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  • Writer's pictureJim Mercer

SamTastic Weekly Tip: 11/20/23 - Track Your Management Time

This week’s tip: Track your Management Time

Actually, TimeTrack already records your management time…but are you using your management data?

TimeTrack keeps record of all the events you enter. SAM teams tend to focus on instructional work, using the TimeTrack dashboard and quick links to see charts of graphs detailing the leader’s work, to improve teaching and learning. Great!

Looking at the time spent on management can be beneficial, too. This can help identify the need for First Responders. It can have other benefits, too.

Last week’s Marshall Memo detailed a study tracking students sent to the office for misbehavior in class. The data revealed wide differences in the number of referrals by teacher and reason. The study revealed a large number of referrals came from a small number of teachers. (see Marshall Meno article and links, below)

Data doesn’t tell you whether you are right or wrong. It does give you the opportunity to reflect and consider next steps in working with others. You don’t need a study to examine student referrals in your school. You can use TimeTrack.

There is a simple way to unlock your data on management work. Click the Options tab, select Management, click apply.

To track student referrals, you can create an event, select Management, Student Discipline, and associate with the teacher(s) making the referrals. For more detail, you can associate with the student, giving you data on the amount of time spent on referrals, who is being sent to the office and, importantly, frequency.

Of course, you can use NoteTrack to keep a narrative running record that will be retrievable based on the association, teacher and student.

A student referral can start as management for a leader. The time can flip to instruction if the leader uses time data to improve student learning behavior by working with teachers to better deal with student behavior in class. Working with students to improve their learning behavior is instructional. Using data to improve your work is golden.

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Executive Summary: SAM team Success:

Data on Teachers Sending Students to the Office

In this article in Educational Researcher, Jing Liu (University of Maryland/College Park), Emily Penner (IZA Institute of Labor Economics, Germany), and Wenjing Gao (University of California/Irvine) report on their four-year study of teachers’ office discipline referrals in a large, diverse urban school district in California. Liu, Penner, and Gao drew on “exceptionally detailed administrative data” on students who got in trouble with teachers, noting that there was wide variation in what different teachers considered defiant and disruptive behavior. The study’s findings:

  • Only about a third of teachers in the district ever made an office referral in a given year.

  • Half of those teachers referred fewer than five students a year.

  • The average referral rate was less than one student every two months.

  • A small number of teachers (1.7 percent) referred over 48 students a year.

  • These “top referrers” accounted for 34.8 percent of total office discipline referrals.

  • The less experienced teachers were, the more likely they were to be top referrers.

  • The top referrers were most likely to teach in middle schools.

  • Black and Hispanic teachers were much less likely to be top referrers than their white colleagues.

  • The top referrers were much more likely to refer more African-American and Hispanic students than white and Asian students.

  • The top 5 percent of referring teachers effectively doubled racial referring gaps in the district.

  • Those gaps cascaded into racial gaps in out-of-school suspensions.

  • Only about 25 percent of top referrers in a given year were still in that category the next year, and an even smaller percent the following year.

This last finding, say Liu, Penner, and Gao, “suggest that extensive referring behavior is quite malleable,” and can be changed by coaching on classroom management – especially among less-experienced teachers. The authors encourage school and district leaders to track office referral data in real time and intervene early with teachers who are frequent flyers.

“Troublemakers? The Role of Teacher Referrers in Expanding Racial Disciplinary Disproportionalities” by Jing Liu, Emily Penner, and Wenjing Gao in Educational Researcher, November 2023 (Vol. 52, #8, pp. 469-481); Liu can be reached at

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