Desert View Elementary School

  1. PLC Story
  2. PLC Practices
  3. Achievement Data
  4. Awards
  5. Resources

 In 2007 a team from the Hermiston School District attended a conference the DuFour's presented at as part of an initiative to begin getting teachers to collaborate. Follow up training was provided during district In Service days.

During their infancy, PLC’s at Desert View were highly dependent upon the team members. Teams that felt like meeting did and collaborated. Others met, but saw the time as “just another meeting”. There was low buy in from staff and in some cases data was consistently not discussed, inaccurate or simply not brought to the meeting. The staff that consistently collaborated showed progress in student achievement and always outpaced their colleagues in the building and the state as a whole. Despite the collaborators successes, many staff members still did not see the value in regularly meeting and analyzing student data. 

In short, DVES was stuck at the second stage of PLC’s- Sharing Personal Practices… some groups ventured into the 3rd stage where they planned together but we were never full committed to developing CFA’s or analyzing the data/ student learning. 

After struggling with less than effective PLC's, Hermiston School District created a schedule that would enable staff to have one hour a week dedicated specifically for PLC and MTI work. At the same time, a new principal came to Desert View and collaboration and effective analysis of data became a priority, an emphasis and a nonnegotiable. Using articles published by the DuFours and others, the staff underwent extensive training on how to collaborate, how to look at data and how to answer the four essential questions. Staff were then held accountable not just for collaborating, but for the results that collaboration produced. Weekly, staff would submit what had been discussed in their meeting and the next steps, both interventions and extensions that were planned for their students.

As increased student learning occurred staff began collaborating outside of the one hour provided by the district schedule. Common formative assessments and common learning targets among teams are now rampant. Most teams now have a designated second time they meet each week but impromptu meetings are frequent and a regular part of the process. Meetings both horizontal and vertical take place in the staff room, parking lot and hallways.

Student data has become the center of the school. Not only are students exposed to their own data from data notebooks in their own class, but each PLC has created charts, which are kept in the staff room, of each student’s journey to proficiency and beyond. These charts are updated whenever students make progress towards a team created standard based on a common formative assessment.

In 2014-15, the Coyote staff began tackling the important work of establishing essential standards that we could guarantee all students have mastery of before leaving a given grade.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

The DVES staff understand how important it is to continually monitor student achievement on assessments; give prompt, effective feedback and include the student in assessing the learning that has taken place.

Staff meet at a minimum of weekly to discuss student achievement on common formative assessments and where students are achieving and what gaps they may have that require interventions. Many grade levels keep a common google doc that is regularly updated with student data to facilitate discussions before and after the regularly scheduled weekly Wednesday times.

By using this data, staff is able to deliver feedback which helps to motivate students to succeed. Gone are the days of a child getting a paper back with nothing  more than a star or checkmark. Students are given written or oral feedback which includes specific information of where they are not being successful on a specific essential standard. This makes it so when students are split up for interventions or extensions none of it comes as a surprise and students see the groups positively, not as a “life sentence”.

Students from kindergarten through fifth grade are provided an expected learning target for every lesson. The students are then exposed to the student success criteria staff develops for each target. This ensures students will be evaluating their own learning and become more independent learners. Often in classrooms, students are required to assess their own learning by giving the teacher a thumbs up or thumbs down about their own learning, rating themselves on a “Fist to Four” scale or against a four point rubric. Students rate not just their learning, but also their own effort. Students often graph their assessment results to create a tangible easily understood record of their learning, both for the teacher and the student that is as immediate as it can be.



2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.

Desert View has created a schedule that has a daily skills block time to provide interventions and extensions. Once the school year begins and common formative assessments reveal students’ strengths and weaknesses on a given essential standard. PLC’s meet to discuss and how students did based on the latest assessment.  Students are then sorted into well below proficient, nearly proficient and proficient students.

In the intervention groups students have “holes” in their learning filled to raise them up to a proficient level (80% accuracy or 3 on a 4 point rubric). Once a student demonstrates proficiency on a given standard, he or she switches groups. It does not matter if it is the day after the student was placed in that group or six weeks later, when a student proves proficiency he or she moves. This proves a motivational factor to students. They know once the gap in their learning is filled, they will be able to move up a skills group.

 This intervention time occurs outside of the regular instructional time allotted. For example, a third grade student will receive one hour instruction daily in Language Arts and the skills group is the next hour. That way of the 120 minutes of Language Arts instruction, students continue to receive grade level instruction while having learning gaps addressed in a small group environment or experience extension activities for 60 minutes a day, but not miss any of the essential skills required for the student to master in order to be successful in the next lesson or grade.

Specialists also provide additional support for struggling students. The Reading Specialist or the English Language Development teacher may also pull students for one-on-one support if students are not making progress during their strategic intervention period. Our music teacher works with struggling students on songs that may help them learn everything from math facts to sounds of words. Even the PE teacher at DVES works with students on developmental skills which will help them learn.

3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.

Desert View Elementary School features grade level, as well as multi-disciplinary teams, working together to identify student needs, whether it be literary strategies or taking a closer look at the Smarter Balanced assessment to see how we can better prepare our students. Two yearlong SMART goals focused on student growth are developed for each grade and from those shorter two to four week "milepost" SMART goals are set to assure each team is on the right path towards meeting their goal. The yearlong goals can, and are adjusted, based on the progress students are making. 

Staff regularly dedicate time before or after school or common lunches as well as the district provided once a week PLC time for a discussion of how best to serve students.

The process we follow is the following: staff identify a particular power standard to be worked for and then set a common learning target. Staff then creates a common formative assessment to deliver to their students. They then meet on an agreed upon date with not just the results of the assessment, but any other observational data they have collected over the length of the instruction. Staff then discuss what worked and what did not from an instructional point-of-view, so the practice that got the best results is common knowledge. Staff makes sure to take notes for review at the end of the year and to help with their planning for next year. Staff then place students on a continuum of students who are proficient and ready for extension, students who are nearly proficient but have a few holes, students who are not proficient but are likely to be there with some reteaching and students who are not likely to be proficient without intensive interventions.

Students are then grouped for interventions and extension activities that take place during “skills” classes that address specific holes that prevent a student from being proficient.

If individual students are not succeeding even after interventions have been tried, their needs are brought up in what we call 20% Meetings. The needs of the 20% of students who need interventions beyond just the classroom instruction are discussed. These meetings include the grade level team, reading specialist, the ELD teacher, the Special Education teacher as well as the principal and the counselor.

If students continue to struggle a small team then meets to discuss the individual student in a meeting we call “Individual Problem Solving”.  In these meetings, led by the DVES counselor, the classroom teacher, the reading specialist, the principal and the ELD teacher or the Special Education teacher (if appropriate) work together to come up with a plan to support the individual student.

Additional Achievement Data

Over the last three years Desert View has exploded in size in both general population and sub groups, yet the achievement of all students has continually surged.

In 2012/13 Desert View was made up of 404 students, 113 of those identified as having English as a second language and 222 coming from economically disadvantaged homes. On the Oregon state assessment (OAKS Test) 72% of the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders achieved proficient or better in reading, 71% of 3rd, 4th and 5th graders in math and 74.1% of 5th graders hit the bench mark or better in science. That is compared with the state of Oregon only scoring 71%, 62% and 67% respectively. With like schools scoring 68% in reading, 59% in math and 69% in science.

As PLC’s really began to hit their stride at Desert View in 2013/14, the school grew by over 10% to 445 students. 120 students were now identified as ESL students and 258 living below the poverty line. However, scores on the state assessment grew as did the gap between DV and the state as a whole and like schools. In 2013/14, 72.4% of DV students in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade reached a state benchmark core, an increase of .4% from the previous year, while the state average on the test went down by .5% and the scores for like schools remained flat. In math, Desert View students passed 74% of their students, an increase of 3% while the state scores and like school scores both remained flat at 62% and 59% respectively. Science produced a similar story with 77.2% of fifth graders passing from Desert View, up 3.1% from the previous year while the state grew only 2% (from 67% to 69%) and like schools grew 2.4% (from 69% to 71.45). Meeting proficiency was not the only difference for Desert View in 2013/ 14 as DV utilized the DuFour’s four big questions to push “those have already learned it” to higher heights. In math 37% of the Coyote students earned an “exceeds” mark in math and 21% earned it science these scores surpass the score of the state by over 9% in math and 6% in Science. Top students in like schools were outpaced by the desert View students by 14% in math and 10% in science.

These scores earned Desert View a 5 rating on a scale of 5 for the first time in its history. Only 76 schools out of over 1,200 in the state earned this distinction. Desert View was also named one of 20 Title 1 Model Schools in the state of Oregon.

In 2014/15 the state of Oregon switched to the Smarter Balanced Assessment, the state predicted a 40-45% declination of scores, however, the prediction did not come to fruition at Desert View. With the increased rigor of the SBAC test DV still passed 59.4% of students who took the assessment in reading, opposed to the state which passed 51.1% and like schools who passed 45.2%. In math 51% of Coyote student achieved benchmark or higher, while the state hit 44.8% and like schools 39.2%. The science test in Oregon remained the OAKS test and on it Desert View passed 89% of all fifth graders and astonishing 22.2% above the state average and 20.8% above like schools. In a year when like schools and the state’s average in science dropped desert view’s shot up almost 12%! What makes these scores more amazing is again DV grew adding 89 (an over 16% increase in population) more students from 445 to 534, with 150 identified ESL students and 304 under the poverty line, both significant increase from the year before.

In 2015/16 Desert View pushed their students even further. The Coyotes surpassed the the state of oregon by 13% in Language Arts and 19% in Math. Desert View outpaced like schools by 12% and 21% in Language Arts and Math.  On the science assessment Desert View had 91% of their students achieve benchmarking or exceeding scores. By comparison the state of Oregon passed 56% and like schools passed 47%.

Traditionally underserved populations showed an even bigger learning gap verses their peers around the state. Migrant students benchmarked ELA at a rate 34% above the state. While ELL students scored 18% better than the state in ELA and math and an astounding 41% above the state in science. Latino students in general outpaced the state by 14% in ELA, 19% in Math and 56% in Science.

Over the four years, Desert View's achievement scores have continued to grow in spite of 32% student population growth and significant increase in both students for whom English is not their native language and students who are considered economically disadvantaged.

2013- 14 Oregon rated Level 5 out of 5 School

2013-14 Title 1 Model School

2014-15 Title 1 Model School