Fairdale High School

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

In 2010–2011, Fairdale High School was identified as a “Priority School,” meaning the school was Persistently Low Achieving by NCLB guidelines and in the bottom 5th percentile for math/reading achievement in the state of Kentucky. Community and local media did not perceive Fairdale to be a location for high academic achievement and college readiness.

In 2011–2012, Kentucky adopted the Common Core State Standards. A new accountability and assessment system considers not just proficiency in math and reading, but also measures student achievement using a growth model related to college and career readiness. Administrators, counselors, and teachers analyzed the available assessment data to ensure each student had the maximum opportunities and resources to meet state requirements. Then, the school challenged all stakeholders to assist in the goal of improving student learning and school culture simultaneously, with a clear vision, mission, and set of collective commitments all focused on preparing each student for post-secondary education.

The first step in turning Fairdale around was to create an atmosphere of shared leadership and expertise. With the guidance of Solution Tree consultant Garrick Peterson, Fairdale implemented the Professional Learning Communities at Work™ model. The PLC at Work™ process brought teachers to a collaborative space focused on using data to seek best instructional practices, assess student achievement, improve current instructional methods, and get achievement results. Fairdale faculty are working together to sustain a culture based on the belief that all students can learn given the proper time and motivation.

Teachers are committed to working with each student on a standards-based curriculum, using common formative and summative assessments, and using all time available until ALL students have learned. The use of standards-based common formative assessments by each team in each course provides daily and weekly data as to how students are progressing on standards and skills for college and career readiness. A flexible intervention system allows students to recover standards-based learning and skill sets immediately, and offers multiple opportunities for that recovery to occur.

To measure success in meeting our collaborative goal of college and career readiness, Fairdale uses the ACT assessment that is given to every 11th-grade student as the capstone of student achievement. To be college ready, a student must hit the College for Post-secondary Education benchmarks in English, reading, and math on the ACT test. Those benchmarks are 18 for English, 19 for math, and 20 for reading. By becoming a PLC, Fairdale cultivated a culture where learning for all is truly supported. The percentage of college- and career-ready students as measured by ACT rose from 9 percent to 34.7 percent in three years.

By the year 2015-2016 the percentage of college and career ready students as measured by ACT rose from 34.7 percent in 2011-2012 to 64.1%.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Teachers are committed to working with each student on a standards-based curriculum, using common formative and summative assessments, and using all time available until ALL students have learned. The use of standards-based common formative assessments by each team in each course provides daily and weekly data as to how students are progressing on standards and skills for college and career readiness. PLCs meet weekly to analyze common assessment data and to plan for interventions and enrichment opportunities for all students. PLCs operate a weekly cycle of instruction, common formative assessments, data analysis, and interventions and enrichment, leading to a common summative assessment of learning.

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

We started our RTI process with a flexible intervention system, which we called FLEX (Fairdale Learning EXtension), that allowed students to recover standards-based learning and skill sets immediately, and offered multiple opportunities for that recovery to occur. FLEX is a learning extension period added to the master schedule one day each week. Every Thursday, students are assigned intervention or enrichment based on standards mastery for a weeklong instructional cycle that ends in a common formative assessment. It is a fluid system, so students are assigned to FLEX based on their weekly need. FLEX gives a student the opportunity to recover learning or receive extended time for standards mastery in any given course during the school day. Each intervention session ends with a formative assessment to determine if learning was recovered or completed. Students who have proven standards mastery for the week are assigned to an enrichment activity of their choice for this class period. Enrichment opportunities are activities designed to be extensions of core content classes or for building culture among students at Fairdale High School.

We found a need for additional time during the school day for intervention.  One hour two times a week was not enough.  Recently, we began an intervention and enrichment program that we call RISE.  RISE is an hour each day where students receive intervention help in classes where it is needed, or attend different enrichment activities to further their learning.  This hour is student driven and student chosen.  With RISE we are not only working on intervening in a timely manner, but students are learning executive function and self regulation skills to assist them in positive decision making for a life time.  

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

The first step in assessing school needs brought administrators, counselors, and teachers together to analyze available assessment data to ensure each student had the maximum opportunities and resources to meet state requirements. Then, the school challenged all stakeholders to assist in the goal of improving student learning and school culture simultaneously, with a clear vision, mission, and set of collective commitments all focused on preparing each student for post-secondary education. The master schedule is planned to allow teams to meet as PLCs during a common planning period each day. Teams have a dedicated PLC meeting day at least one time a week, but have every planning period on every day available to meet and plan for instruction. Teams are content/course based.

The next step in turning Fairdale around was to create an atmosphere of shared leadership and expertise. With the guidance of Solution Tree consultant Garrick Peterson, Fairdale implemented the Professional Learning Communities at Work™ model. The PLC at Work™ process brought teachers to a collaborative space focused on using data to seek best instructional practices, assess student achievement, improve current instructional methods, and get achievement results. Fairdale faculty are working together to sustain a culture based on the belief that all students can learn given the proper time and motivation.

Our work continued by establishing a clear instructional point of view.  Our school adopted the viewpoint of the Fundamental 5 Practices for Quality Instruction.  This instructional framework has five non-negotiable instructional practices that are research-based for promoting classroom success.  All teachers in our school use this instructional point of view for their day-to-day operations and receive individual coaching from an instructional coach to support improvement in instruction.  

Our next step in turnaround is about building student responsibility for learning through student led reviews.  In place of the traditional parent-teacher conference, we implemented student led reviews, where the student is in charge of presenting and reviewing his/her progress in courses and towards college and career readiness with their parents and advisors.  

Our next steps include additional focus on our intervention and enrichment period, RISE, implementing and growing executive function and self regulation skills among our students, and introducing mindful practices to our staff and students as part of a healthy approach to school and life. 

 

As a result of PLC implementation, schoolwide instructional point of view, and a fluid interventions and enrichment system, Fairdale High School has shown improvement in all areas of accountability.

Areas of Accountability

2011–2012

2013–2014

2014-2015

2015-2016

Graduation Rate

88.5

87.2

89.2

89.4

College and Career Readiness

36.9

53.5

64.1

67.2

Achievement Areas (Math, Reading, Writing, Social Studies, Science)

52.5

52.8

48

56.8

GAP Achievement

33.4

34.6

27.7

57.2

Growth (EPAS Data)

48.6

56.8

44

55.3

 

U.S. News and World Report Best High Schools Bronze Rating 2013

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