Sagebrush Elementary

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

Sagebrush Elementary made a collective commitment in 2014 to utilize the PLC framework to improve instruction and learning at Sagebrush Elementary.  Our commitment and dedication as a collaborative team would create vast changes in the way that our educators would address the diverse and changing needs of our students.  These changes would push all of us outside our personal comfort zones, but this journey would lead to an educational framework where collaboration and student performance would surpass what we ever realized was possible.

Our journey started with coming together as a team to create a vision statement that would guide and solidify our commitment to our students and each other.  Every stakeholder was an integral part of the plan to develop a statement that reflected our collective vision for our school. Our staff worked diligently to design a statement that truly represented our vision for our school and commitment to our students.  We firmly believed that this statement was so much more than something we would simply display on our walls. This statement would be the driving force that would focus our work and efforts on the right work as a school. Our school came together and created our purpose statement and collective commitment which was, “To ensure ALL children achieve high levels of learning.”  Our staff began to shift their own mindset, and our conversations shifted to how we would ensure this success for ALL students. The idea that some kids could not reach high levels of learning was left behind, and our new focus centered around getting them all there.

With our vision now focused, we needed to create a new foundation to move towards our goal.  To truly ensure that our students achieved these high levels of learning, we understood that the strongest change agent for continuous improvement was the Professional Learning Communities (PLC) framework.   Our plan was to use the PLC process to focus all instruction, intervention, and assessment implementation.  We knew that our commitment to best practices and the tiered process of support would ensure our students achieved at high levels.  Building our teachers’ capacity was also very important to us. Without their knowledge and expertise, our students would not be where they are today.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Monitoring student learning on a timely basis is a non-negotiable expectation at Sagebrush Elementary.  We fully understand the importance of making data driven decisions and utilizing valid and reliable data to drive our instruction.  We have invested time and energy into building common formative assessments that offer us opportunities to check in on student learning as it relates to the most essential part of grade level learning.  This began with defining Priority Standards at each grade level that would guide curriculum development. We create a guaranteed and viable curriculum through complex and detailed work with all standards at each grade level. We utilize resources and best practice to drive our daily instruction as well as a variety of common formative assessments and data sets to measure growth and proficiency of our students. In every instance, we utilize the data from these assessments to measure student learning and instructional effectiveness, and to guide our future instruction.  Without question, Sagebrush is focused on student learning as our fundamental purpose.

In each content area, we have unwrapped standards through a rigorous process aimed at identifying the success criteria of each standard.  This process has allowed our teachers to develop a deep understanding of the standards themselves as well as what is expected of our students in order to master the standards.  Our Priority standard documents allow our teacher teams to target the most essential standards for grade level success while simultaneously ensuring school-wide, vertical alignment.  

With the foundation and understanding laid, we were then able to develop assessments that are given to every child in each grade level to accurately measure they mastery.  The creation of proficiency scales allowed us to build a better collective understanding of what proficiency looked like in each subject at each grade level. All of this work came together to allow us to use data in a more effective and appropriate way in meeting the needs of our students.  We are now able to compare data and learn from our colleagues who’s students may demonstrate higher levels of proficiency in certain areas of our curriculum. This has allowed us to be more reflective in our professional practice and how we approach our work to ensure student learning.

Our assessments and our assessment practices continue to evolve at Sagebrush.  As we continue to build our professional capacity, we continue to build better, more effective assessments that provide us information on student learning.

 

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

At Sagebrush, we believe that all students can learn at high levels and it is our job as educators to ENSURE that this happens.  In order to ensure high levels of student learning, we have put in place systems that allow our highly trained educators to work with students at various levels within their learning of essential outcomes or Priority Standadards. Our schedule allows for 35 minutes of Intervention / Enrichment time for each child.   Within this model, we have ensured that both Classified and Certified staff members are available to support the learning of all students.  For example our Reading Specialist is responsible for supporting students and staff in 3 grade levels during these I/E times.  Both our students and staff are placed in a better position to experience success because of this consistent support from our whole staff.  

We utilize a cycle of learning that ensures, based on consistent data, that students receive the intervention or extension they need to grow as a learner.  We monitor this learning on a consistent basis through common formative assessments and adjust our instruction as well as our I/E groups to meet the needs of our students.

While we know the systems (I/E time built into the schedule, flexible booster groups, etc...) we have in place help to ensure high levels of learning for our students, we also know that we have to be very targeted and intentional about how we use those systems.  Therefore, we allow valid and reliable data to drive those decisions.  We are tight on how we use this data and how we structure our I/E time.   For example, those students needing the most intensive intervention are put into the smallest groups and work with the teachers who are most qualified to teach the concepts they have yet to learn. 

At Sagebrush, we also recognize that students may need more levels of support beyond core instruction and our I/E process.  Therefore, we also run flexible booster groups at each grade level where any student needing more support can receive it in a timely and intentional manner.  We recognize that in order to accelerate student learning they may need extra support and intervention in order to learn at high levels.  We refer to this process as Core + More + More.   

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

In our quest to ensure ALL children achieve high levels of learning, we are in a constant state of improvement and growth. The four critical questions of the The Professional Learning Communities framework drives every aspect of our collaborative work.  We recognize the importance of targeted and intentional collaboration in Ensuring ALL children achieve high levels of learning.

In order to ensure our time is spent on the Right Work, each of our teams have created norms and detailed agendas that align our discussions with the 4 Questions of the PLC framework.  We are tight on both of these items as we know they increase our productivity and focus during our collaborative time and help guide our discussions in a solution-oriented manner.  Each collaborative meeting begins with a quick review of our norms (we call them commitments) and the accountability systems that we have in place for violating them.

While our teams are supported by our Literacy Coordinator, Principal, Math specialists, etc, they are without a doubt, self-directed.  They build their own agendas, decide upon their own norms (or commitments), analyze their own data, build their own intervention and enrichment groups (we call them WIN groups - What I Need), build and modify their own assessments, etc.  This self-directed, self-sustaining system is part of our design and commitment to best practices. It was shaped by our shared commitments and insistence on student learning and success.

Every collaborative discussion centers around one concept - Student Learning!  We allow the 4 Guiding Questions of the PLC framework to guide and cultivate our focus and discussions.  Utilizing this framework ensures our teachers are making decisions about student learning by analyzing results and data.  Our teams continually assess their instruction and level of student learning through valid and reliable evidence. We no longer rely on assumptions, instead we analyze and reflect on data in order to guide future instruction.  

We also believe that in a Professional Learning Community, the learning of adults is just as important and valuable as the learning of our children.  Therefore, our culture expects that we are also pushing ourselves as learners and constantly growing our professional capacity. Each team is continually participating in a professional book study that relates to their current realities.  One team may be reading a book to build their knowledge in writing while another team may be reading about assessment practices. Our teams have also recognized the value in observing their peers in order to gain more insight and knowledge from one another.  Therefore, we build in time during one PLC meeting a month to provide each other feedback and share our "Greatest Hits".

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

The opportunities to celebrate at Sagebrush Elementary School are abundant!  We were once again labeled as an Excelling School through the Wyoming Department of Education accountability system.  Furthermore we were exceeding expectations in all sub categories of this system - Growth, Equity, and Achievement.  As a school our state assessment data has grown for the 4th consecutive year (in both ELA and Math) and we continue to seek out ways to better meet the needs of our students. We also continue to celebrate smaller scale successes such as meeting SMART goals throughout the year, attendance goals, and overall great work in the name of kids!

Math at Sagebrush is a huge celebration!  As a school, 88% of our students were proficient or advanced on the state math assessment.  Another celebration is the number of students who were advanced on this assessment - 63% of all students who took the state assessment were ADVANCED!!!

Literacy at Sagebrush is also an area of celebration.  As a school, 80% of our students were proficient or advanced on the state reading assessment.  Again the number of students who were ADVANCED, 43%, is a tremendous celebration! 

 

2009 National Blue Ribbon Recipient

2017 National Title 1 Distinguished School

Congratulations! Sagebrush Elementary School in Sheridan County School District #2 has been designated an Exemplary High Performing Schools National Blue Ribbon School for 2018 by U. S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
 

Sagebrush Elementary School, Best Public Elementary Schools in Wyoming.  #1 of 156 - Niche.com

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