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Rolling Out Check-Ins to Your School or District

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Why Use Check-Ins

Check-ins are a quick and easy tool for understanding how students are doing and how they are experiencing school. Check-ins mainly focus on how students are doing in a specific moment, rather than on their general perceptions over the course of a semester or year of school. Gathering student voice through check-ins is intended to help inform action. It also serves other important purposes, namely building strong relationships with students, showing them you care, and bringing about students’ self-reflection about how they are doing.  

Check-ins can be created and sent to students at specific schools or across the district. In general, a school may be more equipped to act on information about how specific students are doing, while the district may be more equipped to respond to feedback about district-wide practices. If you are interested in sending check-ins to students district-wide, we recommend aligning across your schools to avoid over surveying students or inadvertently asking the same questions repeatedly.

Our Question Sets have been developed with support from our research team and focuses initially on serving the following purposes. We look forward to also supporting custom content in the future. 

To find out…. …. you should use  Who should ask the questions and how often? (Recommendation) What might educators do in response to the data? 
...how students are feeling Well-Being, Supportive Relationships, and Safety questions
  • Teachers, counselors, or school-level administrators
  • Bi-weekly or less frequently, with a rotating set of questions
  • Follow up with individual students
...how students perceive their SEL skills & competencies Questions sourced from Panorama’s traditional SEL survey content, including self-reflection questions on topics like Growth Mindset, Self-Efficacy, and more
  • School or district administrators
  • Monthly or less frequently
...what feedback students have about the classroom experience Formative feedback for teachers
  • Teachers 
  • Can be asked daily; we recommend rotating questions to avoid survey fatigue
  • Adjust teaching practice
  • Potentially follow up with individual students
...what feedback students have about the school experience Formative feedback for School Leaders ( Coming soon!)
  • School administrators or district administrators
  • Can be asked weekly; we recommend rotating questions to avoid survey fatigue
  • Institute or improve Tier 1 programs
  • Potentially follow up with individual students

Want to learn more about how other Panorama partners are using check-ins? Check out this blog post featuring Spokane Public Schools to hear how they are offering "just-in-time supports" to students.

What to Consider Before Creating a Check-In

Panorama understands that each district, and each school within each district, is unique. Check-ins are intended to be flexible, depending on the needs of different schools and districts. Before you set up your first check-in, we recommend you consider the following questions and begin to document your specific needs so that you can ensure the check-in you create will be supportive of your goals. 

  • What are you hoping to learn from students? Knowing ahead of time what you want to learn will help you determine which questions you’ll ask on a repeated basis, meaning you will be able to move forward with a consistent set of questions. Consider making a loose, school-wide plan to guide your set-up, although you can always adjust as you go along.                                                                                                                   
  • How often will you plan to send check-ins? We recommend a bi-weekly check-in schedule, although shorter check-ins (one or two questions) could be asked more regularly. It is important to avoid over-surveying students in a way that leads to low response rates or unreliable responses, but you will want to make sure that the data is up-to-date enough for educators to be able to use it to inform their students supports.                                                                                                                                                           
  • How will you coordinate the responsibility of sending check-ins within your school? We recommend that you align within your school on which educators are sending check-ins to students, and on what cadence, so that there is no confusion and students aren’t inadvertently asked the same questions more than necessary. Assigning a point-person to create the check-in and distribute the link to students will prevent the need for excess communication internally. 
  • How will you distribute check-ins to engage as many students as possible? When you create a check-in, you’ll receive a generic link to send to students, and when they click the link, they will be asked to enter their ID to access the check-in. That means you have a lot of options for how you distribute check-ins: you could email the check-in to all students or add it as an assignment to your LMS. Or, if you’re doing synchronous learning during school, you could share the link in the chat box and have students respond at that time. Carefully consider the best mode for your school, as it is important to stick with one method as much as possible, providing stability and predictability for students. 

How to Roll Out Check-Ins to Your School or District

Now that you know a little bit about how check-ins are intended to be used, you can start planning how your school or district will be using check-ins. Having an intentional planning process will ensure that the check-ins your team creates are aligned to your district goals and focuses. You might want to create space for additional meetings or planning time with the educators who will be overseeing the check-ins process, or even create a training to make sure everyone is on the same page. Either way, you can use the resources below to get started with rolling out check-ins across your school or district.

1. Plan How Your School/District Will Use Check-ins 

 The resource linked here will guide you through identifying your school or district's goals for using check-ins and planning to roll out and communicate that information to your team. Feel free to make a copy of the resource to edit and customize them to your needs.

2. Introduce Your Team to Check-ins

This email template will support you in introducing your team to check-ins. The template contains links to these resources in Panorama Academy that will be supportive for them as well. Feel free to make a copy of the slides to edit and customize them to your needs.

[Optional] Train Your Team to Use Check-ins

The template slide deck linked here will support you in introducing your team to check-ins in a meeting or PD session. Feel free to make a copy of the slides to edit and customize them to your needs.

Planning for Check-ins Guide

Check-ins Email Template

Template Slides for Using Panorama's Check-ins

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