Brookview Elementary

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

Our PLC journey started with a staff book study on Results Now by Mike Schmoker.  This text started many discussions and continued learning concerning PLCs and the potential of PLCs in our building and district.  That summer a group of teachers from our building leadership team, along with building administrators, attended the PLCs At Work Institute.  All who attended from Brookview Elementary were energized and excited about implementing PLCs.

After the conference the building leadership team met to discuss how to share their learning with the staff.  That team focused on how to create staff excitement around the potential impact of PLCs in improving teaching and learning at Brookview.  Structures were established regarding the PLC elements that would be tight vs. loose as we worked to establish a clear vision for our building.  The information was shared with staff and we began the first year of our journey in PLCs.  

The first few years focused on developing effective PLC teams along with understanding the PLC process.  Multiple professional development sessions were devoted to learning about the PLC process.  As a district, we created a visual that represents that process called the PLC Triangle.  The cornerstone of our visual is our three guiding questions.

  • What do we want students to know?

  • How will we know they have learned it?

  • What will we do if students don’t know or have already learned it?

The visual has a triangle in the center.  Around each of the sides of the triangle is one of the above guiding questions.  Inside the triangle we placed the key components for each question in a circular pattern.  Time was spent on the understanding and application of each component of the triangle.

Although we were implementing PLCs we found that some PLC teams desired more direction regarding how to best focus on their PLC meeting time.  The building leadership team decided that PLC teams would start writing SMART goals connected to the annual building academic and cultural goals.  SMART goals were used every 4 -6 weeks connected to the specific grade levels standards, benchmarks, and objectives.  Teams worked through the PLC Triangle for each SMART goal.  Our agenda and note taking forms changed to help align our work with the SMART goals.  Each grade level kept track of what they did by putting their work under one of the following three categories: content & instruction, assessment, or problem solving.

Another important realization was the factor that mutual trust and respect is the key factor in creating successful PLCS.  We felt our building had a collaborative and trusting culture, but noted the need to specifically focus on creating an environment where staff felt free to take risks.  A portion of each professional learning opportunity is focused on team building exercises and/or working among PLC teams.  These activities ranged from having to work together to complete a task to understanding different personality types through DISC training.  Monthly vertical PLCs were established to foster these relationships and communication across grade levels and content areas.  

Although we have been implementing PLCs for seven years we refine our PLC practices each year to ensure that all students are learning at high levels.  Staff members are provided with ongoing professional learning opportunities in the building, district, and through Solution Tree PLCs at Work Institutes.  At the beginning of the year we ask teams to determine roles and norms for the year.  We now have a PLC room that houses tables for PLC teams to meet.  In this room, there is an agenda wall that guides the day’s work as well as upcoming PLC meetings, and data boards that display and monitors student growth over the course of the year.  Each PLC team is in charge of their meeting agenda and determines how they will use their PLC time to make it most effective for each individual team.    

 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Grade level PLC teams write and monitor SMART goals throughout the course of the year to monitor student learning.  These SMART goals align with the overarching building goals and target the needs of the students at each individual grade level.  PLC teams examine data to determine need areas for the development of their SMART goal.  Baseline data is collected and the team works to set an achievable goal based on that data.  PLC teams clarify the essential learning goals, determine appropriate strategies and action steps, find resources, consider appropriate timelines, and develop common formative assessments to help monitor their progress toward the outcomes prior to instruction.  Student data is collected and analyzed within the PLC teams as a means for reflection and collective brainstorming.  Support staff members are included in these conversations (reading lab, ESL, the extended learning program, special education, counseling, the instructional coach, and building administration).  Instructional decisions, interventions, and future goals are based on the results of these conversations and student data.  

In the formal weekly PLC meeting, SMART goals are monitored and progress is assessed as staff work through the steps of the PLC Triangle.  Students not making progress in a specific area are logged on the building intervention log.  This log communicates students we have specific concerns about to support staff and administration, and prompts further problem-solving discussions and monitoring.  Additionally, students who already know or have already learned the expected learning goals are discussed in a similar fashion.  

In addition to SMART goals, data boards are used to track student progress over time.  Data boards provide a visual representation of how students are moving, the rate in which they are moving, and their performance related to the expectations at various times throughout the year.  These boards have helped teachers deepen their awareness of individual student data across the grade level as a whole rather than just those students in their classroom.  This visual representation of individual student data and growth has been very valuable in ensuring all kids are moving forward in their learning.  Interventions and/or services are considered for students achieving above and below expectations.  These data boards have also been critical in ensuring that our building support services are truly providing support to the students most in need.  

 

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

As data is collected and analyzed in PLC teams, problem solving related to instruction and student need occurs.  Core content areas are structured in a workshop model throughout the school day.  This provides all students the access to a targeted core-instruction through a  minilesson on one specific topic.  At the conclusion of the minilesson, application activities begin.  The Gradual Release of Responsibility is used to support students in their new learning.  Teachers use a variety of grouping patterns; whole group, small group, and 1:1, depending on student needs.  As data shows that students are not progressing, or not progressing at an adequate rate in a particular area, interventions begin to occur.  Problem solving begins in the PLC teams.  Teachers begin reflecting on their practices and conferring with their PLC team to gather additional strategies.  These problem-solving conversations lead to suggestions for various groupings, additional resources, and creative thinking about best ways to meet the students at their current level.  With the understanding that these are all our students, at times, teachers may observe peers to see strategies in action or cross-classroom groupings may be formed to target a specific need. 

To help monitor interventions that become more formal a MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Support) packet is opened and parents are made aware that an intervention will be occurring.  PLC teams and appropriate support staff help to determine the appropriate intervention and optimal way to collect student data.  

The next tier of intervention is supplemental.  At this level group sizes are reduced.  Students have access to Core Instruction plus more frequent small group and differentiated instruction for students who need additional support.  There is an increase in frequency and duration.  Data is collected more frequently and consistently.  Interventions could include reading lab, ESL, the extended learning program (ELP), the area education agency (AEA), counseling, or instructional coach & administrative supports.

The third tier of intervention is Intensive.  Intensive intervention entails 1:1 instruction, core instruction (DAILY small group & differentiated instruction) plus additional targeted lesson(s), increased frequency & duration compared to supplemental, and more formal data collection - who, what, where, & when.  Administrators, instructional coach, AEA, parents, and the classroom teacher are all involved in the problem-solving at the intensive stage.

In sum, PLC teams are the first layer of intervention.  Depending on need and student knowledge, additional staff are involved in the problem solving and intervention.  A MTSS packet is opened when it goes beyond core plus more instruction, needing increased frequency & duration, and when data is discrepant from peers using multiple sources.  The goal is early intervention.

It is important to note that interventions and MTSS packets occur with students learning at high levels as much as with students who may be struggling.  Anywhere from 29%-70% of students in a given grade level at Brookview have been identified as learning at advanced levels on state tests.  Meeting the needs of all students means that these learners are provided with opportunities to extend their learning as well.  

 

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

Brookview Elementary has implemented many different strategies to improve student learning through PLC teams.  We have focused on the structure of PLCs, relationship building, and understanding and valuing student data.

In order for PLCs to be successful there has to be scheduled weekly time devoted to it. Kindergarten through 2nd grade PLC teams meet one day a week while 3rd through 5th grade and related arts meet another day.  Support staff that includes reading lab, ESL, the extended learning program (ELP), special education, counseling, the instructional coach, and building administration attach with different grade levels based upon need and topics.  We have found that this structure works best so that teams have the opportunity for cross grade level conversations.  It has also allowed support staff the time to attach to multiple PLCs.  

Along with weekly meetings, PLC teams also meet during professional learning opportunities throughout the year.  During our bimonthly, early-dismissal professional development time we build in time for PLCs or PLC reflection.  Each PLC team also meets formally with the instructional coach three times a year for a half day.  These half-day trainings focus on working through the PLC Triangle with the current grade level SMART goal.

Another important aspect of PLCs is relationship building.  Each member of the PLC has to have mutual trust and respect for each other.  This is created through team building exercises, identifying areas of strength and weakness, social activities, and a positive school culture.  We try to focus on all of these aspects through our professional development time.  A few favorite activities have been DISC training, summer book clubs, dodge ball, and our yearly staff BBQ.

Once you have the structure and an effective team you can focus on student data.  Each PLC creates their own assessment for their current SMART goal.  Opportunities for peer review and professional dialogue regarding the observations are provided.  Individuals brings back their data to share with the PLC team.  We encourage the sharing of student work samples.  Sharing work samples allows teams to check the inter-rater reliability of the assessment.  Through sharing student data teams deepen their understanding of content and what the standard truly means for their students.  Some teams use percentages showcasing the students who are meeting or exceeding the standard as well.  This helps teams determine which instructional strategies have been effective in teaching the skill or strategy.  However, mere percentages do not tell the story of individual students.  With this in mind, teams share individual student progress data as we have moved to focus on being responsible for the learning of kids in all classrooms.  

Data is not only discussed while working through the PLC process, but PLC teams also look at summative assessment data.  This data is used at least three times a year to monitor student growth through data boards.  These data boards are visual representations that showcase student’s growth over time.  Students who are achieving above or below the expectation at that time are considered for services or interventions.

 

2013-2014 Iowa Assessment Achievement Data 

Reading Performance

Prof.

Adv.

Int.

Low

Iowa

3rd Grade

76.6%

20.9%

55.6%

23.4%

Brookview

91.3%

31.1%

60.2%

8.7%

 

 

 

 

 

 Iowa

4th Grade

75.2%

27.2%

48.0%

24.8%

Brookview

85.1%

40.5%

44.6%

14.9%

 

 

 

 

 

Iowa

5th Grade

76.2%

28.1%

48.0%

23.8%

Brookview

 

 

92.1%

54.5%

37.6%

7.9%  

Math Performance

Prof.

Adv.

Int.

Low

 Iowa

3rd Grade

79.9%

27.7%

52.2%

20.1%

Brookview

88.3%

46.6%

41.7%

11.7%

 

 

 

 

 

Iowa

4th Grade

79.1%

28.6%

50.4%

20.9%

Brookview

 

87.8%

51.4%

36.5%

12.2%

 

 

 

 

 

 Iowa

5th Grade

77.0%

29.0%

48.0%

23.0%

Brookview

 

93.1%

70.3%

22.8%

6.9% 

  

2012-2013 Iowa Assessment Achievement Data 

Reading Performance

Prof.

Adv.

Int.

Low

 Iowa

3rd Grade

75.7%

16.5%

59.2%

24.3%

Brookview

85.2%

29.5%

55.7%

14.8%

 

 

 

 

 

 Iowa

4th Grade

74.8%

19.2%

55.6%

25.2%

Brookview

85.6%

32.4%

53.2%

14.4%

 

 

 

 

 

 Iowa

5th Grade

75.0%

15.5%

59.5%

25.0%

Brookview

89.8%

35.2%

54.5%

10.2%

  

 

Math Performance

Prof.

Adv.

Int.

Low

Iowa

3rd Grade

77.2%

22.5%

54.7%

22.8%

Brookview

90.9%

42.0%

48.9%

9.1%

 

 

 

 

 

 Iowa

4th Grade

78.1%

22.8%

55.4%

21.9%

Brookview

92.9%

46.4%

46.4%

7.1%

 

 

 

 

 

Iowa

5th Grade

78.2%

24.6%

53.7%

21.8%

Brookview

93.3%

59.6%

33.7%

6.7% 

 

 

2011-2012 Iowa Assessment Achievement Data 

Reading Performance

Prof.

Adv.

Int.

Low

 Iowa

3rd Grade

76.8%

17.3%

59.6%

23.2%

Brookview

88.9%

28.7%

60.2%

11.1%

 

 

 

 

 

Iowa

4th Grade

74.4%

17.8%

56.6%

25.6%

Brookview

77.3%

33.0%

44.3%

22.7%

 

 

 

 

 

 Iowa

5th Grade

74.3%

14.9%

59.4%

25.7%

Brookview

 

94.9%

43.9%

51.0%

5.1%  

 

Math Performance

Prof.

Adv.

Int.

Low

 Iowa

3rd Grade

79.5%

23.3%

56.2%

20.5%

Brookview

92.6%

45.4%

47.2%

7.4%

 

 

 

 

 

 Iowa

4th Grade

78.2%

22.0%

56.2%

21.8%

Brookview

83.1%

38.2%

44.9%

16.9%

 

 

 

 

 

Iowa

5th Grade

78.0%

23.4%

54.6%

22.0%

Brookview

 

96.9%

62.2%

34.7%

3.1%

 

 

We are quite proud of both the academic and personal accomplishments of all of our stakeholders over the years.  As a whole, our students continue to score among the highest in the district and in the state.  In addition to our building and staff achievements highlighted below, our student accomplishments are diverse and range from winning Junior Miss Iowa to Chess Club Champions to presenting at the Iowa ACT Conference.  Unfortunately there would be too many individual student accomplishments to accurately list.  Below is a list of building and staff achievements that have transpired since the building opened in 2001.

 

Achievements and Recognition

Building:

  • Achieved building academic and behavior goals for the past 10 years

  • Outperformed district average in all subtests on the reading and math MAP battery

  • Elementary Principal of the Year 2010

  • National Distinguished Principal Recipient 2010

  • Acknowledged as one of the top 3 elementary schools in the state of Iowa according to the Niche 2015 School Rankings

  • First Franklin Covey Lighthouse School in Iowa 2015

 

Staff:

  • Golden Apple Award Recipients 2005 & 2008

  • Iowa Teacher of the Year 2011

  • Exxon Mobil Teachers Academy Attendee 2011

  • A Day Made Better Award Recipients 2011 & 2013

  • Iowa Teacher of the Year Nominee(s) 2012 & 2015

  • Transforming the Task with Number Choice Co-Author 2013

  • NCTM National Conference Speaker 2013

  • Honeywell Educators Space Camp Attendee 2014

  • Excellence in Teaching Award 2014

  • PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator Award 2015

  • Camp Adventure Child & Youth Services Leadership Award 2015

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