Blue Valley High School

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

The data provided relates to performance on the Kansas State Assessments which is the assessment tool used in the state of Kansas to determine AYP. Our PLC culture which has now been in place for nine years has provided an environment where administration and teachers have been able to analyze the data and practices that respond to the questions of what students are supposed to learn, how we know they are learning it, and measures we are taking if they aren’t learning.

Over the years our intense focus on state standards and indicators has evolved into a tight curricular alignment of what is taught and the development of learning targets that are clearly articulated to staff and students. The targets align with strategically developed formative assessments that in turn align with strategically developed summative unit exams and quarterly assessments. Various departments are at various stages of this development. Those departments that have journeyed deeper into this process have recognized some significant gains in student achievement. Our departments are now in the process of mapping the content, assessment, and instructional activity that are all a part of the collective journey.

During this time we have also learned that addressing difficulties in students’ learning is a multi-dimensional process. Providing addition time, additional support, and changing instruction are all interventions that have been employed at Blue Valley High School. These efforts have had a positive impact upon student learning. However, there remains a healthy dissatisfaction with our current realty. Where we are is much better that where we have been, but not yet where we want to go. The journey continues.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

During the past four years there has been a strong focus upon developing a structure that gives us meaningful data of student learning in a more timely fashion. This effort began with the development of common semester and then common quarter assessments. We purchased an assessment management system that would assist us in aligning assessment questions to state standards and disaggregate the date for us. This summative analysis led to a deeper analysis of not only student learning, but assessment construction, and instruction leading to assessment. Our district also invested in the MAP assessment. This assessment provides two diagnostic opportunities that are correlated to national norms. This information is analyzed closely and used extensively in preparing and providing appropriate interventions for individual students.

Over the past several years, we had several faculty who were pioneers and took the work of Rick Stiggins and formative assessment and applied it to their practice. After engaging in what evolved into an action research project, the data clearly demonstrated a powerful impact upon student learning. This data was shared with the entire staff. As a result, the seed of formative assessment has blossomed into a tree that has branched out to all of our departments in some way, shape, or form. The development of specific learning targets and formative assessment to gauge student learning has become a part of our school culture. In return, we have seen a noticeable and positive impact in student achievement. This past school year our students recorded the highest scores in school history on their state reading, math, science and social studies assessments, our ACT scores are the highest they have ever been, and our percentage of students with D’s and F’s were the second lowest in school history. These results have occurred while our student population has continued to increase and become more diverse in the various needs of learners.

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

Our interventions have revolved around providing time, support, and strategic instruction.
The school schedule has been designed with both teacher and student success in mind. Tutorial time is provided before, during and after school for students. Every Wednesday we have what we call TCB (Taking Care of Business) time. This time is the last 25 minutes of the day when all teachers are available to students to get assistance. Students who have a D or an F are assigned TCB with the corresponding teacher. Students who have no D’s or F’s may choose how to use this time including leave school for the day. Student grades are analyzed and TCB assignments are made every four and a half weeks. Students assigned to TCB may work their way out of an assigned TCB by no longer having a D or F.

Academics First is our after school tutoring time that occurs every Monday through Thursday from 3:00 – 4:00. Teachers in the areas of communication arts, math, Spanish, and science staff this tutorial time. In many cases, a student with an F, with the parent’s support will be assigned to Academics First. Students who are in athletics and activities are directed by their coaches and sponsors to attend Academics First until they no longer have a D or an F.

Satellite study hall for communication arts and math is available every hour of the day. A teacher certified in each area supervises a lab where students may come to get assistance during their study hall time if they have one.

On Thursday mornings we have a late arrival. Teachers meet in their professional learning communities during this time. While teachers are meeting, administrators, and counselors, and other staff members host tutorial rooms in the areas of math, Spanish, science, and social studies. Art and music studios and computer labs are also staffed. The library is available to students and a test make-up room is provided where students can go to make up tests.

The number one reason student in our school get a D or an F is due to missing assignments. To help address that issue, we developed an intervention called “Overtime.” This intervention takes place from 3:00-3:30 Monday through Thursday and is voluntary among teachers. Simply put, if a student does not turn in his assignment today, he is assigned to Overtime today. The expectation is that the student checks in with the principal at the Overtime table. The student may turn in his/her assignment right then and there and go on his/her way. If the assignment has not been completed, the student stays in the Overtime room and completes the assignment.

In some cases, learning difficulties may have to do with support more than time. For students who struggle with reading, Read 180 and Wilson Reading have been effective interventions. Students who have at-risk scores on the MAP assessment, middle school reading assessments, and low grades may be recommended for placement in Read 180. In addition, our staff has researched and been trained in strategic reading strategies to assist all students in their reading endeavors. These strategies have come from the likes of Janet Allen, Sue Beers, Cris Tovani, and Robert Marzano. To date, they include pre-reading strategies such as stating purpose, frontloading vocabulary, developing background knowledge, and identifying text features. We are currently working on during reading strategies with our students.

For students who struggle with math, we have developed a Math Strategies class for students who are not proficient in the requisite skills needed for successful completion of Continuing Algebra or Geometry. This course is taken concurrently with Continuing Algebra or Geometry. Introduction to Algebra II is a course that was developed for students who are not proficient in requisite skills needed for successfully completing Algebra II. We also have a Parallel Math class that is designed to assist special needs students by providing additional instruction and supervision while being concurrently enrolled in a Continuing Algebra class. Class Within A Class is another model that we employ to assist special needs students in math, communication arts, science, and other content areas. We also use Study Island as a supplemental resource for students struggling in math and/or reading. Our staff has also been trained and applied the concept of frontloading vocabulary to enhance math literacy.

During the 2007-08 school year, BVHS introduced AVID as an instructional program and class for students who are very capable learners but who may lack the skills or confidence to step into an honors or AP level class. Through the introduction of this program two instructional strategies gained the interest of our staff to the point that a presentation and training on each strategy was provided. As a result, Cornell notes and Costa’s three levels of inquiry have webbed throughout our school. These strategies have assisted students in our AVID class and will no doubt have a positive impact upon the rest of our students. For the student in our inaugural freshmen class, we saw an increase from 66% to 96% in the percentage of students taking at least one honors class as sophomores. We saw an increase from 9% to 72% in the percentage of student taking more than one honors or AP class as sophomores compared to their freshmen year.

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

For our staff to meet the diverse needs of our student population, time must be provided for collaboration, inquiry, research, and development. We have resorted to multiple methods of providing time. We have a late arrival every Thursday from 7:30 to 9:00 to accommodate Professional Learning Communities. We also secure half day subs throughout the course of the year to facilitate collaborative work. Summer stipends are provided to teachers to continue the collaborative work through the summer months. Our professional development days are focused around literacy, assessment for learning, curriculum mapping, AVID strategies, and data analysis of student performance.

We have made extensive efforts to build our knowledge base through broad participation of staff in PLC institutes, assessment for learning workshops, and AP conferences. Over the past several years, we have collaborated with several schools throughout the country through what used to be the 12 Under 12 network sponsored by NSDC and now pursue that collaboration independently.

Kansas State Assessment Scores (% of students passing BVHS/State)

Grade 11 2008
2009 (BVHS/State) 2010 (BVHS/Staet)
Math 90.3/75.0 95.8/78.2 97.8/80.4
Reading 94.6/81.4 97.4/84.3 96.5/86.9
Writing n/a 84.0/71.7 n/a
Science 93.5/82.6 95.5/83.4 93.4/83.7

The following is an indication of the impact of the collective efforts that our PLC culture has had upon student learning. In this case, learning is correlated to performance in terms of grades. As noted earlier, we are pleased with the progress, but are not content to plateau and are committed to refining our work in such a way that further progress is most noticeable. The following data represents the percentage of students with at least on D or F at the end of each respective school year.

Percent of Students with at least one D or F

End of second semester 2010

Blue Valley High School

End of first semester 2011

Blue Valley High School

2010 Governor’s Achievement Award (scored in top 5% in reading & math)
2010 Standard of Excellence Math, Reading, Science
2009 Governor’s Achievement Award (scored in top 5% in reading & math)
2009 Standard of Excellence Math, Reading, Science
2008 Standard of Excellence Math, Reading, Social Studies
2007 Kansas Governor’s Achievement Award (scored in top 5% in reading & math)
2007 Kansas Building of Excellence, Standard of Excellence in Reading, Math, and Writing
2006 Kansas Building of Excellence, Standard of Excellence in Reading & Math
2006 Kansas Staff Development Council Exemplary Professional Learning Community
2005 Standard of Excellence Math, Science, Social Studies
2004 Standard of Excellence Math, Reading, Writing
2003 Standard of Excellence Math, Reading, Social Studies
2002 Standard of Excellence Reading, Writing
2000-2007 Presidential Community Service Award