Kiski Area Upper Elementary

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

KAUE is a successful PLC because we have become an adaptive organization that places student learning as our top priority.

KAUE has become a successful PLC by living one mission: All students will achieve at the highest level he or she ever has.  Once we had a missions focus, all decisions could be framed with student learning as priority. In 2014 Kiski Area administration began to explore professional learning communities by becoming a community of learners itself. This was where the district mission was developed and the beginnings of a K-12 system that would support that mission were proposed.  Understanding the need for reciprocal accountability, our upper administration secured the mentorship of Dr. Peter Noonan and our first PLC Leadership cohort was established. 

In 2015 the need to develop teacher leaders that would help administration make changes to the system was apparent.  In 2015-2016 KAUE selected 5 classroom teachers and once again, a PLC Leadership cohort was established and trained. Working alongside our teachers an understanding was achieved that if we truly want all students to learn at high levels then traditional teacher isolation needed to end.  

In 2016-2017 KAUE introduced a new school schedule that provided a structure that supported our mission in two ways. First, the teachers at KAUE gained the time to meet as teams in addition to time allocated to provide supports to our students in need of intervention or enrichment.  Second, the new schedule addressed the issue of equity by breaking traditional groupings of students in favor of high expectations for all learners.

As we move into 2018-2019 KAUE continues to adapt and work through how to best live our mission.  Teams meet regularly to work through student data that results from assessments that are aligned to a grade level, guaranteed curriculum.  Teachers use both class time and the E/I period to work with students. We continue support our leadership teams by providing time for all staff to enage in professional learning.  In early 2018 we established a second cohort of teachers that will be training in the PLC Leadership model.

While there is short term success to celebrate within our state data, we have committed KAUE to a continuous improvement model and look forward to see our efforts reflected in the positive engagement of our Kiski Area community.   

 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

The mission at Kiski Area is to have all students achieve at their highest level.  In order to fulfill that mission all KAUE teachers and support staff must be clear on the level of mastery we expect and where each of our students are on their journey towards mastery.  Managing the individual progress can be difficult in a large building, but our teachers are finding success with systematic practices that fall under a tiered system. In PA we use the term MTSS or multi-tiered system of support.  

Specifically our teachers and staff have found success in crafting and implementing common formative assessments.  Pre-testing, quizzing, and even exit tickets are used by our teams to "take the temperature" of students as they progress within the unit.  Teams collect this data and use it to take action. Not only do they make individual instructional decisions with data, but they also gear their tier 1 (classroom) and tier 2 (enrichment/intervention) groupings based on agreed upon SMART goals.

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

Creating a daily bell schedule that supports the mission is the best strategy to begin to build a system of schoolwide intervention.  Time is our only constant and how one structures that time is the forward facing indicator of how serious we are about student learning. In 2016-2017 we implemented a new master bell schedule.  By simplifying our daily schedule we were able to increase time in class and also gain daily time to provide extra support. In 2018 the structures of a system are in place, but how that time can be used continues to evolve.

In an effort to utilize that time effectively and efficiently our teams have moved through different approaches, but we have found success in using common formative assessments to pull smaller groups of students that we then provide enrichment or intervention.  Managing the logistics of that system has also undergone a number of changes, but our building has found success in using a Google Spreadsheet that indicates daily where each student should be during the E/I period.

 

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

Student learning is the priority, but it is easy to take some of the "seductive shortcuts" and allow individuals to focus on the students only in front of them.  To do that will produce results, but those results will be uneven and the data collected at the building level will be difficult to use in future decision making.   KAUE and KASD have approached our K-12 system with equity and excellence in mind. Modern public education cannot be a lottery that is won or lost based on the ability individual teacher to connect.  All students can achieve and all students deserve a high performing, collaborative team working for them.

In 2016-2017 KAUE implemented a schedule change that allowed for grade level, curriculum teams to meet for 54 minutes each school day.  To guide our teams we used our PLC Leadership training and leadership cohort to structure meeting times that kept team time productive. As we ask our teams use assessment and collect data, we also monitor ourselves by the product that is produced and periodic check ins using the continuums presented in "Learn by Doing."  

 

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Overview:

In 2017 KAUE underwent a great deal of structural and systemic change.  While these changes were already in the planning stages during the 2016-2017 school year, the release of the 2016 data enthusiastically supported the need for change.  

Last year our teachers began the year with the knowledge that they were now locked into a grade level.  They were supported in their collaborative efforts with both time and professional development.

The 2017 state data brings us positive results and tangible proof that supports our practice.  Our team is approaching the 2018-2019 school year with the energy and enthusiasm of a team ready to live the KASD mission.   

Highlights:

  • Our current 6th grade moved from 29% P/A to 40% P/A in mathematics  

  • 69.7 %  of the 6th grade rated H or High on the TDA portion of the test (Writing)

  • Every level exceeded the PVAAS projected proficiency level which is set each year as a percentage of students that should achieve proficiency

Areas of concern:

  • Not demonstrating growth in 5th grade ELA/Math on the  previous PVAAS

  • Not exceeding the state achievement averages in both 5th and 6th math

  • Needing a strong push in the ELA curriculum area of “Informational Text” (reading, responding, vocabulary)

Actions:

  • We are moving forward with a consistent schedule, team meetings and a daily E/I period for all.

  • The math teams are solidifying essential outcomes and formative assessments based on experience.

  • Math teams are building a bank of multi-step, multi-computational problems that reflect the PSSA.

  • The ELA teams set SMART goals related to developing/growing our student ability to understand and connect with text.

  • All core areas are building on the success of the writing approach and embracing RACES as a common strategy and ensuring common language for our students. Restate/Answer/Cite/Explain/Summarize.

  • All core areas are using best practices in vocabulary acquisition and usage in response to a weakness in "domain specific vocabulary and informational text."  (ex. word wall, high frequency words, words in context)

Healthy Schools Award 2017

6th grade band rated "Superior" by PEMA (State Music Association) 2014-2018

 

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