Robert Van Wyck Middle School is a public school in Queens, New York educating 1,633 students from grade 6 through grade 8. Their population consists of students of mixed ethnicities – 16% Black, 41% Hispanic, 6% White, 1% American Indian/Alaskan Native, and 36% Asian students. The student body includes 331 English language learners and 291 special education students. The average attendance rate for the school year 2013-2014 was 93.1%.

The Challenge

Prior to using IO Education, Robert Van Wyck Middle School had been dealing with an influx of behavioral issues that were negatively affecting graduation rates. As a result of falling promotion rates, Robert Van Wyck Middle School was beginning to see a decline in student accountability

The Solution

After a great deal of planning to ensure teacher, parent and student buy-in, administrators selected a pilot group of teachers to lead the implementation of IO Classroom and institute the Anecdotal Badging System.

Over the summer months, the pilot group worked diligently with administrators to quantify the weight, define badges, and determine anecdotal categories including tardiness, empathy, positive and negative behavior, citizenship, and academic results.

Since the completion of the pilot implementation in October, the pilot group has continued to facilitate weekly lunch and learns hosting administration and pilot teachers.

The Outcomes

During the January rollout, teacher buy-in increased as teachers were able to suggest additional anecdotal categories. Student buzz around the badge system also began in January, followed by parent engagement through anecdotal reports. During the school year, the number of anecdotals increased from approximately 4,000 to over 35,000.

At the close of the 2014-2015 school year, the following findings were evident: » Decrease in suspensions – down 50% » Support for restorative practices – negative anecdotals can be resolved as student behavior improves » Access to data that can be utilized to strategically plan » Increase in positive school tone (see Figure 1) » NYC Quality Review rating of Well Developed on 1.4