Students of Concern Process

Students of Concern – Process

I created a collaborative goal as part of our Performance Evaluation process focusing on the Student of Concern realm here at SAMS.  The goal related to establishing effective communication protocols for Students of Concern and enhancing the way we communicate about students.

• Invite feedback from SOC teachers on how the SOC Drupal website can be enhanced to refine processes, procedure and guidelines.

• Establish regular conversations with SOC teachers about subjective and objective note taking and conversations

As an outcome of this goal and our work together a platform was developed to try and implement the goal. This document includes a brief overview of the process and screenshots of the platform and functionality for the purpose of informing the current conversation the leadership team is having regarding SOC communication, not to recommend a particular system.

The Process and Features Developed: The features implemented were based on the approach the grade 7 was utilizing in the SOC structure. Also see screenshots later in document.  

Features of the System

•            SOC Agenda Management – includes minutes.

•            Teachers suggest students for agenda.

•            Access to current notes, interventions and archived information from previous school years.

•            Sinker List creation and management.

•            Formal Review and Intervention management – This includes workflow processes. Once a formal review is created this is added to the agenda with access to the formal review templates – These werebuilt based on the current SAS templates. 

•            Student Note creation  -­‐   This is really the heart of the system. The template and guidelines were built using the SAS handbook from previous years. 

           Note Guidelines: Established after a series of meetings with counselors, V.P., and LC teams. This emerged as some of the most important work we did. It is also not dependent on any technology, it came to be because of a series of collaborative conversations starting with the counselors and team leaders and then on to the full grade level process involvement.


Note Guidelines:


Write a brief note about a student. It could be an observation, a concern, an action step, an intervention, a comment related to learning behaviors, or something completely unique. These notes will help to grow our holistic understanding of students and develop a better understanding of the needs of our students. Keep in mind this type of student note is meant to be a quick submission compare with a more formal SOC Review and/or intervention.


As you write this note keep the following in mind:

•              Positive notes and notes related to student strengths are highly encouraged

•              Keep to observable facts

•              Use professional formal writing

              If you are unsure whether to write the note due to confidentiality, ask a counselor first!

Notice the two sections related to an intervention. Depending on the note this may be inapplicable. In that case, don't fill out that section. We are also considering ways  to align  the notes  to our

Student as Learner Profile (SLP). 

For example, "Johhny did not respect property and materials today. He did not put away the art materials, even after being reminded.", or "Jessie took leadership responsibilities  during the book discussion activity."

Who has access?

If you teach the student, you have access to information regarding the student. School admin, counselors also would had access in real time.

Communication Process –

Do you send an email to each teacher the child teaches? Do you provide the information and allow teachers to go access it? This was a question we struggled with as we developed the process. In the end we created a mix of the two.

If a note is created for a student that note would appear in the appropriate LC page and on the Specialists page. This allows real time information gathering based on the context (student courses and teacher’s students). A teacher needed to check the overview page about once a week to gather this information.

After a week, notes were archived and sent out through email. This was done through the system and didn’t require compilation by a human.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations: (Personal)

As this system was created and adjusted along the way, the user interaction changed at times. In addition, as new features were implemented, teachers needed to adjust.

I believe that if a full feature set were developed and then implemented the barrier to a useful system would be reduced.

Also, the specialist interaction is the most complicated element of a SOC communication system here at SAMS. Standardization across grade levels is key for any system to be effective for buy in and efficiency. During this process only grade 7 was implementing the system. Another key factor is use by the counselors. This obviously contributes to the standardization of the system and efficient communication to improve access to student information to help them be successful here at SAMS.

Sustainability and support are also relevant considerations for this work at SAMS. Who builds, maintains, manages the system we use?

Based on our experience I would recommend looking into Powerschool as a way to implement some of the features we have piloted over the last two years. Again, I am sharing this information to guide our current LT discussions related to this issue because of our previous experience working to improve our SOC communication.