John Muir Literacy Academy

  1. PLC Story
  2. PLC Practices
  3. Achievement Data
  4. Awards
  5. Resources
  1. We focus on results and not intentions. Our data is presented to staff, students, and the community in a transparent manner. Our school data wall is available to anyone as they enter the school. Three times a year we review our school improvement plan as a staff and present our progress to our superintendent and assistant superintendents for feedback and to make changes.
  2. We established regular, frequent, and robust collaborative planning times within the master schedule. Teams meet from 2-4 hours each week. Grade level teams were taught how to plan collaboratively, what to focus on, and were given purposeful planning documents to support student learning.
  3. Student learning is our clear priority. Existential activities have been eliminated and instructional time is maximized. The teachers, support staff, and administration act on all matters with a sense of urgency.
  4. Teachers are provided autonomy in a loose/tight manner. Critical instructional expectations are closely monitored while teachers are provided the independence to make instructional decisions to plan highly engaging lessons.
  5. Every teacher teaches the curriculum with fidelity. In literacy, we utilize a balanced literacy model. In math, we utilize guided math within a balanced math structure.
  6. Curriculum aligned interventions for students below grade level in reading have been established. Targeted and purposeful enrichment for students at and above grade level enable us to enrich learning for all students. Frequent common formative assessments are used to monitor progress for all students.
  7. Teacher leaders are empowered and developed to increase the potential of our teams.
  8. A positive culture has been established that focuses on what is best for students.
  9. Structures are in place that enable learning to occur. Positive behavior systems, organizational structures, details, etc. have been established so PLC work can run smoothly. Teachers have been empowered to focus on teaching and learning.
  10. Students are mainstreamed in the least restrictive environment and provided timely, targeted, and systematic support. All students are held to high expectations.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

There are five areas in which we focus our attention in monitoring student learning. Common assessments are collaboratively created in reading and math by each of our grade level teams, administered, and analyzed every 1-3 weeks. This data is used so our teams can make instructional decisions about next steps in supporting students. Students below grade level receive targeted instruction to ensure mastery of our essential skills while proficient students receive targeted enrichment based on the results of our common assessments.

Informal assessments are administered to students during their Tier I guided reading instruction on a weekly basis which monitor student’s reading skills in the areas of accuracy, fluency and comprehension. This data is used to modify instruction for students as well as to gather consistent data over time to see patterns of learning behavior. We also use a more formalized running record system, Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark, which is a formal running record administered to students at the beginning of each school year. This is one of the pieces of data that enables us to understand student’s reading behaviors and levels and group students according to need to provide targeted instruction. Another way we monitor progress is during our Tier II guided reading instruction. Teachers not only take additional informal running records, but also use Aimsweb assessments weekly with students. Both of these pieces of data are brought back to the team to share successes, brainstorm solutions for roadblocks and make changes to their groups or the teacher’s instructional strategies.

Another assessment used less frequently is Measures of Academic Progress (NWEA). This is a computer-based assessment administered to students three times per year that assesses students’ overall literacy and math skills. This data is broken down into strands to provide even greater detail as to the students’ needs. This assessment enables us to see student progress over time and allows teams to see if students are making necessary progress. This data in conjunction with the data mentioned above is used to identify students who are in need of additional support as well as enrichment.

The last area we look at to monitor student progress is the Illinois Standards Achievement Test. The data from this assessment allows us to assess our systematic approaches with students while monitoring overall proficiency and improvement over time.

Each of these assessments plays a critical role in our evaluation of student progress, classroom and grade level progress, school-wide progress, and system evaluation.

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

We utilize five main intervention systems to ensure the success of all students. At Muir we recognize that all students will learn although some need extra time and support.

Our main Tier II literacy intervention is our curriculum aligned support for students reading below grade level. MAP testing, Fountas and Pinnell assessments, and common assessments are utilized to identify students needing extra time and support. Students are grouped by reading level and assigned to reading teachers with no more than six students in each group. Teachers utilize a balanced literacy approach to teach intervention during this time. Students are exposed to shared reading, guided reading, word work, and writing during daily 45 minute intervention. Lessons are aligned to the Tier I curriculum focusing on the same strategies and skills. Student progress is monitored each week and students are flexibly moved to higher levels, higher groups, and eventually to our enrichment classes. Students receiving Tier II literacy intervention also receive Tier I literacy instruction with their grade level peers.

While some students received Tier II literacy intervention, our students reading at and above grade receive enrichment in the area of literacy. MAP testing, Fountas and Pinnell assessments, and common assessments are utilized to identify students who are proficient in each skill. The students in our enrichment classes work with a certified teacher in the area of literacy. The teachers utilize a balanced approach to the enrichment block. Students are exposed to shared reading, guided reading, and writing during daily 45 minute enrichment classes. The lessons are aligned to the Tier I curriculum focusing on the same strategies and skills only at higher levels. The students are enriched through various writing about reading activities, higher level thinking instruction, and advanced student projects. Students are monitored frequently and can move to higher leveled groups within the enrichment or if needed, into an intervention group. Students receiving enrichment also receive Tier I literacy instruction with their grade level peers.

We recognize that for some students, Tier II literacy intervention is not enough to close the gap and get all of our students to grade level. MAP testing, Fountas and Pinnell assessments, and common assessments in addition to Aimsweb progress monitoring are used to identify these students and to monitor their growth. Students are grouped with a highly qualified reading teacher in groups of no more than three students. The teachers use a balanced approach to instruction, all research based, depending on the needs of the students. Three different approaches are used depending on whether students struggle with fluency/decoding, comprehension, or both. Our Tier III reading intervention is at least four days a week for 30 minutes and sometimes longer. Students are accelerated in these groups and ideally move quickly toward becoming Tier II students. Students at this level receive Tier I instruction with their grade level peers, Tier II instruction in a curriculum aligned intervention group, and Tier III instruction.

The most effective approach we have used in supporting students with math is through a balanced math approach. Our students all receive 20-25 minutes per day of whole group instruction with hands-on activities, 5-10 minutes of math fluency practice, and 20-30 minutes of guided math/independent practice each day. When students struggle with concepts based on common assessments and/or MAP testing, we assign them to guided math groups each day with no more than six students and the classroom teacher. The teacher models the Tier I objectives, uses hands-on activities with the students to advance their skills, and then moves the students to independent application. While this is occurring, proficient students are working independently or at centers advancing their skills on the same concepts. Students demonstrating mastery are able to advance their skills beyond the core essential outcomes.

We use a three tiered approach to maximize student behavior which has greatly increased our instructional time and enabled us to achieve unprecedented academic results. All students receive targeted instruction, modeling, and the opportunity to practice our behavioral expectations. Students who demonstrate they need extra support receive daily before and after school connections with an assigned adult along with a daily behavior monitoring point sheet which enables them to receive frequent positive adult interaction. If that proves not to be enough, students can receive mentoring, behavior instructional groups, individualized plans, and wrap around supports. By providing added layers of support for our students varying needs, we are best able to support all students and increase instructional time.

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

Collaborative plan time for all of our teams is built in the master schedule. All teams have up to four hours a week where most members of the team are available including grade level teachers, ELL, special education, and literacy teachers are available. Planning is focused on instruction and meeting the needs of all students. All teams utilize a reading and math tool to collaboratively plan the following:

  • Writing and analyzing common assessments
  • Tier I instructional objectives/strategies
  • Tier II and enrichment strategies
  • Student reading level progress

Teachers meet each week to design the plans for their lessons based on the criteria presented on the Literacy and Math Communication Tools. These plans are posted on our building intranet so administration and all teachers can work collaboratively and know the learning objectives and instructional strategies being implemented. Thorough analyses of the common assessments including student, classroom, and grade level progress are documented on these forms.

Through this process of collaboration our teams are intensely focused on student learning. When strategies work, they are documented and tweeked for future use. When strategies do not work, the teams adapts together using a collective inquiry process and the sharing of strategies based on student learning data.

Each of our teams documents SMART goals in the area of common assessments, MAP, and ISAT for both reading and math. Three times a year the team evaluates its progress and school-wide School Improvement Plan presentations occur. We are also expected to present our progress to our superintendent and his cabinet for review. Through these processes, our teachers collaborate around our results and adapt in an expedient manner to ensure the success of all students.

ISAT, % students proficient

Grade 3 Math Reading Writing
2010 82 70 67
2011 90 73 NA
2012 91 93 NA
Grade 4 Math Reading Science
2010 91 82 84
2011 87 76 80
2012 93 80 75
Grade 5 Math Reading Writing
2010 85 78 46
2011 93 79 NA
2012 90 88 NA
Grade 6 Math Reading Writing
2010 82 83 64
2011 89 90 NA
2012 92 90 NA
  • Muir’s overall ISAT reading performance was 82.4% meet/exceed in 2009, 80.2% meet and exceed in 2010, 81.1% meet/exceed in 2011, and 88.3% meet/exceed in 2012. The 7.2% increase in meet/exceed in one year from 2011-12 is the highest one year gain any Schaumburg School District has had in the last five years. Excluding students Muir does not serve in 2012, over 90% of Muir students met/exceeded state standards on ISAT for the first time in school history.
  • Muir’s overall ISAT math performance was 88.3% meet/exceed in 2009, 87.2% meet and exceed in 2010, 89.4% meet/exceed in 2011, and 91.8% meet/exceed in 2012. This was the first time more than 90% of Muir students met/exceeded state standards on ISAT math.
  • Our local MAP assessment in the areas of math and reading show tremendous growth.
    • In 2012, Muir had the highest percentage of students make their target growth in reading on MAP testing in District 54. In 2011, Muir was 21 of the 22 elementary schools in District 54.
    • In 2012, Muir had the eighth highest percentage of students make their target growth in math on MAP testing in District 54. In 2011, Muir was 20 of the 22 elementary schools in District 54.
    • In 2012, Muir moved the greatest percentage of students in District 54 to meets and exceeds on MAP testing in reading.
    • In 2012, Muir moved the greatest percentage of students in District 54 to meets and exceeds on MAP testing in math.
    • Every grade at Muir was in the top seven in student growth in District 54 on reading MAP.
    • Muir is in the top five elementary schools in District 54 in moving students to exceeds on reading MAP and in the top ten elementary schools in District 54 in moving students to exceeds on math MAP.

John Muir Literacy Academy John Muir Literacy Academy John Muir Literacy Academy John Muir Literacy Academy John Muir Literacy Academy John Muir Literacy Academy John Muir Literacy Academy

  • In 2012, Muir had the highest percentage of students make their target growth in reading on MAP testing in District 54.
  • In 2012, Muir had the eighth highest percentage of students make their target growth in math on MAP testing in District 54.
  • In 2012, Muir moved the greatest percentage of students in District 54 to meets and exceeds on MAP testing in reading.
  • In 2012, Muir moved the greatest percentage of students in District 54 to meets and exceeds on MAP testing in math.
  • Every grade at Muir was in the top seven in student growth in District 54 on reading MAP.
  • Muir is in the top five elementary schools in District 54 in moving students to exceeds on reading MAP and in the top ten elementary schools in District 54 in moving students to exceeds on math MAP.
  • Muir is in the process of applying to become an All Things PLC school.
  • Muir is in the process of applying to be a PBIS Fully Implementing school.
  • 88% of students met/exceeded state standards on 2012 ISAT Reading (Highest one year gains in District 54 in the last five years).
  • 92% of students met/exceeded state standards on 2012 ISAT Math.

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