John F Kennedy High School

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

Our PLC Story

In 2007, Kennedy High School had a reputation for being an underachieving school that parents did not want to send their students to. Major concerns for parents were student safety, exposure to rigor, very little school pride, and low A-G eligibility. This was perpetuated by stabbings in two consecutive years, an A-G rate of under 30%, and over 300 suspensions in 2007-2008 school year. This trend continued for one more year. In 2009, parents and students were asked for input regarding what changes they needed to see at the site and they were very clear. Parents wanted their students to feel “connected” to the school. Students wanted opportunities to advance and be college eligible. Parents wanted students to feel safe and respected at school. Finally, parents and students both wanted to see much fewer suspensions and particularly less suspensions for students of color. These parent concerns became part of our shift towards changing the trends that had plagued our school for years. Parent and student representative groups became an integral part of our planning through PTSA, School Site Council, ASB and information nights.

There is an RTI Steering Committee that has been the nucleus of this effort. This committee is responsible for planning direction, professional development, monitoring of effectiveness, and innovation in regards to next steps. As a result of becoming a true guiding coalition, the RTI Steering Committee has since been referred to as The Jedi Council due to their careful planning and training of all staff. The Implementation of School-Wide RTI started with The Steering Committee doing a 4 hour PD with all teachers where we shared the basics of RTI with departments. Shortly after, the staff was brought in as a whole and has been voting on every element of this process as a collective group. This established our RTI journey as a true grass roots movement.

The first two years of implementation were spent developing norms and establishing practices that supported professional Learning Communities. We developed Essential Standards and Formative Assessments during these times. In addition to this, we developed Essential Behaviors for our school as well. The third year, we began looking at how we could provide intervention time within the school day to reach our most needy students. The staff voted to change the instructional school day and provide for 28 minute “RTI” time every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. In September of 2017, the Kennedy staff began to create several prototypes in an effort to pull students for RTI during this time. After reflection and discussion of data, we realized that the 28 minute period was only serving 10% of our students. In April of 2018, the staff voted to adopt a supplemental scheduling software where every teacher could offer either intervention or enrichment during this time. The result was the development of Titan Up Time. This innovation has proven to target the entire student body, while making intervention a priority. Each day, there are between 50 to 60 different sessions offered for intervention and enrichment.

In addition to Titan Up time, an intervention team was form to gather and analyze data  in regards to grades, attendance, and behavior. This led to the creation of a Tier 2 System of “Will” Intervention. In April of 2018, GA2NAS was formed as a course and intervention program to build positive mindsets and effective habits in our most marginalized students. GA2NAS is an acronym for Generating Attitudes / Accountability Necessary for Academic Success. The sessions were so well received that Kennedy High School petitioned the Board of Education to make GA2NAS a course in the FUSD catalog. In 2019, the course began as a Tier 3 intensive intervention at JFK. As a result of this course, and the buy-in from students, the grades, attendance, and negative behaviors of our students have improved dramatically. In 2017, there were 130 students who were suspended at JFKHS. In 2018, that number dropped to 78. In 2019, that number dropped to just 60.

In short, the entire school culture is built from an RTI model and the staff has used the PLC process to successfully navigate the RTI pyramid, changing the culture and expectations of our school forever. In 2019, John F Kennedy High School was honored as a California Distinguished School for our work to close the achievement gap for consecutive years. To this day, we still consider our school to be evolving and are looking for more innovative ways to serve our students.

Facilitating A Culture of Continuous Improvement

Kennedy High School has made a very deliberate effort to find ways to address these goals based on our unique site needs. We have used data collection and surveys to identify the specific needs and supports as they relate to our site. While there are goals for building Professional Learning Communities, Kennedy has developed a PLC culture where there is 90% participation even though participation is optional. The 4x4 block schedule allows for students to take 8 classes each year, which increases opportunities for students to take A-G courses. The title “All Means All” refers to the fact that every student at Kennedy High School has the opportunity and exposure to a wide range of supports described in this narrative. Every single student at our school has been exposed to this system. This is where equitable exposure makes a difference.

Kennedy has spent the last 4 years using Title I funding to create opportunities for professional development, technology, and collaboration time to develop a true RTI model at our site. The most valuable resource we have is our teaching staff. We have invested heavily in time and professional development in an effort to bring this culture to our school. We have also invested in programming and software which allows us to assess students and disaggregate data in order to make decisions that have reversed the trends mentioned above.

JFK has implemented a new approach to student achievement by developing a Professional Learning Community (PLC) model. In this model, the school staff is learning to use effective collaboration, formative and summative assessments, data analysis, and targeted interventions within the school day to improve the experience of every student at JFK. Using this model, the staff has developed common norms and agreements to define how they move forward in positive changes for the benefit of their students. This approach is guided by the Four Essential Questions of PLC and has led the staff to determine areas of need for the school.

Each year, the Leadership Team meet to determine the effectiveness our system of support and intervention.

In addition to this, we look at systems and ask the following questions:

  • What is working for us?
  • What needs to be improved?
  • What is not working?
  • What is missing?

In constantly collecting data, having time to meet, and analyzing systems of intervention and support, our school has continued to evolve in many areas of support. What was necessary 2 years ago is not necessarily needed or effective today. We are finding that in order to be successful, we must constantly analyze our programs for effectiveness. In this sense, our school site is constantly still developing our system of intervention and support, and never feel as if we have “completed” the road to RTI.

 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Creating and Implementing a Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum

Teachers at Kennedy meet for one hour each week to work on identifying essential standards, creating common assessments, analyzing student data, and providing intervention, enrichment, and support within the school day for all students. Students receive intervention, support, or enrichment during a 28 minute period during the school day. This period is known as Titan Up Time, and it occurs 4 days per week. Furthermore, interventions are categorized by academic (SKILL) or social-emotional / behavioral (WILL). This model is based on a number of very important factors which provide opportunities for all students. While many schools may operate as PLCs, few have applied the practice of effective collaboration to a particular concept and end. Kennedy High School has applied the collaborative nature of PLCs and combined that with the philosophy of the RTI Pyramid. The result has been a completely changed school where students are extremely clear about what they need to know, and are given the opportunity to receive support for the areas in which they are struggling. This has provided a guaranteed and viable curriculum for all students at JFKHS.

This system is driven by what are known as the 4 Essential Questions:

(1) What do we want students to learn?

(2) How will we know if students are learning?

(3) How do we respond when students are not learning?

(4) How do we respond when students have already learned?

The first two years of implementation were spent developing norms and establishing practices that supported professional Learning Communities. We developed Essential Standards and Formative Assessments during these times. In addition to this, we developed Essential Behaviors for our school as well. The third year, we began looking at how we could provide intervention time within the school day to reach our most needy students. The staff voted to change the instructional school day and provide for 28 minute “RTI” time every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. In September of 2017, the Kennedy staff began to create several prototypes in an effort to pull students for RTI during this time. After reflection and discussion of data, we realized that the 28 minute period was only serving 10% of our students. In April of 2018, the staff voted to adopt a supplemental scheduling software where every teacher could offer either intervention or enrichment during this time. The result was the development of Titan Up Time. This innovation has proven to target the entire student body, while making intervention a priority. Each day, there are between 50 to 60 different sessions offered for intervention and enrichment.

Monitoring Student Learning On A Timely Basis

The Staff has adopted a process of informal and formal assessments to monitor student learning. They use results of these assessments to drive instructional practice and identify students for intervention. PLCs look at results from assessments and make informed decisions about curriculum based on those decisions. In 2017, our English Department gave a reading assessment to every 9th grader at Kennedy. The results showed that 58% of our 9th grade students were reading 3 or more grades below grade level. 23% of our 9th grade students were reading 1-2 grades below grade level, and only 19% of our 9th grade students were reading on grade level. As a result of these findings, the department instituted additional support for every 9th grader in every 9th grade English class. After 6 months of deliberate instruction and intervention students were assessed on reading levels again. The post assessment showed that the number of 9th grade students reading on grade level doubled to 38%. The number of students reading 3 or more grades below grade levels dropped to 34%. All departments are using collaboration time in similar ways to drive instructional practices based on data analysis.

The Site Intervention Team is constantly collecting data to measure the effectiveness of our Titan Up Time as well as identifying students for behavioral / emotional support. There is an Intervention Coordinator who cross references grades, attendance, and discipline every 10 weeks and identifies students for Tier 2 Support. There is also a PBIS Specialist who identifies every student who has had a major discipline incident and provides support and guidance to prevent these behaviors from reoccurring. There are 4 more members of the intervention team who monitor the students receiving intervention in an effort to define the best approaches and dispose of approaches that are ineffective.

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

Kennedy High School has created a system where students are given 28 minutes within the school day to receive intervention (“will” or “skill”) or extension (explore) activities. This is known as Titan Up time. This is a 3 tiered system that meets the needs of all students. The motto is “Everybody has a job to do. Everybody has a place to be. Everybody has to Titan Up. In essence, the school completely shuts down for these 28 minutes, and 1,379 students make their way to either an Intervention session or an Open / Explore session.

Teachers create Intervention sessions at least once per week, and Explore sessions the rest of the week. A student logs onto the calendar and chooses their “Explore” sessions each day. These are a large range of open session (SAT Prep, Income Taxes, Documentaries, Spanish Cafes, Athletic Team Film Study, Meditation, Book Clubs, Tutoring, etc.) Meanwhile, teachers have used the PLC process and data to identify students who need additional support in meeting learning targets. These teachers have the ability to create sessions for intervention and require students to attend. Samples of these session are: Factoring Equations, Data Collection / Analysis (science), Reading Fluency, Quiz re-takes, etc.)

The fact that the school shuts down for this period each day has made Titan Up time a success. The result is that in a given week, students are exposed to almost 2 hours of time within the school day to extend their learning or receive immediate intervention before they fail.

Titan Up is made possible by two necessary components:

  1. All teachers have agreed to break “The Golden Rule of Schools” – Thou shall not adjust the master schedule unless there is a school assembly. JFK staff agreed that if we could change the master schedule for rallies, assemblies, etc., we could most definitely change the schedule for the benefit of student learning. All teacher agree to do their part and all staff holds this time as sacred.
  2. Teachers follow the PLC process to fill tier 2 intervention sessions “by student, by standard”. This means that we agree to have data tell the story, and more importantly, that we follow the model of RTI to support student learning.

Titan Up time is a culmination of All 4 of the Essential Questions working in the following manner:

  1. What do we want students to learn?  JFK Teams Identify Essential Standards and set Learning Targets for student success.
  2. How do we know if they are learning? JFK Teams create Formative Assessments that provide immediate feedback for student progress towards Learning Targets.
  3. How do we respond when students are not learning? Titan Up time is designed to have students called for intervention and support within the school day.
  4. How do we respond when students already know it? Titan Up time provides time for students who have met learning targets to explore sessions which offer enrichment, balance, or stress relief.

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

Teachers at Kennedy meet for one hour each week to work on identifying essential standards, creating common assessments, analyzing student data, and providing intervention, enrichment, and support within the school day for all students. In addition to discussing student interventions, teams also share best practices and approaches to student learning.  In August, 2017, Kennedy hosted Nicole Dimich Vagle from Solution Tree to do a 2 day Professional Development based on the Design in Five approach to student learning and assessment. As a result of the professional development, our teams are trained in the same way to improve student learning. The process in which our staff approaches this follows the Design In Five model:

Phase 1:          Teachers choose Essential Standards and plan engagement.

Phase 2:          Teachers analyze standards and sketch out Learning Targets / Goals

Phase 3:          Teachers craft as assessment plan which starts with Summative Assessment(s) and then moves backwards to include formative assessments for Learning Targets.

Phase 4:          Teachers create assessments and gathering materials / resources to craft tasks by Cognitive Levels, Rubrics, Constructed Response, Performance Tasks, or Multiple Choice. These assessments are created in our Student Information System Illuminate where student data is instantly accessible from these assessments.

Phase 5:          Teachers then determine how to invest students in these assessments as well as how the results will be reported. We have had success in having students analyze their own scores based on Learning Targets.

While each department is in a different place regarding this approach, it serves as a clearly defined process that all departments are working towards.  The goal here is to provide a process which allows teacher teams to focus their efforts in a way that is not a waste of their time. Each Department chooses the direction and format that they follow, but all formats are aligned with the Four Essential Questions of PLC. Effective meetings are driven by these 5 pieces which build Tiers 1 and 2 for our school site.

Tier 3 supports are created by the Site Intervention Team. The Site Intervention Team is made up of administrators, ELD Specialist, Intervention Specialist, GA2NAS teachers, Title I Specialist, PBIS Specialists, and Accountability Lab teachers. This takes the development of intensive needs and “will” issues out of the hands of teachers so they can focus directly on “skill” interventions in Tiers 1 and 2. The result of this approach has been that all students who receive intervention and support at Kennedy High School have been selected through a data process, where the primary focus of every meeting on campus involves improved student learning and equitable access to a guaranteed and viable curriculum.

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

As a result of a true RTI Model, we have seen a tremendous change in student achievement and investment. In 2018-2019, there were 27 students who were re-designated as English proficient as a result of targeted intervention and support. Our CAASSP scores have showed much more than a closing achievement gap. In fact, in 2018, Kennedy High School had 68% of students in the “Meets or Exceeds Grade Level” category in ELA. A deeper into these numbers will find that the achievement gap for African American, Latino, and Socio-Economically is significantly smaller than any other high school in Fremont. The most rewarding piece of data was the fact that 75% of African American students “Met or Exceeded Grade Level” in ELA. That is 10% higher than the whole school. This data alone was evidence that we were truly meeting our goal of equitable exposure to a guaranteed and viable curriculum.

As we looked at suspensions, we have reduced total suspensions by 46% over a three year period. Further analysis of these numbers shows a reduction of suspensions for all of our identified subgroups.

JFK has used multiple sources of quantitative and qualitative data to measure the success of the PLC goals. Student Development and success is measured through A-G numbers, student pass rates, and student enrollment in Honors and AP coursework. In 2006, the A-G rate for JFK graduates was 23%. In 2018, 59% of JFK seniors were A-G eligible. That is more than double the number in 12 years. Seniors are also interviewed as they graduate to share what made the biggest difference in eligibility. In 2011, 11% of JFK students were enrolled in an Honors or AP course. This year that number has grown to over 46%. This data is compiled and shared with all members of the PLC. The most valuable data collected for student development are the student requests which lead to the development of the master schedule.

A comprehensive parent survey was given at the end of the 2018 School Year in an effort to collect data about how parents felt about the changes at Kennedy. The results from the survey showed that 85% of all parents agreed that Kennedy creates an environment that helps children learn. 92% of parents agreed that Kennedy values the diversity of Children’s background, religions, and beliefs. 82% of parents agreed that Kennedy’s communication about their child’s academic progress is understandable and timely. 86% of parents agreed that Kennedy encourages all students to enroll in challenging courses regardless of racial, ethnic, or socio-economic background. 78% of parents agreed that Kennedy provides effective counseling and social-emotional support for students. 85% of parents agree that Kennedy promotes parental participation in school. 86% of parents agree that Kennedy makes them feel respected and welcome when they visit.

JFK PLCs rely heavily on both quantitative and qualitative data in our ongoing effort to meet the needs of our students and our mission of continuing to provide all students with exposure to a guaranteed and viable curriculum.

2015 - California Gold Ribbon School 

2015 - FUDTA (Fremont Unified Teachers Association) Principal of the Year

2016 - FUSD ACSA Secondary Principal of the Year

2019 - California Distinguiahed School 

CIF (CA Interscholastic Federation) Awards a Championship banner to the three Varsity Teams that have the highest cumulative GPA in Northern California. The following are all of the Academic Championships awarded to Kennedy High School since we began the pLC Journey. Prior to PLC (2013) Kennedy High School had earned 3 Academic Championships in 48 years:

2013 - Academic Championship (Baseball)

2014 - Academic Championship (Baseball)

2014 - Academic Championship (Girls Volleyball)

2015 - Academic Championship (Baseball)

2015 - Academic Championship (Badminton)

2015 - Academic Championship (Boys Volleyball)

2015 - Academic Championship (Girls Tennis)

2015 - Academic Championship (Girls Volleyball)

2016 - Academic Championship (Girls Basketball)

2016 - Academic Championship (Boys Volleyball)

2016 - Academic Championship (Baseball)

 

 

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