At both the elementary and middle campuses, there is additional support available so that all students have equal opportunities for success in the classroom.
At both the elementary and middle campuses, there is additional support for students exhibiting academic difficulties. In grades K-5, academic assistance teachers in reading and math provide daily personalized and small group instruction to students who have demonstrated a need for targeted interventions to improve their skills. In grades 6-8, there is a daily 30-minute academic growth period that provides each student with consistent and targeted instruction designed to foster growth in his/her academic skills personalized to his/her needs and interests. As well, each teacher offers a voluntary tutorial time for students, either before or after school, at least one day each week.
Student Support Team (SST)
Using the Response to Intervention approach to provide all students with the level and types of supports and interventions appropriate to their needs, ANCS sometimes forms a Student Support Team (SST) for certain students with exhibited learning needs that are not being addressed by regular classroom interventions. The SST is a problem-solving process that helps to identify struggling learners and assess the effectiveness of various interventions for them. The members of a student’s SST (which includes teachers and parents/guardians) work together to develop individual plans for the student.
For students with identified learning disabilities, the special education program at ANCS works with students and families to meet students’ individual needs by accommodating and/or modifying curriculum, instruction, and/or assessment. A K-8 Special Education Coordinator works with a team of special education teachers at both the elementary and middle campus to oversee the services provided to students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) so that students make progress towards their goals. As much as is appropriate, students with identified disabilities are included in classes with their peers, with classroom teachers working in consultation with special education teachers and/or with students working directly with special education teachers. A broad spectrum of special education services are made available to support the specific learning needs of students with IEPs; however, there are instances when, based on the needs of the student, a more appropriate placement for a student may be at another APS school with programs designed to meet the needs of students with certain types of disabilities.
Counseling and Psychological Support
ANCS has school counselors at each campus as well as a school psychologist to work with students both in one-on-one and group settings to address social and emotional issues.
ANCS teachers at all grade levels utilize a variety of tools to assess student academic performance including:
- diagnostic assessments in the first weeks of school
- informal and formal assessments from class (including unit-ending performance tasks)
- universal screeners
- student work portfolios
- standardized tests, such as the Georgia Milestones and Measures of Academic Progress (MAP).
Portfolios and Exhibitions
ANCS uses student portfolios and public exhibitions of them as a way to gather a wider array of information about student learning and growth.
Reporting of Student Progress
While teachers use data from student assessments daily, several reporting structures exist at ANCS to afford students and families frequent opportunity to reflect upon student performance information in order to grow as learners. These structures include:
- Weekly Communication Folders (grades K-5): Each week a communication folder is sent home to parents containing updates on student performance and classroom initiatives. Often additional home enrichment materials are included, as well as suggestions on how parents can collaborate with teachers in supporting their child.
- Advisor Progress Reports (grades 6-8) : At the midway point of each academic term, each student receives a progress report from his or her advisor. These reports give feedback on a student’s development of his/her habits of learning and provide current grades for each class along with comments from the student’s advisor. Additionally, advisors will send out a “warning” report between these regular reporting periods for any students in their advisories who have been flagged for academic and/or behavioral concerns.
- Semester Report Cards: Twice a year in December and May, students and families in all grades receive formal report cards. The report cards provides academic and related information on a student so that support and attention may be enhanced, maintained, or altered to help the student achieve maximum growth and learning. These reports provide a detailed picture of a student’s performance in each subject area or class by featuring a narrative that describes the student’s skills and habits relative to the standards for the course.
- Conferences: In grades K-5, a meeting of teacher and family and, where appropriate, student, takes place twice a year–in the fall and in the spring–to provide a place for further discussion of student progress. In grades 6-8, each student leads a conference in the fall with his or her parents/guardians and advisor to reflect upon performance so far in the school year and to set learning goals for the remainder of the year. Another conference is held in the spring to review the student’s progress towards his or her learning goals.
- Portfolio Presentations: Students at all grade levels present and reflect upon their learning through a public exhibition of their work at various points throughout the school year.
- Standardized Test Score Reports: Student assessment score reports on standardized tests are provided to families following their arrival to the school. The score reports are accompanied by a cover letter that further explains the tests, a guide to interpreting the score reports, and a series of questions designed to help students reflect upon their performance.
ANCS does not use numbers, ranks, or traditional A-F grades.
Rather, student academic performance is documented in relation to a student’s progress towards the standards for each performance area at each grade level using the following terminology:
- Not Yet moving towards Standards
- Just Beginning towards Standards
- Approaching Standards
- Meeting Standards
- Exceeding Standards
During the IB MYP candidate phase, the Middle Campus teachers will transition to the use of the IB MYP grading scale and related rubrics for all grading tasks and reports.