Scanning Our Learners Part 1

What we learned this year in scanning and interviewing more than 50 of our 315 students is that we have one thing in common across the school. Our students feel cared for and supported by multiple adults in the building. We also know that students feel the adults believe in them and think that they will be a success in the future. Other evidence that was found came out in many different ways. We will explore some of these findings below. In a challenging year due to COVID, were these findings truly representative of what McNeely is now or were they more reflective of the outside influences (many of them challenging to students and staff in our building) that we faced this year. 

Our goal, looking ahead is to return to what we value-building relationships with our students. Doing so, provides them with the space and time to be able to learn best. Without first building the relationship, students are unable to move forward with their learning. Our next steps are to prioritize what specific attritbutes of learning we want to focus on when we return to in-person schooling for all of our students in September of 2021. This may take the form of focusing on certain core competencies, looking in greater depth at "big ideas" or doing some school-wide Social-Emotional Learning lessons and providing resources to teach about and experience greater understanding of what mental health and wellness looks like both in ourselves and in our students. A couple of questions we have are things like: "how can we get our students back to "normalcy" after the pandemic?" and "how can we get our students to learn about curricular big ideas in mathematics if they are not fully present when they arrive at school each morning if there are factors from home affecting their mental well-being.

Our evidence below, provides some suggestions and street data along with some anecdotes about how some of our students were feeling and what they were learning this year. 

In staff meetings, we shared pieces of the evidence below with our staff. 

Question 1) Can you name 3 adults at the school that care about you?  

Out of 28 students-   25 could name 3 adults.  2 named only 2 adults.  1 student could name no one; one student mentioned 5 Staff members 


Question 2)  What are you learning about?   

17/28 students mentioned something they were learning about in math. 12 of these could name a specific area of math that they were working on- egs: “multiplying decimals; equivalent fractions, strategies about adding 3 digit numbers; guess my number; place value; counting by 10s/20s; bar graphs.  

Only a couple named math in general.  

We also had this quote: “I am learning about math.  I forgot what kind of math, but I do know what it is.”  


Question 3) Why is what you are learning important?-  


So you don’t get ripped off in math- Big idea 

Many of the math quotes were of cliched ideas like;  

“so you are smarter when you are older” and  

“I am going to need math when I have a job 

“so we can learn more if you know my numbers” 

“math will be handy later on” 

“because it helps you with your numbers” 

“in the future I am going to have a job and I am going to need to know math” 

Quotes from Other Areas: 

(relating to social studies) “Some people don’t realize what they have is special and take it for granted.” 

(for French) “learning another language is another life skill- this will help you get a job and people will like you more when you can speak another language” 

(science) “living things are important because we are a living thing!” 

(science) “so that plants can grow” 

(science) “because I would understand how my body works and I can tell my brothers” 

And more generic Ones: 

“School is a place where you have to learn things” 

“You need it when you grow up” 

“So I can get smarter and if I have kids then I can teach them that” 


Question 4) If you could change 1 thing what would it be? 

 out of 28 responses 

Nothing- everything is good here- 6 mentioned 

New/more/bigger/better playground- 5 mentioned 

Change the Bullying/more kind people- 4 mentioned 

Longer recess/more time with friends – 4 mentioned 

Cleaner school (outside)- 2 mentioned 

Single mentions of  

Make math easier 

Change my friends 

Have a dress code-no “rude” shirts 

Help be a role model to little kids 

Bring back the Vending machine  

Question 5) What do you want to get better at?:  Graphic display- Wordle – larger words mean that it was put forth more times – math 6 times for example.  See Photo of Graphic display below. 

Updated: Thursday, December 2, 2021