• Ensuring Student Learning Cover

  • HCS COVID 19 Recovery | Response

    Henry County Schools’ solidly places our core business of student learning at the center of our work. As standard practice, we work to ensure learning for all students, the spring of 2020 brought some unique and distinct challenges to all aspects of education. Concerns for possible gaps in learning for our students have always been in the forefront of planning effective quality instruction, however in combination with the transition from a face-to-face environment to a full remote environment in March created additional concerns for teachers, leaders and families alike.

    In order for Henry County Schools to respond in a proactive manner, divisions took already established systems and processes and enhanced them to ensure that the impact of COVID 19 to student learning was minimal. The Divisions of Learning and Performance, Family and Student Support, Information Systems, and Leadership worked collaboratively and cross-divisionally to design and develop these systems and processes. Throughout this communication you will find how existing practices and additional supports are being utilized to ensure student learning. The organization of this information is presented to answer the following questions:

    What are our three commitments for learning recovery from COVID 19?

    1. Proactive Monitoring and Acceleration of Reading Proficiency
    2. Addressing Essential Standards and skill gaps
    3. Course Recovery for High School Students

    In addition to the three commitments for learning recovery, we will also outline how we continue to examine student learning by addressing: What we do to support ongoing student learning, How we know what students have learned, How do we plan to address student learning gaps and what additional supports are available for students.

  • ASSURANCE ONE   |   Proactive Monitoring & Acceleration of Reading Proficiency

    I. Monitor student reading proficiency using district provided tools to monitor student progress:

    • K-5 Reading and Comprehension to determine Fountas and Pinnell (F&P Level)
    • K-2 Early Literacy Assessments focused on Phonics
    • 1-9 Lexile Level using MAP Assessment

    II. Intervene now to accelerate learning for students showing gaps during the 20-21 school year through Classroom interventions, K-5 Early Intervention Programming, 6-12 Reading support classes utilizing BOE acquired support programming (Read-180 & System-44) and Special Education support (as applicable).

    III. By May 7th all students K-9 will be provided their year-end Reading Proficiency Level. If the data points indicate that the student is 12+ months behind grade level proficiency, an individual reading plan will be provided to the student and communicated to families with a range of interventions provided to include pending available resources:

    • Invitation to summer transition grade programming (2-3 grade, 5-6 grade & 8-9 grade)
    • Summer access to computer adapted reading proficiency acceleration program (2-8) with teacher support
    • Invitation to participate in Early 1 st and 2 nd Grade
    • 21-22 school year acceleration through EIP/REP Services, access to Board Acquired Reading Interventions Read-180 and System 44
  • ASSURANCE TWO   |   Addressing Essential Skills and Standards Gaps in ELA and Math

    I. Identify essential skills and standards by grade and course for teachers for 2nd semester with adjusted pacing guides

    II. Provide two weeks of instruction focused on essential skills and standards from 1st semester upon return to school 1/11. (K-8)

    III. Proactively monitor Common Formative Assessments in applicable grades and subjects to identify gaps to then adjust instruction in real time to provide re-teaching and re-engagement when necessary.

    IV. By May 7th, using MAP Assessment data, all students K-9 identified in the lowest tier of expected growth in Math and ELA will have the opportunity to participate in a range of summer and school year programming (pending available resources) including:

    • Invitation to summer transition grade programming (2-3 grade, 5-6 grade & 8-9 grade)
    • Invitation to Early 1st and Early 2nd grade summer programming
    • Summer 2021 Parent Learning Support Resources: 20 days of resources available through the Never Stop Learning HCS for families to use with students during summer utilizing Board acquired core resources
    • K-2 Summer Learning Resources provided for essential math and ELA skills development addressing systemic gaps
    • 21-22 school year acceleration through EIP/REP Services, access to Board acquired Interventions Read-180 and System 44 for Reading, Do the Math (K-5) and Math-180 (6-12)
    • School-based adjustments for Instructional Focus, Tutoring and other programming
  • Assurance Three: Course Recovery for High School Students

    I. Provide opportunity to recover failures from 2nd semester 2020 (formerly COVID Incompletes) in courses required for graduation through the end of 2nd semester 2021 through school-based transition academies and interventions.

      1. Students and families, in this situation, will be provided individual counseling to develop a student plan to successfully recover credit for these courses
      2. Access to online course recovery program for available courses
      3. School staff will closely monitor student progress

    II. Proactively intervene with real-time grade repair strategies in schools during 2nd semester to prevent student failure at the end of term.

    III. Invite students with a school-specified grade range in 2nd semester courses required for graduation to a two-week credit recovery program at each High School.

    IV. Host a virtual 2021 Summer School for full course recovery or acceleration.

  • Additional Response: Actions for COVID 19 Learning Recovery

    How did teachers know what students might have missed in Spring 2020?

    Unit Zero | Unit Planning Guides (COVID 19):

    The Instruction and Learning team built and published “Unit Zero” to start the school year in applicable grades and subjects in light of potential Term 4 gaps. In combination with providing updated Progressions for the Henry Teaching and Learning Standards to reflect the addition of “Unit Zero” in addition to building in Q4 essential standards into the learning where they fit best to impact student learning. The updated Unit Planning guides for teachers reflect new progressions and additional links to district acquired and standards aligned resources. Recorded sessions were created by content coordinators to walk teachers through how to use the "Unit Zero" planning guide and what was available to support students. (Information Provided in the Learning Continuity Report).

    Unit Planning Guides | Prior Learning Identification (COVID 19)

    Although Unit Planning guides have been created for most core courses, and some beyond the core courses, enhancements have been made in response to potential student learning gaps due to COVID 19. In each Unit Planning Guide, standards that are dependent on learning from the year before have been identified. This allows teachers to ensure that student learning from the previous year is in place at that point in the learning progression, before moving to new learning. This allows learning to occur in an order that makes sense for the content.

    What additional preparation did teachers get to be able to help students with learning gaps?

    Teacher Professional Learning | How to provide re-engagement (COVID 19)

    A Day of Focused Learning JULY 29, 2020:

    Teachers and Paraprofessionals participated in four sessions that are focused on what teachers need right now to ensure that students learning environment as they return to learning is optimized. The session content was created to meet needs that have been expressed by teachers, leaders, parents, administrators and the community.

    • Social-Emotional Learning
    • Implementation of Accommodations for Special Populations in a General Education Environment
    • Instructional Structure|Assessment and Instructional technology tools
    • Content Based Sessions

    Teachers and staff participated in job appropriate sessions:

    • K-5 Teachers will participate in the newly released HCS Social Studies teacher guide and instructional materials.
    • 6-12 Teachers and staff will participate in content sessions that will focus on instruction in multiple settings (face-to-face or remote), as well as, strategies to measure and reengage students if learning gaps are discovered. Additional information can be found below.

    What additional preparation did teachers get to be able to help students with learning gaps?

    A Week of Focused Learning August 3 –August 7, 2020 (COVID 19)

    All job families had the opportunity to participate in a full week of professional learning. Sessions were offered through a cross divisional planning approach to ensure that all aspects of student learning and supporting high quality student learning was addressed through both face to face, remote and hybrid instruction. The session content was created based on feedback from principals, teachers, district leadership, and the community. Teachers had the opportunity to build a series of course selections that met their individual needs. All sessions were recorded to ensure that they were available to teachers if they were not able to schedule every course that they wanted to participate in during the week. Sessions were presented by the following departments:

    • Family and Student Support
    • School and District Performance
    • Assessment
    • Exceptional Student Education
    • Instruction
    • Early Learning
    • Beyond the Core
    • Leadership

    What additional supports are available to students who are still struggling?

    TRANSITION ACADEMY (COVID-19 Response 2020-2021)

    Each individual school developed a Transition Academy plan. Transition Academies were designed to support students who received COVIDincompletes in the Spring of 2019-2020. Transition academies will provide additional support to students who were either, unable to attend faceto-face summer school, or are in need of additional learning recovery. This additional support will be communicated by each school through their local school playbook. Some of the options may include:

      1. Extended school day
        1. Before school support
        2. After School student support 2:30-4:30
        3. Individual learning plans for students based on identified learning recovery needs from Quarter 4
        4. Instructional Focus (IF)- Students in need of learning recovery will be intentionally grouped into IF sections for support in the applicable content area (Math, ELA, Science or Social Studies).
    1. Extended school year
      1. Intersessions during School Breaks
  • Ongoing Support for Student Learning: Processes and Procedures to ensure student learning

    What do we do to support student learning?

    Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)

    MTSS is a process that did not need to change due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the implementation and delivery of interventions at all levels of intervention was consistent. Henry County Schools continues to be committed to implementing a proactive approach to improving performance outcomes of all our learners.

    A Layered Continuum for Academic & Behavioral Supports

    The MTSS approach focuses on layers of intervention occurring simultaneously. It is a seamless process consisting of:

    • Well-defined instructional practices
    • Re-engagement strategies
    • Interventions based on students’ needs to accelerate learning.

    In alignment with Georgia’s Department of Education, Henry County Schools’ MTSS approach is a three-tiered, layered continuum of support embedded within an infrastructure that focuses on leadership, professional learning, and family and community partnerships. MTSS has three distinct layers of instructional interventions and supports that account for all students within our district. Each layer encompasses a level of intervention or instruction that responds to student academic, behavioral, and/or social-emotional needs. Student progress is monitored to ensure improvement is being achieved. MTSS is not a student placement model, it is a proactive, preventative, intervention continuum developed to meet the varying needs of ALL students. It is our intentional framework for addressing teaching and learning which begins with high-quality, standardsbased instruction each day and emphasizes intervening with students when they first start to struggle to avoid prolonged academic and/or behavioral difficulties... During effective implementation of MTSS:

    • Schools use data to identify students at risk for or with learning gaps
    • Monitor students’ progress
    • Provide research-based interventions (adjusting the intensity and nature of those interventions depending on a student’s responsiveness)
  • How do we know what students have learned ?


    One of the main purposes of any assessment is to support an educational stakeholder by providing evidence of knowledge. Students, Teachers,
    Administrators, Parents, and District Leaders are all decision makers who should and do use assessment data differently. The district’s balanced
    system includes four types of assessments: a Universal Screener, Formative assessments, Interim assessments, and Summative assessments. Each
    type has a focused purpose and each is intended for specific stakeholders.

    Although Henry County Schools had already developed a Balanced System of Assessment, the use of the already developed system provided key and
    critical information to ensure that any learning gap was identified quickly.

  • How Do Universal Screeners Help to Identify Student Learning Gaps

    Universal screening is a process through which all students are assessed in order to ensure that all have an equal opportunity for support. It is a process that regularly gauges every student’s performance periodically (i.e. three times per year) during the school year. Universal screeners are brief, informative tools used to measure academic skills in areas of reading and mathematics. Universal screening answers the question, “Are there any grade level learning gaps? Which students are on-track for meeting end of year benchmarks at this point in the school year?” The purpose of universal screening is to identify student strengths and areas of growth in an effort to provide appropriate instructional supports.

    Universal Screening is used to measure:

    • Lexile levels
    • Reading Level (Fountas and Pinnell)
    • Grade level Benchmarks
    • Growth of Learning

    How do Common Formative Assessments Help to Identify Student Learning Gaps

    Within a balanced system of assessment, the primary purpose of formative assessments is to provide teachers with consistent information on students’ attainment of the Henry Teaching and Learning Standards (HTLS). Information on student understanding enables teachers to improve the precision of teaching and to guide instructional decisions.

    Qualities of Formative Assessments:
    Standards-based assessments administered in short cycles (i.e., daily, weekly), that are designed to determine a student’s attainment of established standards, and used to guide instructional decisions.

    • Formative assessments can be formal as in the case of common formative assessments (CFAs) where teams of teachers co-create an assessment to administer
    • Formative assessments can be informal as in the case when teachers have all students work a problem on individual white boards to quickly check for understanding.

    Who Can Use the Data from Common Formative Assessments and for which Decisions?

    Parents - Formative assessments enable parents to monitor student progress toward mastery of the standards throughout the learning process.

    Students - Through teacher-facilitated assessment analysis, students examine their individual results to identify both the standards mastered and the standards students should focus on in upcoming lessons. This degree of analysis enables students to take ownership of their academic progress and guide their own learning.

    Teachers - Through analysis of class and student results, teachers identify content to reteach to the whole group as well as identify individual students who need additional support to master the standards. Teachers are also able to reflect on whether instructional materials or approaches have been effective and use that information to guide learning.

    School Leaders- Through the establishment of school expectations for data use, schedules conducive to teacher collaboration, and consistent analysis protocols, teachers can evaluate which instructional approaches or materials are most effective. Collaborative analysis enables teams of teachers to share practices that resulted in the greatest levels of student achievement. Sharing leverages high-yield practice which teachers can use to design plans for re-teaching and remediation.

    Examples of HCS Formative Assessments Available to Determine Student Learning:
    Formal methods include district or school developed CFAs or weekly quizzes. Informal methods include instructional strategies including white board writes, tickets out the door, and other means to monitor student understanding consistently.

  • What happens if a student does not learn a concept the first time?

    Re-Engagement | Tier I Intervention

    During Tier I, teachers proactively intervene early to provide support for students falling below academic and/or behavioral expectations. Students are afforded opportunities to re-engage (learn, practice, additional directions or try another approach) with content standards they have not yet mastered. Re-engagement practices are different from interventions on skill deficits.

    What is the difference between re-engagement and remediation?


    • The teacher may guide a student to revisit their thinking and addressing conceptual understandings.
    • Teachers engage students in the content by utilizing a different approach and perspective that builds on previous activities, yet focus on the omissions, errors, or misconceptions in the student’s thinking.
    • Provides students with additional demonstrations, opportunities for deliberate practice, and scaffolded instruction so students can make connections and clarify as well as deepen their understanding.


    • Is corrective and fills in gaps in understanding, skills, or knowledge.
    • Students may need remediation of a pre-requisite skill before they are able to attempt a certain problem type
    • Students may need remediation of specific vocabulary or concepts in order to analyze a new topic or argument.

    Tier II — Targeted Intervention

    SOME students also receive targeted supports/interventions-This process has not been adjusted

    • Tier II instruction and intervention are in addition to Tier I with the expectation that both an increase in the explicitness and intensity of instruction will occur.
      • Tier II interventions are more explicit, systematic, intensive, and supportive than Tier I.
      • Explicit means that nothing is left to chance, systematic is more carefully engineered to produce mastery, and intensive is intentional instructive error correction.
    • Tier II interventions are driven by a specific area of need (academics–reading, writing, math—or behavioral/social-emotional).
      • The interventions align and occur simultaneously with classroom instruction.
      • Intervention instruction is provided by the classroom teacher and/or EIP/REP teacher during the school day within or outside the classroom.
      • The student’s needs drive intensity, group size, and duration of intervention.
      • Interventions are provided in a small group setting (5-8 students).

    • Tier II interventions are research-based, target the specific skill, and implemented with fidelity


  • How is Tier III different from the other Tiers

    Tier III – Intensive Intervention

    FEW students also receive intensive interventions-This process has not been adjusted

    • Tier III instruction and intervention is designed to meet the specific needs of the small percentage of students who are not responding to Tier I and II instruction and interventions.
      • Students needing Tier III interventions have demonstrated that they are significantly below grade level standards and are in need of intense support for their learning or behavioral development.
      • Tier III interventions are research-based interventions that target the student's specific deficit skill (i.e. phonics, reading fluency, reading comprehension, number sense, math computation, math problem solving, written expression or behavior)

    • Tier III (also referred to as SST) plans are created to meet the unique needs of the student.
      • The SST plan details an intensive intervention as indicated by frequency, duration, and group size (smallest instructional group available; 2-4 students)
      • Intervention instruction is provided by the classroom teacher and/or EIP/REP teacher during the school day on a daily basis.

    • Universal screenings are administered three times annually for all students to identify those who are at-risk for academic and/or behavioral deficiencies.
    • Leadership and teacher teams analyze various assessment data, including common formative assessments and universal screening data, to guide as well as improve instructional practices.

    What additional supports are available to students who are still struggling

    REMEDIAL PROGRAMS | Enhancements (COVID 19)

    Remedial programs have consistently been available to HCS students with demonstrated need. Although the program availability did not change due to COVID 19, schools were offered additional support programming to ensure that all students who were in need, had access to remedial options through the programs of Early Intervention Program (EIP) or Remedial Education Program (REP).

    Early Intervention Program (EIP) - a program designed to serve students in grades kindergarten through five who are at risk of not reaching or maintaining academic grade level, as defined in the Georgia Department of Education Early Intervention Program Guidelines, to obtain the necessary academic skills to reach grade-level performance in the shortest possible time. This program is in addition to the student’s core instruction to provide opportunities to regain grade level or greater learning levels.

    Remedial Education Program (REP) is an instructional program designed for students in grades 6-12 who have identified deficiencies in reading, writing, or mathematics. This program is in addition to the student’s core instruction to provide opportunities to regain grade level or greater learning levels.