Gravette Upper Elementary
- School District: Gravette School District
- School Address: 500 8th Ave SE , Gravette, AR 72736, US
- School Phone: 4797874140
- School Fax: 479874148
- Principal: Dr. Mandy Barrett
- Contact E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Number of Students: 445
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 53%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 3%
- Percent of Special Education: 13%
- White: 87.4%
- Black: 0.4%
- Hispanic: 5.6%
- Asian: 0.9%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0.6%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 2.8%
- Multiracial: 2.3%
- Other: 0%
Gravette Upper Elementary is a “hidden jewel” located in the very northwest corner of Arkansas. Our school's vision statement "UNITED We Learn, Lead, and Succeed" was built upon the premise of what Professional Learning Communities allow us to do as educators. It takes all teachers, staff, parents, students, and community to create an environment focused on what is best in student learning. Our PLC journey began in 2013 with district level teams attending the PLC Summit in Tulsa, OK. Upon returning and sharing with building level teams, it was realized that this was a direction in which we wanted to focus our efforts. Each school year since that time Gravette Upper Elementary has been able to send representatives to additional PLC and RTI Summits in Tulsa, Ok; Atlanta, GA; and Springdale, AR. Teachers and administrators have been able to attend small group sessions with Cassandra Erkens and John Wink at our local co-op focused on learning targets and common assessments. Most recently, the Gravette School District contracted with Solution Tree to bring in Tim Brown and David Jones, our very own PLC coaches, assuring that we have acquired and continue to receive all of the tools necessary to implement Professional Learning Communities with deep skill and proficiency.
Another important piece to the successful implementation of our PLCs was the approval by the Gravette School Board in 2015 to implement an early release of all students at 2:30 p.m. every Friday. For one hour each week, protected time is provided for teachers and staff to meet in grade level, content level, and vertical level teams during the contractual day. This opportunity allows our teachers to use their daily planning time for planning and grade level discussions while PLC time can be focused on student data and instructional decisions. Teachers are able to use this time to analyze formative and summative assessments along with delving into MAP and ACT Aspire Interim data. Having the time to align standards, curriculum, teaching, and assessments, is an imperative piece to assuring there is an in-depth focus on student learning.
In addition to curriculum-focused classroom instruction, teachers are able to provide Tier II small group and Tier III individualized instruction utilizing strategies gained from implementing PLCs with focus and fidelity. Progress monitoring and data analysis occurs on a routine basis in order to closely monitor student growth and achievement. All students maintain a data notebook, allowing them to take ownership in the learning process.
This year Gravette Upper Elementary was identified as having "the highest rate of growth in the state (of Arkansas)" (Office of Education Policy, 2017). We believe that our knowledge and implementation of the PLC process have resulted in substantial academic and behavioral growth in our students. Additional data supports this continued growth among all demographics of our student population.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
Quality Tier I instruction begins with a viable curriculum that spirals throughout our grade levels. When data determines that there is an additional need, Tier II small group instruction is provided to our students both inside the classroom and during interventions. Intense Tier III individual interventions are offered to students who are still struggling to meet the foundational skills and learning targets.
***An electronic student data "wall" using Google Sheets allows all staff to track intervention and enrichment groups that are offered during our daily building-wide intervention time.
***Our Title I teacher and Instructional coach monitor student data focused on Tier II/Tier III students to determine a need for fluid movement between intervention groups.
*** A newly implemented OTUS data tracking/monitoring program allows teachers to quickly and easily pull individual and/or group data. This program also allows the creation of common assessments by DOK level and/or specific standards.
***Common formative assessments are built within teams based upon essential standards/learning targets.
***Weekly protected PLC meetings during teacher contractual time - All Gravette School District personnel are available during this time, allowing for vertical, grade level, and content level teams to meet based on student data reports.
***PBIS Rewards program - electronic points system where students earn recognition for positive behavior as well as academic achievement. Students use his or her points to purchase items from our PTO store each Friday. We have celebrated a 50% drop in student office write-ups since implementing this program three years ago.
***Leader In Me strategies are used with all students to empower them to see themselves as leaders and learners. Enrichment students work with lower level students to offer additional opportunities for reading growth.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
***Re-creation of the Master Schedule to allow grade level common planning periods and 40 minutes of building-wide Intervention/Enrichment protected time 4 days/week.
***Building-wide "What I Need" time, this includes ALL staff - classroom teachers, instructional aides, special education teachers, music, art, PE, library, computers, keyboarding, building principal and counselor along with members of the community from 10:10-10:50 a.m. Monday-Thursday
***Groups are fluid and flexible based upon bi-monthly progress monitoring
***Enrichment surveys for students to have a choice and voice in what they are interested in studying more in-depth
***Math and Literacy Screeners to determine most intense foundational needs
***MAP data to monitor beginning, middle, and end of year growth
***ACT Aspire Interims to monitor essential standards
***All data entered into OTUS data program to help in analyzing individual and group growth
***Dyslexic Interventionist monitors and provides special instruction for students that have been identified with dyslexic characteristics three times per week.
***During the 21st Century after school program, teachers are committed to focus on Tier II targeted interventions.
***A three week 21st Century summer school program is offered to all students K-8 each summer. During this time teachers are able to focus on continuing grade level curriculum as well as offering interventions for identified students.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
Gravette Upper Elementary teams are guided by the four corollary questions of PLCs:
1. What do we want our students to learn? (essential standards)
2. How will we know when they've learned? (team developed common assessments)
3. What will we do if they don't learn? (interventions)
4. What will we do if they already know it? (enrichment)
***District Leadership Team - focused on assisting with district-level decisions, vertical curriculum analysis, and Arkansas State requirements.
***Building Leadership Team - focused on building-level decisions regarding Positive Behavior Supports, Character Education, Student Celebrations, and Curriculum Alignment.
***PLC Task Force Team - focused on assuring PLCs are ran with consistency and fidelity.
***SPRINT Team - focused on assisting teachers of students who may need additional support through our special education department.
***Grade level content teams meet weekly during planning times to create and analyze common assessments.
***Vertical content teams meet monthly during the scheduled PLC time to assure consistency in curriculum as well as monitoring student growth.
***During the 2016-17 school year teachers received training on the importance of unwrapping standards, identifying learning targets, and determining depth of knowledge. With this new information teachers spent the summer deciding on the Essential Standards that began the process of unwrapping those standards. Teachers now have a deeper understanding and focus of how to use learning targets to build common assessments and monitor student growth.
***Our 3rd grade team meets quarterly with the 2nd grade team from Glenn Duffy Elementary to coordinate efforts in streamlining curriculum.
***Our 5th grade team meets quarterly with the 6th grade team from Gravette Middle School to assure that we are preparing our students for the middle school curriculum.
***A Goggle folder is maintained to share team agendas. This allows access throughout the team, grade level, and support staff. Collaborative team topics include but are not limited to: Essential Standards, developing learning targets, creating SMART goals, developing common formative assessments, analyzing formative and summative assessment data, discussing teaching strategies, and identifying students for Tier II and Tier III interventions.
***Celebrations of success are shared at the beginning of every PLC for the purpose of reminding teachers of the focal point - student success! As a principal, this provides me with an opportunity to improve the school climate by sharing and recognizing what matters most, accountability for the PLC process and what we are committed to focusing on as a school.
Additional Achievement Data
Achievement Growth Rates by Grade 3 Achievement, Arkansas 2009-2015
Additional data to support Gravette Upper Elementary Achievement Growth can be accessed at: https://officeforedpolicy.com/2017/12/13/where-do-arkansas-students-learn-the-most/
"Arkansas School Where Students Learn the Most" (Office of Education Blog, 2017) (https://officeforedpolicy.com/2017/12/13/where-do-arkansas-students-learn-the-most/)
ADVANC-Ed Accredited School (2016)
#RISEArkansas School - focused on Reading Instruction in Arkansas (2017)
Rewards & Recognition Teacher Stipends for Achievement Growth from the State of Arkansas (2015)
Gravette Upper Elementary Principal and Gravette School District Assistant Superintendent invited to present our success with PLCs at the Arkansas State School Board Association Conference in Little Rock (Fall, 2017).