North Primary School

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

During the summer of 2015, under the leadership of newly appointed Superintendent of Schools Dr. Timothy Scott, Kiski Area School District’s administrative team  took the steps to becoming a community of learners as they began to explore the concept of professional learning communities (PLC). We quickly realized that if we were committed to building high-performing professional learning communities within our schools that would withstand the test of time, we needed to establish a strong foundation. We understood that we needed to establish this strong foundation before we could expect our teachers to embrace the new and difficult work that lie ahead of us. Our administrative team worked diligently on building a strong foundation which required us to define our clear and compelling purpose, vision, values, and goals. The district’s purpose quickly shifted from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning With the support and expertise of Dr. Peter Noonan, the first PLC Leadership Team was formed. This team consisted of the entire KASD administrative team.

During the 2015-16 school year, we recognized the need to enlist the help and support of our teacher leaders across the district to assist with transforming the organization.North Primary formed a Leadership Team that consisted of five teacher leaders, one at each grade level, who would participate in the training and serve as our guiding coalition. Working alongside in collaboration with this group of teacher leaders we were able to focus our work on the three big ideas that drive the work of a PLC: 1. Ensuring that students learn. 2. A collaborative culture and collective responsibility 3. A focus on results.

At the start of the 2016-17 school year we identified time within our school day to provide assistance to our students in need of additional time and support. Extension and intervention (EI) occurs daily in all grade levels K-4. During EI students are flexibly grouped based upon their performance on a weekly common formative assessment that the team has created. The four achievement indicators are aligned with our K-3 standards based report card: Exceeding Expectations (EE), Meeting Expectations (ME), Approaching Expectations (AE), and Below Expectations (BE). During EI the five grade level teachers, learning support teacher, and reading specialist work with a group of students to provide either extension or intervention for forty minutes on a daily basis. Throughout the week students have the ability to fluidly move throughout the groups if their performance within the group warrants it. At the end of the week a quick formative assessment is given to determine if the students have made gains. This school-wide, systematic, timely, and directive intervention program affords us the opportunity to ensure struggling students receive additional time and support, no matter who their teacher is.

We recognized that our teachers must work collaboratively together to achieve their collective purpose of learning for all. We identified the need to create structures that promote and support a collaborative culture in our school. Additional common planning time for grade level teams to collaborate during the teacher work day was identified. Teams now have an additional thirty minutes a week before the students arrive for curriculum development, and an additional thirty minutes a week after the students leave for data analysis.

During curriculum meetings our teacher teams are answering questions one and two: 1. What do we want each student to learn? 2. How do we know when each student has learned it? Teachers are deconstructing grade level standards, identifying essential/promise standards, creating common formative assessments aligned to the essential/promise standards, developing proficiency scales, creating benchmark assessments, establishing common pacing, etc. Through this collaboration teachers are working together to analyze and improve their classroom practice while engaging in an ongoing cycle of questions that promote deeper learning.

Questions three and four are answered during data analysis meetings. 3. How will we respond when a student experiences difficulty in learning? 4. How will we respond when a student already knows it?  During this time our teacher teams engage in the process of identifying the current level of student achievement, establishing a goal to improve the current level, working together to achieve the goal, and providing evidence of progress towards meeting the goal. Teacher teams analyze student performance on the common formative assessment, group students based upon their performance, identify instructional practices that prove to be most effective, recognize patterns from student mistakes/errors, establish what interventions are needed to provide failed students additional time and support, as well as determine how to extend the learning for students who have mastered the standard.

During the 2017-18 school year a second group of teacher leaders participated in the training led by Dr. Peter Noonan. This group of teachers included the reading specialist, as well as one of the learning support teachers. Currently we are training the remaining staff members at North Primary.

Over the course of the past three years our district/school has undergone a major cultural shift. We understand that the work we are doing is hard and is ongoing. We continue to refine the work that we are doing in order to ensure continuous progress is being made. We have celebrated some successes and  are committed to attaining our purpose, to ensure every student is learning at the highest level he/she ever has.



 

 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

 At North Primary we are continuously monitoring student learning through various means; weekly common formative assessments, daily extension and intervention activities, weekly summative assessments, and quarterly benchmark assessments.  Weekly data and curriculum meetings provide us the opportunity to monitor student learning on a timely basis. Grade level teams and administration have time during the school day to collaborate on a regular basis in order to answer the four critical questions of a PLC. During this time teams are creating common formative assessments, analyzing data, and sharing best practices to help our students reach their goals.  

 Through the use of team created common formative assessments, we are able to frequently monitor our students understanding of a specific essential standard.  By creating a proficiency scale that clearly identifies specific information about what student achievement looks like at each level, each team member is able to approach the task with a common understanding and expectations.  Once the common formative assessment has been administered, grade level teams analyze the data to determine students’ level of understanding and place students into the appropriate group (EE-Exceeding Expectations, ME-Meeting Expectations, AE-Approaching Expectation and BE-Below Expectations). Teams then discuss how to meet the needs of the students through daily extension and intervention. They decide who is teaching which group of students and share best practices and instructional strategies to assist in meeting the needs of our students. At the end of the week teams are able to determine growth in students with regards to the essential standard that was assessed on the common formative assessment.  

 

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

We have created a systematic process that ensures students receive extra time and support for learning in a timely, directive, and systematic way. We provide students with additional time and support for learning through a daily Extension and Intervention period.  The learning support teachers and reading specialists assist the grade level teachers during this time. All students participate in Extension and Intervention, it is not by invitation. We ensure student success by creating time within the school day for students to work on the identified essential standards based on their level of understanding.  Students work in groups (exceeding expectations, meeting expectations, approaching expectations, and below basic) according to how well they perform on the weekly common formative assessment.  After identifying the essential standard to address, grade level teams use Extension and Intervention time to extend the learning for students who have already mastered the standard, or time is utilized to provide additional time and support for students to master the particular standard.  

 

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

We are building teacher capacity at North Primary School by organizing our teachers into high performing collaborative teams. Our teams are created on the basis of shared responsibility for pursuing the four critical questions of a PLC which they are all mutually accountable. Our collaborative teams are working interdependently to achieve a common goal, high levels of learning for all students. Our teams are co-laboring as they engage in the important work that they are doing.

Teams meet twice a week for thirty minutes to improve learning for all of the students at North Primary. Teams are engaged in ongoing professional development as they work to answer the four critical questions of a PLC.

North Primary formed a Leadership Team that consisted of five teacher leaders, one at each grade level, who participated in the training provided by Dr. Peter Noonan and serve as the guiding coalition. They keep their team focused on the right work and guide them through the process of answering the four critical questions of a PLC. In addition, the Leadership Team meets regularly with administration to identify specific needs of the teams and assist with developing a plan of action.

Our special area teachers (art, music, physical education, and computer) are not currently organized into formal teams however; we have recently begun the process with our two elementary technology teachers. Because they teach in different buildings they are using the Google applications in G-Suite to collaboratively build the elementary technology curriculum for our K-4 students. They are currently working to identify essential standards. The art teacher has been working diligently to ensure that the work she is doing within her classroom supports the work that the classroom teachers are doing specifically in math and literacy. Our music and physical education teachers have also been identifying ways in which they can support the work of the classroom teachers within their curriculum. All of the special area teachers have developed S.M.A.R.T. goals and are working as a team within the building to support our school-wide positive behavior program by providing teachers with information on such topics as building a positive rapport with students and classroom management strategies. 

At North Primary we understand the import role that celebrations have.  Celebrations are a great way to recognize performance and hard work of our teams. In addition, celebrations strengthen team connections. Time to celebrate is set aside at monthly faculty meetings. Each team is asked to share a celebration with the rest of the faculty. Administration also recognizes teams at this time.

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

HIGHLIGHTS:

North Primary is consistently performing above the state average in all subject areas (ELA, Math, Science) across both grade levels.

Our economically disadvantaged subgroup is consistently performing above state average in both ELA and Math across both grade levels.

In 2017-18 fourth grade ELA we had more students move in the Advanced and Proficient categories than in years past.

In 2017-18 only one fourth grade student was Below Basic in science and ELA.

In 2017-18 fourth grade Math was able to rebound from 2016-17 and is now in line with where they were in 2015-16.

Our IEP subgroup in third and fourth grade Math is performing above the state average consistently.

Our IEP subgroup has few students performing in the Below Basic category during the 2017-18 year.

AREAS OF CONCERN:

We are not demonstrating growth in 4th grade ELA/Math on the previous PVAAS

We need a strong push in the 4th grade ELA curriculum area of Text Dependent Analysis (TDA)

Achievement has remained stagnant over the past several years. We are not seeing a steady increase from year to year.

Third grade ELA has seen a decrease in the number of Advanced and Proficient students each year for the past three years.

Fewer students are performing in the Below Basic category in third and fourth grade in both ELA and Math however; more students are performing in the Basic category.

Our IEP subgroup is at or below the state average in ELA in both third and fourth grade.

In fourth grade specifically achievement continues to decrease with the number of students achieving in the proficient category decreasing by 29.5%  in ELA and 25.1% in Math over the past three years.

Our economically disadvantaged subgroup remains stagnant in third grade ELA.

ACTIONS:

During the 2017-18 school year North Primary moved away from self-contained classrooms in third and fourth grade. Teacher teams were established. Each team consisted of two teachers with one being responsible for teaching ELA and one being responsible for teaching math, science, and social studies to approximately fifty students.

Math and ELA essential standards have been identified in all grade levels K-4. Common formative assessments aligned to these essential standards are developed.

SMART goals related to developing/growing our student ability to understand and connect with text are being created in all grade levels K-4.

Quarterly benchmark assessments aligned to the essential standards are being developed by the teams in all grade levels K-4.

Text Dependent Analysis (TDA) is being introduced in third grade.

Vertical and horizontal alignment is occurring across all grade levels in order to address any and all gaps and redundancies.

We are a Title I school-wide building and our reading intervention specialists are now able to work with any student who is at risk of failing. They are working with a small group of students during E&I in all grades K-4. 

Our learning support students are remaining in the classroom for core instruction with support provided by their special education teacher within the general education classroom setting as well as during E&I and guided reading.

Our reading intervention specialists and our learning support teachers are members of the grade level teams and actively participate in curriculum and data meetings.

We have recently purchased additional Tier II and tier III interventions for Math and ELA K-4.

  • Title I Distinguished School 2015-16 and 2016-17

  • PA Department of Education Designation: Reward School High Achievement 2015-16 and 2016-17

  • Leadership team members were invited to be presenters at the PAFPCA Annual Title I Improving Schools Conference January, 2018 (Learning Has No Boundaries. Every Child. Every Classroom. Every Day.)

  • Pennsylvania Achievement Recognition (Adequate yearly progress for 2 consecutive years) 2002 through 2012

  • Leadership team members were invited to be presenters at the Kiski Area Staff Development In-service November, 2018 (Essential Standards, Proficiency Scales and Common Formative Assessments)

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