Stanley-Boyd Middle School

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

Our PLC journey started when our school administration attended a Wisconsin School Leadership Academy in July of 2004.  We attended a session entitled “Building a Culture that Promotes Collaboration and Improved Student Achievement” presented by Rick and Rebecca DuFour.  Unfortunately, we did not use the great knowledge we acquired at this conference for another 2 years.  In the winter of 2006, we hired our local CESA to do a study on our school to determine why we were performing so poorly in almost every academic category.  The study showed we had a number of areas to work on in order to improve our academics in our district.  One of the most obvious and difficult realizations we had to address was our lack of commitment to learning.  We created a school improvement committee for the 2006-2007 school year to study various solutions to our problems.  As we discussed the possible solutions we revisited our notes from the Leadership Academy in 2004 and realized the best opportunity to create a learning environment focused on student achievement was to implement the concepts found in creating and maintaining a PLC culture.

 

As we continued our journey to increased student learning, the administrative team attended a PLC at Work Institute during the summer of 2008.  We returned from the Institute determined to implement the foundations of PLC.  The administrative team purchased “The Power of Professional Learning Communities at Work” DVD series and purchased a copy of “Learning by Doing” for every teacher on staff. The administration worked day and night to create 49 hours of professional development for our teachers to share with them “why” the PLC process was our path to improved and sustained student learning over time.  Since the 2008-2009 school year, every teacher on our staff with 1+ years of experience has attended an institute along with school board members and administrative staff.  Teachers and administrators have visited Adlai E. Stevenson High School on 3 separate occasions to learn more about the PLC process and the procedures used in their school to continue to be one of the best schools in the country.  We have created time in our schedule so our PLC teams of teachers can meet on a weekly basis, time in our schedule for grade level teams to meet in addition to our PLC weekly meetings, and we have added time in our schedule to provide multiple opportunities for interventions and enrichment.  We have implemented an academic bus to take students home after school so they are able to do test retakes and get additional help from the teachers assigning the work.  During the Winter of 2015, we underwent a PLC at work audit by Solution Tree to determine areas of success and areas of concern.  Using the data from this report we were able to make small changes in our programming to help improve our PLC culture.  In the spring of 2016, a group of teachers and administrators visited 2 schools (Denver and Solon, IA) on the map to learn how they were continuing to achieve at high levels using the PLC process.  For the 2016-17 school year, we hired a full-time success coordinator to work with all our 6-12 students to keep them on track with work completion, grades, and future plans.  We work very hard in our middle school to make sure students are aware of the multitude of opportunities they have once they are in high school and into college.  We take 3 trips per year to various 4-year universities and technical colleges to give them some insights into the possibilities their future holds.

 At Stanley-Boyd Middle School we are committed to the PLC process and continuously working to improve student learning by using PLC time to focus on results and provide high-quality professional development supported by materials and staff from Solution Tree. In specific, this past year we dedicated two full days of in-service time to revisit our PLC process and the importance thereof.  Stanley-Boyd Middle School staff and administration understand PLC is not a canned system but a culture you create and sustain by collaborating with one another, creating and adjusting a guaranteed and viable curriculum, and having a clear picture of continuous learning for staff and students.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Our teachers meet on a weekly basis to discuss student data during our PLC meetings on Wednesday morning and during our grade level meetings on Thursdays.  We send out grade reports twice per trimester to our parents but our teachers keep a log of times they contact parents regarding the progress of each student.  These contacts are both positive and informative in nature.  Lastly, we use ACT Aspire interim assessments to make sure students are meeting benchmarks along the way.  Teachers discuss this data in our meetings and use it to determine what students are struggling with so they are able to adjust instruction on a larger scale.

Teachers monitor students on a regular basis via formative and summative assessments. We formally assess their understanding through in-class discussions,  guided reading, exit slips, homework assignments ( allowed to fix), review games, peer conferences, and teacher conferences.  Teachers put data in their unit plans from the pre-assessment and summative assessments so they are able to discuss progress for students.  At the end of the unit plans, they have a reflection to help guide discussion for the next time they present the unit.  Students who show a need for intervention or enrichment is given opportunities during our student intervention/enrichment at lunch or our resource period at the end of the day.  We also have a 45 minute period in our schedule call target time where students are in need of extra support have time to work with teachers and have time for silent reading.  Students who are meeting all expectations have the freedom to choose the location they attend for our resource period.

Our Learning teams work as content area teams to make sure they have a guaranteed and viable curriculum unit by unit from sixth grade through eighth grade.  They use state standards to determine the essential outcomes and make sure all standards are covered during the middle school years.  In areas like ELA teachers work in the content area to make sure they increase rigor and have increasing expectations using rubrics they create to evaluate student work. Because we work in content area teams all team members are held accountable and understand the expectations of the grade below them and above them.  Teachers have the learning targets posted each day so the students are aware of what the expectations are for the lesson.  They also share the rubrics being used to evaluate their learning.  Teachers grade using standards-based grading so students are informed on a regular basis where they are at with each essential standard.

While we can't provide a sample for privacy reasons, another tool that we use to make intervention and extension decisions in our building are electronic student data boards.  These electronic data boards follow each student as they progress through the grade levels in our school.  The boards include their reading level (Fountas and Pinnell benchmark levels) and ACT Aspire and ESGI benchmark scores.  If you hover over the name of a student you have access to an individual intervention log, Benchmark Assessment record sheet and a SAT or probing sheet for each student. We have data meetings to discuss these benchmarks to make sure we are meeting the needs of all students and create groups to work with our Title One team and our enrichment teacher.  

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

Stanley-Boyd has a trimester schedule with five 65 minute class periods, a 30-minute lunch period, and a 25-minute intervention/enrichment period, and a 30-minute resource period at the end of the day where all teachers are available to assist students.  

 

Students are monitored on a regular basis using formative and summative assessments in the classroom along with our ACT Aspire assessment system.  Students not meeting our expectations are assigned a schedule for all periods of the day including intervention/enrichment and resource. Students who are struggling significantly are also assigned to a work location during our lunch period. Students who are meeting all expectations may choose to work in the cafeteria as a privilege during our last 30 minutes of the day.

Our Title One teachers work closely with our classroom teachers to provide additional support to students who are identified for extra support.  We have decision rules, student/parent compacts, intervention time, and frequent monitoring of programs and students to ensure fidelity and success.  Our teachers use our decision rules to determine what type of support a student may need. The support can include enrichment from our enrichment teacher who works with groups of students on a daily basis to enhance what teachers are doing in the classroom and to challenge our students to think outside the box.  We use the decision rules to determine groups for interventions based on ACT aspire data and then use the resources in ACT aspire to work with our students in the areas they are struggling with during I/E time and during target time. Lastly, decision rules are used to help identify students who will receive additional support from our title teachers.  We have regular data meetings to discuss the progress of these students and to determine what is working and what isn't.

Students who show a need for intervention or enrichment are given opportunities during our student intervention/enrichment at lunch or our resource period at the end of the day.  We also have a 45 minute period in our schedule called target time where students are in need of extra support to have time to work with teachers and have time for silent reading.  Students who are meeting all expectations have the freedom to choose the location they attend for our resource period.

The success coordinator works with all of our students and teachers to create individual plans for our struggling students.  This plan includes a schedule, lunchtime meetings, parent contact requirements, student assistance team meetings, and any additional time beyond the school day needed to meet the needs of the student.  Our SAT (student assistant teams) meetings are organized when a teacher or administrator has a concern about a student who may not be making adequate academic progress or has a behavior issue interfering with their learning.  There is a form that is filled out to initiate the meeting and to take notes during the meeting. The principal, guidance counselor, teachers, parents, and student are all part of the meeting. We discuss positive attributes of the students, concerns people have (including the parents), and solutions to help the child become successful.  We try to meet again after the plan has been in place to see if there is any progress or what we can do to tweak the plan.

 

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

We are a singleton middle school of 275 students.  Each of our teachers at each grade level teaches all students in the grade level their content area.  We have 65-minute classes for ELA and Math and split the 65 minute period for Science and Social Studies.  One teacher teaches the Science and Social Studies block. They may teach Science one day and Social Studies the next or mix it up according to the needs of the unit and students.  

 

To accommodate our singleton structure in our PLC model we have vertical teams of teachers meeting on a weekly basis to discuss the 4 critical questions of a high functioning PLC.  To create productive and meaningful conversations around data without having common classes and assessments our teachers create common rubrics, assessments, and unit plans that span the 3-grade levels. Individual members may not share the same grade level or curriculum, but they identify the same skills that repeat from grade level to grade level. Those skills become the area of collaborative focus for our teams.  Our teachers work on increasing the rigor from one grade level to the next so they are able to have the students prepared for the expectations they will encounter in high school.  Our ultimate goal is to create a set of shared expectations for student performance on essential skills for each of the three grade levels represented on their learning team. These expectations are created in combination with the high school teachers during 6-12 vertical meetings.

 

They use this information to have conversations and discussions about student success from one level to the next. For example, our ELA team has decided to study argumentative writing.   They all teach argumentative writing and use a common grading rubric with slight modifications and additions from 6th-grade to 8th-grade to monitor student progress and to highlight their instructional strengths and weakness.  They then use this data to determine which instructional strategies produced the highest level of success for the students on the assessments so all teachers can have the most effective strategies to use in their classrooms. We also use this data to create intervention and enrichment groups so all students are getting the extra instruction they need to meet and exceed our expectations of learning. (I have attached a number of documents in the additional documents section to show you examples of what we have created.)

 

They created the unit plan documents found attached to this documentation together and refer to them as they teach their units.  They discuss teaching techniques, resources, and data during their weekly collaborative meetings. The weekly meetings are an excellent way to share data and ideas with each other rather than teaching in isolation and trying to figure out what works best on their own.  We have found this time to be valuable for our new teachers and our veteran teachers because of the ever-changing landscape of teaching techniques, student interests, and technology. Our teachers wouldn’t have it any other way. Collaboration is our key to improved and sustained changes and learning in our district.  

 

They also created a list of essential vocabulary for each unit so the students are hearing the same vocabulary as they progress through the grades.  The middle school also connects with the elementary grades to guide them with expectations they have in middle school and they have conversations and vertical meetings with high school teachers so they have a solid understanding of what is expected at the next level.  They assess the students on the vocabulary so the teachers have an understanding of where students are struggling and where they are excelling with the vocabulary. They are able to use the data from these assessments to make changes in how they are teaching the vocabulary.

Our math team is currently looking at our state data to see what areas of weakness are occurring so they can work as a team to help fix the problem for our students.  They have started to create warm-up problems at each grade level related to the area of weakness. The warm-up problems increase in difficulty as they progress through the grade levels. (There are some sample documents found in the additional documents section.)

 

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

State Report Card (Student Achievement)   State:                   Stanley-Boyd:

2015-16                                                            66.6                         69.3

2016-17                                                            65.2                          65.3

2017-18                                                             61.7                         68.1

State Report Card (Closing Gaps)                      State:               Stanley-Boyd:

2015-16                                                               64.1                         41.9

2016-17                                                               67.7                         49.1

2017-18                                                                69.8                         75.9

 

 

Have meet or exceeded expectations on the Wisconsin School Report Card every year they have published the school report cards:

2011-12 (74.7 - Exceeds Expectations), 2012-13 (77.8 Exceeds Expectations), 2013-14 (77.4 Exceeds Expectations), 2015-16 (72.1 Meets Expectations), 2016-17 (68.2 Meets Expectations), 2017-18 (80.2 Exceeds Expectations)

 Stanley-Boyd Area Schools was the 2013 winner of the Excellence Award at the district level by Solution Tree

Recognized for Efforts to Implement an Equitable System of Supports in Reading by the Wisconsin RTI Center (2017-18)

Named a New Wisconsin Promise School of Recognition for seven consecutive years, beginning in 2005

Recognized by the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators as an Exemplary Middle School in 2007 and 2010

Received a Citation of Commendation by the Wisconsin State Legislature in 2009

Named a Spotlight School by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013

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