Bellview Elementary School

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

At Bellview Elementary School, PLCs are viewed as an ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students we serve. Professional learning communities operate under the assumption that the key to improved learning for students is continuous job-embedded learning for educators.  The school’s PLC efforts involve all team members working together to clarify exactly what each student must learn, monitor each student’s learning on a timely basis, provide systematic interventions that ensure students receive additional time and support for learning when they struggle, and extend and enrich learning when students have already mastered the intended outcomes. We didn’t always operate this way.  Our PLC story led us to this place, and is described below.

In 2014, Bellview Elementary School was identified as a Priority school, falling within the lowest 5% of schools in Michigan when measured by the state assessment. We knew that our best bet for rapidly improving student achievement was through developing an authentic Professional Learning Community where we built a collaborative culture, maintained a laser-like focus on learning, and became a results-oriented school.

Being new to the PLC process, we utilized the services of our Intermediate School District PLC consultant to engage in ongoing, job-embedded professional learning to guide us as we “learned by doing.”  We started by building shared knowledge around the foundational philosophies of the PLC process including the 3 Big Ideas of a PLC.  We recommitted ourselves to our school’s mission and vision and used them to create collective commitments the entire staff agreed would guide our daily work. 

The school was able to provide protected time for weekly collaborative team meetings before the start of the school day, utilizing grant funds to compensate teachers for doing this critical work.

These collaborative team meetings have followed a very specific protocol.  We began responding to the first critical question of a PLC, What do we want our ­students to know and be able to do? by developing a guaranteed and viable curriculum.  Grade level collaborative teams used Endurance, Readiness, and Leverage to prioritize the State Standards in reading for each grade level, both horizontally and vertically.  Over the summer, we spent a significant amount of time studying our instructional units and how the prioritized standards were represented, ­making adjustments as needed.  From there, grade level teams developed a common summative assessment for each unit that was based on the priority standards along with several common formative assessments that would provide teachers data on whether or not the students were on the right track.  By the end of that summer, we were ready to start the new school year with a new reading curriculum and a plan for ongoing professional learning. 

We started the next school year by developing long-term SMART goals for the school year and created short-term SMART goals for each unit to help us measure our progress.  Grade level, collaborative teams meet weekly before school to respond to the 4 Critical Questions of a PLC.  Our ISD consultant created and teams followed the Pathways document, which provided guidance on how teams should be using their collaborative team time.  This helped keep teams on track and focused on the 4 Critical Questions.  Before long, teams were using common formative assessment data to identify struggling students and providing intervention to help those students master the priority standards.

The school implemented new reading and math curricula focused on essential standards.  Teams then began to use common formative and summative assessments to inform instruction and identify students needing intervention.  In addition, a robust Multi-Tiered System of Support was implemented to provide students with both remediation and enrichment.  A new schedule was created wherein all students were provided 50 minutes of reading remediation, intervention or enrichment on a daily basis.  State assessment data and a universal screener (NWEA) were utilized to identify the areas where students needed the most support:  phonics, fluency, and comprehension.  School leadership identified the best teachers for each of these areas and teachers were trained to provide remediation.  Universal screener and diagnostic assessment data were used to place students into the remediation, intervention, or enrichment course that would best meet their needs.  Monthly progress monitoring meetings allowed us to determine which students were progressing, which needed additional support, and whether the remediation, intervention or enrichment was providing what the students needed. 

Using these PLC practices with MTSS as a support, Bellview moved from 1 on the state’s Top-to-Bottom list to 33 within two years’ time.  In addition, the district now has built-in time for grade level collaborative teams to meet within the school day at all district buildings and levels. 

Bellview Elementary School’s PLC story is one that started with a great deal of training on developing a common PLC language as there was a heavy emphasis on explaining, clarifying and revisiting the key processes embedded within it.  The school’s staff members remain committed to engaging in a viable PLC each and every school year.  Today, our PLC story features a shared understanding that the learning is never truly done.  This understanding has contributed to a continuously growing collective commitment to reflecting on our practices, having honest and courageous discussions about the student learning outcomes that have been produced on account of those practices, unearthing any barriers that might obstruct the path to success for students, and (most importantly) making strategic instructional adjustments when our practices produce student learning outcomes that fall short of our established goals.  It is the aspiration of all Bellview Elementary School staff members that our current and future PLC practices will produce even greater successes than the many we have celebrated to this point of our PLC story.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Bellview Elementary School is committed to a process of monitoring student learning on a timely basis.  This commitment includes the collection and analysis of common formative and common summative assessment data to drive instructional decisions in each grade level classroom.  This process is conducted on a weekly basis by grade level collaborative teams.  This analysis provides teacher collaborative teams with up-to-date information about which students need additional time and support with identified core content learning targets. Teachers then take this information to develop instructional plans to remediate or enrich students' current understanding of the identified learning target.  Using these PLC-driven instructional plans supported by a system of common formative assessments to check for students' understanding after the second dose of instruction is provided, collaborative teacher teams evaluate the effectiveness of the plan and the assessment in subsequent collaborative team meetings.  This process involves teachers tracking the success of students within their own classrooms, then coming together as a collaborative team to combine data to check for successes, remaining achievement gaps and any common misconceptions of assessment items across the grade level.  This process continues until the SMART goal for proficiency has been met and students are ready for the next target.

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

Bellivew Elementary School has created system of interventions that provide struggling students with additional time and support for learning. Each grade level collaborative team uses formative assessment data on specific learning targets to group students and identify intervention strategies specific to the needs of each group.  While classroom teachers may provide Tier 2 intervention on their own, collaborative teams design interventions for all students in the grade level who need that additional time and support.  Additionally, students who continue to struggle with the identified learning target beyond the second dose of instruction on the topic, may also be assigned to receive extra support from the school's Title I teacher or paraprofessionals.  This work is designed collaboratively between the classroom teacher and the Title I support staff member in order to assure an alignment between the established learning target, instructional practices, and subsequent assessment.  Each classroom teacher's assigned Title I support staff member is also a member of the grade level PLC team, which supports the ongoing dialogue of supporting the changing needs of students across the grade level.   

Additionally, all students throughout the school receive 50 minutes of additional reading support per week, based on their performance on various diagnostic and program placement tests.  This process, known as Power Learning Time (PLT) across the school, allows students to work on targeted skills that have been identified as current gaps in their learning.  The skills that are emphasized during this time include phonics, phonemic awareness, reading fluency, reading comprehension, critical thinking, and debate.  The school's MTSS team meets monthly to engage in the process of progress monitoring for each student throughout the school.  Students take a monthly progress monitoring assessment and take a universal screener three times per year.  The data derived from these assessments is studied by the team to determine whether a student is placed appropriately into his/her PLT program, or if the student is ready to move up to the next highest level PLT program.    Students who are considered as Tier 3 are provided supports by classroom teachers, resource teachers, and Title I teachers and paraprofessionals during Power Learning Time, which is to students by grade level, in order to address their specific needs.  Power Learning Time is built into the master daily schedule for all grade levels.  Power Learning Time is in addition to the 90 minutes of Tier 1 Reading instruction time in grade level classrooms, though is implemented in a much smaller group setting for targeted intervention purposes.

Students who are considered Tier 3 for math receive supports from Title I teachers and paraprofessionals in a pull-out program that takes place during 1-2 special subject class periods per week, so that students who are identified for this support do not miss any Tier 1 instruction time in their grade level classroom.  This process involves the school’s Data Coach/MTSS Coordinator working in conjunction with the Title I staff to identify students for Tier 3 support, establish specific learning target deficiencies, based on either diagnostic test results, or common formative or summative unit assessments in the classroom setting.  This program is designed to support fluid student groups, based on the aforementioned data sources in conjunction with students’ performance on follow-up assessments after supplemental instruction has taken place.

 

At Bellview elementary, teachers truly work as a team and take collective responsibility for all students.  Each grade level teams has built an intervention day into their unit plans after each common formative assessment.  The teams collaboratively analyze the formative assessment data and use it to group students across the grade level according to their areas of need. The team decides which teachers will provide additional instruction on which skill areas based on the assessment results and strengths of each teacher.  On intervention day, all grade level students move to their skill groups for further instruction and practice.  The team plans and delivers additional “check for understanding” assessments to ensure that the re-teaching was impactful.  This process is repeated with each common formative assessment.

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

Eastpointe Community Schools is committed to the work of Professional Learning Communities and considers PLCs a highly effective form of professional development. Therefore, the district has compiled the state-required professional learning hours and distributed them throughout the school year as a one hour late start every Wednesday. It is during these late start hours that teachers engage in collaborative conversations responding to the 4 questions of a PLC.

Bellview Elementary School has built high performing, collaborative teams to focus efforts on improved student learning. Each team consists of teachers from a common grade level who engage in weekly discussions centered on filling gaps in students' learning. The focus of these weekly discussions alternates between reading and mathematics. Each team has developed its own collective commitments and norms, using the vision, mission and beliefs of the school as the driving force for the creation of each. Teams meet within their contracted workday each week to engage in this work, following the aforementioned team-created accountability structures.  

In addition to grade level team teachers, special education teachers and Title I interventionists/paraprofessionals are a regular part of our collaborative grade level teams. 

Specials/related arts teachers work in collaborative teams in the district's other upper elementary building during our regularly scheduled collaborative team time. However, at the other school these specials teachers participate fully as members of grade level teams, as will be the case at Bellview in the 2018-2019 school year, and every alternating year thereafter. We have found that the input from the specials teachers provides teams with different perspectives and additional strategies we might not otherwise have tried. Specials teachers’ participation in collaborative teams also encourages cross-curricular conversations and planning.

We have found that these staff members add to the conversation, particularly in regard to scaffolding and alternative instructional strategies. They are also able to shed light on individual students’ strengths and challenges that are not always seen in the regular classroom. 

It is our belief that when a team is performing at its best, each team member has clear responsibilities, and every role needed to achieve the team’s goal is being performed fully and well. The school adopted the Citizen Facilitator Model in the 2016-2017 school year, which requires every member of the team to share responsibilities for team meetings being productive. Within this model, the 5 defined roles of Bellview PLC Meetings are alternated among members of the team, following a schedule that rotates responsibilities. The schedule for alternating these roles is developed in our first collaborative team meeting of the school year. The roles for each team include the Facilitator, the Note-Taker, the Time-Keeper, the Air Traffic Controller and the Researcher/Resource Checker.   

The Facilitator sends email correspondence to all members of the team reminding them of the specific data and materials that should be present at the start of the next team meeting. Also, at the meeting, the facilitator is responsible for posing the appropriate guiding questions from the PLC Guidance Form (Pathways), which drives the conversation at the table. The Facilitator is responsible for making sure that every individual seated around the table contributes to the conversation of action planning for the identified learning target. 

The Note-Taker completes all fields provided on the Eastpointe Community Schools Professional Learning Communities Feedback Form and uploads this information to the school’s shared PLC drive.  

The Time-Keeper follows the lead of the facilitator. When a timeline for discussion is established by the facilitator, the time-keeper sets and tracks the time, while participating in the conversation, giving a warning to the group when 1 minute is remaining until the next team activity/discussion.  

The Air Traffic Controller keeps the discussion focused and keeps team members on-task. Other staff members are expected to respect the responsibilities of the Air Traffic Controller when he/she is placed in a position to refocus the group.   

Finally, the Researcher/Resource Checker utilizes a laptop to look up strategies/materials to support the discussion of how to re-teach each learning target focus during the team meeting. This team member is also an active participant in the meeting discussion.   

As each member assumes his/her assigned role at each meeting, teams engage in their PLC work, which also includes taking time for any celebrations or successes encountered throughout the school year at the team and school-wide levels. 

In addition, the building’s office staff and At-Risk social worker partner during this process to track student attendance. They identify students who are showing attendance patterns trending toward truancy concerns. They then contact the parents to inform them of the attendance concern and to work to establish any potential ways the school can support the parent in making sure his/her student is in attendance for a full day of school, every day. This process has been put in place to assure the highest rate of student attendance possible and to minimize any lost time with the supports that have been put in place throughout the school to support the needs of each individual learner.

 

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Michigan Top to Bottom

In 2014, Bellview Elementary ranked at the 1st percentile in Michigan’s Top to Bottom ranking.  In other words, 99% of the elementary schools in Michigan performed better than Bellview.  Since implementing the process to become a PLC, Bellview has steadily increased in the rankings.  When the list was released in 2016, Bellview was ranked at the 33rd percentile.  The Michigan Department of Education changed the metric in 2017, so we are unable to compare Top to Bottom data for the 2017 school year.  No matter what the metric, Bellview is committed to the PLC process and will continue in their quest to raise student achievement through best practices in teaching and learning. 

2014 2015 2016
1 7 33

Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP)

M-STEP Reading

 

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

2015

30.4

15

22

2016

17.8

26

23

2017

26.3

42

41

 

M-STEP Mathematics

 

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

2015

23.6

12.4

11.1

2016

13.2

25.3

13.7

2017

24.4

21.2

22.2

 

Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA)

 

3rd Grade Reading NWEA

 

Fall

Spring

2014-15

175.2

189.6

2015-16

183.7

195.1

2016-17

192.2

202.8

Norms

188.3

198.6

 

4th Grade Reading NWEA

 

Fall

Spring

2014-15

175

185.5

2015-16

189.1

198.5

2016-17

194.1

205.4

Norms

198.2

205.9

 

5th Grade Reading NWEA

 

Fall

Spring

2014-15

179.7

192.3

2015-16

188.8

197.5

2016-17

198.7

204.7

Norms

205.7

211.8

 

3rd Grade Math NWEA

 

Fall

Spring

2014-15

178.2

190.8

2015-16

178

188.6

2016-17

181.1

195

Norms

190.4

203.4

 

4th Grade Math NWEA

 

Fall

Spring

2014-15

187.5

198.8

2015-16

189.3

202.1

2016-17

190.1

199.9

Norms

201.9

213.5

 

5th Grade Math NWEA

 

Fall

Spring

2014-15

195.6

207.5

2015-16

194.9

208.6

2016-17

199.9

210.9

Norms

211.4

221.4

Bellview Elementary School earned a renewal of its Advanc-Ed Accredited School status in April of 2015.

 

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