Tracking Student Success Beyond CJ

In this day and age of social media madness, the term “trending” has taken on a whole new meaning. Ask principal John Marshall ‘86 (who has added “Twitter” to his vocabulary), and you will quickly learn the two-fold implications of following the trends of student success data for Chaminade Julienne and the young people it serves.

Since adding the City Connects program in 2010, CJ has kept a keen eye focused on monitoring the individual progress of its students as well as the effectiveness of the support programs it offers. In order to accurately gauge both, the school charts each student’s development from before he or she even steps inside the building.

“We try to get a baseline with 8th graders through the admissions process,” Marshall said. “Our job then is to place each child in the right program so that he or she can get to that endgame, which is becoming a successful student.”

During the first few months at CJ, a counselor works directly with each freshman and his or her teachers to develop a personalized plan of action — known as an Individual Student Review (ISR) — taking into account internal and external factors from grades, test scores and attendance to extra-curricular involvement, family and faith life.

According to Jama Badinghaus, guidance counselor and student support coordinator, each ISR is evaluated to map trends across an entire class and establish tiers. In this way, students who need more support or less can be identified.

“Taking a holistic approach allows us to be much more proactive with the services we provide,” she said. “It’s tempting, and more convenient, to ask the students to fit the program. But I think we should be asking how we can adjust and strengthen the program to best benefit each student.”

The program, according to Marshall, holds the school accountable for how well its services prepares students for a successful future beyond high school. To identify the school’s areas of strengths and weaknesses, CJ pays extra attention to the performance trends of its graduates.

“It is important for us to measure how well graduates are doing at that next level so we can adjust the programming, curriculum and experiences we continue to offer CJ students,” Marshall said. Examining college success data is a trend many secondary schools are starting to explore.

“According to data we received, we rank number one in the Montgomery County area with 94 percent of students returning to college for their second year, so this is one indicator that helps us determine how well our students are being prepared to be successful,” said Marshall.

“We want to understand our students, so we document their stories. We document their needs, how we address those needs at CJ, and also their success in college. Their stories teach us how we can improve the educational experience that we offer future students.”

This story first appeared in the spring 2012 issue of Vision, CJ's alumni news magazine. Browse past issues >