Campbell Elementary

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

Striving to become a high-functioning professional learning community has transformed Campbell Elementary into a collaborative, student-centered school, where decisions are data-driven and systemic practices are used to respond when students perform other than expected. Previously, teachers worked in isolation with little or no collaboration outside their grade-level teammate.Teachers ‘shared’ what they were doing in their classroom with other colleagues, without truly collaborating around best practices. The curriculum was determined by a district provided document without the use of common assessments. Teachers have now moved from groups, sharing ideas superficially, to teams that work interdependently for what is best for kids. This transformation was a shift from PLC lite to PLC right. The positive impact of this work is apparent as the entire staff now sees students as ‘ours’, not ‘mine’ or ‘yours.’ To this end, teachers share best practices, vertically look at what essentials have been determined from year to year and review student work together with the ultimate goal to ensure that all students learn to their fullest potential.

Prior to the 2015-16 school year, the shared leadership team at Campbell came to the decision to pursue the implementation of a true professional learning community. With an understanding that a transition of this magnitude would take time, the leadership team slowly began the work of learning what a high functioning professional learning community should look, sound, and feel like. We began our journey by attending monthly trainings, presented by Thomas Many, consistently looking at a PLC continuum to determine Campbell’s current reality.

When school began in August, we engaged our teachers in dialogue around the differences between what collaboration may have looked like in the past and what our goal would be moving forward. The entry point was finding ways to work smarter, not harder, while focusing on student learning in all conversations. This focus pushed Campbell to create an environment where the entire staff could work together to determine what we wanted kids to learn, how we would know when they got it, how we would respond when they didn’t, and what we would do for those who had mastered concepts.

 

As a leadership team, it was determined that we needed to engage the entire staff in refining our fundamental purpose. Collaboratively, we reviewed our current mission statement, connecting it to our core beliefs about students and learning. Throughout the first semester we defined, redefined, and came back to the development of a new mission statement that accurately reflected our values and beliefs. Nearly a semester into the school year, with input from certified teachers, classified staff, and our community through our school accountability committee, we released that the mission of Campbell Elementary is to ensure that all students learn to their fullest potential. After nearly three months of work and insight, we created a viable mission that would direct our work moving forward. It was this mission that set the stage for Campbell to develop a system where we refuse to let kids fail. We set out to do whatever it would take to ensure each and every student was successful.

Next, we realized we needed to set a clear vision of what must happen for all students to learn to their fullest potential and began the task of creating a vision that aligned to our mission. Looking at what students needed to achieve, we determined the need to make collaboration a top priority among both students and staff, ensure that each lesson was engaging and rigorous for students, and that systemic processes were in place to ensure that the needs of all students were being met. With these three items clearly laid out as our vision, staff voiced the need to meet regularly in collaborative team meetings to focus on the work to be done. Structurally, we created common planning times within grade levels. This allowed our curriculum and assessment decisions to truly be collaborative. Our work in collaborative team meetings focused solely around the four questions. This was one of the most substantial steps in our journey; defining the purpose of what collaborative team meetings were; and what they were not.

As we entered into these collaborative meetings it became apparent that we needed to collective identify behaviors to follow in order for us to reach towards our vision. These behaviors became our collective commitments. At Campbell, we agree that as a staff we must have integrity, be respectful, take risks, have a growth mindset and a positive attitude.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Working with special service providers and the instructional coach, grade-level teams develop common assessments matched to the determined essential learnings within their collaborative team meetings. Multiple formative assessments are created to be used throughout a unit of study. Some more formative (CFAs), within the unit of instruction, lead to adjusted instruction during the unit. Others (CSAs), less formative, at the end of units are used to determine those needing Tier 2 intervention or enrichment. Assessments are intentionally created with potential student misconceptions in mind in order to streamline the student data conversation process. During this creation, assessment calibration takes place to define the specifics of how and when assessment will be given and graded to ensure the commonality of all assessments. In addition to common assessments throughout units of study, Campbell utilizes a number of nationally-normed assessments three times per year, to evaluate the transfer of essential learnings. These include the DIBELs benchmark assessment, Test of Reading Comprehension (TRC), Measure of Academic Progress(MPG/MAP), and our states annual assessment Colorado Measure of Academic Success (CMAS).

At the conclusion of each common assessment collaborative teams complete student data conversations to determine which students need adjusted instruction for each misconception related to the essential learnings. Student data conversations lead to Tier 1 or Tier 2 intervention. Instructional data conversations take place at this point to determine what adjustments need to be made to the instruction and/or resources utilized to meet the needs of each student during these interventions. The conversation take place with the assistance of a team selected protocol guiding the dialogue to reflect upon best practices.

Each year, our guiding examines data and trends of student performance. This process is what initially led Campbell to focus on literacy as the professional learning process was implemented. As we have grown as a professional learning community we recognize that our actual levels of students achievement in Literacy and Math has been flat. However, we see a substantial increase in our growth and with continued refinement believe that achievement will follow.

 

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

Campbell Elementary’s Response to Instruction(RTI) team supports school-wide efforts to provide intervention to all students of need. The RTI team has created a Pyramid of Interventions(POI) for reading, math, and behavior that is utilized by all teachers. This provides a direction on how to address the needs of students not meeting the expectations determined by grade-level teams. The RTI team understands that the social and emotional development of students has great impact on student learning. In addition to academic supports for students, it is important to also provide social and emotional tiers of support. The creation of our pyramid of intervention for behavior by the RTI team, sits alongside the academic POI. Campbell utilizes a Social Emotional Learning Specialist to build the capacity of staff members in universal Tier 1 social emotional learning.

Student data is constantly analyzed during collaborative team meetings. Students are placed in Tier 1, 2 or 3 interventions based on Common Formative Assessments (CFAs), Common Summative Assessments(CSAs) and nationally-normed assessments. During the unit, following a CFA, teams determine the level of instruction that needs to be adjusted in the moment. Some teams may utilize a flex or buffer day immediately following a CFA to intervene for students needing additional support. Other teams will provide adjusted instruction following CFA’s through a workshop model. This ensures an effective Tier 1 prevention loop occurs. At the conclusion of a unit, CSAs are examined to determine students who need Tier 2 intervention. Tier 2 is provided daily for all students who have yet to meet proficiency on grade-level essential learnings. Students needing Tier 2 are shared among all instructors within a grade-level depending on the number of misconception(s) determined through the assessment. This instructional segment takes place outside of the direct instructional block. This allows for universal instruction in a content area to move forward, while ensuring that students who have yet to master content continue to receive intervention matched to their need. Finally, Campbell Elementary provides a daily 30-minute Tier 3 block for students in Literacy. Nationally-normed assessments are utilized to determine which students need Tier 3. This sustained intervention lasts for a more significant amount of time than Tier 1 or Tier 2 intervention. During this time, all stakeholders at Campbell share students across multiple grade-levels to maximize instructional time and supports.There are two separate Tier 3 blocks. One for primary grades (K-2) and one for intermediate (3-5). Each block includes six classroom teachers, two special service providers, and multiple paraeducators all working at the same time to provide support in literacy.

 

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

The first step in constructing high performing, collaborative teams was to create structures that would allow the work to take place. This began with looking at our master schedule to see if it functioned in a manner that allowed us to meet our mission and work alongside our vision. Areas that were immediately addressed were the use of common planning time, utilization of classified staff, and the creation of a dedicated intervention block.

When Campbell began this journey, our guiding coalition understood the immense need to provide structured time to learn and grow together. This need necessitated dedicated collaboration time. As this process began, extensive conversations took place to define what work was to be done during team meetings. In year one, collaborative teams spent 35 minutes weekly discussing the four questions. The majority of this time was spent determining essential learnings at each grade level. This was a major shift in how Campbell did business. For many, the need to realign priorities to be able to complete tasks that had been routinely done during ‘planning time’ had to take place.

As the year progressed, teams expressed the need for more time to be able to deeply engage in the development of common assessments, as well as to conduct student and instructional data conversations. One solution to this challenge was to adjust the way classified staff and special service providers spent their time on student learning. Utilizing a number of stakeholders within the building teams were able to meet for 90 minutes weekly starting the 2016-17 school year. Additionally, paraprofessional staff, that previously spent a large amount of their work day on managerial and supervisory tasks were realigned to allow for greater instructional support. These two shifts allowed for dedicated intervention blocks during the school day that could address the varying needs of students without missing core instruction. The staff at Campbell takes great pride in a belief that students Kindergarten through 5th grade are all of our students.

Campbell teachers participate on multiple teams. One, a collaborative team, typically consisting of three to four members; two of which are teachers at that grade level, an instructional coach, and a member of our special education team. Teachers also participate through shared leadership on another team focused around leadership, culture, instruction, or behavior. Campbell utilizes team norms at both collaborative and committee meetings. Teams focus on their work with agendas, roles, and protocols. Dialogue is documented in various templates that are shared with the entire staff. We celebrate our common achievements weekly and find ways to honor students and staff for their efforts throughout the year. Our journey and efforts have utilized meaningful protocols, agreements on loose/tight expectations, and a relentless drive to make a difference in the learning of all our students.

 

Achievement Data Files

In December 2018, Campbell was selected by the Colorado Department of Education for the Governor's Distinguished Improvement Award. The Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award is given to schools that demonstrate exceptional student growth in Colorado by "exceeding" expectations on longitudinal academic growth as well as "meeting or exceeding" expectations on all academic growth gaps areas. Of the over 1,800 schools in Colorado, in 2018, 105 were selected for the Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award.

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