Bloomington Hills Elementary

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

The Bloomington Hills Elementary process to create a successful PLC began many years ago when the entire faculty was given the opportunity to attend the PLC Conference in Denver.  It was a great trip and bonded the faculty, however, they did not fully implement some of the most critical components of a successful PLC.  There was not dedicated time for team collaboration, teams were not focused on student achievement and data, and they were not open to sharing ideas to improve teacher practices. It was still “my kids, my class, my way.”

As a new leadership team, we determined that in order to be effective in ensuring high levels of learning for every student, we had to commit to do the difficult, targeted work that leads to increased student achievement. Once again,we attended the PLCs At Work Institute, but this time as a leadership team with representation from each grade level and a much different focus. At the end of each day, we met and discussed our collective learning and determined our next steps. We came away with a laser-like focus on what we collectively needed to do to ensure that ALL of our students learned at high levels and not just those who chose to.

We came back excited and ready to get to work. To begin, we committed to a dedicated time each week for teams to collaborate about student learning. We developed team norms that hold each other accountable during collaborative time. Teams shared responsibility for all student learning, designing grade-level common formative assessments based on a guaranteed viable curriculum. Our collaboration meetings were no longer planning meetings, but became meaningful as we focused on student needs based on CFA data and which teaching practices were most effective.

With the help of our team leaders and support from our district Professional Learning Team, we trained, supported and helped teachers recognize what it meant to be a highly functioning collaborative team. As leaders, we made sure we identified areas we needed to be tight on and held each other accountable for these. Teams began having meaningful discussions about what the most important essential standards are, specific learning targets, and what the best way to commonly measure student success in each of these areas. Teams designed interventions that supported students need for extra time and support because, even after we had taught it the very best way we knew how, some still needed time and support. Teams also planned and implemented extensions related to the GVC for those students that did get it or already knew it. These flexible intervention times gave students the support or additional challenge they needed in each essential standard.  To support job-embedded professional learning for our teachers, our teams reflect on their practice, asking themselves:

  1. What was effective?

  2. Are we focused on the correct GVCs?

  3. Did all students make acceptable proficiency/growth?

Teams have also embedded the sharing of best practices into their collaboration time.

Professional learning has been a critical component of creating a successful PLC. Teachers and teams recognized areas where they were not as strong as they needed to be with the rigor required to meet the new demands of the state testing. Each teacher team has worked together to identify areas they would like to improve in and set a team goal with a Professional Growth Plan each year. These plans help guide the work of their teams and the training they receive. The three big ideas of a PLC: a focus on learning, building a collaborative culture, and a focus on results have guided our work as we have planned and implemented professional learning at our school.

Of all the work, the most important work has been to create collaborative teams that have learned to work together in meeting the needs of ALL students on their grade-level. It is no longer “my kids, my class, my way;” we have evolved into a school where teams work to support each other, share ideas, take ownership, honestly reflect on their own practices and are dedicated to high levels of learning for every student. We have discovered it takes hard work and clear expectations for all to be a successful PLC. Although we have made great progress and consider our school successful, we recognize this is a process and not a simple checklist of things to do. We continue to challenge ourselves as individuals, teams, and a school to grow and do better each year, for every one of our students.



 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

As we began the process of working together in collaborative teams there was a dramatic school-wide shift from weekly team planning meetings to team data meetings that focused on instructional practices and student learning data. This shift was built upon teams identifying and building consensus around their team’s guaranteed viable curriculum, the creation of common formative assessments to measure student learning, following a curriculum map, and holding each other accountable to teach concepts in a timely manner so they could be assessed at the same time. Through this process, teachers used their CFAs, unit assessments, and district assessments to measure student learning regularly. Each team is responsible to collect data and monitor student learning daily, weekly or monthly depending on the type of assessments to continue the cycle of progress monitoring.  Deadlines are set for students to be assessed and data to be collected and shared so teams can discuss and plan for improved instruction and interventions. During collaborative team meetings, teachers use the data to target students needs, as well as identify instructional changes that need to be made based on the results of the data. With our school’s shift from teaching to ensuring that all students learn, teachers now share which teaching strategies that are most effective, they plan interventions to meet the needs of ALL students, and then they reteach and reassess. Teachers share ownership of the learning for all the students in their grade.

 

It has been exciting to see teams discussing their instruction, the assessments they have created, and the learning taking place. They have risen to the challenge! When the instruction isn’t meeting the student’s needs or the assessments are not providing the data necessary, they have worked hard to develop and create better assessments that more accurately measure the effectiveness of their instruction and the impact on student learning. Teachers have worked to create better ways of collecting and sharing data in a more effective and timely manner so they are ready to dig deep and figure out what they need to do. Teams utilize Google docs to share data with each other. This data is broken down by the student and skill and is color coded with green (got it), yellow (approaching) and red (needs additional time and support.)

 

Each team meets every 6-weeks with the Intervention Team to share data, student concerns, and success stories. This time provides teams with an opportunity to share what is working and get support for students or areas that need more help. Through this progress monitoring process teachers are able to track individual student growth and receive feedback on instruction and strategies being used in Tier 1. After discussing the results, the teams are able to make recommendations for changes and carefully design Tier 2 intervention that will meet the needs of students who ‘got it’ the first time and need enrichment opportunities or intervention for students that ‘didn’t get it’ and require more time and different instruction.

 

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

The intervention system at Bloomington Hills Elementary is a process that begins with classroom instruction, district and school math and language arts assessments to identify students strengths and weaknesses, and a school-wide schedule that provides times for teams, small groups, and special education to support the students as needed. We use the Washington County School District RTI at Work Pyramid (found in the resources section) as a framework to guide and monitor the work of our staff based on student needs and service pattern through the Tiers. Teams have identified their GVCs and developed common formative assessments to monitor student learning. After teaching a topic and giving the assessments teams meet together to analyze and discuss the data. Based on the data each team determines which students are assigned to each intervention group, from students needing extra support to those ready for enrichment. An important part of the process is determining which teacher should teach each group of students. This is usually based on the outcome of their own students in their classroom. These are fluid groups that change as needed based on the students and their achievement level. As students show proficiency they are moved to another group.

 

Students receive strong Tier 1 instruction in each classroom, as well as additional time and support through weekly grade-level intervention groups. Teachers design interventions for Tier 2 to support students that didn’t get it and enrichment for those who did. During this time Special Education teachers and paras provide extra support to small groups of students and teachers in their classroom.  Other Tier 2 Interventions in our school include small group reading interventions for struggling readers in grades 1-3 using Leveled Literacy Intervention from Fountas and Pinnell taught by trained paraprofessionals. We have also created a partnership with the middle-school where their high honor students come and tutor our at-risk readers two days a week. Our kindergarten provides Extended-Day Kindergarten to 24 of our most at-risk students, as identified through our beginning of the year testing and screening process. These students attend one session of regular kindergarten and a second session of intense literacy intervention daily from a highly trained teacher, who receives ongoing training from the district. Extra support is also offered to high-achieving students through teacher differentiation and small grade-level enrichment classes. Teams using a variety of assessments provide weekly interventions for math, where students are provided increased support and learning opportunities to master the concept. Through the help of the school-wide Intervention Team students are identified and provided with the extra level of support they need to be successful. Tier 3 support is provided by special education teachers, ELL staff, and others as necessary for students with the most extreme needs.

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

Working through the PLC process has truly helped us grow into high performing, collaborative teams rather than just teachers that teach the same grade level. The Leadership Team with representatives from each grade level have helped teams align the work they are doing with the other grade levels in the school. Teachers now have a specific, protected time they meet each week, high expectations of each other, a collegial attitude toward sharing best practices, and most importantly, ownership for the learning of all students. In addition to their weekly collaboration time, which is 45 minutes a week during their student's PE class, teachers have common “specials” times that provide extra time for collaboration. Our district has also provided us with Early-Out Days throughout the year where teachers receive continued coaching and professional development training. The time and clear focus has provided the needed direction for us to become highly effective. Our teams work tirelessly, identifying the most important things students need to learn before leaving each grade. Another critical component has been the creation of assessments that accurately measure the learning of every student. I have watched teams meet and discuss and analyze again and again the data and information they gain from their assessments, and then diagnostically planning interventions that will meet the needs of all students.

 

As a school we have also developed a strong Intervention Team that has strengthened collaboration between departments from the administration, regular education teachers, special education teachers, interventionists, and the Learning Coach. This team meets with one grade-level each week on a six week rotation to discuss the students in each class, share data, and discuss and make recommendations for concerns. The Intervention Team is critical in providing grade-level teams with the extra support they need to help students be successful at high levels. The building of strong collaborative teams has improved instruction which has in turn improved student achievement. Our students are performing well above both the district and the state level on our end-of-year state testing due to the changes we have made through the years.


 

Additional Achievement Data

SAGE English Language Arts Comparison

Grade

 

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

3rd Grade

         
 

State

44

46

48

49

 

District

45

50

48

52

 

BHES

45

57

72

68

4th Grade

         
 

State

42

42

43

42

 

District

45

45

44

41

 

BHES

49

34

57

52

5th Grade

         
 

State

42

45

47

46

 

District

46

50

49

48

 

BHES

46

51

42

54

Overall School

         
 

State

43

44

44

44

 

District

46

50

49

48

 

BHES

47

49

59

58

SAGE Math Comparison

Grade

 

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

3rd Grade

         
 

State

44

50

53

52

 

District

43

49

51

54

 

BHES

60

59

72

76

4th Grade

         
 

State

47

50

52

52

 

District

52

54

52

51

 

BHES

57

59

70

66

5th Grade

         
 

State

44

49

50

49

 

District

48

52

49

48

 

BHES

47

53

47

38

Overall School

         
 

State

45

45

47

46

 

District

48

49

49

49

 

BHES

54

57

65

59

SAGE Science Comparison

Grade

 

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

4th Grade

         
 

State

43

45

48

47

 

District

44

42

47

44

 

BHES

69

33

75

63

5th Grade

         
 

State

46

51

51

51

 

District

46

52

51

51

 

BHES

52

69

52

55

Overall School

         
 

State

44

47

49

48

 

District

45

56

57

55

 

BHES

60

53

66

59

 
 

The results you see show it is difficult to maintain high scores and there are dips that need to be addressed. This is the case for our 5th Grade Math scores, so although our 3rd grade has been 1st in the district for the past 2 years, our 5th grade scores have gone down. This has been an area of concern for the team and administration. The team has had to work together to take ownership of their scores and discuss areas they need to change. As a team they have revisited the rigor of their GVCs, but the most important changes needed were in our formative assessments being given and not intervening in a timely manner. We collectively learned the 5th grade math core is very demanding and our team was waiting too long to intervene on key concepts that were foundational for future concepts. Math interventions for this year will be more timely, more targeted, and based on assessments that better measure student knowledge and understanding. The support staff and special education department will be more involved, especially providing additional help for Tier 3 students.

 

2007 WCSD Professional Learning Community Team of the Year – Bloomington Hills First Grade Team: Tanya Corpaci, Gayle Hale, Sherri Kesterson, Cathy Lindell, and Angela Phillips

2015 Utah Elementary Counselor of the Year- Jeana James

Superintendent's Career Award for Excellence- Susan Bruschke, Sheree Berryessa, Joyce Cottam, Jodie Gubler, Vicki Jennings, Robyn Jones, Cathy Lindell, Theresa Lisardo, Michelle North, Becky Scano, Celeste Tolman, and Judy Turner

District Technology Award for Excellence: Matt Sellers and Lisa Stolen

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