Blue Valley School District

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

Professional Learning Communities are now the culture in Blue Valley School District; it is how we do business as we continue to build on the 2004 adoption of the PLC model.  Each week during dedicated times during the school day, teachers collaborate in teams, establish norms for their curriculum and assessment work, and focus on the critical questions of a learning community.  Teams may vary to include vertical work as well as grade level or department work.  Support of these PLCs is provided at all levels of the district.  PLCs are part of the monthly district-level “Family Meeting” conversations with building administrators. At each of these professional learning opportunities for administrators, collaboration occurs around student learning.  We periodically go back to the foundation of our work to reaffirm that we are utilizing PLCs in the way they were designed and that all stakeholders understand the role they play as part of a team.

Leaders within the district have focused upon a research base for selection and implementation of school improvement and professional development initiatives.  In addition to the monthly district administrative team training, monthly principal meetings and on-going interaction with executive directors of school administration help principals acquire and hone the knowledge and skills to effectively lead PLCs in their schools. The district’s approach to the implementation of PLCs involves staff in each school in the district. Leadership teams of teachers from across the district are provided on-going opportunities to learn about PLCs during summer conferences in the district. Teams continue to participate in book studies and attend PLC focused conferences. All new administrators attend PLC conferences as part of the orientation to Blue Valley.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

The Blue Valley district looks at data in several ways. Test results are one piece that is investigated. Grade levels and departments meet weekly to review student progress. Monitoring can be done through looking at completed classwork to sharing test scores from a common assessment. Several types of formative and summative assessment are used in Blue Valley. Some are district selected, others are teacher designed. A protocol has been provided by the district for staff to use when data is being reviewed. This allows for each building to review the data in a similar way. The second is instructional data. Discussions revolve around instructional strategies used as well as materials utilized. Teachers and administrators identify instructional strategies that are effective. Another piece of data that is used is curriculum data. This data helps teachers monitor what is taught and if it was learned. Having administrators and teachers monitor what, how and when concepts are taught help determine the effectiveness of the materials and content. Buildings spend most of their time looking at information regarding student performance and make adjustments accordingly.

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

Each building identifies a system of supports for students that includes a continuum of services within the school day.  Beginning in elementary school and continuing through middle and high school, student performance is monitored on a regular basis with both norm-referenced data and classroom assessment data.  Interventions are provided and personalized to enhance student learning.  A great emphasis is placed on quality classroom instruction and assessment providing the foundational level of support for all students.

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

In an attempt to maintain highly functioning teams, each building reviews what a high functioning PLC looks like. Teachers use a rubric to gauge where their team is and the needs they may have. The groundwork for this is set at the annual summer conference held with all buildings and their leadership teams.  The district continues to support time in the school day for PLCs to meet and answer the critical questions.

Student Achievement Data

State Assessments (Kansas)

Students in the state of Kansas took a new form of a state assessment in the 2013-2014 school year.  During that administration, the state encountered multiple DDoS attacks rending the state's assessment data invalid for the school year.  The first administration of the newly designed assessments, based on the new Kansas College and Career Readiness Standards, where districts received feedback was in the 2014-2015 school year.  Data from earlier state assessments are not comparable to the new.

The following chart shows the percentage of students scoring "at or above" ELA and math grade level expectations in the district and state.  The district percentages are listed first.

2014-15
Only data available from this exam.

ELA

Mathematics

District

State

District

State

Grade 3

95

81

98

88

Grade 4

98

90

98

87

Grade 5

97

83

94

77

Grade 6

94

74

94

80

Grade 7

93

75

96

85

Grade 8

95

80

89

64

Grade 10

92

77

87

63

 

Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)

The District also administers the Measures of Academic Progress exam created by the Northwest Evaluation Association. The tests are administered twice a year, fall and spring, to students in grades K through 8. Unlike standardized achievement tests that compare students to a national norm, MAP tests are diagnostic and are intended to determine a student’s instructional level and are scored on an equal interval scale (like feet or inches). Each unit of change represents the same degree of growth. This allows a school to track a student’s progress from fall to spring and from year to year. Once a student takes the test in the fall, an anticipated score is established to demonstrate a year’s growth for that student. Every grade level in Blue Valley met or exceeded the anticipated growth in both reading and mathematics.

ACT

The ACT assesses high school students’ general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work. Ninety-two percent of our high school graduates completed the exam in 2015, and they earned the highest scores in the Kansas City metro area.

Composite ACT Scores for all Blue Valley High Schools

    Blue Valley     Nation      Kansas   
Class of 2012   24.8 21.1 21.9
Class of 2013   25.0 20.9 21.8
Class of 2014   25.3 21.0 22.0
Class of 2015   25.4  21.0 21.9 
       

Advanced Placement Exams

The Advanced Placement Exam assesses a student’s ability to complete college-level work in specific courses while still in high school. Advanced Placement examinations are considered among the most rigorous assessments available to high schools students. Since 2001, participation in the AP program has increased by almost 200%.

In the spring of 2015, Blue Valley administered 3,653 AP exams.  Of those, 83% received a score of 3 or higher; in the state of Kansas, 61.8% scored a 3 or higher; in the United States, 57.5% scored a 3 or higher.

District Successes, 2014-15

The Blue Valley Class of 2015 posted the top ACT score of Kansas City metro area school districts with a composite score of 25.4. The Kansas composite score average was 21.9 and the national average was 21.0.

Blue Valley graduates continue to exceed state and national averages on the SAT test. Students from the Class of 2015 scored on average 1864 on the test that measures math, verbal and writing skills. In Kansas, the average was 1748 and nationwide the average is 1490, out of a possible 2400.

Blue Valley's graduation rate is 95.4 percent.

All Blue Valley high schools were named to a 2014 list of America's best high schools compiled by Newsweek.  The Blue Valley high schools accounted for five of seven Kansas high schools making the list that highlights public high schools that do the best job preparing students for college.  Blue Valley North and Blue Valley West were also recognized as gold star schools in Newsweek's rankings.

All five Blue Valley high schools made The Washington Post's annual list of America's most challenging high schools in 2015.  Blue Valley high schools claimed five of the top seven spots on the Kansas high schools list for the third year in a row.

The Daily Beast named all five Blue Valley high schools to their 2014 list of top high schools.  The ranking highlights the best public high schools in the nation with graduation and college acceptance rates weighted most heavily.  The school ranking system uses other criteria including:  college-level courses and exams, percentage of students with free or reduced lunch, as well as ACT and SAT scores.

Niche Rankings' 2015 Best Public High Schools ranking placed all Blue Valley high schools as the top five high schools in the state of Kansas.  A high ranking indicates that the school is an exceptional academic institution with a diverse set of high achieving students who rate their experiences very highly.

Blue Valley was named a District of Distinction for the impact is Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) has had on college and career readiness.  Districts of Distinction is a national recognition program created by District Administration magazine to honor school districts that are leading the way with innovative ideas that yield quantifiable benefits and can be replicated by other districts.

Forty-one high school seniors from Blue Valley were named National Merit finalists in 2015, the highest number of finalists in a single Kansas school district.

Sixteen Blue Valley seniors were candidates in the 2015 U.S. Presidential Scholars program.

The prestigious Blue Ribbon distinction from the U.S. Department of Education has been awarded 17 times to district schools for their outstanding educational programs.

The community agrees that one of Blue Valley's greatest strengths is its dedicated staff. In a Customer Assessment survey conducted during the 2012-13 school year, 95 percent of patrons surveyed said they would give teachers in the district a grade of "A" or "B." Overall, 98% give the district as a whole either an "A" or "B".

Blue Valley 2015 graduates were offered more than $73.3 million worth of grants, scholarships and awards--a district record. 

Approximately 96 percent of the Blue Valley graduates plan to pursue a post-secondary education.

Blue Valley teachers have earned the Kansas Master Teacher Award 20 times.

Sixty-nine Blue Valley teachers have earned National Board Certification.

Blue Valley ranks in the top 10 of the Digital School Districts' national survey by the Center for Digital Education and the National School Boards Association.  The survey showcases exemplary school boards' and school districts' use of technology to govern the district, communicate with students, parents and the community and to improve district operations.  The district has been recognized six of the last eight years.

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