SAILS: Early Alert Faculty and Advisor Resources

The following are resources and information links for faculty, staff and advisors to facilitate the Early Alert process.

What is SAILS?

The Student Assistance and Intervention for Learning Success (SAILS): Early Alert system, using Starfish Retention tools, is being implemented at Virginia’s community colleges in support of the Achieve 2015 and the student success goal. Implementation of SAILS will allow instructors to identify, communicate, and provide guidance to students demonstrating behaviors, performance, and characteristics that correlate with risk of not succeeding academically.

SAILS is not just an early alert system but also a course management and communication system. It offers instructors a convenient method to communicate directly with students regarding their progress in the course. Students who receive feedback early in the semester regarding their progress are more likely to seek assistance and support when needed.

When will SAILS be implemented?

Effective Spring 2014, SAILS progress surveys will be provided for BIO 1, BIO 101, ENF courses, ENG 111, MTE/MTT courses, MTH 163, and SDV courses. Other course instructors may raise flags and kudos manually as a separate process from the progress surveys.

How will SAILS help college faculty, staff, and students?

SAILS gives instructors a quick way to keep track of their students’ academic performance by raising “flags” when pattern of behavior that causes concern or by sending “kudos” to acknowledge positive contributions to academic success. An email notification is automatically generated to the students for all raised items expect for the general concern flag. Student support services are notified and provide the appropriate intervention and assistance for the top two critical flags: Never Attended and In Danger of Failing.

When do instructors raise flags or kudos to alert students of their progress?

Instructors who teach BIO 1, BIO 101, ENF courses, ENG 111, MTE/MTT courses, MTH 163, and SDV courses receive an email notification prompting them to submit the progress survey. There are two progress surveys for most sessions: an initial progress survey (prior to the census date) and a mid-term progress survey (prior to the withdrawal deadline). Instructors should submit their progress surveys for all their courses upon receiving the prompt email. If the instructors do not have feedback for their students, they should select no feedback and then submit.

When will instructors be notified to submit the progress surveys?

Emails are sent to instructors periodically and strategically for each session. There are two progress surveys for each session except for the 4 week sessions which only has one. The initial survey occurs prior to the census date and the mid-term survey occurs prior to the withdrawal date.

What flags can an instructor raise?

The six flags include: Assignment Concerns, Attendance Concern, In Danger of Failing, Low Participation, Low Quiz/Test Scores, and Never Attended. Instructors can add comments to provide students with additional information regarding their progress. Comments are listed in the email message to students and all comments are disclosable by FERPA. Instructors should write comments to the students not about the students, as they are included in the students’ email message.

What if instructors have concerns that are not covered in the six flags?

Instructors can raise a General Concern flag for issues that are not covered in the six flags. The General Concern flag does NOT generate an email to the students and the comments are not visible to the students. If instructors have concerns about students’ disability, then they should refer the students directly to the Office of Educational Accessibility. If instructors have concerns about students’ mental health, then they should refer the students directly to the Personal Counselor or Advising/Counseling Office. If instructors have concerns disruptive/inappropriate behavior or conduct problems, then they should submit the referral form (available on Inside TCC) to the Dean of Student Services.

Who does the email message to students come from?

The automated email message to students is signed by the instructor to make the message more personal and to encourage students to follow up directly with their instructor. Students can reply back directly to the instructor via the email message.

What happens after I submit a flag or kudos?

  1. Students receive an automated email message signed by their instructor for all raised flags and kudos, including the comments provided by their instructor. The General Concern flag is the only flag that does NOT generate an email notification to students.
  2. Students are directed to follow-up with their instructor regarding all flags and to visit the appropriate office, such as Financial Aid, Veteran Affairs, Counseling, and/or Learning Assistance Services.
  3. The instructors are responsible to clear the flags except for Never Attended, In Danger of Failing, and General Concern, after concerns and appropriate resources have been discussed with their student.
  4. Appropriate student support services will follow-up with students who received flags for Never Attended, In Danger of Failing, and General Concern. They will be responsible to clear the flags and close the loop for those three specific flags.

Who follows up with students and clears the flags?

Students are encouraged to follow up with their instructors; therefore, instructors should clear the following flags once the concern and appropriate resources have been addressed: Assignment Concerns, Attendance Concern, Low Participation, and Low Quiz/Test Scores. Appropriate student support services will reach out to students and clear the flags for Never Attended, In Danger of Failing, and General Concern flags.

Who is the college lead for SAILS?

Dr. Kathy Maalouf, AVP for Student Success, serves as the college lead for SAILS. Please contact her directly for additional information or training.