Barrington native creates a tool for student success

Student Planner Plus aimed at improving students' executive functioning skills

By Josh Bickford
Posted 9/21/20

Barrington native Ashley Daugherty is trying to help students.

A school psychologist in Boston Public Schools, Ms. Daugherty recently created a new planner — the Student Planner Plus — …

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Barrington native creates a tool for student success

Student Planner Plus aimed at improving students' executive functioning skills

Posted

Barrington native Ashley Daugherty is trying to help students.

A school psychologist in Boston Public Schools, Ms. Daugherty recently created a new planner — the Student Planner Plus — which helps students with their executive functioning skills such as organizing, planning and ways to improve their memory and persevering through challenges.

Those skills have become even more important as school districts lean more heavily upon distance learning, she said.

Last spring, when schools across the country closed their doors and students switched to remote education because of the pandemic, Ms. Daugherty noticed many students struggling with their organizational skills. Tasks that were difficult in school became even more daunting for students at home.

"I saw kids freak out," she said. "They really, really need help.

"But this definitely goes beyond a Covid-problem."

Ms. Daughtery said most students need help or guidance to develop executive functioning skills, and most schools do not teach those skills. She said students in all grades and from all socio-economic backgrounds are impacted.

"It's definitely all kids," she said.

Ms. Daugherty said she created the Student Planner Plus in an effort to help all students succeed.

Like most planners, it offers pages for daily, weekly and monthly scheduling. The Student Planner Plus also dedicates space for students to map out their class schedule and write reflection notes while answering questions including "How many HW assignments did I turn in this week?" and "How would I rate my effort on schoolwork this week?"

The Student Planner Plus also offers information about executive functioning skills, and details about planning, task initiation, organization, time management, attention, flexibility, self-control, working memory, metacognition and perseverance.

Toward the front of the planner, there are also sections dedicated to self-assessments and easy-to-follow tips titled "How to Self-Advocate," "How to Persevere Through Challenges," "How to Organize Your School Materials," and "How to Improve Your Memory."

There is also a page on how to process a grade.

Ms. Daugherty, who works with middle school-age children, said the Student Planner Plus works well with students between the ages of 10 and 15, but could easily be used by older and younger students. She added that younger students may need the assistance of an adult.

Building a planner

Ms. Daugherty said she was living in Barrington this past spring with her family when she started building the Student Planner Plus. She said the creation process required plenty of patience and lots of revisions, but the final product was well worth the effort.

"It turned out great," she said.

Ms. Daugherty said her experiences working with middle school students proved extremely beneficial while creating the Student Planner Plus. She also had an opportunity to see how her students felt about the planner.

Ms. Daugherty said she Student Planner Plus is also donating planners to students and educators in need.

"The school I work at serves a population where they don't have a lot of resources," she said. "The school can't provide planners."

Teachers can apply to have planners donated to their classes — a maximum of 25 per class. Recently, a Barrington resident who wishes to remain anonymous donated 60 planners to the Highlander Charter School in an effort to honor longtime residents Sandy McCulloch and Pete Deal, who worked hard to improve education for students across the state.

Ms. Daugherty, who graduated from Barrington High School in 2012, said she is also planning to expand the Student Planner Plus product line to include a mental health support planner in the future, as well as other products.

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