Bradford Special School District

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

Bradford Special School District began implementation of PLCs five years ago, in 2010.  Today they are considered to be an integral component of our efforts to advance academic growth and achievement at both the elementary and high school levels.  Both teachers and administrators attribute much of our recent academic progress to continuous collaboration through our professional learning communities.

BSSD is a small rural district in western Tennessee.  Our small size presented some organizational obstacles in the beginning of implementation.  Eventually we settled on a vertical alignment in our elementary school (grades PK–6) and more of a departmental alignment in our high school (grades 7–12).  Nonregular educational classroom teachers are flexible and often “float,” depending on issues we are facing at any given time.  Everyone does belong to a community, however, in some capacity.

Administrators take an active role in PLCs.  We stressed from the beginning that these meetings were their time to collaborate about any issues they chose, as long as the issues were related to student growth and achievement.  Autonomy of the groups was of the utmost importance to the success of the project.  At the beginning, we did offer topics of discussion as examples of what collaboration should look and sound like.  As teachers became more comfortable collaborating, we backed off as administrators and allowed them to “control their destiny.”  At that point, teachers took ownership, and we all felt we were on the right track to creating successful PLCs.  Now we make a point to visit each of the groups when they are engaged in collaborative meetings, but only as visitors and not in an advisory or administrative capacity.  We do reserve the right to make adjustments to groups as necessary and to assign new teachers to groups when they are hired.  In 2015-2016, we have changed our PLC groups to align with the state configuration of PK-2nd, 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, and 9th - 12th grades. 

We currently meet twice a month for an hour and a half after school.  We have found that this works best for our teachers and that, often, some groups will stay longer than the required time.  Each group selects their own facilitator and recorder.  The facilitator keeps everyone on topic and moves the discussions along, while the recorder keeps notes of the meetings and ensures that administrators receive copies.  This lets our PLCs know that we are interested in what they are doing.  We often further discuss the PLC topics during regular staff meetings as well, which also tends to lend value to what they are doing. 

We recognize that professional development is important to the continued success and improvement of our PLCs.  When planning to begin the PLC process, our district contracted with Solution Tree and Ken Williams to work with our teachers and administrators for two days at the beginning of the school year in 2011 and 2012.  Administrators and teachers attend PLC summits yearly.  We also send teams of teachers to professional development meetings devoted to PLCs each year.  We train additional teachers when possible in order to provide the opportunity for all teachers to engage in high-quality PLC training.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Bradford Special School District places great emphasis on assessment of students early and often in order to identify student academic needs and place them in appropriate intervention programs.  Data teams gather, analyze, and disseminate assessment data.  All assessment information is shared in our bi-monthly PLC meetings.  Teachers and students use this data to create data walls in their classrooms so that individual students and teachers can easily track their academic progress.  Some examples of formative assessments that we administer include STAR literacy/numeracy conducted at the beginning of the school year and at the end of each nine-week grading period thereafter.  Online programs such as Lexia/FLRT reading, Aims Web, Universal Screener, and IXL reading and math are also used daily to assess and remediate students at both schools.  In addition, we have purchased the Interactive Achievement Series that will be used as a formative assessment in preparation for our new TN Ready assessment to be administered in February and April/May of 2016.  Due to our small size, we only have one teacher per grade level and subject.  Therefore, grade band teachers utilize online programs and teacher developed materials to create nine week benchmark assessments in PLC meetings.  The results of these assessments are analyzed in PLC meetings.  As a result of this formative assessment data, teacher teams work together in planning and specific instruction to meet student needs.

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

Bradford Special School District believes that providing students with additional time on task, coupled with high-quality instruction, is the most effective way to improve student growth and achievement. After evaluating formative and summative assessment data, as described in the section above, we place students at the appropriate tier in RTI.  The following strategies are used to promote academic improvement in both the elementary and middle/high school.  We have implemented a thirty-minute remediation period built into the regular class schedule to provide tiered intervention. Both schools also have before- and after-school remediation program. The high school utilizes peer tutoring after school as well. Elementary teachers use small-group instruction to provide more individualized instruction for students. These groups are developed based on summative assessment data, universal screeners and progress monitoring data.  Teachers discuss all data and place students in appropriate groups to differentiate instruction at an appropriate level at the beginning of each school year.  At the end of each nine weeks, student data is reassessed at PLC meetings to determine student academic achievement and improvement.  If student progress has been determined, students are moved to an on-level or above level group.  If students are not making appropriate progress in Tier 2, then a Tier 3 referral is made by the team.  All student data is re-evaluated each nine weeks to place students in the appropriate instructional group based on formative assessment data.

All teacher assistants and instructional coaches assist in our small group instruction. Students are grouped according to ability levels, and the regular classroom teacher rotates between high, middle, and low groups. We also use tiered intervention strategies for students in Tier 2 and 3. We use the SPIRE program for students in Tier 3. Students in the 7th and 8th grades have a two-hour block for both reading and math. Both schools use online remedial programs such as Lexia, FLRT, Kohn Academy, and IXL reading and math. We also pull 7th-, 8th-, and 9th-grade students with severe reading difficulties from PE two times weekly for extra remediation. High school students benefit from an ACT prep class that is built into the regular day as well.  Special education students are served in inclusion classes with coteaching responsibilities shared between the general education and special eduation teacher.

In keeping with our philosophy of assessing students to identify academic needs and then targeting those needs, we touch every student with a documented academic need with some form of remediation or enrichment on a daily or weekly basis.  Our data teams and teacher grade band teams are provided time during PLC meetings to make the most appropriate instructional decision for students based on academic needs.

 

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

Bradford Special School District feels that one of the best outcomes of our PLC meetings is that they facilitate a shared vision for improved academic teaching and learning. As administrators, we have watched our staff become more aware of grade level standards and more open to sharing teaching strategies and methods with one another in order to master these standards. Teachers who once seemed isolated are now actively engaged in conversations with other staff members about what is working and how they can improve. It is not uncommon for us to have a PLC member ask to visit another PLC group to see what they are doing. Members recognize each other as important assets to our total school program and respect each other’s views and opinions. PLC groups provide opportunities for teachers to support each other which promotes trust and respect. Teacher morale has improved since we implemented PLCs as well. A positive relationship exists between administrators and teachers. Teachers know that they can count on both school- and district-level administrators to provide them with the support and resources they need to improve student growth and achievement and to ensure that our vision for all students becomes reality.

Comparison of Bradford Special School District Growth Measures with STATE (NCE) - This chart indicates that Bradford SSD scored higher in all subjects (3-8) than the state comparison in both 2014 and 2015.

TCAP

Average Grades 3rd – 8th

Bradford Special School District

STATE

 

Math

RE/LA

Science

Social Studies

Math

RE/LA

Science

Social Studies

2014

67.3

55.9

58.7

60.1

50

50

50

50

2015

61.7

55.8

58.8

N/A

50

50

50

N/A

                 

End of Course (Growth Measure Percentile) – This chart indicates that Bradford SSD grew more than the predicted score in each End of Course exam for both 2014 and 2015.

 

2014          Algebra I    Algebra II   English II    English III         Chemistry

Predicted         67              48              52              43              43

Actual              79              77              62              46              57

2015

Predicted        62              56              51              57              50

Actual             89              84              58              72              60

 

District Composite Levels for 2015 for all subjects and grades K – 12 – This chart indicates above average growth for the district.  Districts are given a growth score on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest indicating students in the district made substantially more progress than the Standard for Academic Growth.

 District Composite – 5

District Literacy – 5

District Numeracy – 5

District Literacy and Numeracy - 5

**Due to a change in testing in TN, we only have valid comparison data for 2014 and 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2010

  • Bradford Elementary School was one of three schools in the state of Tennessee to receive the Title I Distinguished School Award.  This award recognizes the top schools in the state based on growth and achievement in Title I schools.

2011

  • Bradford Special School District became a TIF (Teacher Incentive Fund) recipient.  This grant is awarded to schools that have shown steady progress over time for the purpose of establishing a bonus/alternative salary program to reward improved academic achievement and highly effective instruction.
  • Bradford Special School District was awarded the CSF (Competitive Supplemental Fund).  This is a grant awarded to districts who demonstrate innovative and creative ways to advance student improvement. We chose to use grant funds to implement PLCs and data teams that have proven to be effective strategies for improving student academic growth and achievement.

 2012

  • Bradford High School was recognized as a Reward School by the Tennessee Department of Education.  Under Tennessee’s new accountability system, Reward Schools are the top 5% of schools in the state for performance, as measured by overall student achievement levels, and the top 5% for year-over-year progress, as measured by school-wide value-added data.
  • Bradford High School was ranked first in the state in Algebra II based on the percent of students scoring proficient and advanced on the state-mandated End of Course test.
  • Bradford High School was ranked second in the state in Algebra I based on the percent of the students scoring proficient and advanced on the state-mandated End of Course test.

2013

  • Bradford Special School District was recognized as an Exemplary School District for raising proficiency levels, narrowing achievement gaps, and guaranteeing growth for all students. Bradford Special School District was one of only five schools in the state to receive the Exemplary School status determined by the Tennessee Department of Education.
  • Bradford Elementary School was recognized as a Reward School by the Tennessee Department of Education.  Under Tennessee’s new accountability system, Reward Schools are the top 5% of schools in the state for performance, as measured by overall student achievement levels, and the top 5% for year-over-year progress, as measured by school-wide value-added data.  Bradford Elementary School was in the top ten in every core subject based on the state-mandated TCAP tests.
  • Bradford High School was ranked first in the state in Algebra I based on the percent of students scoring proficient and advanced on the state-mandated End of Course test.
  • Bradford High School was ranked second in the state in Algebra II based on the percent of students scoring proficient and advanced on the state-mandated End of Course test.
  • Bradford High School was ranked first in the state in US History based on the percent of students scoring proficient and advanced on the state-mandated End of Course test.
  • Bradford Elementary School was chosen by local businesses as School of the Year in the greater Gibson County area composed of sixteen public schools.

2014

  • Bradford Elementary was recognized as a Reward School by the TN Department of Education.  Under Tennessee's accountability system, reward schools are the top 5% of schools in the state for performance, as measured by overall student achievement levels, and the top 5% for year-over-year progress, as measured by school wide value added data.  
  • Bradford Elementary was selected as the Walmart School of the Year and honored with a donation and reception to honor the teachers.
  • Bradford High was honored as having the highest End of Course scores in the county for Algebra I and II, Biology, English I and II, and U.S. History.

2015

  • Bradford Elementary School was honored as being 10th in the state of TN for students scoring proficient/advanced in math.
  • Bradford High School was honored as having the highest scores in the state of TN for students scoring proficient/advanced in Algebra I and II.
  • Bradford High School was honored as having the 5th highest scores in Biology and the 11th highest scores in Chemistry in the state of TN for students scoring proficient/advanced  on those End of Course subjects.
  • Bradford High School was honored as being 3rd in the state of TN for students scoring proficient/advanced in English III.

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