Communication

How Woodward District Became a Leader in Graduation Rates

Case Study
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Sudden distance learning didn’t stop this district from getting at-risk seniors across the finish line.

Early in March 2020, just before Covid and Spring Break, Woodward High School had 36 students at-risk of not graduating and nine who very likely would not graduate. With sudden, unavoidable distance straining the relationships with students and their families, Covid-19 was threatening the administration’s ability to help those seniors in need. Superintendent Kyle Reynolds saw these challenges as an opportunity to look towards technology for problem-solving in his Oklahoma District. Reynolds spent ten years as the Technology Director before taking up the Superintendent position for Woodward Public School District in 2014. 

 “With a lot of the technology we have in place when we went into the pandemic, we were in a great position,” Reynolds explains. Every student received Chromebooks for online learning and access to necessary materials via e-books. For educators, there was also a need for technology to step in and help them communicate more effectively with families. Reynolds turned to SchoolStatus—a communication tool that helps the district reach every stakeholder.

“SchoolStatus quickly became an essential tool for supporting students at risk of not graduating.”

Communication with families is changing

Reaching families, in general, is a lot harder than it has ever been. “It’s not like 20-30 years ago when you call and leave a message on someone’s answering machine at home,” observes Reynolds. “Most people don’t even answer the phone if you call their cell phone.” Family engagement barriers are even greater when you consider the different languages spoken in many homes. 

“In the late 90’s we were probably five or six percent Hispanic. Today we’re about 25-26% Hispanic.” “Now, It’s all about texting.” 

Reynolds

SchoolStatus enables educators to text families directly, in any language—making two-way conversations more frequent and enhancing the relationships between teachers and families. “Having the translation options in our area is crucial,” Reynolds adds. Working through a translator or worse, a student, is a good way to slow down or cut off the line of communication between home and school. “It is so much more efficient to have the preferred language feature in SchoolStatus,” says Reynolds. 

In addition, with automatic logging and tracking, SchoolStatus helps administrators view the frequency or success of communication efforts district-wide—a great feature as Woodward High School Principals worked to help their struggling seniors graduate over the summer.  “SchoolStatus gave us the opportunity to be in touch with those students in a continuous manner,” explains Principal Sunderland. 

“In today’s world, as busy as we are, we have a lot of problems just connecting. SchoolStatus gave us a tool that we could use no matter where we were.”

Success in numbers 

“It became almost second nature not only for us as an administrative team but also for our teachers,” says Principal Sunderland. “The convenience, simplicity, and availability are the biggest things for us. We want to make things as easy as we can for our teachers and SchoolStatus does that.” For Woodward High School educators, persistence pays off. 

About Woodward School District

Woodward Public Schools is located in Northwest Oklahoma and the home of the Boomers. The district is made up of six schools with over 2,738 students.

Boomer Mission: We Believe Woodward Boomers will become lifelong learners with a pioneer spirit: cooperative, productive, responsible, and ready for the future.

Boomer Vision: We will engage all stakeholders in an ongoing, collaborative, data-driven effort to increase student achievement and close achievement gaps.

Values: ALL site leaders will be mutually accountable for the progress of ALL students through the monitoring of student achievement data and growth on a monthly basis.

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