Greenbrier Middle Zero Assignment Club

Another school achieving zero missing assignments!

The end of the school year is not quite at an end, and yet students at Greenbrier Middle School in Arkansas are ahead of the game and not waiting until the last minute to turn in missing assignments. This is truly a sign of a successful culture. Students and teachers will be able to end the school year with an empty plate! Keep up the amazing work!

Greenbrier middle

St. Clair Freshmen Success

Students and faculty at St. Clair High School now aim to a higher standard.

Let’s let the words from St. Clair High School’s Principal, Jennifer Davis, speak for themselves.

“It’s official! Due to our teachers’ hard work and dedication and your support, we have had a 85% decrease in the amount of freshmen Fs due to the fidelity of the implementation of ICU! The statistics don’t lie. In the 2016-17 first semester, there were 66 freshmen Fs. In the 2017-18 first semester, there were 10 freshmen Fs.  By the time our board meeting rolls around we will have met our goal of having every single freshmen with every assignment turned in for first semester! The reason being is WHEN students do their work, they learn. These grades aren’t inflated; they’ve been higher all year long per our freshmen teachers. We are ECSTATIC with the progress of our students and the dedication to this process by our teachers!  We are also proud to share that we’ve hit our highest completion rate yet at 95% for the building.”


Empty ICU Lunch Table at Gibbon High

Empty seats are a good thing when it comes to missing assignments.

One of the best ways to get students to turn missing assignments in is to ensure they get the proper help and one-on-one attention, on their time. When students are missing multiple assignments at Gibbon High School, they are assigned to eat lunch at a specified table with plenty of available resources to allow them to complete them. When this table is empty, students are succeeding!


Zero Missing Assignments at Hilltop Middle

Zero is the magic number that students at Hilltop Middle School in Ilwaco, WA aim to achieve.

The middle of the school year is a perfect time to reflect, reset, and re-energize, both for students and teachers alike. The perfect way to achieve this is to have nothing more left on your plate from the beginning of the year. Students can end the 1st semester with a feeling of accomplishment and can lift the weight of missing assignments off their shoulders. Teachers can end with a totally up to date grade book and will be able to more accurately measure student learning. Great job, Hilltop!

Hilltop Middle

Milestone at Watertown Middle

Over 2000 missing assignments were completed and it’s only halfway through the year!

Watertown Middle School in Watertown, SD has received 2000 missing assignments from students that would otherwise be a zero on the student’s report card. Even though it is only the middle of the school year, students are showing success by getting those assignments in before the end of the school year. This is an amazing accomplishment and a sign of good things to come to this school’s culture. Keep up the amazing work!

Watertown Middle

York Public Schools Focused on Learning

  • By Dr. Mitch Bartholomew – York Public Schools


At the start of the 2016-17 school year, York Public Schools implemented a process called ICU. ICU (Intensive Care Unit) is a process that holds students accountable for their work and focuses on teachers creating quality assignments. A key component of ICU is a school-wide database that tracks missing assignments. The database allows teachers, administrators, students and parents to communicate with each other about incomplete assignments. YPS has had tremendous success with ICU and has received numerous compliments from parents.

YPS needed the ICU process due to the number of assignments our students weren’t completing. For example, during the 2015-16 school year, York High School gave out nearly 4,000 zeros. These zeros were having a dramatic impact on students’ grades and were unintentionally reinforcing student apathy. Also, teachers were not able to determine if all students were learning the content being taught because many assignments were not completed.

 The idea behind ICU is to grade student learning, not punish students with grades and require all students to complete all assignments. Like many adults, some students will not meet deadlines. The ICU process requires students to create a plan for completion and allows teachers to require extra time and support for students.

Since we’ve implemented ICU, YHS has seen a dramatic increase in student achievement. During the 2016-17 school year, we saw nearly a 25 percent reduction to our weekly failure rate compared to 2015-16. Compared to the 2011-12 school year, we have seen nearly a 65 percent failure rate reduction. We’ve also seen a drastic reduction to the number of students enrolled in summer school for credit retrieval. At the end of the 2011-12 year, YHS had 127 students enrolled in at least one summer school class. During the 2016-17 school year, YHS only had seven students needing credit recovery.

The York High School staff is very proud of our student achievement numbers and our students. Many students have stepped up to the ICU challenge and are doing very well. As a staff, our next challenges include sustaining the ICU process, creating quality assignments and focusing on students that are repeatedly on the ICU list.

Great Job Laurel MS!

Another success email!

The 2016 – 2017 school year will go down as another successful ICU year for Laurel Middle School. The last two years saw LMS complete all assignments and have the list cleared by the last day of school. Two years ago finished with more than 24,000 assignments on the list. Last year finished with just over 23,000 assignments on the list.

This year we set a lofty goal of dropping that number to less than 15,000 assignments. Our staff and students knocked it out this year, with only 14,131 assignments being placed on the list! YES! We came up just four assignments short of clearing the list for the year, but the overall result is something our staff and students should take pride in. A large part of this decrease in the overall numbers is that our teachers are focusing more on standards-based, quality assignments and being more selective in what gets graded. Awesome!

Patrick Cates
Laurel Middle School”

Power of ICU in York, Nebraska

Good things happening in York, Nebraska! All came together to dig deeper into Healthy Grading and Quality Assignments – both part of the Power of ICU Formula. Participants were engaged with “student success” on the forefront of their minds. The excitement could be felt as new ideas were introduced.

The Power of ICU Team was honored to be there! We were graced with hospitality and good company, and we look forward to seeing York students succeed!


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“We first learned about this concept from author Danny Hill. In his book Brick House, Hill explains how lifeguards prevent struggling students from drowning academically.” Sherri Nelson

Check out this fantastic article written by Sherri Nelson, Director of curriculum, instruction, and assessment for the Huron School District 2-2 in South Dakota. Sherri is also one of our amazing and dedicated Power of ICU Partner Presenters.

ASCD February Education Update

Blitz Day Success in Windom!

Blitz Day

Another awesome email…

We just had a Blitz day last week in which we took 60 missing assignments off the ICU List which reduced our List by 62%! We’re loving what the Power of ICU List and Standards Based Grading has done for us!

Erin Elder, Dean of Students
Windom, MN