John Evans Middle School

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

   John Evans Middle School (JEMS) serves all of the seventh and eighth grade students in the Potosi R-III School District. The student population at JEMS is 333 with 95% of the students identifying as White. In order to appreciate the JEMS' journey, one must first be familiar with our hometown and the demographics of our area. Potosi, Missouri, is located a little more than an hour southwest of St. Louis in Washington County (see Appendix A). A scenic, historic town surrounded by rolling hills, rivers, and forests, Potosi is now a town of around 3,000. Founded around 1760 by prospectors, mineral mining became the area’s main draw and employer until around the 1970’s when the mines started closing. Currently, primary employers in the area include a federal prison, local businesses, and a couple small factories. Some of the residents commute to towns nearby for work. Many of the school district's students reside in rural areas outside of town, and the district covers a circumference of 1,600 miles. With the aftermath of closed mines, many residents struggle to find employment, and the students attending JEMS are at or near poverty level with a 100% free and reduced lunch status.

   Despite the challenges facing JEMS’ students, staff, and community, over the past few years, the school has surpassed expectations becoming a standout in the Mineral Area Conference in both academics and athletics (see Appendix B or District Evidence of Effectiveness). The students’ performances on standardized tests and in other competitive arenas have been especially intriguing when one examines the surrounding school districts with which JEMS competes. Many of the other school districts in Potosi’s Conference have a much deeper pool of resources and opportunities. Because of our school district’s recent progress, Potosi R-III School District was chosen as a Missouri Model District in the Spring of 2018. This school year, the District, including JEMS, has been focusing on our PLC framework, as well as Developing Assessment Capable Learners and other MMD concepts.

   CHANGES MADE OVER LAST THREE YEARS---John Evans Middle School has been a PLC School for several years. However, three years ago in the Fall of 2016, there was a change in leadership at the building and district levels for Potosi. The new principal and assistant principal decided to revisit the PLC Model and worked on restructuring and improving PLC fidelity, which has continued until this year. These changes aimed to align JEMS efforts more with the underlying PLC framework, such as a) focusing on learning, b) creating cultures of collaboration, c) continuing collective inquiries into best practices, and d) committing to continuous improvement.

   Focusing on Learning--Overall, the daily curriculum in every classroom is centered around our Four (Plus 1) Essential Questions: 1) What do we expect students to know and be able to do? 2) How will we know students have learned? 3) What are the most effective practices to use for learning? 3) What are the most effective practices to use for learning? 4) What will we do if students do not learn? 5) What will we do if students already know it? As with the other background information, this will be explained in greater detail in sections within the application process.

Creating Cultures of Collaboration--Three years ago, the new building principal and assistant principal selected a new Leadership Team and created Departmental PLC Teams to meet once a week. These changes were made to focus on fidelity in regards to the PLC concept. The new PLC Leadership Team also joined the South Central Professional Development trainers in the PLC Training for Years 1, 2, and now 3. In March 2019, the Leadership Team finished the PLC Year 3 Training (see Appendix C). At the final session with the PLC trainers and other Year 3 School Districts from Mid-Missouri, a Potosi team gave a presentation to the group sharing our success story (see Appendix D).

Continuing Collective Inquiries into Best Practices--Another change two years ago that we have continued this school year has been the implementation of Trojan Time, a daily, 25-minute class period dedicated to Response to Intervention (RTI). The RTI program was scheduled so that all teachers would have time to select students needing additional remediation, re-teaching, or enrichment in subject areas. This intervention program will be explained in more detail in a future section.

 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

 Monitoring student learning on a timely basis is imperative here at JEMS. Monitoring student learning is at the pinnacle of our daily instruction. One of the most important facets of our teachers' responsibilities is monitoring student learning throughout every class period every day. Here at JEMS, we do so in many different ways. Every teacher in each classroom is expected to post the learning goals in their classroom as "I can" statements. Throughout daily lessons, teachers regulary ask students their levels of understanding (see Appendix F). We have worked very hard this year to focus on Developing Assessment Capable Learners (DACL), which means our students know their learning targets, monitor their own progress, and consistently reflect on their learning.

 An integral part of our teachers' monitoring student learning on a timely basis is the creation of guaranteed and viable curriculum that is offered to all students despite which teacher they have. Our PLC Teams meet at least once a week to discuss curriculum and what learning standards should be included in the curriculum. Each of our departments consist of four or five teachers, including a special education teacher, and this group uses the Missouri Learning Standards for seventh and eighth grades to guide their curriculum. With so many standards to cover, it has been important to identify essential standards. Our teacher teams use the following concepts to determine which learning objectives are ESSENTIAL to our students' education: endurance, leverage, and readiness. As a team they evaluate the standards and use the students’ assessment data to determine each student’s progress in these essential standards. Guiding students to achieve these essential standards are especially important here at JEMS, since we are preparing students to move into high school. We focus on literacy and reading comprehension, since often middle school is the last chance to help students close reading gaps before entering high school. Since reading comprehension has been identified as an essential standard here at JEMS, all teachers attend professional development in reading in the form of the Missouri Reading Initiative (MRI). Our English Language Arts Department is moving into its fourth year in the training, so they will meet with the MRI facilitator to check in a few times throughout the year. Our Science, Social Studies, and Health teachers, however, are beginning more intensive reading training with MRI. This upcoming year they will attend six sessions of professional development, which also involves the MRI facilitator observing their classrooms and how they utilize MRI strategies.

 

In addition to reading comprehension, there are other essential standards identified for each content area, and our teams identify them unit-by-unit throughout the curriculum. The team determines the priority standards by each giving what they believe to be the most important standards and then comparing their lists to find commonalities. Next, the Team (whether it be ELA, Math, Science, or Social Studies) discusses vertical alignment and where these essential standards fit into the time line. Since our building is seventh and eighth grades, the teachers work closely to vertically align. Our JEMS teachers also have the opportunity to meet with teachers at the Intermediate School (4-6) and Potosi High School (9-12) to ensure the essential standards they are selecting are necessary.

 

Once the learning is achieved, teachers then use their Common Formative Assessments to determine if the students mastered the essential standard. Our PLC teams meet to examine the CFA data for all students to determine if the standard was mastered. Students not mastering the standard are then assigned to interventions for re-teaching of the standard. The Common Formative Assessments are created by the team guided by the standards, using the backward design. The assessment tool may vary by department (i.e. whether they use Study Island, USA Test Prep, or a teacher-made assessment), but the CFA content is agreed upon by the PLC Department Team. For example, this year our Social Studies Department has been working diligently on creating CFA’s and uploading these questions online using Quizizz. The teachers select the questions covered on the CFA based upon the essential standards of each unit and create the on-line assessment. Other teacher teams using USA Test Prep, Study Island, or Exact Path still work as a team to select the standards focused on in each CFA. The questions in the CFA may be generated by the on-line assessment tool, but it is the teachers who are determining the CFA’s direction.

 

  Our teachers utilize several educational programs, including Study Island, Edmentum’s Exact Path, and USA Test Prep, for formative and summative assessments of students’ learning. Throughout units, teachers use Study Island and Common Formative Assessments (CFA’s) to assess students’ learning of state standards. In English Language Arts (ELA) and Math, all students take three assessments--one at the beginning of the year, one mid-year, and one towards the end of the year--in Exact Path. In Science, students take three assessments as well in USA Test Prep that are aligned to our state standards. Teachers use this data to identify students who need interventions (to be explained in the next section), to guide instruction in the classroom, and to evaluate curriculum and instruction in the classroom.

  Not only do the teachers and students examine and discuss this data, but JEMS’ administrators monitor data regularly. For example, each Department has a Google Sheet where they record pre- and post-assessment data. Administrators conference with teachers regularly and during every weekly PLC Team Meeting to discuss and analyze students' assessment data. As  part of our PLC requirements and our Missouri Model District (MMD) methodology, our teacher teams also regularly monitor student learning at times other than the Exact Path assessments. In fact, our district's curriculum director video recorded team meetings to use as an exemplary example of teams using data to guide decision-making (see Appendix G).

Another example of monitoring student learning that is continuous at JEMS is the students monitoring their own learning. In Math, Science, and ELA, students have their own data binders, in which they keep their pre- and post-assessments, as well as other evidence of their work. Teacher also conference with students following assessments to discuss how the student are doing and what they need to do to improve or to grow academically (see Appendix F).

 

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

Systems of Intervention--Our JEMS teachers and administrators are dedicated to providing systems of intervention with additional time and support for learning. (Please see JEMS Interventions Model in the attached items.) 

Different Kinds of Interventions--In order to address the different needs of all of our students, we have a plethora of intervention systems in place to identify and address students' academic or behavioral needs. For all students, we provide the following: high-quality curriculum with fidelity, research-based instruction, universal screening, school-wide standardized assessments in Math, ELA, and Science conducted three times a school year, Developing Assessment Capable Learners (DACL) strategies, Common Formative Assessments in all subjects, Trojan Time (Response to Intervention), and Trojan Afterschool Program (TAP). One of our most focused intervention systems has been our Trojan Time, which is our approach to the Response to Intervention model. This year, we are in the third year of Response to Intervention (RTI) model, and we have worked out the kinks along the way. The RTI is held every day from 10:36-11:01 a.m., which is called Trojan Time, as Trojans are our school district's mascot. The process began three years ago when the building’s Leadership Team visited another school with a well-developed RTI program and wanted to implement the program into the current school day, but it would require the daily advisory time to change and teachers to use data to determine which students were struggling and needed interventions. The Leadership team then developed a proposal for staff that focused on student improvement by using the RTI program and to increase buy-in proposed this to staff before school began in August. Data gathered from the intervention team and data teams both showed that there was a need for intervention to increase student achievement in the area of vocabulary and reading comprehension. The staff then took part in a survey to determine if they had a willingness for the changes. The staff voted to begin the new RTI program and to change the lunch times to make this program successful. The Intervention teams as well as the data teams would be responsible for monitoring the success or lack thereof with the changes and to address changes as needed.

Due to the fact that each team member had responsibilities to implement during the planning stages, each team member would have to present to the staff the implementation of the strategies working or not. In order to create a culture of trust and to get true feedback from each staff member, the Leadership Team made the decision to create a Google Form in order for staff member to give honest feedback without feeling the pressures of their peers or the fear of offending others if their comments, concerns, or suggestions were not in favor of each other. The teams would then meet to discuss the data collected.

During the presentation, there were questions of comments and concerns that needed to be addressed and the team answered those questions as they were asked. However, it was an option for staff to ask questions within the Google Form that was administered through a Google Classroom page created for this team and be given feedback in response to those questions.  The data that was collected help to determine the changes to be made for the upcoming school year in regards to the changing lunch times to incorporate the new RTI program during advisory time. The team used RTI models from the school with a successful RTI program along with their data to gauge an idea of success rates. The team then compared data before and after the intervention to determine if the new initiative was increasing student achievement. Because of the support of the teachers and other staff members, the current school year’s data will show student achievement levels using the new initiative.

One issue that arose during the planning phases was what would students who were meeting goals and achieving be completing during this time. It was decided that those students would go to enrichment classes during this time. The elective classes were comprised of the elective teachers who had planned classes that were related to core classes while providing rigorous enrichment for achieving students. Those students who did not need intervention, but simply had missing assignments would also have time to complete those assignments that often created a below passing grade. The students would be identified by their regular classroom teachers who needed intervention or who had missing assignments and would be placed accordingly. The rest of the student population would be on a rotating three-week schedule to attend enrichment classes, but could be pulled for intervention if needed. These rotations were kept track of through a Google Sheet.

Now that we’re in the third year in RTI, we have added a few more layers of Tier 1 interventions to benefit our students. In addition to the Trojan Time intervention, we have started more interventions this year. The first was our new district-wide Trojan After-school Program, or TAP. The TAP sessions were held every Tuesday and Thursday after school until 4:45 p.m. Students were either assigned TAP as an intervention or students attended for enrichment opportunities, such as Art, Escape Room, or Robotics. In addition to the tutoring, students receive a super snack and transportation home, if needed. Teachers signed up for the TAP sessions, and every night a teacher from each content area was available. Students also still had the option of morning tutoring or after-school tutoring on the days other than TAP days. The program was very successful and by the end of the year, JEMS averaged 45 students attending, which was more than 10% of the student population.

The other new intervention we started this year involved running a grade report weekly of students with D’s and F’s. This was done in the past, but not as consistently, and before administrators didn't address these students. Teachers are required to update their gradebooks at least every Friday, so the grades are accurate. The principal then speaks with students with the worst grades and pulls them from their Elective classes for a set period of time to go work in a Study Hall in the In School Suspension room; often parents also are called. Students also take their grade reports home for their parents/guardians to sign, so they are aware of the low grades. This has been very effective in tracking missing assignments. In order to be more frequent, however, next year we plan to utilize our Careers teacher as a data interventionist to run the reports and to help track the data, so that we can meet with students with D's or F's regularly to provide interventions or the help they need.

Overall, ALL students are monitored regularly to determine if they need an intervention or if the intervention(s) are effective. Some of the assessment methods teachers employ is in the regular daily lessons and formative assessments used in the classrooms. Grades are monitored to ensure students are on track. We also use our standardized assessments through Exact Path, USA Test Prep, and/or Study Island (as detailed in another section) to monitor students' learning and growth or lack of progress. During Trojan Time and TAP, teachers also use pre- and post-assessments of the learning standard. Thus, at the beginning of the Trojan Time unit teachers conduct a pre-test. At the end of the intervention/re-teaching session, teachers conduct a post-test to determine if the students mastered (80%) the learning standard.

Monitoring effectiveness of intervention efforts--Just as students' progress needs to be monitored, our intervention efforts also need to be monitored for effectiveness. We have monitored and plan to continue monitoring programs by collecting teachers' input on the programs as to how effective and by analyzing student data. Teachers are given the opportunity to take a survey at mid-year and end-of-year to provide input on programs, including our intervention systems. Another way in which we monitor effectiveness is by monitoring and analyzing students' grades and performance on assessments. If students identified and involved in the interventions increase their performance, the intervention(s) has been successful. By creating a spreadsheet of each student involved and looking at the Tier 2 students on a whole, it is apparent that these efforts have been effective. Another major indicator that these intervention systems have been successful is the building's tremendous growth in academic performance over the past three years on the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP), our state's primary standardized tests.

 

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

Over the past three years, we have continued to improve our collaborative teams’ effectiveness. Currently, we have the following collaborative teams here at JEMS: English Language Arts Team, Math Team, Science Team, Social Studies Team, and Special Education Team. Two years ago, we modified our master schedule so that content area teachers shared the same planning period so that they would have the time to collaborate. The teachers' classrooms also were moved around so that departments were situated in the same hallways (see Appendix H). Our PLC academic teams, as well as the Special Education Team, are required to meet once a week during the group's common planning period, and the teams follow the PLC expectations. Every team prepares a meeting agenda before the meeting time to guide the team’s meeting (see Appendix E). Agendas are shared with all team members and administrators preceding the meetings. A team secretary takes notes throughout each meeting and then shares this agenda with the school’s faculty, building level principals, and central office administration, so everyone is informed before and following collaborative meetings. During their regular meetings, each team follows our PLC norms, which were determined by the Leadership Team: Begin and end on time, one person talks at a time, stay engaged with no sidebar conversations, be prepared, and follow the agenda (see Appendix E).

In addition to the regular academic teacher teams, we have teams that have areas of focus, such as the PLC Leadership Team, Intervention Team, Missouri Model District (MMD) Team, Administrator Team, Crisis Team, and Culture Team. The Leadership Team is a small group of department heads who meet every two weeks to discuss building-wide decision-making. Any one who has a concern or topic submits their idea to be posted on the team's agenda. This team's main objective is to help make decisions that help improve student learning. One major accomplishment of our Leadership Team here at JEMS has been the implementation of Response to Intervention during our daily Trojan Time class. Another important team here at JEMS is the Culture Team, which is the group of teachers who help plan collaborative time that contributes to community building within our faculty. Every month, we have a staff potluck, which is one example of the Culture Team's planning.

As we progress throughout the school year, if our Leadership Team identifies a need for a new team, we create a team. For example, one new team formed this year was a Literacy Team. The members selected for this team were intentional. The team consists of an English Language Arts teacher, administrators, the counselor, a special educationt eacher, and a Science teacher, who also teaches a section of Reading Strategies. The team’s purpose is to review reading data at the building level and to ensure that all students reading below grade level are receiving interventions. This team’s goal is to make sure no students fall through the cracks. Another team that we created that will begin next year is the Attendance Team. Last year and this year (2019), our building has met the proportional attendance rate for the 90% of students attending 90% of the time, a Missouri Department of Education requirement. In order to continue to meet this expectation, next year, we will have an Attendance Team that will be composed of our principal, assistant principal, attendance secretary, counselor, building social worker, and elective teachers, such as Physical Education, Health, Art, Music, and Band. This group will meet on Professional Development Days, when content teachers are meeting for curriculum, to plan upcoming attendance incentives, review attendance data, and to discuss interventions. This are just two examples of our mission to form collaborative teams to improve student learning if the need arises. 

Besides the consistent team collaboration that occurs throughout the year, hiring new teachers or staff members is a collaborative effort in our school district. Once an opening is posted, the principal and assistant principal meet with the curriculum director and assistant superintendent in charge of human resources to filter the applications and select the top candidates for the position. Throughout the phase and the following steps of the process, the focus of hiring is always on finding the best candidate to help in our vision of improved student learning.

 

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Data has been collected throughout this year, including data demonstrative of students' succes in academic performance and teachers' perspectives on the JEMS PLC Team's progress. Attached is the JEMS Sapp Data, which was data collected from the teachers to gain their input on different areas.

Also attached is a file that demonstrates the academic improvement that John Evans Middle School has made over the past three years, including the school's growth throughout the Mineral Area Conference. The data included in the file entitled jems-academic-historical-data-sheet1.pdf is a collection of the Mineral Area Conference schools from Missouri and their performances on the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) tests from 2012-2018. We are still awaiting MAP scores from 2018-2019 school year. These percentages are the percentages of students who scored Advanced or Proficient on the MAP tests in English Language Arts and Math for both grades 7th and 8th from JEMS. The highlighted scores show you how JEMS' students improved dramatically from ranking in the bottom of the conference from 2012 until more recently in 2017. This data, therefore, includes the results of the Missouri required standardized tests that all Missouri students complete at the end of each school year.

SAPP Data Explanation--This data shares our teachers' perceptions on the Self-Assessment Practice Profile, a component of the Missouri Model School District (MMD) Program.

JEMS Historical Data--Attached is a comparison of John Evans Middle School and its ranking in the Mineral Area Conference (all Missouri schools in the surrounding area). Also attached is JEMS' Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) data compared to the Missouri state average on the same assessments. The data indicates JEMS ranks above the state performance for the past two years. This has been even more significant when compared to the previous years' data, in which Potosi was at the bottom of the MAA Conference in academic performance. The MAP data for Spring 2019 for JEMS has not been released by the Missouri Department of Education as of today (June 10, 2019).  

 For the past three years, JEMS' students and teachers have been recognized with many different awards. Here are the awards and recognition garnered by students or teachers of our school.

Student Academic/Extracurricular Awards

 

Recipient

Award/Date or Year

Kya Gibson w/Mrs. Singer

Missouri State Art Festival President’s Award -- March 11, 2019

JEMS Math Team 2018-2019

Math Contest- 3rd Place Large School Division 7th and 8th grade team

Individual Medalist - Zeke Sisk 3rd place 7th grade, Kinley Gibson 2nd place 7th grade

Dalton Singer & Zeke Sisk

*Robotics team was invited (based on their skills score at the local VEX competition) to compete in the Middle School Missouri State VEX Robotics competition in Linn, MO at Linn Tech College


*At the state competition they won a trophy for the “Sportsmanship Award”

Chloe Austin and Lucas Bryan

Exceptional achievement in social studies class.

Bella DiFiori

Finished 8th in Conference Spelling Bee

   
   

Teacher Awards or Presentations

 

Recipient/Individual or Team

Award/Presentation--Year/Date

PLC Teacher Team (Mrs. Baxter, Mr. Camillo, Mr. Huddleston, Dr. Elder)

PLC Year 3 JEMS Action Research Presentation--RPDC Rolla, MO  (March 2019)

Brook Dickinson (JEMS Gifted Teacher)

2017 won the Volunteer of the Year Award at the local VEX competition

Amanda Sheets (JEMS ELA Teacher)

Potosi School District Teacher of the Year

May 2019

Athletic Awards/Recognition

 

Recipient

Award--Year

JEMS Track Team

~7th Grade Boys

2018 Conference Champions

JEMS Track Boys Team

2019 Conference Champions

JEMS Tack Girls Team

2019 Conference Champions

7th Grade Volleyball Team

2016-2017 Mineral Area Conference Champions and Conference tournament champions

8th Grade Football Team

Football Conference Champions

8th Grade Volleyball

2017-2018 Regular Season Conference Champions and Conference Tournament Champions

Boys Baseball Team

2017-2018 Co-Conference Champions

8th Grade Track Boys and Girls

2018-2019 Conference Champions

Boys Baseball

2018-2019 Co-Conference Champions, 2nd in Conference Tournament

Boys Cross Country

2018-2019 Conference Champions

Academic Team

2018-2019 Regular Season Champions

 

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