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Taylor schools will use the results of a survey to better address the academic and behavioral needs of its students.

The school district was the recipient of a grant from the Indiana Department of Education that will afford administering a survey to all students in grades three through 12, in partnership with Panorama.

Panorama Education works with millions of students and thousands of schools across the country to “promote student voices in school improvement conversations,” according to its website. The focus is social-emotional learning (SEL), which helps students manage their emotions, create positive relationships and make responsible decisions.

Self-awareness, social awareness or empathy and self-management are key concepts in SEL.

Behavior issues can be hurdles for academic success, which is why schools have turned to SEL.

“If they aren’t behaving in class, if they can’t focus, it impacts their learning,” said Rosie Goudy, Title I coordinator at Taylor.

Goudy said the survey gauges how students feel about school.

Questions include “If you fail at a goal, how likely are you to try again?” and “How sure are you that you can complete all work for a class?”

The survey window closed last week. Next, Taylor staff will complete training with Panorama in order to make sense of the data and how to implement best practices.

“It’s important because it will help identify students we might be missing,” said Caitlin Herr, middle school counselor. “It’s always beneficial to have that data.”

Goudy said Panorama provides teachers with lessons and resources depending on what needs the survey indicates.

Taylor hopes the survey, coupled with new positions added at the beginning of the school year, will help better meet the needs of students.

Three student support coaches and three behavioral specialists were added with federal pandemic relief funding. One support coach and one behavioral specialist is assigned to each school building: elementary, middle and high school.

Support coaches analyze data. Their main focus is identifying interventions for students, Herr said. Interventions can be thought of as targeted attention for a student based on their specific needs.

Behavioral specialists focus on behavior, such as impulse control and staying focused in class, whereas counselors work with students on both academics and behaviors.

The additional positions have helped more students get the attention they need.

“Our students are getting more support, academically and behaviorally, than ever before,” Goudy said.

And it’s a definite need following the pandemic year, Herr said.

“With the pandemic, there’s a lot more uncertainty, and we can see that with certain behaviors here at school,” she said.

Herr said some students are dealing with death for the first time and the feelings that come with it, such as grief and coping. There are also the additional academic needs some students have due to learning loss and school disruptions.

Spencer Durham can be reached at 765-454-8598, by email at spencer.durham@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at @Durham_KT.

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