- Number of Students: 261
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 62.98%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 0%
- Percent of Special Education: 14.2%
- White: 93.1%
- Black: 0.4%
- Hispanic: 1.1%
- Asian: 0%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.4%
- Multiracial: 5%
- Other: 0%
In 2018, 4 staff members attended training throughout the year at the Arch Ford co-op to get the overview of the PLC process. We knew this was what we needed on our campus to improve but bringing the information back and sharing led to little change. We needed help and applied for the Arkansas PLC project offered through our department of education and were fortunate to be accepted into Cohort 3. We invited Quitman, who were in Cohort 2, to come and speak to our teachers about their journey. Hearing teachers talk about how this worked in their school, opened the door for those not sure. They explained that this wasn't "more added to the plate, this is the plate.” All staff were able to attend the PLC Overview Session in 2019 and that started our official journey with the PLC Project and our relationship with the coaches at Solution Tree.
The first several meetings were to assess where we currently were at our school. Solution Tree coaches had focus groups with parents, students and teachers. We looked at our achievement data combined with the anecdotal information and knew that our students needed foundational reading help badly! Our school had several changes of leadership in the years proceeding this journey. There were bits and pieces of curriculum materials that teachers may or may not have had training on and we didn't have the money or time to purchase and train anyone right then. We decided to define our own foundational continuum and created lessons to go with each skill. Teachers assessed where students were in that continuum and we assigned each student to a small group. All adults that were available were assigned groups. We called this our "acceleration time" because we wanted to accelerate everyone's learning. We had 2nd graders getting kindergarten skills that they needed and advanced kindergarteners getting 2nd grade skills if they were ready. We created assessments that students had to master before moving groups and we tried to get them out in a week’s time. Students had to earn their "golden ticket" to move on and they were excited about it. The upper elementary teachers also wanted to do something like this so they started working on a comprehension continuum. We were deciding how to teach in small chunks (targets) and mastering those skills to build the whole. We were collaborating about what mastery and proficient looked like and we were moving students ahead. Our students became “our” kids and we all felt responsible for their learning. Teachers were energized and had hope for our school. Then COVID hit… we went home for Spring Break and didn’t come back until August.
When we came back it was all about spacing kids out, cleaning and feeling unsafe. We couldn’t continue to do our acceleration groups because we couldn’t have students mixing and couldn’t have them so close together. We also lost our original coach who helped us create this system. We were paralyzed in the process and reverted back to our old ways. We had to figure out how to do everything virtually and really lost our focus on learning. Our new coach came aboard and found us not really knowing how to proceed. Because of our lack of curriculum resources, it was difficult for us to dig into the work with our different content coaches coming in. We picked our essential standards and unpacked those, and sometimes unpacked those again. We kept all of our work in shared Google Drives but it was a mess to navigate! At this point it was time to get clear about what we were doing and to make it manageable because we were in the middle of a significant change process in the middle of a pandemic and everyone was struggling! We decided to define our guaranteed curriculum to five things in math and five things in literacy for each grade. Teachers got out the chart paper and wrote the five things that each student should know by the time they left that grade. They also made a wish list of what they wished kids came to them with. This enabled us to have vertical conversations about what’s important and to make decisions about our guaranteed curriculum. We officially had our GVC!
Next was our unit maps. In October of our second year we were given a blank calendar with the instructions to document what we taught/when. Teachers did as instructed. Next, we added information at the top of the calendars that included the standard, the learning targets, extensions, etc. Teachers found this manageable and organically shifted from lesson plans to what we call unit maps. They planned with their team what to teach and when, what materials to use, linked those resources to their maps and started creating formative assessments to know simply if the students were learning what the teachers were teaching. It was at this point that we created our unit map dashboard because we were having such a hard time finding our work. The dashboard is one document that is in our shared drive that has links to everyone’s unit maps. It was a game-changer to have our work organized and accessible to all adults that work on our campus.
The next big ask was for teachers to collect data for the units that were accessible to everyone. We created a template for each grade for math and literacy. Unit information is listed across the top and assessed targets are rated 1-3 based on results. The cells are formatted to be color-coded so that anyone looking at the data can easily see who is struggling/mastering targets in the unit. These templates are also linked on the dashboard. Non-classroom teachers including the principal, interventionists, the counselor, the sped teacher, dyslexia specialist and the GT teacher started meeting once a week to look at the data. The specialist team has a watch list of kids that are struggling. We discuss what interventions the students are receiving and make plans to either intervene or collect more information on the child. This could be anything from sitting by the student in class to observe to discussions about sped referrals. We are creating “treatment menus” and starting to use our learning progressions to plan tier 3 interventions beyond dyslexia services and special education.
Not having good curriculum resources and throwing COVID into the mix has made our journey adventurous. There have been no straight lines to any success, but what we have learned along the way has set us up for continuous improvement. We were able to purchase a decent phonics program and the training that goes with it with ESSER money and will be able to do the same with math curriculum resources this summer. Some may feel that our acceleration group adventure was a waste of time but it got our minds thinking about learning and teaching in a different way- in a methodical way that makes sure that all students get what they need, and that we adjust what we do to make it happen.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
Wonderview Elementary officially had a guaranteed curriculum on paper in the second year of our journey. Coming in after COVID sent us home, we had to narrow our focus because we were also playing catch-up. We needed to get “insanely” clear about what we wanted our students to know and be able to do. Instead of looking at our list of state standards and deciding what’s important (we had all picked our essentials and unpacked several at this point), the question was, “what 5 things do you want your students to be able to do in literacy and math by the end of your year?” It was easy for experienced teachers to say what kids should leave their grade knowing or being able to do. We also had a wish list for what skills we wished they’d come to us with. Teachers were able to have vertical conversations about curriculum planning and mapping. After we had these lists, THEN we looked back at the standards and pulled those that lined up with what we wanted to guarantee. That’s when a lot of light bulbs went on. We don’t have to intervene on everything. We will only circle back for the things that we’re guaranteeing. We started using unit maps that planned what target was being taught (and when) and which targets were being assessed (and when). Teachers were starting with assessments and then planning how to get there. They used quick checks to plan their Tier 2 instruction, or if enough missed the target it was a re-teach, whole group.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
We use our guaranteed curriculum to drive all three tiers.
In Tier 1, teachers are collaborating to decide pace, proficiency and strategies. They discuss specific students and needs in scheduled weekly team meetings. They collect data on assessed targets in the units they are currently teaching. This data is available to all staff that can/will provide steps and interventions to help student learning.
In Tier 2, teachers have dedicated time in their scheduled for small groups. This is the time that they re-teach targets missed and this is also the time that students will be reassessed on the skills deemed not mastered. Also, in this tier our specialists team meets once a week to look at the end of unit data. Teachers also have a column on the data sheets for engagement. The specialists team looks at this as well as keeps a watch list for our tier 3 based on patterns we’re seeing in the data and based on conversations had with the classroom teachers. We may talk about referring for tier 3 supports (reg. ed consults) during this time. We have paused our acceleration time due to COVID restrictions but, will return to some form of this in the upcoming year. We will use our current phonics program in correlation with what we created in our first year of the project.
In Tier 3, students that are lacking skills due to possible or diagnosed issues are provided support from different specialists that do pull-out and push-in services. We have two interventionists, a dyslexia specialist, special education teacher (with aides), speech/OT/PT therapists that all work together to insure that we are moving our students forward. We want all students in class for core instruction, so pull-out services are planned carefully around those important blocks. Our counselor also has students that she meets with weekly based on engagement issues. Having a guaranteed curriculum, unit maps with resources linked and data has enabled the special education teacher to align help based off of what all other students are getting. We have moved a lot of IEP students to indirect services or have found ways in the schedule to have the students receive the core instruction and then go to get help. It has boosted their confidence and made the sped room a place to get extra help, not a place to go and get easier work.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
K-2 grade level teams have common planning time and commit one hour a week to meet to discuss math and literacy units, assessments, data from those assessments and the response to that data.
3-6 vertical math and literacy teams use common planning time and other contracted time to meet hourly each week. As with the K-2 teams, they meet to discuss math and literacy units (respectively), assessments, data from those assessments and the response to that data.
Going over unit map plans and reviewing unit data lends itself to insuring that all teams are engaged in the cycle of plan-do-check.
Our specialist team consisting of the principal, counselor, interventionists, special ed. Teacher, and the gifted and talented coordinator meets weekly to look at data and to discuss whatever is needed to move the processes forward such as interventions to special education referrals. This group also has started keeping up with a peer observation calendar. They will go in to relieve a teacher for 15 minutes so that they can go watch a peer teach.
The guiding coalition meets bi-weekly. This group consists of most of the specialists, one teacher from each grade level (K-2) and one member each from the 3-6 vertical teams. This group looks at data together and plans PD to train the whole group on information that coaches are bringing in on our Mission, Vision, Values and Goals, on intervention and in assessment in our leadership academies.
Achievement Data Files
- 2021-2022 Highly effective schools accrediation
- Member of DESE state guiding coalition
- Credit in Soluton Tree publication
- Contributions to AR PLC webinars