Case Study - La Jolla Country Day School
How Class Tracker’s Ultimate Student Planner contributes to reducing stress, increasing sleep and improving student learning and outcomes at La Jolla Country Day’s Middle School Students
La Jolla Country Day School (LJCDS) traces its beginnings to the Balmer School, founded in 1926 by Louise C. Balmer. A small cottage on Coast Boulevard served as the schoolhouse for the four children who first attended the primary school. Today, LJCDS stands on a 24-acre campus in La Jolla, California. From age 3 through Grade 12, the school serves a diverse student body of 1,147 drawn from various San Diego County communities, the United States and the world. LJCDS’ challenging curriculum prepares and positions students of character to excel academically, athletically and artistically. In 2021- 2022, LJCDS awarded $4.7 million in financial assistance. The Class of 2023 has 124 students.
As the school transitioned back to in-person learning after COVID, faculty and staff noticed trends in some of their students.
Students' stress levels were high and they were not getting enough sleep because they were waiting until the last minute to do their work. Many studied for tests and completed projects and papers at the last minute and the work quality didn’t reflect what they were capable of and many times they forgot everything they studied after they walked out of their tests.
Students were not regularly using their planners to plan out their days and weeks. Many students relied on their memory or the LMS platform to keep track of their assignments. Few, if any, created an action plan for when and how they were going to study or complete their work resulting in procrastination and last minute efforts. The school has issued planners over the years, but the format didn't resonate with the students and were therefore neither a planning tool or well adopted.
For 2022-2023 all middle schoolers were issued a Class Tracker Ultimate Student Planner and it became a part of the Torrey Mindful Learning Curriculum and incorporated into the academic classrooms. The planner was customized to align with the school’s structure and to support teaching students how to plan.
The Torrey Mindful Learning Course focuses on teaching executive function skills to all students in 5-12th grade. Students participate in Torrey Mindful Learning classes throughout the year during which the strategies are reviewed, tools are taught and skills are applied. Students learn about how to set SMART Goals, backwards planning, the four-day study plan, different study strategies, how to stay organized, how to use a planner, and much more.
In middle school (Grades 5-8), students receive three tools to help them learn about and apply these skills: 1. a Class Tracker school planner, 2. a resource notebook with lessons, worksheets, and activities, and 3. an organizational system to keep track of their school work.
Students use the planner at varying degrees. This is due to how well teachers incorporate time and emphasis in their classroom for students to plan out their assignments in their planners and the nature of kids—some are eager to use it and others reticent.
For those students who use the planner, the results have been positive: stress levels have decreased, sleep has increased, study habits have improved, writing is better and test results have improved. Their planners are structured so that they can easily track big projects and tests as well as daily assignments by subject alongside their after school activities. This full picture view helps students to see their entire week allowing them to more easily prioritize what’s most important while at the same time make room for the rest.
There is room for increased adoption and implementation in classrooms, but the initial results are positive.
Published December, 2022.