Peabody Elementary School

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

Peabody Elementary School is a suburban school located in Littleton, Colorado.  Peabody has a student population of approximately 400 students kindergarten through fifth grade and is a district center-based program for special education services.  About 30 licensed staff members strive to achieve the mission, “All students getting what they need, when they need it.” Four years ago, Peabody committed to the critical questions of student learning in order to shift the culture from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning.  This work preceded a district-wide commitment to the PLC at Work process.

In order to build a shared commitment to learning, the Peabody Professional Learning Community focused on prioritizing what students should know and be able to do first.  In math, the Professional Learning Teams (PLTs), also known as Collaborative Teacher Teams, prioritized standards and wrote SMART goals aligned to the guaranteed and viable curriculum adopted by the district.  Teacher teams took the curriculum and the prioritized standards and determined what is most important for students to learn during the school year. These SMART learning goals became the guide for the PLTs. Drilling down even further, PLTs took the SMART goals and wrote daily learning targets for students.  The Peabody Principal and Instructional Coach partnered together to deliver professional development for the PLTs around how to write and implement learning targets; this was new learning for the staff and learning targets were not used before this work. This was a year-long plan and launched the transformation of Peabody Elementary into a Professional Learning Community.

In year two, the school-wide PLC bridged their work into determining if all students were learning at high levels.  The professional development plan for PLTs shifted to creating a layered approach to assessments that include pre-assessments, daily demonstrations of learning, common formative assessments, and unit assessments.  Teachers also showcase and share with each other sample demonstrations of learning in staff meetings. PLTs reflect on what they would “Retain, Refine, and Replace” during their collaborative conversations. From there, the Peabody PLC tackles how to respond to students needing intervention and enrichment instruction.  

Professional Learning Teams (PLTs) at every grade level now write year-long SMART goals for student learning, as well as writing a SMART goal about improving their PLT practice.  Utilizing the district guiding documents of “PLC Theory of Action Statements” and the “PLC Implementation Rubric,” PLTs reflected on their current practice and set goals in order to constantly improve the collaborative culture.  A sample of this goal-setting is shared in the artifacts section. The Principal and Instructional Coach delivered ongoing professional development during staff meetings that focused on the how and PLC best practices, which included the following topics: establishing norms, crafting agendas, assigning roles, defining the difference between prepping and planning as a team, etc. The Peabody PLC also defined what is loose and tight, so that there is clarity in the collaborative culture.

Peabody has grade-level PLTs, which also include specialists, that meet for an hour every Wednesday morning to engage in collective inquiry about student learning.  They use data protocols to sort students into skill groups and discuss reteaching opportunities, determine intervention/enrichment groups, and plan the upcoming instruction.  The Peabody PLC has created a repository of protocols that not only have a link to what the protocol is, but also includes when and why you would use the protocol. PLTs created this resource together and they implement the protocols during the late start time.  Different PLTs have then created tracking documents so they can see if students are meeting the grade-level learning targets.

All Peabody students have access to a school-wide, systematic pyramid of interventions.  This instructional time is built into the building master schedule. Several PLTs take time every three weeks to review student learning data, regroup students based on their needs, and students are shared among the members of the PLT.  

Specials teachers (art, music, and PE) meet weekly with other specials teachers across the district. This weekly collaborative time allows teachers the opportunity to connect with other professionals that have specialized content, examine student learning, prioritize standards, and share instructional practices.  For example, the music teachers across the District identified observation and implementation of grade level appropriate concepts of beat as the priority standard.

The collaborative specials teams have self-sorted into small teams of teachers to help build a collaborative culture, do unit planning, and develop and analyze common formative assessments.  Other interventionists (literacy, mental health, and GT) are on a collaborative team within the school building and meet once a month with other job alike interventionists across the district.  This flexible model has allowed interventionists to work collaboratively to support student learning in the building as well as to better develop their own instructional knowledge and practices and align expectations for student learning across the district.

Peabody is committed to continuous improvement and action research as we work to serve all students.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Peabody works with our district, Littleton Public Schools, to maintain horizontal and vertical articulation between all elementary schools and between the elementary schools and the middle schools.  Grade-level professional learning teams work collaboratively to ensure that all students have an opportunity to demonstrate proficiency in the same essential learning. Teams strive for clarity in the curriculum they teach by engaging in an recursive process of prioritizing standards, drilling down to daily learning targets, analyzing pacing among classrooms, analyzing student work and reflecting on instructional practice together.  This ongoing conversation promotes clarity and consistency. Specialists partner with the grade-level professional learning team in the collaborative study of the guaranteed and viable curriculum, so that this consistency permeates into special education services, gifted and talented services, and mental health support. For example, special education teachers collaborate with the fourth and fifth grade professional learning teams in order to plan which students to guest into their math and language arts instruction based upon the student needs; these guested students are not identified for special education services, but have demonstrated a need for intensive instruction.  Because teachers are discussing curriculum implementation together, they are able to ensure that “all students are getting what they need when they need it.”

The Peabody Elementary School PLC has created a monitoring system in order to ensure that students are mastering the essential learnings.  From a big picture level, the school leadership team monitors building-wide data and shares the data with the entire school staff three times a year (beginning, middle and end).  The staff reviews the data using protocols such as, “Here’s What, Now’s What, So What.” Funneling down from the school-wide data analysis, the principal and instructional coach meet with grade level professional learning teams throughout the year to review language arts and mathematics data.  This is an opportunity for reflective questioning, rethinking instructional practice, and determining differentiated support and/or professional learning opportunities for the team. Teams create their own tracking tools in order to support their analysis of the strengths and areas of improvement for each student.  Effective tracking systems allow the teams to spend the majority of their time discussing how to adapt instruction and planning for what’s next. In addition, intermediate teachers empower students to self-monitor their learning progress and track understanding of the daily learning targets.

On a weekly basis, collaborative teacher teams analyze common formative assessments.  The results from CFAs are not only about what students are learning, but it illuminates the effectiveness of classroom instruction.  For example, in the area of math, intermediate teachers noticed a lack of student learning in the area of dividing fractions. The team reflected on their delivery of instruction and realized that they had to deepen their own personal knowledge of how to divide fractions.  The fourth grade team attended a professional learning with the district Math Coordinator to deepen their personal understanding of math modeling and reasoning. They examined visual models that students would use to demonstrate how to divide fractions. This experience allowed for a rich discussion on the instructional strategies that were needed for students to model their thinking with visual models with dividing fractions.  It was the teacher discussion that leveraged the increase in instructional practices amongst the collaborative teacher teams to increase student achievement with division of fractions. Following this collaborative process, teachers were able to share their class data to determine next steps and instructional practices for those students who showed growth in the CFA, as well as those students who needed additional support with the identified skill being addressed.  

Another example of teams using CFAs to improve individual and collective teacher practice is Peabody primary teachers analyzing phonemic awareness results.  The teams realized that even with strong implementation of a new reading curriculum the results indicated a need for additional phonemic awareness instruction to support early readers.  Upon deep analysis, they saw three groups of students: (1) students were not learning phonemic awareness, (2) students lacked automaticity, and (3) students who were on grade-level had gaps in their skills.  The primary teams collaborated with the literacy coach to learn and implement new instructional strategies to support phonemic awareness development for students. They collaboratively put students into flexible skill groups and delivered daily, intensive phonemic awareness instruction to all students.

The Peabody PLC has shifted from only using CFAs to determine if students have learned the standard to using CFAs for adult learning as well.  

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

During Peabody’s journey to transforming into a Professional Learning Community, they have prioritize creating and implementing systems of intervention and enrichment the past two years.  Time has been alloted in the master schedule and teachers provide intervention during targeted instruction in their classrooms. Other essential elements include:

  • All teachers are responsible for delivering intervention and extension instruction within the classroom.

  • The Student Intervention Team reviews case studies, meets with parents, and plans intervention and extension learning opportunities for students with significant learning needs at both ends of the learning spectrum.

  • The Gifted and Talented Facilitator provides flexible extension opportunities based on student needs.  Considerations for student groups include: students who have already demonstrated mastery of the grade level standards, gender based, and interest based.  Students will be flexed in and out of groups as needed.

  • Students who need both extension and intervention, twice-exceptional students, receive an individualized, fluid schedule that provides both GT and special education services.  

  • The Reading Interventionist meets weekly with primary grade level teams in order to analyze evidence of student learning and regroups students based upon their needs.  Her schedule changes weekly based upon this collaborative conversation, where the team determines the support needed and instructional delivery model.

  • Currently, the Speech Language Pathologist and School Psychologist partner with the fifth grade team in order to strategically group students based upon their executive functioning needs.  These teachers co-teach lessons based on the needs of selected students throughout the grade level. Data is utilized in determining the celebrations and instructional needs around executive functioning behaviors needed for success in the classroom.

At Peabody Elementary School, all teachers are responsible for delivering intervention and extension instruction.  This collective responsibility and approach ensures that all students receive the instruction that they need, when they need it.

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

Nearly 66% of Peabody licensed staff members have participated in district PLC staff development with an external consultant. Peabody teachers have worked through the three day training with Tom Many focused on the three big ideas that drive the work of a PLC: a focus on learning, a collaborative culture, and a results orientation.   In addition, teachers have engaged with advanced training on developing CFAs. This information has been brought back to the building and disseminated through staff development. Peabody embeds PLC training during staff meetings.

Peabody has implemented a coaching model that focuses on partnering with collaborative teams around improving their PLC practices and around improving student learning.  PLTs engage in coaching cycles and lesson studies together. They look at evidence of student learning in every conversation.

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Peabody Elementary students have demonstrated high levels of growth and achievement over the last four years as a result of our school-wide focus on learning and results.  Our academic achievement percentiles on the School Performance Framework have increased (see chart). For the 2017-2018 school year, the Colorado Department of Education recognized Peabody Elementary as a John Irwin Award winner.  This award is given to schools that receive an Exceed Expectations rating on the Academic Achievement indicator of the School Performance Frameworks in Math, English Language Arts, and Science. This recognition is a culminating award of the commitment of the Peabody PLC the past four years.

The percentage of students meeting or exceeding proficiency on the CMAS/PARCC assessments has also increased.  Peabody is above the state average in the percent of students meeting/exceeding benchmark expectations in ELA, Math, and Science (see data chart).  

There was a decline in third grade ELA and Math percentage of students meeting/exceeding benchmarks from 2016-2017 to 2017-2018.  However, the mean scale score in both ELA and Math has increased from 2016-2018 by eight points which demonstrates that Peabody students are growing in these areas.  As a school, we continue to analyze and monitor our student achievement, growth, and common formative assessment data. The Peabody PLC believes in looking at data holistically and individually, so that we can meet the needs of each student and determine the skills necessary to ensure all students make high levels of growth.

The Grade 5 Math achievement data from 2016-2017 to 2017-2018 has stayed the same at 50%; however, the median growth percentile has been high/typical growth and above the state and district percentage.  Our most recent growth data in ELA for subgroups with a n size greater than 20 shows growth either meets or exceeds typical growth (FRL = 52, Minority = 58%, Performance Level Below Benchmark = 53%). Overall the median growth percentile for all students was not as high as it has been in the past; this was not only true for our subgroups.  However, this is also true for our entire district. We are continuing to examine why math achievement is not rising for our fifth graders (this is also true across our district and the state of Colorado), by collaborating with the district Director of Learning Services to conduct a root cause analysis and implement changes based upon the findings.

All students K-5 participate in the i-Ready benchmark assessment at the beginning of the year, mid-year, and in the spring.  This adaptive assessment allows tracking of student performance and growth throughout the year. Throughout the year, the percentage of students on-level has increased, while the percentage of students one or more levels below has decreased both in Reading and Math.

  • 2018 Colorado John Irwin Schools of Excellence Award

 

The John Irwin awards are given by the Colorado Department of Education to schools that demonstrate exceptional academic achievement over time. These schools received an Exceeds Expectations rating on the Academic Achievement indicator of the School Performance Frameworks reflecting exceptional performance in Math, English Language Arts, and Science.

 

  • 2018 Littleton Public Schools was Awarded with Accredited with Distinction Rating

    The Accredited with Distinction rating was awarded to Littleton Public Schools for eight consecutive years.  This rating is awarded by the Colorado Department of Education, as a result of the District earning 80% or more of possible points on the District Performance Frameworks.  It is also based on achievement on state literacy, math and science tests, on annual academic growth and on postsecondary readiness as measured by graduation rates, dropout rates, scores on college entrance exams and enrollment in college.

  • 2018 Curo Award

Littleton Public Schools recognizes the amazing contributions to the lives of students with disabilities through the Curo Award.

 

 

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