Case Study - Colorado Academy
How Class Tracker’s Ultimate Student Planner Supports The Teaching Of Executive Function Skills for Colorado Academy’s 9th Grade Students
Founded in 1906, Colorado Academy (CA) is a coeducational independent day school for grades Pre-K through 12 with a total enrollment of 1038 with students coming from 82 zip codes throughout the metropolitan and suburban areas of Denver, Colorado. In the Upper School (447 students grades 9-12), students cycle through daily classes of math; English; social studies; French, Spanish, or Mandarin; art electives; science; computer science, engineering and design electives; and athletics. Important social- emotional learning also occurs during dedicated advisory time, class meetings, and Town Halls. Class sizes range from 6 to 20, depending on the hour of the day, with average class size at 15. Colorado Academy offers a college preparatory curriculum emphasizing disciplines in the liberal arts and sciences. The school emphasizes 21st century skills, including critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity, cultural competence, and character development. CA is phasing out Advanced Placement (AP) in English and social studies and will begin offering Advanced Studies and Research (ASR) courses in those departments.
In addition to academic classes, CA has dedicated time each week for students to participate in advisory, help time (1:1 support from teachers) and study hall. Before and during COVID, students as whole were not using their daily help and study hall times as effectively as they could have been.
- Many students were finding themselves using study halls to complete assignments due later that day rather than using the time to plan and map the remainder of their week.
- In some cases, students who specifically needed to prioritize their supplemental academic support were not using key strategies to help them prioritize and map their workload and school responsibilities.
- Students were using school planners that had boxes to record daily assignments for each class, but no structured flexibility slots to plan out how they would use their time each day.
- To know when help time and study hall happened each day required 3-4 reference sources that were not integrated into the planner.
The school administration also realized that the planner they used was mostly a paper replica of the online Blackboad LMS systems where teachers posted assignments and students preferred to reference the online list to the copying it down in their planner.
During the 2021-2022 CA didn’t issue any planner to their students and CA Academic Coach and Grade 12 Dean of Students, Gabriel Bernstein looked for a tool that would help students to plan out their days and weeks so they could better take advantage of the support opportunities at the school. He found Class Tracker’s Ultimate Student Planner and knew that weekly planning pages were designed in such a way to help students to plan out and see their days and weeks in a way that their previous planner did not. He thought that it might pair well with the school’s current online system, Blackboad, which nicely identifies due dates for students but doesn’t always offer the easiest or most efficient tools to create an action plan for the week. With some additional customization, the planner perfectly reflects the students week and allows students to quickly see when and where they can go for help or work on their homework.
For 2022-2023, the planner was issued to all ninth grade students and given to students in grades 10-12 who wanted them.
Initial results of the adoption of the Class Tracker Ultimate Student Planner have been positive. The majority of 9th grade students have their planners with them during class or know where it is. Teachers were also given planners and most use them to help plan out their own weeks and to track what they have going on and when. Students use them in various ways from recording all assignments and making a detailed plan for their week to filling in when they will use the different support times throughout the week.
CA’s success metric for the planners is how well the tool helps students to learn about and improve at planning, time management, and prioritization. Initial faculty feedback indicates that the Class Tracker planners have been an effective tool to reinforce these essential executive functioning skills necessary to do well in the Upper School. An end of year survey will be given to students and faculty so that school administrators can gather critical feedback on Year 1 with Class Tracker.
Published January, 2023.