Beyond Grades: Nurturing Growth at Parkview Baptist with ERB’s Whole Child Solution

Case Study: Parkview Baptist School

Students’ sense of belonging and engagement at school, as well as the social emotional tools they use to navigate the school environment, are significant factors that can impact student growth. Educators play a major role in facilitating that growth, and that’s why many schools are increasingly taking a holistic approach to education.

To support educators in this approach, ERB created the Whole Child Solution, which combines our assessments of academic achievement with measures of students’ social and emotional skills as well as their sense of belonging, engagement, and emotional well-being in the school community. At its core, the solution allows educators to collect data to understand the whole child and inform their decision-making.

For Parkview Baptist School, which piloted the Whole Child Solution in the 2022-2023 school year, it already offers critical insights into areas of strength and challenges. This insight is helping the school inform future actions. 

Background: Parkview Baptist School

Parkview Baptist School is an independent Christian school located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for students from Pre-K through Grade 12. In addition to its college preparatory curriculum, the school focuses on developing students’ intellectual, spiritual, social, physical, and emotional skills. In 2019, Parkview Baptist was named a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. 

The school has been an ERB member for 12 years and has regularly administered the Comprehensive Testing Program (CTP) and Milestones assessments.

Pilot Study Implementation

During the 2022-2023 school year, ERB piloted the Whole Child Solution with Parkview Baptist and 13 other ERB member schools representing a pilot sample of over 2,000 students in Grades 4-8. In Spring 2023, Parkview Baptist and the pilot schools administered the ERB Check-In Survey on student engagement and belonging and the SelfWise self-report inventory on social and emotional skills, along with CTP and Milestones. A total of 333 students took the assessments.  

The School

Parkview Baptist School, an independent Christian school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has been an ERB member school for 12 years.

Pilot Study

Parkview Baptist participated in the Whole Child pilot study with 13 other schools, for a total pilot sample of 2,000+ students in Grades 4-8.

The participating pilot schools provided ERB with demographic data, which included self-identified race, ethnicity, gender, financial aid status, and learning disabilities. For Parkview Baptist, participating in the pilot was a straightforward decision as the Whole Child Solution aligned well with their institutional mission. 

“I think looking at our students as a whole is just part of who we are,” says Karen Spencer, Assistant Division Head for Grades 1-8. “We’re not just here for academics; we’re here for their spiritual well-being and the whole child.”

“You have to be careful what you’re adding to the classroom and adding for the teacher. But I think we got good information that’s different from what we’re getting a pulse on already on the academic side,” says Curriculum Coordinator Beth Tidwell. “There wasn’t balking or anything by the teachers…It was easy to administer, and the students did seem engaged in it.”

Key Findings

For Parkview Baptist educators, the results of the pilot were enlightening—and included some surprises. 

Overall, the data showed that the student body had a strong sense of community and belonging. Additionally, the data illustrated there was no significant difference in the sense of belonging and overall well-being among different racial and ethnic groups at Parkview Baptist. The survey results further indicate that this high level of belonging at the school was prevalent even among first-year students. 

“It excited me that we thought our kids were well-adjusted—and they appear to be,” Spencer says. “I was thrilled that there were no real issues around race and ethnicity and that everyone feels welcome here and feels like they’re a part of the family.”

Notably, the data also showed no statistically significant difference between students with and without Individual Accommodation Plans (IAPs) when it came to their sense of belonging, academic engagement, or overall well-being, reflecting Parkview Baptist’s commitment to an integrated learning environment. 

“I was thrilled that there were no real issues around race and ethnicity and that everyone feels welcome here and feels like they’re a part of the family.”

Karen Spencer, Assistant Division Head for Grades 1-8, Parkview Baptist School

One finding that surprised the school’s educators was that the school’s overall academic engagement levels were lower in comparison with other pilot schools. In addition, they saw a significant drop-off in academic engagement with each progressive year. The average academic engagement scores of the school decreased from 15.7 to 12.5 on a 20-point scale from Grades 4-8. The average engagement was somewhat higher among girls (14.3) than boys (13.6). These trends, however, were consistent with national data.

Using ERB’s 360 Access data reporting platform, the Parkview Baptist team is closely monitoring trends in students’ results and disaggregating results based on grade level, specific classes, and more to help inform curriculum and instruction. 

Taking Action

A Greater Focus on Academic Engagement

The Parkview Baptist team reports they’re already using the data from the pilot to shape their future strategy. For example, while they were surprised by the school’s academic engagement scores, they are now making concerted efforts to increase student engagement.

“It has given us a very specific focus, which is nice,” Tidwell says.  “For many years, our teachers have been making goals and plans based strictly on academic data, which is important….but this just added an extra layer of being able to go, ‘okay, now we have to get the students engaged and motivated and really invested in their learning.’ That should add to all the other academic pieces that we’re doing.”

Individual Student Support

The team has also used the Whole Child Solution to identify several students who needed additional support to boost their well-being at school. The solution has provided the school with an additional data point to validate what a teacher may already suspect.

“It’s another way to try and see the child as a whole person and, if there is an issue, to get to the root of it through counseling and maybe even just time with the teacher,” Spencer says.

Parkview Baptist plans to use the 360 Access platform to take a closer look at students who may be underperforming academically. “What do the other [components] look like? Are they happy? Are they adjusted? How’s their friend situation? Are they engaged? Are they excited about school?” Tidwell says.

Use in Communications with Families

The Parkview Baptist team also anticipates that the Whole Child Solution will help them connect with families more effectively. It provides information that specifically can be helpful during parent-teacher conferences, says Daniel McCulloch, elementary and middle school division head—“either with all of our students or with students who are really struggling in some of those check areas.”

“This just added an extra layer of being able to go, ‘okay, now we have to get the students engaged and motivated and really invested in their learning.’”

Beth Tidwell, Curriculum Coordinator, Parkview Baptist School

Moving Forward and Tracking Progress

In the 2023-2024 school year, the Parkview Baptist team plans to administer the Whole Child Solution more frequently. This will enable them to track student metrics within and across school years with greater accuracy. They are particularly eager to measure progress in academic engagement as they implement new interventions. 

The team will also check in with first-year students throughout the year to see how they adapt to their new environment. Over time, they anticipate tracking these trends alongside academic outcomes to measure the overall well-being and growth of their community. Ultimately, they will use these data to help support each student in meeting their greatest individual potential, not just academically but also in their whole-child growth.

Learn more about the ERB Whole Child Solution. Bundle our achievement assessments with our measures of student well-being and social and emotional skills for a holistic understanding of your students.

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