online learning platforms. A history class might open up the classroom walls through Twitter, using hashtags such as #Syria to facilitate real-time connections to current events and other students across America who are studying the same topic.
Meriden Public Schools has done an outstanding job of creating and nurturing a relationship with the Meriden teacher’s union, Meriden Federation of Teachers (MFT). Superintendent Mark Benigni and Teacher Union President Erin Benham have built a strong relationship between the teachers and administrators by collaborating on initiatives throughout the district that help students.
Through this partnership, Meriden has been able to negotiate a contract in which teachers and building administrators extend the day by an hour on Thursdays to meet in teams and review student data. This information gathered during these data reviews helps teachers adjust instruction so that they are meeting the learning needs of all students.
Meriden has been effectively tracking teacher success in several ways for a number of years. For instance, the district uses a tool called the Meriden Teacher Dashboard, which is not evaluative, but rather serves as the basis for conversations about professional growth. Principals can see each individual teacher’s data on personal absences and student discipline (number of referrals written), as compared to their peer school and district averages. This allows principals and teachers to work together to change behaviors for more positive outcomes in the school and classroom.
Additionally, Meriden collects data on the classroom effectiveness of teachers and can highlight teachers who are high performers through the Meriden Teachers Sharing Success program. This program asks high-performing teachers to open up their classrooms as models for other teachers. Through a Peer Coaching program, teachers in the same content area and grade-level can also volunteer to support each other. Both of these programs provide individualized professional development that is based on the premise that Meriden’s best teachers are, in fact, their teachers.
Meriden tracks academic, emotional, climate, and behavioral data to monitor students’ progress in meeting success.
As an example, the district uses the School-Wide Information System (SWIS) to display longitudinal data on student behavior in meaningful ways. The system allows administrators and teachers to observe trends in behavior, which prompts data-driven decisions about the types of interventions that will improve outcomes for students. SWIS and other data points are discussed in regular data team meetings that Meriden holds to make sure all students stay on track.
Over the last several years, Meriden has worked to develop “of moment” assessments. These assessments are called Key Concepts. These quick assessments help teachers to know whether students understand a concept they are teaching immediately. They also help teachers to understand the common mistakes students are making, so they can correct those errors.
Key Concepts allow teachers to “survey” the class on comprehension through the use of online software. Answers are collected through handheld clickers, laptops, tablets and/or cell phones. The “of moment” assessments allow teachers to adjust instruction in real time, based on student feedback. They can also notice if there are patterns in the types of mistakes students are making, which can help them to make adjustments to how they teach a particular concept in the future.
Meriden Public Schools has developed a survey that can effectively measure school climate. Students take the 10-minute survey twice a year. The results of the survey are confidential, but not anonymous.
They allow schools to measure students’ engagement in school, respect, caring, fairness and pro-social behavior. It also alerts school administrators to students who may have mental health needs or who are being bullied. An automatic email is triggered by certain responses or by overall scores that indicate a cause for concern. This email is sent to the school counselor and principal, who will keep it confidential, but ensure that a caring adult can contact the child quickly.
Student profiles are also monitored over time for dramatic changes, so that school officials can intervene if they believe that student may be having difficulty.