Gamble Rogers Middle School

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

Our school is five years into our PLC Journey and the culture of our school has been transformed.  The first year of this path, we instituted what our principal referred to as “PLC Lite.”  We had many small collaborative teams that consisted of teachers from the same content area and grade level.  The teachers were given sacred time to meet together to share ideas, lessons and strategies for teaching and learning.  Teachers spent this time reviewing the grade level standards, creating common assignments and creating activities to increase students’ success.  Teachers reported that this was valuable to them as educators.  They were building relationships among their like departments while extending their own understanding of the ever-changing educational landscape.  At the end of this school year, we arranged for fourteen of our teachers and staff members to attend a Solution Tree Conference during the summer.  These staff members were positively impacted by what they saw--- leaving at the end of the three days invigorated and ready to take on a new school year.

After attending the first conference five years ago, our PLC teams were reconfigured by the leadership team.  These changes were made after researching and discussing what we felt would be the most effective collaboration.  The PLCs consisted of same grade level, similar content area teachers working together.  For example, sixth grade math and science teachers work together, while the sixth grade language arts and social studies teachers work together.  We believe that these teachers can and do provide our students with multiple exposures to similar content, create a common vocabulary that transfer between content areas and establish important links between the standards of each core class.  At the beginning of the school year, a PLC Leader was chosen for each group and a binder was given to each teacher.  The binder contained articles and background information regarding the effective establishment of successful collaboration teams.  It also contained a quarterly calendar that outlined the work of the group.   This outline provided the PLCs with very detailed dates for meeting days and lists of products that the groups would submit for review by the leadership team, and in turn the leadership team would provide feedback to the PLCs.  The PLCs worked each quarter to review the standards and identify those that had a natural connection between their like content areas, or ones that could be benefited by the teaching in both classrooms.  After determining the quarterly Big Idea and a narrowed area of focus, the PLCs created a SMARTe (we added the “e” for everyone) Goal.  Then the teachers co-laboured to create a strategic plan of instruction and a common assessment that could be administered in each content area classroom, as well as electives.  After the assessment was given, the data was examined and the four questions of a PLC, and their answers were reviewed.  At the end of this school year the teachers overwhelmingly agreed that this process was the most positive and helpful shift in thinking they had been involved in for quite some time.

Fast forward five years and we have continued to build on the previous years’ work.  The demographics of the PLCs remain the same.  After receiving feedback from the teachers and continuing to shape the process so that it better suits the needs of our school, we now use OneNote notebooks for each team.  The Instructional Coach uploads agendas, forms, and helpful paperwork into each team’s online notebook.  This online storage has given the teams an easy way to store their work and for the leadership team to review their outcomes and provide timely, written feedback in the form of comments, or questions.

The basic process has remained the same for the past four years; however, we have continued to see a decrease in the amount of support and guidance needed from the leadership team.  The PLC teams continue to take the lead and enact steps that are necessary for their students to be the most successful they can be.

The grade level/content area PLCs are the smallest unit in the larger PLC that is our school.  We have seen so much success in so many areas.  These successes continue to increase the capacity of everyone involved.  While we are five years into this amazing journey, we know that we are still growing and learning each day.  There are great new adventures awaiting us and we are eager to see where this path takes us and our students.

Our school has been visited by many district leaders to learn how our PLC works.  We have become an example by which other schools in our district are creating PLCs within their buildings as well.

We continue host visitors from other counties who want to learn how we structure our school to achieve our levels of success.  At each visitation we always make it clear, our success is driven by the power of our PLCs.

 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Over the past five years we have developed several ways to monitor student learning.  We have continued to incorporate the use of learning goals and scales in our classrooms.  The learning goals are posted for all the students to see during the daily instruction/units of instruction.  Posting these goals help students know what they should be able to do at each level of the learning progression, and what the outcome of their learning will be.  The scales allow for teachers to assess students quickly based on the mastery of the standards.  These scales are also used for students to self-assess during the learning progression.

Each PLC meets to review the standards for their content areas, discuss the instructional methods they will use for the standards and to create common formative assessments to measure student mastery of the standards.  After the PLCs, at all three grade levels and all content areas, create the assessments they are administered to the students.  This allows for data analysis and feedback, which positively impacts the instructional cycle.

This year we have continued to use All In Learning, a data collection program.  This is such a helpful tool when monitoring student progress and providing feedback.  The teachers work together to create their common formative assessments that are then uploaded in All In Learning.  Students complete the teacher made assessments using student-specific bubble sheets, the online version of the assessment, or clickers.  The bubble sheets are scored in real time using an optical scanner in the classroom.  The online version of the assessments is scored instantly once submitted by the student.  This tool has proven invaluable to the teachers and the students.

Each of our students are given login and password information for the district Home Access Center (HAC).  HAC allows students and parents to access the student’s class grades at any time.  This is a motivating factor for many of our students.  They have taken ownership of their progress, monitoring their proficiency levels throughout each quarter.  Students are able to see where they need more assistance from their teachers and are able to ask for the help they need.

We continue to use the Document Based Questions (DBQ) program for social studies and in some language arts classes.  This program is designed to help student examine primary and secondary source documents, use several steps of evaluation strategies and create a final piece of writing that incorporates the citing of textual evidence and taking a stance on a topic.  This helps the cross curricular teams see how the students are transferring their writing skills from language arts to the social studies classroom.

We currently use MFAS tasks in our math classes.  These are mini lessons designed by math experts that align to the Florida Standards.  The intent of the tasks are to attack areas of weakness with a specifically designed mini-lesson and assessment task.  The implementation of these tasks has helped our teachers pinpoint areas of confusion, gaps in learning, or misconceptions that they can then address during class time or during the weekly intervention block.

We are also implementing the language arts program, Making Meaning in all 6th and 7th grade language arts classes.  This program is designed to teach students to be a productive member of the classroom community while learning the standards that are important to the language arts curriculum.  Because of the outline of this program, teachers have more opportunities to hold individual meetings with the students in their classes, determining strengths and weaknesses that are then addressed appropriately.

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

Five years ago our school was struggling to keep up with the needs of our students who were not being successful.  At that time we had a 23% failure rate.  Since that time we have reduced the failure rate to 0.8%.   We knew that we had to make some drastic changes to the way we addressed student success.  After attending a PLCs at Work session that was led by Mike Mattos, we were inspired and began to make the changes necessary to incorporate extra teacher-student contact time into the current weekly schedule.  After researching and learning of options for this type of intervention program, we developed STINGRAY SUCCESS.  This is a thirty-minute block of time each Wednesday and Thursday.  During this time, students remain with a content area teacher for a small group learning extension time, or they are released to attend an enrichment activity.  The content area teachers work together to use this time for small group re-teach, presenting information in an alternate format, extra time to complete assignments or projects, or for other activities they deem necessary for the betterment of our students’ learning. 

Students who are demonstrating proficiency and are not in need of extra time with a content teacher are able to attend one of the enrichment sessions that are available across the campus.  We offer the following enrichment groups:  Drama, WEB, Homework Help, Reading for Pleasure, STEM, Critical Thinking, Computer Keyboarding, Band Ensemble Practice, Physical Education, 2-D Art, Media Services, Environmental Science/Gardening, AVID Round Tables, Research, Gifted Student Groups, Critical Thinking, Best Buddies, NJHS, Student Government, Creative Writing, High School Algebra, Coding, or Spanish. 

We also offer Shatter Proof, a support/mentoring group for struggling male students who show great potential.  Adult men, who work for the St. Johns County School District, mentor these students weekly. 

We have also continued our mentoring program for students who struggle with attendance.  Students meet with an adult mentor at least once every two weeks.  These teachers provide support and encouragement to the student.

Since the inception of Stingray Success, we have seen a dramatic improvement in the academic performance of our students.  During the first year of Stingray Success’s implementation, we worked with our 6th grade students, who immediately showed high interest in the program. At the end of the first quarter, our sixth grade students had the lowest failure rates school-wide.  Failing grades were all but eliminated in the core classes.  After several months of this program being in place, the teachers requested that we add an additional 30-minute Stingray Success block to the weekly schedule.  The teachers saw the benefits of this dedicated time.  Students were being more successful and teachers became well versed in the areas of differentiation and intervention. Since that time, Stingray Success has become a school-wide cultural shift, with all students in all grade levels participating twice a week.

The students and teachers see the value in the time and are reaping the benefits of such dedicated time.  We plan to continue growing this program and refining it as we go so that our students' needs are being met as much as possible.

The Stingray Success period is a time that all students can receive interventions or experience enrichment activities.  Students who are currently being monitored by an academic RTI plan are afforded this opportunity, as well as tier two and tier three interventions based on their individual RTI plans.  Students who are currently on a tier two academic plan are given their interventions within the classroom setting, with the classroom teacher.  Because we are currently operating on a 90-minute block schedule, teachers have greater flexibility for differentiating their time and instructional strategies to meet the needs of all students.  Students who are currently on a tier three academic plan are referred to the appropriate interventionist who will meet with the student at scheduled times throughout the week so that the RTI plan is being implemented with fidelity. 

We also provide our sixth, seventh and eighth grade standard language arts, social studies, science and math classes with a co-teacher, who is Reading Endorsed (when placed in ELA/SS classes) and content area certified.  Having a full time co-teacher increases the ability for students to receive additional support for their learning.  This process has allowed for great collaboration between teachers and learning has happened for everyone, teachers and students alike.

This school year we have focused on implementing Kagan Structures in all classes.  Teachers have received training on five of the collaboration structures and are implementing them in their classrooms.  Students are benefiting from the incorporation of true collaborative learning opportunities.

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

The process of beginning PLCs is not an easy task.  We are asking teachers to become vulnerable to one another: sharing data, sharing strategies, and sharing teaching successes, as well as failures.  In order to facilitate more cohesive teams we:

  • Choose strong PLC leaders to guide the cross-curricular teams
  • Create a master schedule that includes common planning time during the school day for each PLC
  • Implement the co-teacher model at all three grade levels in all four content areas
  • Encourage teams to use their collaboration to examine the Florida Standards, search for commonalities among content areas and use that knowledge so that students are receiving multiple exposures to information
  • Host quarterly, school-based professional development opportunities.  Each PLC team meets for a full school day to collaborate about the work of their PLC and learn research-based, high-yield instructional strategies that are also highly engaging for students.   PLC members return to their classrooms and implement these strategies to improve student learning
  • Teach teachers how to use the district’s data analysis/reporting program, Performance PLUS so that they are able to see student data and use the data in a timely and meaningful way
  • Implement programs such as All In Learning to assist teachers in data collection and reporting
  • Provide network “Shared Folders” where all teachers can store important documents, including common assessments, data tables, student discipline records
  • Encourage PLC teams to share their knowledge with others.  Recently, one of our teams presented at a district-wide conference, ECET2, which was funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Our teachers were able to share what they had learned from the PLC process and help spark an interest among their colleagues
  • Use of OneNote to house the work of each PLC team within the school.  This allows teams to collect data in a share-able location as well as allow the leadership team to review their work, providing feedback in a timely fashion

 

Our school’s goal is to always find ways to increase the learning of our students.  In the past three years, since implementing PLCs we have continuously exceeded the state average in FCAT Reading and Math scores. 

Florida Comprehensive Assessment

Test Data

Proficiency in READING

GRMS/State

Proficiency in MATH

GRMS/State

2011-2012

59% / 56.6%

56% / 55%

6th   grade

63%

62%

7th   grade

60%

46%

8th   grade

53%

*

2012-2013

61% / 57%

59% / 53%

6th   grade

62%

57%

7th   grade

66%

57%

8th   grade

55%

*

2013-2014

64% / 58%

60% / 53%

6th   grade

69%

52%

7th   grade

64%

65%

8th   grade

62%

*

*Data for this test is not available, due to the inclusion of state EOC scores for a portion of our 8th grade students.

Below are data tables showing a year to year comparison of 7th grade content classes where the new formative assessment plan has been in place:

A: Science-Grade 7-Quarter 2-(2013-2014) (12/12/2013)

B: DFA-Science-MJ2-Grade 7-Semester 1-(2014-2015) (12/2/2014)

Section

Description

Level 5

Level 4

Level 3

Level 2

Level 1

Total Students

Count

Percentage

Count

Percentage

Count

Percentage

Count

Percentage

Count

Percentage

Science-Grade 7-Quarter 2-(2013-2014): Total Score

Science-Grade 7-Quarter 2-(2013-2014)

1

0.7%

8

6.0%

45

33.6%

46

34.3%

34

25.4%

134

DFA-Science-MJ2-Grade 7-Semester 1-(2014-2015): Total Score

DFA-Science-MJ2-Grade 7-Semester 1-(2014-2015)

1

0.8%

10

8.3%

46

38.3%

36

30.0%

27

22.5%

 

  

 

Description

Level 5

Level 4

Level 3

Level 2

Level 1

Total

Students

Count

Percentage

Count

Percentage

Count

Percentage

Count

Percentage

Count

Percentage

Social Studies-MS-Civics-Quarter 2-(2013-2014): Total Score

Social Studies-MS-Civics-Quarter 2-(2013-2014)

2

0.7%

19

6.6%

86

30.1%

69

24.1%

110

38.5%

286

DFA-Social Studies-Civics-S1-(2014-2015): Total Score

DFA-Social Studies-Civics-S1-(2014-2015)

11

4.3%

50

19.8%

62

24.5%

52

20.6%

78

30.8%

 

 

 

Section

Description

Level 5

Level 4

Level 3

Level 2

Level 1

Total Students

Count

Percentage

Count

Percentage

Count

Percentage

Count

Percentage

Count

Percentage

ELA-MJII-Grade 7-Quarter 2-(2013-2014): Total Score

ELA-MJII-Grade 7-Quarter 2-(2013-2014)

20

7.0%

131

45.8%

84

29.4%

30

10.5%

21

7.3%

286

DFA-ELA-M/J II-Q2-(2014-2015): Total Score

 

DFA-ELA-M/J II-Q2-(2014-2015)

23

8.9%

105

40.5%

89

34.4%

23

8.9%

19

7.3%

259

For the 2014-15 school year, the state of Florida moved from the FCAT to the FSA assessment.  Below is a comparison of Gamble Rogers data compared to the state of Florida's data.  With the new assessment and school grade calculations, GRMS was 1 point away from being rated as an "A" school.

Content Area

STATE

GRMS

CIVICS

46%

80%

SCIENCE

48%

58%

READING

51%

54%

MATH

52%

63%

 

The chart below shows 2015-16 comparison data between

GRMS and the state of Florida.

2015-16 Data

GRMS

 State

6th grade ELA

57

52

6th grade math

51

50

7th grade ELA

53

49

7th grade math

63

52

7th grade Civics EOC

88

67

8th grade ELA

64

57

8th grade math

68

48

8th grade science FCAT

62

48

Algebra 1 EOC

98

55

 

At GRMS we have many positive happenings!  Below is a list of some of the wonderful things that have occurred at our school over the past five years:

  • GRMS has been recognized as a model PLC school by St. Johns County.  Teams of County professionals, from the superintendent to classroom teachers visit our school to observe the PLC process
  • GRMS has been awarded a $10,000 grant from Carlisle Interconnect Technologies, a local Hi-tech manufacturing firm.  This grant was used to purchase 19 NXT Robotics kits for use with our 6th grade STEM students and any student who joins the Robotics Club
  • GRMS has been awarded a WeatherSTEM grant.  This grant provided equipment for a weather station to be built on our campus.  This weather station is linked to others across the country and our students are able to track data (water usage in our gardens, wind speed, solar levels, etc.) inside the classroom
  • GRMS has been chosen by Florida Power and Light to receive a solar array pavilion.  This 5 kilowatt solar array builds awareness of alternative energy sources
  • GRMS has been chosen by Northrop Grumman to receive a fully operational greenhouse constructed on our campus to enrich our Environment Science class that manages our on-site vegetable, herb and fruit gardens.  This class has a great relationship with our local garden club.  This community organization donates supplies and plants for our gardens
  • GRMS has been chosen to receive a $30,000 award for the development of an updated weight training room in our physical education department
  • GRMS offers our students five high school credit courses
  • GRMS has at least one student qualify for DUKE TIP, a program from Duke University that highlights and recognizes students who are academically gifted
  • GRMS 8th grade student won the 2014-15 county-wide Science Fair
  • GRMS is the first St. Johns County Middle School to institute the WEB program for peer counseling and positive behavior rewards
  • GRMS has been the top performing Title 1 middle school in St. Johns County
  • GRMS fully implements No Child Left Behind
  • Our STEM teacher has been named the 2016 Outstanding teacher for the First Coast Manufacturers Association
  • One of our 8th grade US History teachers has been named the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award winner
  • The GRMS Robotics Team won first place at the Osiris Rex/First Lego League Competition
  • The GRMS Drama Department participated in several thespian competitions during the school year and garnered Critic's Choice awards and superior ratings for their perfomances

 

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