Constitution Elementary

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

Constitution Elementary School is a culturally diverse high-poverty Title I school in Phoenix, Arizona. Constitution was the lowest rated school in DVUSD in 2013-2014. This is where our PLC journey began.

In 2014 a new principal, Cheyana Leiva, was named at Constitution.  Ms. Leiva had attended the PLC at Work conference in Seattle over the summer and truly felt it aligned to her vision of a successful school in which all students learn at high levels.  Constitution teachers worked in silos and did not collaborate in order to increase student achievement, therefore the first step was to show teachers why Constitution needed to change direction. 

We began with a new leadership team who attended the PLC Summit, which energized them and sparked connections to why the change was needed. Utilizing videos and books from Solution Tree we spent half of that first year, during PD, determining what we believed about kids and why we were here. We used data to show the need to create significant change on our campus, as we were a C rated campus with the lowest scores in every area. We ended the year knowing the direction to become a PLC, with the belief that all students can learn at high levels, was on the horizon.

We began our second year by ensuring our teachers were in collaborative teams, created a master schedule that focused on learning, and included 30 minutes of RTI for every grade level in reading and math. We began a book study,Learning By Doingto ensure our entire school would be on the same page. We completed a chapter a month and embedded the processes in all of our PD and meetings. We created our Mission, Vision, and Commitments by the staff collaboratively to determine what would best emulate our purpose, which is high levels of learning for all students. Our school’s vision mirrors the district: Graduating lifelong learners who will successfully compete, lead, and positively impact the world. Our mission succinctly describes how we achieve our goals: T.E.A.M. = Together Everyone Achieves Mastery. These are posted throughout the school, on our website, and presented at school events. We’ve established four commitments that drive us: be student focused, collaborative, data driven for continuous improvement and engaged in the community. These commitments, along with our goals, will lead us to achieve our vison and mission.

As our teachers became versed in the four key questions of a PLC, we found the need to have a stronger understanding of creating quality Common Formative Assessments.  This led to our next book study,Common Formative Assessments, which took a deeper look into creating our assessments.  We continue to develop our teachers in the PLC process through PD and other avenues, such as having15 teachers attend the PLC Summit this school year. 

In the past three years, Constitution moved from a C to an A rated school, which is the top 16% of schools in the state. AzMerit scores showed we were second in growth of all 38 schools in DVUSD. Our primary grades have had significant improvements in DIBELS scores. These accomplishments are a result of the beliefs and processes put in place to become a PLC. We have continued to grow and deeply look at data in collaborative teams to improve instruction. Our teams and administration continually research best practices to support our population, including PLC and RTI conferences, book studies, and seeking out successful like schools. Grade level teachers work in  collaborative environments, meeting during common prep times regularly to review common formative assessment data and establish flexible RTI groups, giving students who need remediation time to relearn standards, as well providing enrichment. We believe in continuous improvement and it’s our collective responsibility to meet the needs of all students to ensure mastery. In addition, our students set goals, are constantly aware of their achievement, and graph their progress in data folders. Teachers set S.M.A.R.T goals, as well as track and display classroom data. We continually celebrate our students and teachers as they reach goals to reinforce what we value.

 Our biggest challenge as we worked through the PLC process was to support our departmentalized singletons. We have been instrumental in extending our PLC beyond our school walls to support these teachers by collaborating with teachers from other schools within the district. Our teachers, along with teachers from other schools, meet approximately every six weeks to write common formative assessments, analyze results, and determine best practices utilized to increase student achievement.

Constitution is a school where everyone believes that our students can achieve at high levels through collaboration and continuous improvement. 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Data analysis begins during pre-service days when the staff uses the Atlas Protocol to examine and analyze a variety of assessments, attendance, and behavioral data with the emphasis on "what do we do now?". As a PLC, our focus is to ensure all students learn at high levels by working collaboratively in the analysis of our results. The analysis continues throughout the year through grade level data meetings. Daily, teachers assess how their students are doing
with the use of an assessment, such as an exit ticket, at the end of each lesson. This guides their instruction for the following lessons. 
Our cyclical grade level data meetings are held regularly (every 5-8 days) with teachers and coaches. We utilize the protocol "Here's What, So What, Now What" to focus and shape our conversations to meet the needs of teachers and students. The protocol ensures we look at data (teacher created CFA's), analyze trends and best practices, and determines next steps for RTI grouping
(extra support, practice, enrichment). The teacher with the highest scores will take the lowest scoring students to implement the best practices she used to be successful and the other grade level teachers provide practice and enrichment to the other students. An electronic shared document holds the ongoing math and reading data, based on the protocol. The analysis of Tier II results are monitored and discussed during subsequent data meetings
and MTSS.

Students in need of Tier III support are monitored through the use of ILP's (Individualized Learning Plans).  MTSS meetings are held quarterly, in which we discuss these students and their progess in Tier II and Tier III support, as well as possible referals.  If a student is struggling between meetings, we identify and address the studnets needs, rather than waiting for our MTSS meetings.

Other data such as DIBELS, RI, Fluency, attendance, behavior and SLO tests are utilized during decision making during our MTSS process.  MTSS meetings are attended by all support staff, teachers, and administration. 

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

Our first step was to ensure our teachers understood the various levels of intervention.  We then created a master schedule to allow for RTI in reading and math for 30 minutes a day at every grade level.  This allowed for every student to have the extra time and support to be enriched or retaught for mastery. 

Teachers utilze their scores from thier Common Formative assessments to determine RTI Tier II grouping.  It is understood that ALL students receive Tier II and we do not pull from Tier II for any reason.  This ensures all students receive the support they need. 

Teachers look closely at previous year's data, current data, identify trends, and determine improvements needed. This is the basis for our school wide goals. Data cards are created for each student and color-coded according to their level of achievement on assessments, and we periodically revisit our data and update data cards. These are displayed in our professional development room as a visual of student progress.

Based on our data and research about Title I students, several processes have been implemented to ensure we meet their needs. A morning program has been in effect for over two years called Thrive Thursday. Every grade level has a teacher to provide support to students based on individual or grade level needs. The program has been very successful, with an average of over a 100 students each week. Due to this success, we have implemented additional
afternoon tutoring sessions, in addition to the 21st Century grant morning and afternoon programs. A monthly homework system, Fluency Matters, was instituted stressing fluency in reading and math. The assignments follow a
similar format for each grade level, which has been positivity received by both students and parents. The results are tracked by teachers, completion rates by grade level are graphed in the cafeteria, and results celebrated at
assemblies. Processes for teaching math problem solving and close reading have also been created for each grade level, which decreases variability and supports student achievement. This came from the book study and training from Classroom Instruction That Works, as well as administration collaborating with a high-performing local high-poverty school who implemented similar processes. As with our students, staff are also continuous learners, using data and research in the form of book studies to build knowledge leading to increased student achievement. In addition, behavior data is collected and analyzed by our PBIS team and distributed in a newsletter to staff.

At Constitution, students take ownership of their data. We believe that when we include students in the assessment processes the responsibility of learning will ultimately shift from the teacher to student. Our teachers set a Smart Goal for each unit/module they teach and communicate these to students. The results of the assessments related to goals are displayed on data walls in classrooms. These scores also include retake scores, as we believe all students can learn at high levels – some just need more time and support. Students take ownership by utilizing data folders to set their goals and graph assessment data. This year, based on our book study Classroom Instruction That Works, we have asked students to assess their effort. This has become a talking point in classes as students can see how effort affects achievement. Effort charts are on display in several classrooms as a reminder to continuously monitor effort.

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

Collaboration is an expectation at Constitution. Every grade level has common prep every day to insure collaborative team data meetings occur regularly.Teacher collaboration has ensured every student has the "best" teacher, as they are all "our" students. This collaborative approach ensures all teachers are on the same page and all students receive the same high quality instruction to meet standards.

Constitution functions as a Professional Learning Community (PLC). We have worked through two book studies to create an understanding of the research behind PLC's and to support teachers through implementation. One element is quarterly planning days to help ensure teacher growth, communication, and creation of common formative assessments (CFA). Each quarter, grade levels spend a day meeting with instructional coaches/specialist mapping out standards for the next quarter including level of mastery, create CFA's for these standards, and work on instructional best practices. To ensure all teachers, including departmentalized teachers, have the ability to collaborate with their peers, we innovatively created collaborative teams with other schools within the district. These teams compare data from the CFA's they create, as well as share techniques and practices which have proven to move students to mastery. Constitution is proud that we opened this avenue of communication and teachers from other schools have expressed the desire to continue collaborating. This open communication extends to communicating with the administration as well. We accomplish this through informal discussions, structured conversations of student progress, and Prep Talks. Surveys sent out by administration gauge campus climate and the open door policy of administration allows teachers to come in when they have something to discuss. Our teacher collaboration not only helps teachers, but students see how adults work together for the betterment of everyone on campus.

The core of our continuous improvement is the use of collaborative teams to drive instruction. Teachers meet regularly to discuss common formative assessments, analyze results, and determine best instructional practices. This leads to targeted interventions, practice, and enrichment during RTI. The data is updated and archived so we can consistently review for improved instruction to meet our goals. Our teachers understand they must work interdependently to achieve their goals and they are all mutually accountable to achieve those goals.

Many grade level teams meet in the summer to determine essential standards and map out their year. Each quarter, grade level teams have another opportunity to look at essential standards and determine what mastery will look like as they create common formative assessments (CFA's) for the next quarter.  This collaboration is key to our PLC's vision, mission and commitments.

Additional Achievement Data

This fall, Constitution was given an A rating by the state of Arizona for the first time in Constitution history. As a high poverty school, this is a big accomplishment as only 4% of the state's high poverty schools received this designation and only 16% of ALL schools in the state of Arizona were A rated. Our AzMerit data shows significant growth over a three-year period. We have improved an average of 17% in ELA and 21% in Math over the last three years. The charts attached show growth in Math and ELA in comparison to other Deer Valley Schools. Constitution is the highest poverty school in the district, yet we have the second highest growth in both ELA/Math. Our 5th grade ELD class had 100% of students with high growth. Many of our students met or exceeded their target growth goal in both ELA and Math. This growth, we believe, is due to our staff functioning as a Professional Learning Community. Our teachers meet regularly to create, analyze, and discuss common formative assessment data and best instructional practices in cyclical data meetings. In addition, goals are set and monitored, students track data, small group instruction is provided, and RTI Tiers 2/3 are implemented system wide.

The data analysis and program adjustments by our teachers working in collaborative teams, along with administration and specialists have led to significant changes, such as the addition of Saxon phonics and Engage NY ELA. This analysis of our DIBELS data and assessment results showed us that our program was lacking in phonics skills, and we needed to add another component to ensure students would learn at high levels. As a result, DIBELS data shows that we have had steady and significant growth over the past few years. The graph above shows the significant impact on our primary students. Kindergarten has grown an average of 41% and 1st an average of 21% in 3 sub-test of DIBELS, which is far above the district growth. Similarly, we moved to a new reading curriculum in grades 4-6 (3rd added in 17-18) as our data showed us that the current curriculum was not meeting our needs - it was not clearly aligned to the standards nor rigorous enough. The adoption of Engage NY ELA has pushed our students into more rigorous curriculum, enriching text, and our AzMerit growth has shown its effectiveness with an average 14% growth in grades 4-6 ELA, again far above the district average.  This, again, is due to the collective efficacy of our staff to function as a PLC. RTI, based on data, has led to specific and explicit skill remediation, practice, and enrichment. Small group instruction, with flexible grouping, is a priority for our specialists. Clearly, data is our guide as we evaluate the programs and curriculum we are using at Constitution.


Another important piece of data are the results of our Gallup Student Poll. The last three years of data shows consistent scores in the areas of Hope and Engagement. Constitution students have outpaced district and national scores in how they feel about themselves and their school, which for a high poverty school is a celebration and shows the positive culture at Constitution. 

School Student Achievement Data
State Accountability: 13-14 = AIMS 
State Accountability: 14-15 to current = AZMerit - Common Core 
Percentage of Students Meeting or Exceeding Proficiency
  GRADE 3      
  2013–2014 2014–2015 2015–2016 2016–2017      
SUBJECT School State School State/State Poverty School State/State Poverty School State/State Poverty      
English  66  78 23 40/28 28 41/29 27 43/32      
Mathematics  48  69 25 42/31 43 46/34 49 48/36      
  GRADE 4      
  2013–2014 2014–2015 2015–2016 2016–2017      
SUBJECT School State School State/ State Poverty School State/ State Poverty School State/ State Poverty      
English  63  75 18 42/30 27 46/34 35 48/36      
Mathematics  43  62 22 42/30 27 45/32 36 47/36      
Science  33  58  41  59  40  60  47  61      
  GRADE 5      
  2013–2014 2014–2015 2015–2016 2016–2017      
SUBJECT School State School State/ State Poverty School State/ State Poverty School State/ State Poverty      
English  77  80 12 32/20 36 46/33 43 44/31      
Mathematics  66  63 24 40/28 43 46/34 58 47/36      
  GRADE 6      
  2013–2014 2014–2015 2015–2016 2016–2017      
SUBJECT School State School State/ State Poverty School State/ State Poverty School State/ State Poverty      
English  76  80 34 36/23 19 38/24 45 42/29      
Mathematics  53  61 24 33/21 25 39/26 41 42/29      

 

We were rated an "A" by the state of Arizona Department of Education.  Only 4% of high-poverty schools were rated an A and only 16% of ALL schools in Arizona received an A. 

The principal was nominated for Rodel Exemplenary Principal award for the student acheivment at Constitution Elementary.

We are currently in the process of awaiting our A+ visit in March of 2018 and feel confident we will be awarded the A+ School of Excellence Award

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