Kiski Area Intermediate School
- Number of Students: 561
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 45.29%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 0.1%
- Percent of Special Education: 15%
- White: 92.6%
- Black: 5.3%
- Hispanic: 1.6%
- Asian: 0.5%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0%
- Multiracial: 0%
- Other: 0%
During the 2015-16 school year, our district began exploring the tenets of a Professional Learning Community. This work focused on the "How?" and the "Why?" of the PLC process and it began with our administrative team. We expanded our team to include a "guiding coalition" of teachers from each building/level. Our journey began by addressing the brutal facts below:
1. Teachers, departments, and buildings were functioning in isolation.
2. Our classrooms emphasized "teaching" rather than "learning."
3. Our students were being provided a different learning experience (and curriculum) based on the teacher.
We quickly realized the importance of functioning as a Professional Learning Community and we started working!
At Kiski Area Intermediate School, we began working in a collaborative manner to review the curriculum within each course during the Spring of 2016. Our primary focus was to answer the first question of the PLC Cyle, "What do we want our students to learn?" This question allowed our teachers to narrow their efforts on power skills (eligible content) and begin working towards a guaranteed and viable curriculum for each course. This experience demonstrated a need for time to be built into the school day for our learning teams.
Our master schedule and “team time” have evolved over the last three years. During the 2016-17 school year, each department was provided one day out of the six day cycle (40 minutes) as team time. This time increased during the 2017-18 school year and each team was provided three days out of the six day cycle (40 minutes) to meet in a collaborative manner. However, as we focused on ensuring high levels of learning for all students, it became evident “team time” was a daily necessity. During the 2018-19 school year, our master schedule was revised to ensure all teams received 40 minutes of collaborative time each day.
As collaborative time expanded, questions #2 and #3 of the PLC process became the focus of our professional efforts. During the 2016-17 school year, teams worked together to ensure their newly “revised” curriculum had common formative and summative assessments. In addition, we began providing students with extension or intervention opportunities once throughout the six day cycle. As results of learning (as opposed to simply teaching the content) increased, so did our extension and intervention period. In the 2017-18 school year, each core team was able to access students three days out of the six day cycle to ensure learning or get more in-depth on specific skills. As noted earlier, we revamped our schedule for the 2018-19 school year to include team time each day. However, another contributing factor to our schedule change was to meet our district mission of ensuring high levels of learning for all students. Our new schedule consists of 63 minute Mathematics and ELA blocks as opposed to 41 minute periods. This additional time has transformed our ability to use results and flexible grouping to ensure learning. As for our Science and Social Studies teams, the period length and extension/intervention time remained the same as the previous school year.
Our leadership team and understanding of the PLC process has grown over the last three years. During this process we have used “Learning By Doing” and professional development opportunities through Solution Tree to guide our work. Currently, our teachers are reading Chapter 6, “Creating a Results Orientation in a Professional Learning Community.” As we continue on our path to success, it is vitally important to establish short and long term instructional goals to create interdependence among our teams. SMART Goals provide life and longevity to this never ending approach of learning and collaboration.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
At the beginning of each school year, our Math, ELA, and Science teams begin by reviewing our curriculum through the lense of standardardized testing data. This allows our teams to measure their performance (strengths/weaknesses) by reporting category and formulate hypotheses about “Why?” As we begin looking at question #1 of the PLC process, teams have discussions about teaching methodologies and instructional time dedicated to power standards/eligible content.
As we complete this exercise, our teams (including Social Studies) reflect on their common formative and summative assessments. Teams work through each unit (or set of skills) and create the following game plan:
Create/Revise CFA’s (usually more than one)
Use results to provide extension/intervention opportunities
Discuss goal(s), proficiency, and next steps
Continue to teach content
Provide summative assessment
Discuss goal(s), proficiency, and next steps
This ongoing cycle of assessment and data gathering allows our teams to monitor student learning in real time. This practice has led to increased focus on learning including more intervention opportunities.
We are also using Classroom Diagnostic Tools (Math) and Study Island (ELA & Science) to measure “growth” of learning throughout the year.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
As of the 2018-19 school year, we have built into our master schedule a 38 minute extension/intervention period for all students. This period takes place during the middle of our school day and allows teachers to access students outside of the formal classroom. Teachers use data (proficiency levels) to identify specific students, and participation is not by invitation. This period is tracked through our extension/intervention grid through Google. During this time, teachers are “sharing” students, reteaching materials, and using technology to enhance instruction. In addition, we have increased the length of time that our students spend in Mathematics and ELA. In these classes, extension/intervention is built into the class period. We run parallel classes in our master schedule and encourage teams to flexibly group students (based on results) during instructional time.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
Over the last three years, our master schedule has been altered to increase collaborative time during the school day. We are proud to say that all teams at Kiski Area Intermediate School are provided 40 minutes of team time on a daily basis. This time is built directly into the teacher’s schedule and includes a professional learning/administrative led day once a cycle. During this time, we have analyzed and discussed multiple PLC articles and resources including “Learning by Doing”, by DuFour, Eaker, and Many. Our teams also receive professional development opportunities throughout the year that include workshops from Solution Tree.
In addition, our team time is used to focus on high levels of learning for all students. This is completed in the following manner:
Our power standards/eligible content are reviewed on a regular basis. We complete a Keep, Drop, and Create protocol at the end of each quarter.
Proficiency is determined for each CFA and Summative assessment. This allows our teams to speak the same language in regards to learning.
Results are analyzed and students are broken up into groups for extension/intervention opportunities.
SMART Goals are developed to create greater interdependence and team accountability.
Achievement Data Files
Additional Achievement Data
1. Math 7 PSSA- highest Proficiency (44.1%) over the last three years in 2017-18.
2. Math 7 PSSA- Percentage of Below Basic students decreased by 6% in 2017-18.
3. ELA 7 PSSA- Overall Proficiency increased by 6% in 2017-18.
4. ELA 7 PSSA- Percentage of Basic students decreased by 5% in 2017-18.
5. ELA 7 PSSA- Only 1 student in the Below Basic category 2016-17 & 2017-18.
6. Math 8 PSSA- Overall Proficiency highest (37%) in 2017-18.
7. PVAAS Growth Data- ELA 7 & 8 demonstrates that each significant subgroup of students met or exceeded the expectation for Pennsylvania Academic Growth in 2017-18.
Presenters at 2017 AMLE Annual Conference for Middle Level Education
Presentation: Educating For Excellence & Equity Through Learning Teams
Google For Education Reference District
2018 Innovative District by The International Center for Leadership in Education
Common Sense Education Digitally Certified School- (2018-2020)
Superior Rated Band Program through PMEA Adjudication Process
SAP Team Model Building
Commendable Cavalier Breakfast
Quarterly recognition of students
Building a Cavalier Badging Program (PBIS)
Good News Call of the Day (PBIS)
Academic Excellence Ceremony
Highlights top 10% of students at the end of 8th grade
7th & 8th Grade Awards Assemblies
President’s Education Award Program
American Legion Award