Claypool Elementary School
- Number of Students: 328
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 64.2%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 12.5%
- Percent of Special Education: 19.8%
- White: 79%
- Black: 1.8%
- Hispanic: 18.6%
- Asian: 0%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0%
- Multiracial: 0.6%
- Other: 0%
Claypool Elementary School is one of 8 elementary schools in the Warsaw Community School district. There are currently 33 teachers and all are involved in the PLC process through grade level teams. The staff always works as a team and always filters through the question “What is best for students?” Several years ago, a core team attended the PLC At Work Conference and while at the conference this team called the principal with a list of “must haves” to facilitate the PLC process. From that point on, the Claypool team worked to make the PLC model successful at the school. The core team first presented the PLC process to the entire staff and modeled PLC collaboration meetings. The staff understood and saw the power of the PLC process and how it could help focus the staff on our primary question of, “What is best for students”? Currently 95% of the Claypool staff have attended the PLC at Work conference and continue to value the PLC model of collaboration.
The shared commitment by the district, administration, and staff continues to strengthen our PLC process to provide continuous student and school improvement. This year, the district implemented a late arrival day to allow for additional time in our PLC collaborative teams.
Teachers also meet to vertically align standards with the grade level below and above. During these vertical meetings Claypool teachers collaborate on knowledge and skills that the data show are strengths and those that can improved on for the following year for each grade level.
Teachers learned strategies to more effectively instruct and reach our high poverty students. These teachers, throughout the year, presented these strategies to all staff. Teachers also attend ongoing professional development in the areas of English Language Learners, STEM, Curriculum - writing, reading, math workshops. Best practice instruction gleened from these professional development opportunities enhance the PLC process.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
We focus on district-wide power standards to implement a guaranteed and viable curriculum and to focus our plan of instruction. We work in grade level teams to ensure that students receive the same curriculum yet allow enough flexibility to ensure individual student needs are met.
There are several ways we monitor student learning. We use state assessments, NWEA MAP data, common formative assessments (district benchmarks) as well as more frequent formative progress checks. During team meetings, we discuss and monitor our progress and reflect on what changes are necessary to help ALL students succeed.
District benchmarks are developed by a team of grade level teachers across the district. Grade level benchmark assessments are revisited by the district team to make any necessary modifications and improvments. Currently we use district benchmearks in English/Language Arts and math four times per year (one each quarter).
As a district, we are transitioning from paper/pencil benchmark assessments to electronic assessments. In the past, teachers were able to get student data as soon as they had time to score the benchmark. Now, teachers are able to see results and reports instantly. School and district based reports automaticlly updated as the assessments are given.
In addition to the district benchmark assessments more frequent formative assessments are given either as an individual teacher or as a grade level team. These classroom based assessments are developoed independanly of the district to meet the unique learning needs of the students in our school and in each classroom. Teachers have the ability to utilize these shorter, more frequent, assessments any time they want to help them form their daily instruction.
We examine state assessment data yearly but the assessment is not very helpful in helping us monitor students in a timely manner. For more timely information, we use NWEA MAP assessments and common formative assessments to track student knowledge and skills. We use this information to assist us when determining what knowledge and skills need to be addressed during success time. Success time allows for flexible grouping of students several times a year depending on the unique needs of each student.
Also, this year (2017-18) we have implemented standards based report cards to give parents a more complete view of student progress.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
Our school uses research-based interventions to meet individual needs of students. Certified and classified staff work with students on all interventions to ensure that students get the individual attention they need. Each student has unique needs that need to be addressed. Using student data from classroom formative assessments, teachers are able to identify what needs to be addressed at the whole class level, small group level, or individual level.
Students are able to get breakfast in the cafeteria and take it to the classroom to begin interventions 20 min prior to the start of instructional time. This additional time allows students to receive individual attention without missing out on other classroom activities. Often, students need just a little more additional assistance to be successful.
Additionally, we also utilize a “Success Time” to remediate groups of students who need similar skills to master corporation identified power standards. Students are placed in small focused intervention groups as a result of pre-assessments of standard(s). Our Success Time occurs at the same time per grade level. The teachers are responsible for preparing activities for all student groups and meeting with the paraprofessional(s) or Title teacher who will be working with the students to remediate/enrich. Teachers meet with the para in order to explain the purpose, progression, and desired outcome of activity.
The great thing about structuring our day like this, students do not miss any material during our Success (intervention) time or in the morning during breakfast. All students in the grade level are receiving remediation or enrichment based on the same standard(s). Therefore, no new instructional material is being missed by any student.
At times, students may work with our Title 1 teacher and/or para in order to receive remediation based on non-mastery of skills/standards.
We look at many pieces of evidence to determine the effectiveness of the interventions. We look at NWEA scores in the fall, winter, and spring, Fountas and Pinnell reading levels, standards-based report cards, class assessments, the intervention reports, and the Easy CBM progress monitoring tool. We review this data in our PLC teams, as well as RTI.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
Our grade level team collaborative teams focus on 4 key questions that lead to improve student learning and action.
1. What do students need to know and be able to do?
First, our teachers set goals for students based on the state and corporation power standards. These essential standards become the basis for our focus on student learning. It is important for all teachers at a grade level to have a clear understanding of the skills and knowledge students need to be successful.
2. How will we know when they learned it?
Teachers develop common formative assessments and ensure the consistency in grading these assessments to determine proficient vs non-proficient responses. Teachers discuss what success looks like and have a common understanding and benchmark goal for every student. Based on the assessment responses, teachers will then determine the knowledge and skills lacking for each student.
3. What will we do when they haven’t learned it?
This is a critical step in improving student learning. Teachers formulate student groups based on identified needed skills from the assessment. The student groups are small and based on needed skills and can change as students needs change. Paraprofessionals (paras) meet with teachers weekly (K - 3) to assign intervention activities. Teachers provide guidance to paras so that they can implement interventions effectively to each group of students to address specific skills.
4. What will we do when they already learned it?
This is a critical question that is sometimes overlooked in some schools but is key to moving students forward and continuing to challenge students. When students have already mastered the skills and standards, teachers provide activities which extend the academic standards to meet the student at their individual level.
Additionally, teachers at each grade level meet with other teachers from the same grade level several times per year. These district-wide grade level meetings provide teachers with the oppotunity to collablorate across school buildings.
Additional Achievement Data
Since the 2014-15 school year, the change in student demographics make it difficult to examine overall numbers and draw conclusions. Enrollment is declining due to population shifts of the community. The overall population has gone from 403 students (2014-15) to 328 students (2017-18). While the overall population has gone down the number of students on free/reduced lunch has increased. The number of special education students has gone from 14.6% to 19.8%. Additionally, due to the low number of EL students per grade, the state does not publish those scores but they do make up about 13% of the overall population.
Warsaw Community Schools also uses NWEA MAP scores to measure academic progress. Last year, Claypool was above the national norm in both math and reading for all grade levels except for math in grade 3 and 4. Despite having the most diverse poplulation in the district, Claypool scored higher than the district norm in many areas as well.
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