Kent Prairie Elementary School

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

The PLC journey began for Kent Prairie nine years ago. After the building leadership team attended a Solution Tree Conference, we began to figure out what becoming a true learning community meant. The first task was to find collaboration time. A pattern of “banking” professional development time was started, making an approximate 60-minute team time three to four times a month. Before making this time commitment, our leadership team assessed their grade level team members as to their commitment to common learning blocks for facilitating RTI. When the 100% commitment came through from staff, a master schedule was created that supported the commitment. The various grade level teams started to use common assessments to guide instruction and shift our students to our RTI models based on results.

When assessment scores started to increase in fourth grade reading due to decisions the team had made for RTI, we began to believe, as a school, that the process of improving student achievement through PLCs could be a reality. The next year, the fifth grade team started looking at RTI options for math. Each grade level team has now taken on the responsibility of interventions, planning what is needed and working with the principal to find the available resources (classroom interventions, peer-to-peer, Title I, etc.) to ensure that all students learn.

The evidence that building a professional learning community has had an impact on teachers includes comments from teachers such as “I don’t think I could ever go back to doing the work alone.” A fifth grade teacher said, “PLC's have allowed us to grow as teachers, and therefore, student learning has increased. Since we began to collaborate, we are more focused on the standards, making sure we are clear on what we are teaching. We share materials and ideas on how to help students that are struggling or how to extend lessons for those who need it.” Another teacher stated, “The greatest impact has been a focus on student achievement. Having clearly defined goals, and basing the needs on data is key in making steps towards improving student learning.” And another teacher shared, “Our fourth grade PLC at KP uses our PLC time to create assessments, to analyze data, to share resources and to plan for our RTI strategies. Our remedial groups are fluid and flexible and the information we share during our meetings helps us to decide when students need more support in reading or math, and which students have made enough progress to move out of the small groups and back to the regular classroom. This allows us to give kids a "double dip" of a subject when they need it, not leaving them in a small group longer than they need to be.”

   With the transition to a new principal, who was firmly grounded in PLC work, Kent Prairie continued to move forward.  We have seen new staff members enter our building and immediately be integrated into our rich professional learning community.  Multiple staff strive to take leadership roles, and our work can therefore extend to cross-grade level PLC's.  Our support staff, including remedial and special education staff members, frequent the PLC meetings, making sure to meet the needs of each child and to help extend the learning for those already at standard.  We have modeled our schedule after the PLC model, continuing to have common planning time while including both math and literacy intervention/extension blocks.  We have a "all hands on deck" mentality where we strive to meet the needs of each individual, build positive relationships, and continue to keep the focus on student learning.

The evidence of the impact of PLCs on students is best shared in looking at the ways the student achievement has been going up each year. These are listed at the end of this article.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

  • The district-wide creation (through the work of teachers) of a “Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum” with a pacing guide and benchmark assessments have provided a clear target.
  • The addition of “I CAN” statements for the learning targets have provided clear understanding for students who can monitor themselves for mastery.
  • Teams are accountable for a time frame for assessment data analysis and response.
  • Decisions are made from assessment data on regular intervals: some weekly, monthly, six weeks, and some by trimester depending on the what type of assessment is given.
  • RTI starts with classroom/teacher interventions and moves to the next level of RTI which can include small groups, more time, another approach, etc.

Students who are proficient are challenged by several methods, including the leveling of groups for targeted instruction and the use of technology including Accelerated Math and Accelerated Reading.

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

  • The master schedule has been designed to provide common-learning blocks so that interventions can be provided in a systematic way. Core instruction time is protected for all students. All students who need intervention, regardless of category (SpEd, Title I, ELL), receive interventions of time and intensity/rigor. We also have intervention/extension blocks scheduled for each grade level, each day, for math and literacy.
  • Researched-based interventions are used: Small groups are tutored using ReadWell, Read Naturally and other reading programs. For example, all students who struggle in reading use KidBiz, directed and monitored by a teacher for fidelity.  Teachers use common assessments to plan and assign remediation when needed. For both advanced students and stuggling students, KP staff uses Accelerated Math in addition to the district curriculum and adjusts the objectives to add practice and instruction. IXL.com is also used to give students added practice on the areas they are working to improve.
  • Building-wide behavior expectations (The Big Five) are taught and retaught throughout the year. Students are taught to “own” and solve their problems using “Love and Logic”® techniques.
  • Check In/Check Out is for students who need additional behavior intervention.
  • The focus is on “learning” and the acknowledgment that relationships are critical and solutions are often “one child at a time.”

Trust is a critical component; trusting staff to develop their own models for RTI and interventions rather than dictating a model for the whole school. This is critical in the "ownership" piece of developing PLC's.

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

  • Grade Level Team Leaders are also members of the School Improvement Team. The direction for teams starts at this planning place and is taken to grade level teams for their collaboration meetings. Each leader receives a stipend. It is the responsibility of the team leader to maintain the focus of their team on learning.
  • Efforts are made over the years to find ways to get assessment data back to teams in an efficient and timely way so the they can make decisions about which student needs more intensity, time or rigor. Gradually, over the years, teachers have learned to depend on data for decisions.
  • Each year professional development has focused on “next steps” for PLCs. All staff meetings have a learning focus – details of school life are done through email when possible.
  • Grade level teams, leadership teams and whole-staff collaboration teams are encouraged to focus on celebrations.
  • Over the years, the staff has studied articles and books together about the role of PLCs, RTI, the role of assessment and effective instructional strategies and other pertinent topics. The teams have attended Solution Tree conferences on two occasions.
  • All teams provide written reports to the administrator from their weekly collaboration times. These provide a record of students who are progressing, those who are not and plans for interventions. The principal provides feedback, guidance and encouragement.
  • One teacher stated, “I can’t imagine how difficult my life would be if I had to go back to teaching without a team.”

What do teachers do when they collaborate? Here is how one fourth grade teacher responded to that question: “Our fourth grade PLC at KP uses our PLC time to create assessments, to analyze data, to share resources and to plan for our RTI strategies. Our remedial groups are fluid and flexible and the information we share during our meetings helps us to decide when students need more support in reading or math, and which students have made enough progress to move out of the small groups and back to the regular classroom. This allows us to give kids a "double dip" of a subject when they need it, not leaving them in a small group longer than they need to be.”

Please list source of comparison data: OSPI Report Card

Grade: 3 Percentage of students passing:School Scores/State Comparison Scores

Math

Reading

Writing

Science

Social Studies

Other ( )

Year 2008-09

67.7 / 66.3

73.6 / 71.4

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Year 2009-10

66.3 / 61.8

79.8 / 71.1

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~

~

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Year 2010-11

65.0 / 61.5

83.0 / 73.1

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Year2011-12

 

Year 2012-13

 

Year 2013-14

 

Year 2014-15 (SBAC)

73.4 / 65.3

 

80%/65.2%

 

79%.63%

 

69%/56.7%

61.3 / 68.8

 

84.3%73%

 

82%/72%

 

65%/52.1%

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Percentage of students passing: School Scores/State Comparison Scores

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grade: 4

Math

Reading

Writing

Science

Social Studies

Other ( )

Year 2008-09

67.9 / 52.3

83.8 / 73.6

71.3 / 60.4

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Year 2009-10

62.8 / 53.7

80.8 / 67.2

80.8 / 61.1

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Year 2010-11

85.9 / 59.3

82.6 / 67.3

73.9 / 61.4

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Year 2011-12

 

Year 2012-13

 

Year 2013-14

 

Year 2014-15 (SBAC)

82.7 / 59.4

 

82.1%/62.5%

 

75.5%/60.8%

 

67%/54%

88.5 / 71.5

 

86.3%/72.5%

 

80.6%/70%

 

83%  (ELA)/54.6%

86.5 / 61.4

 

90.4%/62.1%

 

77.6%/62.1%

 

83%  (ELA)

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Percentage of students passing:School Scores/State Comparison Scores

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grade: 5

Math

Reading

Science

Science

Social Studies

Other ( )

Year 2008-09

76.0 / 61.9

83.9 / 74.0

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59.8 / 44.9

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Year 2009-10

62.8 / 53.6

84.9 / 69.9

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46.6 / 34.0

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Year 2010-11

83.3 / 61.3

85.5 / 67.7

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86.7 / 55.7

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Year 2011-12

83.5 / 63.8

87.6 / 71.1

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89.7 / 66.3

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~

Year 2012-13

88.8%/62.6%

91.8%/72.7%

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93.8% / 66.6%

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Year 2013-14

84.9%/63.5%

89.2%/72.4%

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Not Tested / 66.8%

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Year 2014-15 (SBAC)

58%/48.1%

76% (ELA)/57.6%

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87% / 63.5%

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2009 School of Distinction

2009-10 Made “Adequate Yearly Progress”

2010-11 Made “Adequate Yearly Progress”

2011 Washington State Reward School

2012 Washington State Achievement Award for Overall Excellence

2012 Washington State Achievement Award for Science

2013 Washington State Achievement Award for Overall Excellence

2013 Washington State Achievement Award for Reading Growth

2013 Washington State Achievement Award for Math Growth

2014 Washington State Achievement Award for Overall Excellence

2014 Washington State Achievement Award for Reading Growth

2014 Washington State Achievement Award for Math Growth

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