Ronald W. Reagan Elementary

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

Since our school’s inception, a steadfast commitment to excellence in instruction, collaboration, and intervention has established a strong culture of high expectations and student achievement.  PLCs have been the foundation for our school’s continued success and what our work is grounded in.  In August of 2007, Ronald W. Reagan Elementary, a fully inclusive, public school, opened its doors for the first time and warmly welcomed 220 eager new students. Currently, Reagan serves an ethnically diverse population of 535 students, of whom 81% are Hispanic, 73% are Socioeconomically Disadvantaged (SED), and 18% are English Learners (ELs).

Reagan’s academic success is directly attributed to its schoolwide, full implementation of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), Response to Intervention (RtI), and Effective Instruction. As a result, Reagan’s Academic Performance Index (API) grew 74 points, from a base score of 807 (2008) to 881 (2013), with all subgroups exceeding their growth targets. A particular point of pride is that our Hispanic students’ group grew from 797 (2008) to 863 (2013) and our Socioeconomically Disadvantaged students’ group grew from 800 (2008) to 856 (2013).   PLCs were also crucial to our school’s smooth transition from California’s 1997 standards to the implementation of Common Core. Each year our teachers’ capacity grew deeper around the work of PLCs, so too each year our scores improved while closing the achievement gap and increasing student learning.  

The exceptional academic results and the innovative approaches centered around PLCs and RtI at Reagan have attracted attention from districts across California seeking to improve their own student achievement. Representatives from these districts have come to observe the instructional and collaborative expertise of Reagan’s team of educators. Sharing Reagan’s core beliefs that all students can and will achieve at high levels when provided the appropriate levels of support and enrichment.  Reagan’s vision of high achievement for all students and unwavering commitment to effective PLCs and RtI will ensure academic and personal success for current and future generations of Reagan students to come.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Grade level teams identify essential learning targets, create pacing calendars, set SMART goals, and create common formative assessments for each essential standard.

Grade level teams meet formally every Wednesday (from 1:30 – 4:00 PM) and informally (at least 90 minutes/week).  Formal meetings consist of the analysis of formative assessment data and progress toward SMART goals as well as identifying placement/progress of students in RtI. Informally, teams will share best practices, create scoring rubrics, and analyze student work to inform instruction.  The loose/tight structure allows teams to determine their agenda and focus for each formal meeting, while communicating progress back to site leadership in the form of minutes, SMART goal forms, reflections, etc.

Team members have created and continue to enhance their grade level binders that are comprised of examples and non-examples of student work; examples of high cognitive demand and low cognitive demand tasks for each standard; item analysis of students’ responses to assessment questions to inform the team of their instructional effectiveness, common formative assessments created for each standard, as well as reflections from each lesson to be used as reference for instruction the following year when teaching each skill to next year’s class.

Teachers use critical PLC questions 3 & 4 to provide students who do not master a set skill deployment within the grade level team to receive sub skill instruction or re-teaching (depending on the intensity of student needs) or enrichment and extension for students who have already demonstrated mastery.

Additionally, teams are given four planning days per year (two prior to Christmas break and two after).  These days are used for teams to continue to deepen their work in the PLC process.  During planning days, teams will calibrate student work, score writing samples as a grade level, create common rubrics and common assessments, and modify pacing calendars.

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

RtI is our answer to the DuFour’s critical PLC questions 3 & 4, how will we respond when learning did not take place and how we will extend and enrich the learning for students who have demonstrated proficiency. Reagan has two deployment models that respond to students' learning needs.  The first is through flexible grouping across each grade level to address essential content standards.  PLCs analyze essential standard data from common assessments and place students into benchmark, strategic, and intensive flexible groups.  Benchmark students will extend their mastery of the standard through enrichment projects.  Strategic students typically understand the concept, but need additional practice to internalize the understanding necessary to take it to application.  The third is our intensive response, which is reserved for students who were unsuccessful in small group instruction.  The classroom teacher brings in extra resources through support staff to conduct small group or one on one instruction. The small percentage of students in the third tier are typically on an Individualized Education Plan, have poor attendance, or are new students who have prerequisite skill deficits. 

The second focuses on literacy skills in which both below grade level and benchmark students’ needs are met.  The goal and anticipated outcome of the literacy pyramid is to ensure all students have access to grade level standards and higher levels of learning.  It takes the coordination of the entire Reagan staff to have a fluid deployment system that addresses the literacy needs of all students.  Students are initially screened and placed into benchmark, strategic, and intensive at the beginning of the year.  The individualized nature of the RtI pyramid ensures that students receive assistance specific to their literacy need. Placement in an intervention is not a life sentence, but an opportunity to develop specific literacy skills in order to close their gaps and eventually move beyond grade level Proficiency.  To evaluate progress throughout the literacy intervention, students receive beginning, middle, and end of year assessments; intensive students are assessed once a week, strategic students are assessed bi-monthly, and benchmark students are assessed once a trimester.  This information is placed in the RtI Data Wall (see sample artifacts) and used to determine if students are placed properly or ready to advance to the next level.

The targeted outcomes of both responses are to ensure all students have the skills to master grade level standards through individualized support. Reagan is dedicated to a focus on learning rather than on teaching, thus making it vital to meet the needs of all students.  Reagan’s RtI pyramids are effective in meeting the desired outcome as evidenced by the low number of special education referrals.

Our literacy RtI block is protected and built into the master schedule (see sample artifacts).  Each PLC determines when they deploy for content standards as each team builds that into their grade level’s schedule. 

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

Our teams have continued to grow and deepen their capacity around student learning over the years.  I will share, specifically, how this work allowed us to make the transition to common core smooth and efficient.  Our work using Timothy Kanold’s 10 High Leverage Team Actions (HLTAs) and Sarah Schuhl’s support working with our district teams helped expand our teams’ to look deeper as they continue to organize their work around the DuFour’s 4 Critical Questions for Collaborative Teams in a PLC:

  1. What do we expect students to know and be able to do?
  2. How will we know when students have learned it?
  3. How will we respond if students don’t know it?
  4. How will we respond if students do know it?

The 10 HLTAs show HOW to answer these 4 questions to improve student learning as a team while organizing the 10 HLTAs before, during, and after the unit.  While all 10 are effective for us, specifically, our work around HLTA’s 2 & 6 (high/low cognitive demand tasks) were essential for our teachers in transitioning to Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

2.  Identify and include common higher level cognitive demand tasks (Before the unit)

  • Examine depth and rigor of activities/tasks
  • Choose tasks that provide students with multiple ways of demonstrating learning of a concept
  • Include high and low level cognitive demand activities in planning
  • Ensure high level activities require complex reasoning, planning, using evidence, explaining thinking, making connections, application of learning

6.  Use higher level cognitive demand tasks (During the unit)

  • Plan for student engagement
  • Identify differentiated questions to use when students struggle or finish early
  • Support productive struggle
  • Determine the process standards that students will learn in addition to content
  • Encourage reflection

We began this work prior to 2013 CCSS implementation while still being held to the 1997 California standards. We focused our work on making a low-level task from the '97 standards into a DOK Level 3 or 4.  While educators around our region transitioned to CCSS, they complained about having a lack of resources and teachers were spending a lot of their own money on websites, such as Teachers Paying Teachers, because they didn't have curriculum or resources to supplement their work around CCSS.  Our teachers, having spent years creating and building their capacity around high cognitive demand tasks, were able to take an old 1997 standard and create an appropriate level assessment to meet the demands for CCSS.  Building our teachers’ capacity around this work made them better consumers of the materials they currently had in their classrooms because they had the knowledge and understanding of what CCSS tasks were and how to assess it without having state adopted materials to support them. 

CST

               
 

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

   

Reagan

807

841

846

869

870

881

   

Sanger

779

796

806

814

825

833

   

State

741

754

768

778

791

790

   
                 

CAASPP

               

ELA - Overall (Nearly met, met, or exceeded)

             
 

2014-15

2015-16

           

Reagan (all grades)

66%

76%

           

(3rd grade)

65%

85%

           

(4th grade)

69%

71%

           

(5th grade)

64%

74%

           

Sanger

72%

73%

           

(3rd grade)

67%

71%

           

(4th grade)

63%

66%

           

(5th grade)

65%

69%

           

State

69%

73%

           

(3rd grade)

64%

68%

           

(4th grade)

61%

64%

           

(5th grade)

65%

70%

           
                 

CAASPP

               

Math - Overall (Nearly met, met, or exceeded)  

           
 

2014-15

2015-16

           

Reagan (all grades)

61%

75%

           

(3rd grade)

67%

90%

           

(4th grade)

72%

80%

           

(5th grade)

41%

58%

           

Sanger

67%

69%

           

(3rd grade)

73%

77%

           

(4th grade)

72%

74%

           

(5th grade)

54%

62%

           

State

62%

65%

           

(3rd grade)

67%

72%

           

(4th grade)

70%

71%

           

(5th grade)

59%

61%

           
                 

CAASPP

               

ELA (ELs) (Nearly met, met, or exceeded)

             
 

2014-15

2015-16

           

Reagan

51%

57%

           

Sanger

44%

35%

           

State

35%

38%

           
                 

CAASPP

               

ELA (Low Income) (Nearly met, met, or exceeded)

           
 

2014-15

2015-16

           

Reagan

64%

74%

           

Sanger

69%

69%

           

State

59%

62%

           

 

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Fresno County Administrator of the Year Finalist, 2016
  • Sanger Unified School District Administrator of the Year, 2016
  • California Gold Ribbon Award, 2016
  • Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS), Gold Level Award, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • Bonner Award for Virtues and Character Education, 2010, 2012, 2016
  • California Honor Roll, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
  • Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS), Silver Level Award, 2013
  • 10 out of 10 similar school statewide ranking, 2011
  • Title 1 Academic Achievement Award, 2011, 2016
  • California Distinguished School, 2010

Honors:

  • One of only two schools selected in Fresno County as an MTSS Knowledge Development Site for the California Scale-Up MTSS Statewide (SUMS) Initiative
  • Michael Yudin, Assistant Secretary of the United States Department of Education visited and called Reagan, “The best example of both academic and behavior RtI in place that I’ve ever seen.” 2013
  • Invited by Rick and Becky DuFour to present at the DuFour conference to articulate Reagan’s RtI system and featured in the All Things PLC website, 2013
  • Featured in Michael Fullan’s PD 360 for being a model in Response to Intervention, 2011
  • Only school selected in the state for a visit by a delegation of state legislators looking at our RtI model as an exemplar practice in school reform, 2011               

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