May 15, 2016 admin

Crestwood Middle School: This IS Success

The Power of ICU team recently received a fantastic email from Principal Julie Schmidt at Crestwood Middle School in Ohio:

Dear Danny & Jayson,

I have the coolest story ever to share with you both! About a month ago, I saw an opportunity to win a $5,000 national grant through a program called “Game Plan for Success”. In 500 words or less, you had to tell a story about your school’s game plan for student success. I figure that I had a cute story to share about our CICU unit…so I wrote an essay about the CICU program, which I will share with you at the bottom of this email. Last week I found out that I won!!!

I just wanted to thank you both for our CICU program. It has been so successful. See the essay below.


Here is Julie’s submission:

“Let’s make it a great day a Crestwood Middle School, where every student completes every assignment!” It is a simple phrase that the CMS students hear every morning, but our students take the message to heart and so do our teachers and parents.

Based on the 2013-14 needs assessment with her teachers, CMS Principal, Julie Schmidt, found that her teachers were overwhelmingly requesting assistance in addressing student apathy. Mrs. Schmidt also saw a need for building-wide consistency in grading practices, opportunities for re-takes/re-dos, and ensuring students’ grades/assessments truly reflect mastery of the content standards and prepare our students to be “College & Career Ready”. Shortly after the 2014-2015 school year began, CMS faculty and staff received training in the “Power of ICU” (Danny Hill, 2009). This program addressed and resolved everyone’s concerns, so the Crestwood Intensive Care Unit (CICU) was established. Briefly, CICU is a program where every student is required to complete every assignment, and when this happens CMS celebrates this success with our students. Those students who do not complete assignments (due to absence, dog-eating homework, apathy, etc.) must report to CICU.

Then, there is “The List”. All teachers have access to a shared database. Every time an assignment is not turned in, the teacher can upload the student name and assignment to “The List”. Students can also be put on the list to redo assignments that were not of high quality or to retake a poorly completed assessment.

Teachers and parents have shared that our student’s grades have improved because they are more engaged, enthusiastic, and care more deeply. They know they are going to have to complete the assignment, so they work hard to do it timely and properly or risk the chance of having to do or redo the assignment in CICU. Academic progress is being made every day with our students.

Students complete their authentic and engaging activities, so they can understand the concepts and standards better. Students indicate that they feel better about school and their classes, because they do not get “behind”, understand the material better, have higher grades, and feel less overwhelmed, in general about school and classes when they have their work done. Students have even been heard telling other students, “You might as well do the assignment right and on-time, because otherwise, you will have to do right in CICU”.

Parents indicate that they appreciate no longer having the evening debate/battle over doing homework and do not have to keep checking the on-line classrooms and gradebooks to make sure their child is staying on top of their work. They also appreciate the improvement they have seen in their child’s report card.

Students know that with CICU, the school culture is one of positive helpfulness and a mindset of every child being successful as it relates to extra practice and mastering content standards. Data tracking since the implementation of the CICU program indicates that CMS students’ grades and attendance improved over the previous year. CMS students are learning heroes who are being prepared for life after middle school. Last year, “every student completed every assignment’ before they left for summer break and the program is going strong this year!

Way to go, Julie. Crestwood Middle School rocks!