Our Stoplight Approach to 9th Grade On Track

Ninth Grade Success | 04/17/2019

Katie Grace
Math Teacher, Collegiate Prep Academy

The 9th grade team has been working hard on making sure that ALL of our kids are on-track to graduate. Last semester, we were happy to only had two students in our freshmen class off-track. Three years ago, we implemented the “Stoplight.” The Stoplight contains all of our kids’ names and their core content classes. We do include our ELD teacher and one of the elective courses on the spreadsheet. Each teacher is required to have it filled out with red, yellow, or green, based on how that student is performing in their class. The color can relate to work completion, attendance, behavior, or anything else that may be “concerning” their teacher. Each teacher will have this filled out before our Thursday morning meeting. Our team lead will then take a look at the stoplight, and if it’s a normal team meeting week (not a Warrior Session), then we will go through the stoplight and spend 2 minutes talking about each kid that has a lot of red/yellow. The entire team is looking at this stoplight and also referencing Infinite Campus in the Conference tab to see what contacts/steps have already been taken with a kid.

When we talk about a kid, we take around 1-1.5 minutes and discuss how they are doing in each of our classes, if we’ve had any parent/guardian contact, suggest strategies to help them in their other classes, etc. We will determine if that student is struggling because of academics, behavior, and or attendance issues. For the last 30 seconds or so, we will decide who will take the lead on that next step. For example, if it’s a behavior issue, we will have someone from the behavior team meet with them. Or we may bring in parents/guardians, along with the student to meet with the whole team around what’s holding them back, best supports and expectations. Or have a teacher who that student is close with/working for have a discussion with them about expectations across the board.

If it is a student who is not attending school and they are slipping/failing because of that, we will talk with Mr. Warren, our Engagement Coordinator, of about attendance contracts, if parents have been contacted, if a truancy letter has been sent, etc.

Finally, if the issue seems to be around academics, we discuss (as a team) what strategies have been working. We will talk more in-depth about a kid: what they like/don’t like/issues at home/things we have heard/what we have noticed in halls, etc. We end up with one team member taking on the role to have a talk with that student about what their other teachers are seeing and feeling from them also. We will provide Freshman Tutoring space for them if they need time to do their homework, or a tutor to help them with it. If we need too, we will also invite a parent in to shadow their kid for a day.

We really believe that this is a whole team effort. It takes not only the student’s teacher, but the Whole Child Team and parents. When we are all working together to help ensure that child is cared for, in all aspects of life, so that they can focus and become the best student/them that they can be. And this system is one of the driving forces helping everyone stay on track. 


If you are intersted in supporting work like this, sign our petition to support 9th grade on track programming in Colorado.

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