Hawthorne Elementary

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

We have established a viable and effective PLC culture through our shared commitment to learning for all students, our willingness to work together, and our focus on results to improve. When looking at results several years ago, we felt the need to match the results of other successful schools in our District. In doing so, we needed to increase the collaboration taking place in classrooms, across grade-levels, and throughout our school building. We also took an inventory of what essential elements were part of reading instruction within our building. Utilizing this inventory and current school results, staff members delved more specifically into a culture that was focused on enhancing results for all students.

Looking at the prior action plan, the School Improvement Team decided that we needed to do a small number of things really well, as opposed to lots of different activities at a superficial level. We needed to narrow our focus and improve core instruction in classrooms. Our RtI pyramid was upside-down with 2/3rds or more of every class in interventions.  Given this we decided to put our emphasis on improving our core classroom instruction. Aided by a research project from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, our teachers honed their skills at assessing key literacy concepts and in using the data to modify their instruction. This began with the setting of SMART goals that were more focused, and a school-wide goal that was routinely communicated and recognizable by ALL stakeholders in the school community.

Our District provides release time on every Wednesday by having an early-out for students. This release time was generated by lengthening our school day and not by reducing instructional time.  One of these Wednesdays each month is designated as a staff development time to focus on Marzano's Instructional Framework to create a common instructional language within our building and to improve our core instruction. During these trainings, teachers focus on ensuring a common language is used in instruction so that fluidity between grade-levels can be achieved for our students.

Students and teachers track data for reading and math.  Data is based on SMART goals set by grade-level PLC’s and are aligned to school and district goals. We track data by school, classroom and student. All staff members and students assist with the data tracking and graphs are displayed throughout our school. Growth towards individual, class and school goals is celebrated and recognized on a regular basis.

 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

We use a number of tools to monitor the progress of student learning.  For example:

  • DIBELS/DAZE monthly/weekly fluency tests are completed by the classroom teacher and used to guide small group instruction (reading).

  • L to J tests (weekly) are common formative assessments aligned to the state standards and used to inform whole group and individual student performance  (reading and math).These are originally created by district grade-level teams and then revised by building-level similar responsibility teams. As teachers see that their students have mastered or experience difficulty on district PLC grade level team assessments they drill down to the essential skill level and find the specific key concepts with which individual students need extra time and support or challenge. With the assessment information teachers are able to individualize and differentiate instruction to best meet student needs.

  • Pre- and post-district benchmark assessments are entered into eDoctrina (our electronic curriculum and assessment management system) to evaluate areas needing further instruction/follow-up. These tests are given periodically throughout the school year to guide instruction and learning goals (reading and math).

  • Students individually track their progress  (reading and math).

One of the most effective strategies we have implemented to monitor student learning is to include students in their progress monitoring and goal setting. Before selected common assessments are administered, teachers conference with students. The student and teacher review the student’s past performance and the student sets a goal during the conference. After the student completes a common assessment, the student adds the results to their progress-monitoring graph and everyone celebrates when a student meets his or her goal.  

In addition, we have developed a common language for progress monitoring. For example, teachers were trained in how to set up graphs, using and creating aim lines, and how to conduct conferences with students before and after a common assessment. The monitoring of student learning is always completed on a timely basis because we have included all staff and students in the progress monitoring process. Therefore, students are excited to complete common assessments, to see their growth, and share with their peers and staff members. Most importantly, students are self-motivated and excited to learn.

Older, intermediate students, do assessment autopsies to reflect on their learning. This has been significant to increased student understanding/metacognition because they are focused on truly learning the content, as opposed to just getting a grade and moving on. The process clarifies for students what they need to know, where they are in the process, and what they need to do to get to the end result.

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

One of the first things the new Principal and Instructional Facilitator (coach) did in 2013 was to look at data so they could see gaps in student learning. This included trends in student learning, gaps by subgroups, grade-level patterns, etc. There was a wide variety of intervention programs in place, and we wanted to examine whether or not those interventions were fulfilling their intended purposes and utilized effectively for student learning.

Because reading fluency and comprehension were identified as key areas of need, the Instructional Facilitator then went to a training for implementation of a research-based intervention for increasing these skills. Once we had our intervention plan and master schedule we were able to start with our interventions. Not only did we focus on interventions for students, we also provided support for teachers in the form of weekly RtI meetings, professional development, and daily collaborative PLC time. Teachers actually experienced research-based interventions during professional development time so that the language they used with students would flow with the language and experiences of students in interventions. Our interventions are monitored for effectiveness during PLC time, fidelity checks and analyzing common assessment data.

Hawthorne uses a daily forty-five minute block of time for interventions at each grade-level, kindergarten through fifth grade. This block of time does not interfere with core instruction or specials, such as art, physical education or music. Since no new information is presented during intervention time, students can be pulled out of their classroom for English Language Learning, Special Education, differentiation of instruction or research-based interventions. Students yet to reach a benchmark work with either certified or classified staff in small groups of no more than four students to one teacher meeting five times a week. Students who do not leave the classroom during this time are provided extension activities of learning in the areas of reading, writing, or math.

After School programming is offered after school three days a week from 3:20 pm to 4:00 pm in consecutive rooms in the building: the library, the computer lab, the reading room, and resource classrooms.  Para-educators assist in each of these rooms. A certified staff member circulates throughout these rooms providing assistance, too.

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

Working with the Instructional Facilitator and School Improvement Team, Hawthorne Elementary aims at increasing the capacity of all staff to reach the school-wide goals. One aspect utilized is that of encouraging teachers to continually state their goals in a common language so that students gain a better capacity for understanding concepts. In addition, we are working to ensure that core, whole-group instruction is implemented at a highly effective level with continued monitoring and feedback. These aspects have been essential to improvement in our results. Furthermore, peer classroom walkthroughs look for implementation of these strategies in the classroom and create an opportunity for staff to provide feedback to each other on effective practices in a non-evaluative setting.

Collective responsibility for student results has also been a key focus for us. In order to assist with this, the building is divided into grade level Similiar Reponsibility Teams (SRT) that include a specialist in each area to help cross-curricular teaching. In addition to the SRTs, we have grade-level teams that meet at least twice per week. Those involved in that meeting include the Principal, the Instructional Facilitator, grade-level teachers, and Special Education teachers. The collective responsibility for results has also been encouraged by grouping staff members during staff development in groups beyond their grade-level. This has facilitated a better understanding of the vertical articulation of core concepts and cultivated a culture of “the village raises the child.”

The District adopted Marzano’s Instructional Framework a few years ago, and this has helped us to analyze our own capabilities for monitoring student learning, altering instruction, and having a common language to talk about instruction with each other. The common language of instruction provides for administrator and teacher alike a clearer direction for becoming innovating and reflective practitioners.

Our teams maintain focus with the use of norms, timelines, calendars of activities, the Critical Issues for Team Consideration and various templates. Every team has their own set of norms they review regularly. At every Learning Team and School Improvement meeting a Team Feedback Sheet and Data Analysis Protocol are completed, and each team member receives a copy. The notes and agendas are regularly monitored by the Principal. In addition, the Principal also creates a timeline for the completion of team products, assessment calendar, and calendar of events and team meetings. The teams reflect on their effectiveness through the use of the instrument “Critical Issues for Team Consideration” at least once per year. Most importantly, teams are the focus of recognition and celebration, not individuals.

One final note: the physical layout of the building has been changed to facilitate the teaming of teachers. Whereas previous arrangements had teachers of the same grade-levels on opposite ends of the building, they are now side-by-side to aid in creating a collaborative culture focused on student learning.

Hawthorne Elementary

 

 

 

 

 

 

Percentage of students meeting End of Year benchmark: Hawthorne/District Scores

 

DIBELS Kinder

DIBELS 1st

DIBELS 2nd

 

Year  11 – 12

 72/66

 51/58

 67/58

 

Year  12 – 13

 73/74

 76/65

 60/62

 

Year  13 – 14

 72/79

 65/65

 86/73

 

Year  14 – 15

 93/85

 85/74

 81/72

 

Year  15 – 16

 86/84

 90/75

 88/73

 

 

Percentage of students passing: HA Scores/State Scores

 

 

Grade:  3                 

Math

Reading

Writing

Science

Social Studies

Other                 (DIBELS compared to District)

Year 11 – 12

 78/72

 78/77

 No Test

 No Test

 No Test

 76/62

Year 12 – 13

 75/74

 82/78

 No Test

 No Test

 No Test

 74/70

Year 13 – 14

 78/76

 71/79

 No Test

 No Test

 No Test

 68/65

Year 14 – 15

 81/78

 85/82

 No Test

 No Test

 No Test

 89/78

Year 15 – 16

 85/78

 89/84

 No Test

 No Test

 No Test

 83/73

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Percentage of students passing: HA Scores/State Scores

 

Grade:   4      

Math

Reading

Writing

Science

Social Studies

Other             (DIBELS compared to District)

Year 11 – 12

 73/72

 76/77

Old Test

 No Test

 No Test

 67/57

Year 12 – 13

 70/73

 82/79

71/68

 No Test

 No Test

 73/68

Year 13 – 14

 74/78

 81/78

69/69

 No Test

 No Test

 78/72

Year 14 – 15

 66/77

 98/81

90/69

 No Test

 No Test

 85/72

Year 15 – 16

 82/78

 90/85

Changed Test

 No Test

 No Test

 87/74

 

Percentage of students passing: HA Scores/State Scores

 

Grade:   5      

Math

Reading

Writing

Science

Social Studies

Other             (DIBELS compared to District)

Year 11 – 12

 82/75

 69/76

 No Test

 57/66

 No Test

 81/64

Year 12 – 13

 87/75

 78/78

 No Test

 65/68

 No Test

 72/60

Year 13 – 14

 84/77

 88/76

 No Test

 80/72

 No Test

 79/72

Year 14 – 15

 73/76

 89/83

 No Test

 76/73

 No Test

 74/67

Year 15 – 16

 76/77

 88/85

 No Test

 83/73

 No Test

 83/71

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIBELS scores overall have steadily increased over the past four years. For example, Kindergarten has gone from low 70% to low 90% at benchmark, first grade from low 50% to mid 80%, 2nd grade from mid 60% to low 80%, 3rd grade from 76% to 89%, and 4th grade from mid 67% to 85% of students proficient.

State test scores have also steadily increased and then remained high in reading. Just four years ago our proficiency ranged between 69 and 78%--now they are at 85 to 98% proficient. In mathematics, scores started higher (in the 70s and 80s), and continue to be scores of an effective school.  Writing has increased 20 percentage points to 90% proficient, and Science has gone from 57 to 76% proficient in four years.

While we always hope to improve, we believe that our small school of approximately 50 students per grade-level and our mobility rate of 12%, may make swings of 5 - 10% occur more often than we would like.

When examining the decline in Math scores for both 4th and 5th grades, we see the area of Algebraic Concepts as a considerable skill difficulty for our students. We have utilized cross grade level team meetings to address this weakness. We found in our cross grade level communications that even though the same core materials are being used for Math, instructional vocabulary is not necessarily consistent across grade levels. With this added communication, and changes to instruction as a result, we see improvements in benchmark assessments and looks to see this translate into gains on the state test.

None—we have not been a high performing school in the past. The high-quality implementation of PLCs has made us above average and en route to high performing.

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