Mount Tabor Elementary

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

The Superintendent introduced the PLC concept six years ago during his first year of leadership in our district.  Numerous stakeholders including district level administrators, principals, and teachers attended PLC conferences and workshops as well as worked with PLC staff developers that presented in our district.  As our learning increased, our staff at Mt. Tabor committed to our core purpose being the three big ideas of learning, collaboration, and results. All discussions and decisions are based on the three big ideas and four essential questions of a PLC. We have observed a direct correlation in the increase of ISTEP+ results and the implementation of the PLC concepts.  Our scores once hovered around low to mid 60%’s and are now consistently between 80-86%.  The administration created a master schedule based on Becky DuFour’s work, which includes uninterrupted blocks of learning, intervention time, daily plan time, and job-embedded collaboration. Teachers talk about teaching, learning, and data daily during a common plan time and weekly during job- embedded collaboration.  The leadership team that includes administration, teacher leaders, counselor and literacy coach meets weekly to ensure that students are known by “name and need.” Resources are allocated based on specific needs. Data driven discussions allow for systematic interventions to be delivered in a timely and effective manner.  We assess our effectiveness on the basis of results rather than intentions. We demonstrate high expectations of individuals, teams, and our school as a whole. We seek relevant data and information to promote continuous improvement.  We rely on each other as well as central administration and other schools in our district to continually improve our practices. We believe that all of us are smarter than any one of us.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Our district and school utilize a variety of assessments on a regular basis to inform instructional decisions and practices.  Common formative assessments are utilized in grades 2-4 in English Language Arts and Math.  We give a pretest to all students to determine what the students already know and are able to do and pinpoint standards that may require more time and support for the whole class and/or individual students.  After scoring the pretests, teachers use this information to inform core instruction.  A time outside of core instruction is scheduled consistently every day to ensure students receive timely interventions or acceleration without missing core instruction.  During this intervention/acceleration block, we utilize an "all hands on deck" approach to meet the individual needs of as many students as possible.  Special education teachers and interventionists push in to each grade level during the intervention/acceleration block and either reinforce standards or provide a specific intervention based on student need.  After a 4-6 week period, a post-test is given to measure growth individually, by class, and by grade level.  Teachers meet to analyze the results. Discussions are also had regarding which instructional strategies were most successful. 

Teachers use “I can”….statements to make certain that students are clear on the skills that they are to be learning. Students monitor their own progress towards mastering the grade level standards by tracking their performance in a data binder.  They compare pretest to post test results and identify areas that may need to be practiced.  Students strive for at least 80% mastery on each post-test while celebrating any improvements that are made in the 4-6 week period of time. 

We also use the DRA 2 results three times per year to group students by level and by need for guided reading.  Running records are used in the interim to ensure that students are grouped appropriately and are progressing in a timely manner. 

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

The first hurdle in creating a system of intervention was finding time in the school day for specific interventions to be taught without the students missing core instruction.  We also knew we needed as many teachers and assistants as possible to provide the intervention.  Therefore, the principal created a master school schedule that is followed by each teacher at all grade levels.  By having a consistent and common schedule, additional support staff consisting of special education teachers and interventionists can provide support to the entire grade level daily during the intervention/acceleration period. 

A variety of literacy assessments are used in order to be “information rich” not just “data rich .” The DRA 2 is given to all students in kindergarten and first grade to determine a reading level range and literacy strengths and weaknesses.  Students are grouped accordingly for reading instruction and those students considered “below level” are provided a second dose of reading instruction daily.  Students are regrouped on an as needed basis determined by strategy use and accuracy as noted on a running record.  In addition to CFAs in grades 2 -4, teachers give a whole class reading assessment three times per year to determine which students may be at risk of reading failure.  Teachers then do a DRA 2 on those particular students to further diagnose the area(s) of weakness:  decoding, fluency, or comprehension.  Then groups are formed according to level and need.  All students reading below grade level receive a second reading group daily and a skills group that directly relates to the area of weakness. 

For math, Daily Math Review quizzes are given bi-weekly to monitor progress on the concepts that students are still struggling to master. The goal of DMR is to clarify any misconceptions students may have.  CFA and DMR data are used to identify areas of need for intervention.  By grade level the timing varies, but Math Fact Fluency assessments are given regularly to assess and adjust students’ learning paths and goals for fluency with grade level math facts.

Depending on the grade level and area of growth, we have determined specific interventions that are research based and proven successful.  All teachers and assistants providing the instruction are trained on these specific interventions and how to monitor student progress.  Once students have mastered specific skills, they either move to a different intervention group based on need or are provided additional support on core standards. See attachments for an example of fourth grade literacy intervention/acceleration period and a "Spreadsheet of Success" showing below level readers, their data, specific need, and intervention.

Grade level team members including special education teachers, interventionists, administrators, counselor, and literacy coach meet monthly to look at progress monitoring data of students in each group to ensure progress is being made and students are in an intervention that matches his or her specific need. 

Students that master standards quickly participate in acceleration groups that enrich and extend the grade level curriculum.

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

Raising the level of teacher expertise is a priority at our school and district-wide. Opportunities for raising the level of teacher expertise in the areas of math and reading are embedded into the work day.  We have weekly job embedded collaboration on Wednesdays.  This time is not only used for grade level data discussions, but also to provide grade level specific professional development.   Because Mount Tabor has a full time onsite literacy coach and two math teacher leaders, professional development occurs on an as needed basis and is focused on best practices and strategies to teach the core standards in a particular cycle of learning or to train teachers on interventions used in our school and district.  Professional development also occurs throughout the student day in the form of modeling, observation and feedback, and identifying individual student needs and developing a plan for intervention. 

The teaching assistants also provide instruction and intervention to the students at Mount Tabor. Therefore, extensive training is provided to them throughout the school year by the literacy coach and interventionists.  They are trained specifically on guided reading and interventions provided at the grade level at which they support. 

Everything we do at Mount Tabor has a structure.  For example, all teachers use guided reading planning templates based on Jan Richardson’s research on emergent, transitional, and fluent readers.  This allows for conversations regarding instructional approaches and data analysis.  We look at certain parts of the lesson template to see specifically where the student is struggling and make necessary changes to meet his or her needs. Because each teacher uses the same structure and planning template for guided reading, discussions can be had and decisions can be made that wouldn’t be possible if everyone was planning for and doing guided reading differently. 

Teachers have received extensive training and been given the opportunity to collaborate with several experts in the field of education. Dr. Jan Richardson, author of Next Steps in Guided Reading has conducted trainings onsite at Mount Tabor and in our school district on numerous occasions. She has helped problem solve achievement issues in literacy at our school and in our district. Dr. Tim Rasinski has worked with our teachers on strengthening instructional strategies in fluency and comprehension. Dr. Larry Ainsworth and Dr. Jan Christinson have provided training in our district on numerous occasions focusing on common formative assessments, rigorous curriculum design, math facts, and “Five Easy Steps to a Balanced Math Program.”

We have created “collective commitments” that identify instructional approaches that everyone commits to implementing and embracing for the betterment of students and learning. These shared understandings are very important, as we are one of nine elementary schools in our district. Our school continually has students transfer in and out throughout the school year. Due to these commitments, we can easily “pick up” where students left off at their prior school within our district.  

We have submitted three years of data as requested. However, the major increase in performance is best illustrated from 2009 to 2014. We began the work of a professional learning community in 2009 under the direction of our new superintendent, Dr. Bruce Hibbard.

As we stated previously our achievement has increased while at the same time our demographics has become more complex. Both free/reduced and special education populations have grown. Many of our students live in mobile situations residing in apartments, trailers, and public housing. Our enrollment continues to expand. We are the largest elementary school in the New Albany-Floyd County school district. Much of the enrollment increase is due to transfer requests from outside of the school district as well as within the school district. Our school has a reputation of excellence and achieving results with tough learners. This additional enrollment has lead to large class sizes, which creates some unique challenges also. Our building has no remaining classroom space available. Nonetheless, we continue to achieve. We believe that this is directly related to our commitment to being a professional learning community.  

 

ELA

2012

MT (Corp)          State

2013

MT (Corp)          State

2014

MT (Corp)            State

Grade 3

88 (88)     85                     

87(86)                          84

87 (86)                         83

Grade 4

66 (82)                         81

87 (87)                         84

86 (87)                          86

Overall

77

87

86

       

Math

2012

MT (Corp)          State

2013

MT (Corp)          State

2014

MT (Corp)            State

Grade 3

84 (86)                         80

77 (80)                         80

82 (80)      80                     

Grade 4

73 (87)                         78

86 (88)                         83

79(80)                           83

Overall

78

81

81

 

Our ultimate goal at Mount Tabor is to receive the Blue Ribbon Award from the USDOE. We have not achieved this yet but fully intend on doing so.

Our second goal at Mount Tabor is to perform in the upper quartile of the state on a consistent basis. This would achieve the prestigious “Four Star School” status.  We have not achieved this yet but fully intend on doing so.

Received letter grade “A” by the IDOE for the 2012-2013 school year

Received letter grade “B” by the IDOE for the 2013-2014 school year

Our school believes that it is a tremendous compliment for so many parents to request out-of-county and within county transfers to our school. The data for the last three years is below.

2012-13

  Within County Transfers-20

  Out of County Transfers-9

2013-14

  Within County Transfers-43

  Out of County Transfers-9

2014-15

  Within County Transfers-61

  Out of County Transfers-16

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