St. Andrews School
- Number of Students: 440
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 0%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 0%
- Percent of Special Education: 2%
In June 2011, each staff member was asked to complete a survey asking 3 questions: 1. What do we do real well? 2. What do we need to improve? 3. What do you expect of the new principal? Most staff, overwhelmingly, stated that they wanted to have more time to collaborate. This was the beginning of our PLC/RTI journey. Data was collected for reading/attendance/behaviour, etc. to be able to present our 'current reality' to all staff. What was surprising was that in June 2011, 73% of all primary students and 81% of all intermediate students were reading at grade level - this simply was not good enough. Conversations were started with each teacher and each grade group about what they were noticing with their reading results and instruction in general. Overwhelmingly, our data needed to get better and we needed to look at what we are teaching in our school. In March 2012, at our school PD, the concepts behind the theory and practise of PLC's was introduced. As grade groups and specialty groups, we looked through our English Language Arts curriculum to identify each grade groups 'essential outcomes' and target skills. In April, 2012, our 2 Resource Teachers went to a Solution Tree event in Winnipeg focussed on RTI (Mike Mattos, Chris Weber, and Auston Buffman presented). Initially, they were hesitant but when they returned they were convinced that our school needed to make a change. We now had some of the tools and impetus in place to make a change. In June 2012, at another school PD we created team norms for each of our grade groups which would begin in Sept. 2012. In Sept. 2012, a staff member led the teaching staff through a book study during staff meetings. Our book was, 'Learning by Doing'. An RTI structure was also put in place through the leadership of our Resource staff, but the collective efforts of all staff. In order to have a well thought out system of RTI, we needed to have a strong PLC focus. As grade teams we continually looked at our essential outcomes and data that was collected throughout the year. In 2013, the staff were led through a process to re-write our school Mission and Vision statements that would fully illustrate that we are a school where 'all' students learn.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
We have embraced and challenged ourselves as a school to change our thinking that assessment is only a means to determine a 'mark' to providing valuable information on how students are learning and to guide further instruction. We collect reading data 3-4 times per year and that data gets discussed and disseminated at our grade team meetings. We collect writing data 2 times per year through a fall and spring school wide write. Using a writing rubric that is seperated into 4 categories of the writing process, teachers are able to determine the specifics of why a student or group of students are struggling. Our incoming Kindergarten students are each assessed on a variety of skills, which allows our Kindergarten teachers to tailor make RTI (WIN groups at our school - What I Need) groups to start the first week of September of each year. As well, our Resource teachers and support staff administer a very specific reading assessment 3 times per year called the PASS. It is an assessment tool that provides us with detailed information from our struggling readers (info. such as, double consonants, double vowel, phoneme awareness, etc.) With this specific data, in our WIN groups, our grade groups can have specific information to plan for student needs. Each grade group also employs common formative assessment (cfa) tools to determine learning through class instruction as well as during our intervention times. Grade group teachers determine the target skills that they want to collect student information on and begin with an end in mind in creating their cfa's These are implemented by each grade group a number of times per target skill per reporting term. These may be as simple as an exit slip or more entailed such as a writing sample.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
With the planning of Leadership Team and the implementation of our classroom teachers, each student is provided with regularly scheduled intervention time. We operate on a '6 day school cycle' in Manitoba. Every other day, grade groups have a minimum of 30 minutes scheduled for intervention time (90 minutes per cycle). The first intervention time occurs within the daily classroom instruction. The students that are identified as struggling with a specific skill or concept are then scheduled into their WIN groups which is dependent upon the amount of time needed to master the target skill. Almost all of our grade groups have 3 classrooms per grade. Students are shared among the three classroom teachers in the grade. We also complement the three classroom teachers with upto 4-5 Education Assistants (EA's) per WIN block. Therefore, upwards of 7 - 8 adults support specific student learning. We place the most 'needy' students (our struggling ones) in the hands of the most trained adult - the classroom teachers. The EA's will instruct the remaining students in small groups where they may be reinforcing the taget skills in Language Arts/Math or providing extension activities in these curricular areas. These reinforcement/extension groups are planned by the teachers in the grade and carried out by the EA's. We encourage regular contact time between the EA's and the classroom teachers into their schedules whereby the EA's and classroom teachers are able to meet and discuss progress of students and areas that may need further reinforcement or extension. If, after a certain period of time a student still is having trouble mastering the target skill they will then work their way up the different levels of Tier support and may be working in small groups or 1 to 1 with our Resource teachers. When students are still demonstrating that they require additional time and support in small groups with our Resource teachers, the classroom teacher and Resource teacher plan when and how the best time for the student(s) to receive additional time and support will occur. For example, the student(s) will not be missing any new core instruction. This can be done one of 2 ways: if the Resource teacher can utilize their small group time to pre-teach new core classroom concepts and the best venue is 1 to 1 then the classroom teacher and Resource teacher utilize that strategy or the classroom teacher and resource teacher may agree that the student(s) can be 'caught up' to the new target skill that same day by the classroom teacher at a different time. Also, the classroom teacher and the Resource teacher will plan, as best as best as possible, using their schedules to ensure that the small group teaching is happening when the students, in class, are working on something similar. As an example we utilize the the LIPS program (a research based phonemic awareness program) for these Tier 2/3 students. When our Resource teacher works in small groups with these students on LIPS, the classroom teacher will also be working on Literacy based skills in class (ie. spelling, guided reading, etc.) These students, that are working in these small groups, require additional support to master foundation target skills in their grade groups. We want to catch them up as best as we can rather than having them not understand the instruction back in class. If, after that period the student is still demonstrating a lack of understanding we inolve our student support team consisting of resource staff, admin, classroom teachers, divisional clinicians to determine our next direction of support.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
Each grade team is provided 30 minutes per cycle to meet and plan. We have 3 classrooms per grade. Our P.E. and Music dept. have built into their schedules where they will have the 3 classrooms per grade once per cylce in PE and alternating cylces in Music for choir. As well, the admin. will take the grade group of students to free up the grade teachers if additional time is needed. Each grade team has at its basis the 4 driving questions of the PLC to work through. Each grade team has also planned a English Language Arts 'Pacing Guide' that outlines target skills that grade teams want students to master (written as 'I can ...' statements), suggested activities to accomplish the target skill and timelines for embedded formative and summative assements. This coming year, our school Leadership team will be focussing PD on 'becoming high performing grade teams.'
The Province of Manitoba does not publicize student data scores, other than provincial reading & mental math results in gr. 3. I am only able to draw comparison to those reported gr. 3 results. I will also be able to show our growth, as a school, over the past several years.
Reading Data (% of students meeting grade level expectations)
June 2011 - primary (K-3) - 73% intermediate (gr. 4-6) - 81%
June 2012 - primary (K-3) - 76% intermediate (gr. 4-6) - 87%
% of gr. 3 students meeting grade level = 64% in division & 55% in Province
June 2013 - primary (K-3) - 82% intermediate (gr. 4-6) - 88%
% of gr. 3 students meeting grade level = 63% in division & 57% in Province
June 2014 - primary (K-3) - 84% intermediate (gr. 4-6) - 90%
% of gr. 3 students meeting grade level = 62% in division & 57% in Province
June 2015 - primary (K-3) - 90% intermediate (gr. 4-6) - 92%
% of gr. 3 students meeting grade level = 63% in division & 58% in Province
June 2016 - primary (K-3) - 93% intermediate (gr. 4-6) - 96%
Writing Data (% of students meeting grade level expectations)
June 2013 - primary (K-3) - 76% intermediate (gr. 4-6) - 69%
June 2014 - primary (K-3) - 70% intermediate (gr. 4-6) - 76%
June 2015 - primary (K-3) - 76% intermediate (gr. 4-6) - 78%
June 2016 - primary (K-3) - 64% intermediate (gr. 4-6) - 81%
Mental Math (% of students meeting grade level expectations)
June 2016 - primary (gr. 1-3) - 82% (add) intermediate (gr. 4-6) - 89% (multi.)
June 2016 - primary (gr. 1-3) - 66% (subt.) intermediate (gr. 4-6) - 78% (divis.)