Brown Elementary

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

Tell us how you built shared understanding and commitment to the PLC at Work process.

At Brown Elementary, we build and have a shared understanding and commitment to the PLC at Work Process the following three ways: creating a vision and mission as a whole staff, created "What an excellent teacher looks like" checklist that turned into Collective Commitments that we call H.O.P.E for our staff, our students and when we meet as collaborative teams. We utilize quarterly SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Research-Based, Timely) goals that define the 4 Critical Questions based on our Essential Standards.

Our staff came together during a professional development day to create a vision/mission statement that we all believed in and could endorse. A group of staff members presented a training on Social & Emotional Learning that was given to them by our district. During this training, we all received and read an article called Got Grit. This article was the focus of the learning and the lesson of this training. The next day, after having a chance to reflect on our learning the day before, our leadership team and I came together to not only combine the last two visions created, but also came up with our staff mantra of Got Grit! Our vision was endorsed by all staff and is, “We are committed to learning through perseverance!” This vision can be seen posted around our school and in our classrooms. Students are rewarded for perseverance and grit on Friday announcements each week. During monthly staff meetings, our staff gives “Got Grit” awards to each other for showing perseverance and grit. This common vision and mission and H.O.P.E. Collective Commitments continue to be  the foundation of our work and revisit and honor it daily with students. 

Our Collective Commitments became the acronym: H.O.P.E., which stands for:

  • High, Clear Expectations
  • Organized Implementation
  • Positive Community
  • Engagement

All staff endorsed that these items should be present and seen throughout our collaborative meetings and our classrooms. During the 21/22 school year professional development time we collaborated to review, revise, edit, change and improve our collective commitments to meet the current needs of our student and staff. Through this collaborative process and reflection we realized that our Staff and Student H.O.P.E. Collective Commitments were continuously working to promote high levels of learning for all, and our team meetings H.O.P.E. needed a few updates and improvements. (see attached artifact) 

As collaborative teams, we continuously build understanding and commitment to the PLC at Work process meeting weekly to discuss create quarterly SMART/SLO goals, based on our Essential Standards and the NVACS (Nevada Academic Content Standards). The SMART goals contains the 4 Critical Questions that teachers should be asking themselves and each other when collaborating and  focusing on student learning. Each grade level creates SMART goal assessments that align with their Essential Standards for ELA and Math, this year adding Science and Behavior SMART goals due to our 5th grade Science data from Spring 2022 and our Student Climate survey given to our students in Spring of 2022. The NVACS include Common Core State Standards. Grade level teams utilize the data from our common formative assessments (SMART goals) to make educated and data-based decisions on instruction and student intervention needs. Along with grade level team meetings, we also have a leadership team and an MTSS team that meets weekly to focus on student learning and growth to help provide appropriate interventions/information based on our student data.

The 21/22 year we created a Data Skeleton/Plan that held all of our SMART goals, Essential Standards, Curriculum Plans all in one digital location. This provided specific data and information for all staff to ensure that we were vertically aligned and able to collaborate with all staff for all students. See artifacts. 

Our collaborative efforts of creating a common vision, mission, H.O.P.E. collective commitments, our grade level SMART goals and our new digital Data Plan continues to provide us a common understanding and commitment to the PLC at Work process.

Tell us how you are facilitating a culture of continuous improvement in your school (district). (Recommended word count is 250–500.)

We continue to build a culture of continuous improvement at Brown Elementary by implementing data-driven grade level team meetings and whole staff professional development that is aligned to our instructional needs on a yearly basis.  We piloted the new school performance plan (SPP) for our state in Spring of 2021 and implemented our new SPP goals for the 21-22 school year focusing on our SMART goal (Common Formative Assessments) as the basis for verifying student learning and achievement. Our 21-22 data demonstrated that focusing on ELA & Math Essential Standards was imperative during the pandemic and 2nd year of instruction with masks and exclusions consistently throughout the school year. However, with a new Science curriculum and our focus primarily on ELA and Math Essential Standards our 5th Grade Science SBAC data demonstrated that our students were lacking in their Scientific knowledge.  During our 21/22 PD we focused on reviewing our H.O.P.E. Commitments and vertically collaborating on our SMART Goals quarterly. All of our Essential Standards, Curriculum Plans, SMART Goals, Common Formative Assessments are all housed in one virtual Data Plan utilized by all staff. 

Our Leadership and MTSS teams are vital and instrumental in ensuring our students and staff are focused on a culture of continuous improvement. The mask mandate and constant exclusions this year for staff and students was challenging and utilizing our collaborative teams helped us continue to focus and provide the best instruction as possible for our students.

During our MTSS team meetings for the 20/21 school year we focused heavily on our EL population, the data from the Access testing reports and realizing the 'Can Do's' for students learning English as a second language truly helps us provide specific instruction to meet their needs. Our data attached demonstrates huge growth and students exiting this year.

Our staff at Brown Elementary continues to believe in a culture of continuous improvement and strives to focus on what is best for students. Our 21/22 whole staff committment focused around this quote: “Deeper learning is enhanced when formative assessment is used to 1.  make learning goals clear to students 2.  continuously monitor, provide feedback, and respond to student’s learning progress, and 3.  involve student in self- and peer assessment”

-Learning by Doing

 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Our staff at Brown Elementary continues to strive to create and implement a guaranteed and viable curriculum. Our grade levels utilize NVACS to refine and update their curriculum plans each year by updating our Essential Standards for ELA & Math and then utilizing and studying the SMART Goals/Common Assessments that align to those Essential Standards. Grade level teams discuss student data to ensure students are mastering the standards and ensuring that team members are aligning their teaching and assessing consistently. During the 21-22 school year, as we continued to refine and update our curriculum plans, Essential Standards, and SMART goals, we met as a whole staff at the end of each quarter to collaborate as an entire school-wide team to vertically align our Smart Goals to ensure that each grade level curriculum plans align with NVACS and do not overlap the grade level below or above them. Staff also wanted to ensure that concepts and standards flow and make sense in the order that the standards were placed in the plan based on what the grade levels below and above are focusing on. The vital piece that came out of this collaborative work was the reflections on how the students were scoring on our essential standards. We found holes in specific learning targets possibly due to all of our Covid exclusions these past two years and distance learning.

Our grade level teams meet weekly to focus on the 4 Critical Questions to plan by creating Smart Goals/Common Assessments based on their Essential Standards. The teachers focus on the Study and Act pieces as they determine what interventions are needed if the students didn’t learn the content and what they will do if the students did learn the content. During this collaboration time, teachers update their curriculum plan, Essential Standards, and SLO & SMART goals, as needed, while ensuring all instruction aligns to the NVACS and students are prepared and ready to go to the next grade level.

The strategies that we use at Brown Elementary to monitor student learning on a timely basis are: Smart Goals/Common Assessments, district expected Student Learning Objectives (SLO’s), District Common Formative Assessments, Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) three times a year, and AimsWeb to monitor all students in interventions to decide next steps in the MTSS (RTI) Tier system. Our 21-22 school year, the district implemented common formative assessments for both ELA/Math. As a staff, we incorporated those formative assessments into our quarterly SMART goals and utilized data from both to decide the next steps. 

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

At Brown Elementary, we have created and implemented systems that continuously improve our instruction. We created a master schedule (see attached) that has core instructional blocks and intervention blocks for all grade levels. Our core instructional time is sacred; all students participate in core, grade level instruction. Students do not miss core, grade level instruction. During the intervention times, students have specifically designed interventions geared to their individual needs. We utilize our MTSS (RTI) System/Team to help continue to provide support throughout all our grade levels. Our MTSS team meets weekly to discuss students whose data supports the need of more tiered support/interventions. Student data brought to the meeting demonstrates what interventions the student has been receiving, this team collaborates and helps provide support to create the next steps for each individual student. Our grade level teams meet and discuss all of their students and specifically the students receiving Tier 2 supports and interventions weekly. We utilize our common assessments, SMART goals, informal observations, attendance, MAP/AimsWeb/SBAC data if applies to monitor student growth. We utilize ELA intervention programs that our district has provided for interventions for both our Tier 2 and Tier 3 levels of support. The ELA programs we utilize are LLI (Literacy Leveled Intervention), Heggerty, and Phonics First. The math resources we utilize is DreamBox. Utilizing district provided funds, retired/non-full time certified teachers provide additional small group instruction/interventions based on grade level/student need ¾ of the school year. Our MTSS team continues to work to create a baseline data point for writing by grade level and are working on creating a writing intervention that will include graphic organizers to provide writing interventions. The MTSS team meets and discuss student data to decide if another intervention should be put into place or if special education testing is necessary on a weekly basis. Based on our data for 21-22, our staff decided three major components to add as a focus the 22-23 school year:

  • Ensure that our special education staff continues to collaborate and correlate instruction within the general education. 
  • Implement Behavior SMART goals are aligned vertically school-wide. 
  • Implement Science Smart goals to ensure Essential Standards are the focus.

 

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

As a staff, our high-performing, collaborative teams focus their efforts on improved student learning on a regular basis. We start with a common vision and mission, H.O.P.E. Collective Commitments, and Staff Norms, which are visited yearly. This 21-22 school year, we utilized our additional PD time to review, update, improve our H.O.P.E. commitments to ensure all Covid protocols, demands, student/staff exclusions did not take away from student learning. Our grade level teams have Norms that are created and reviewed at each team meeting. Our leadership team representative create the team agenda and includes SLO/Smart goal data based on Essential Standards, grade level norms, and yearly goals. We continue to build teacher capacity by discussing the 4 critical questions weekly in the team meetings. Our teams discuss common assessments (SMART goals) focusing on the critical questions to ensure we are discussing and collaborating to decide what we want our students to learn based on our Essential Standards. Using this student data to not only drive our instruction, but also help solidify what type of supports and/or interventions students may need. Throughout the 21-22 school year, both our Leadership Team and MTSS Teams (both require a grade level teacher representative)  correlate all information/decisions/next steps to their grade level teams during collaborative work time. For this 21-22 school year, our goal was to vertically align and have all data located in one location. We designed and built a Data Skeleton that includes all grade levels Curriculum Plan/Essential Standards/Smart Goals including assessments and student examples. Both teams focus on PLC research to plan, improve, create next steps utilizing videos from Global PD. Our Leadership Team received the PLC Magazine each quarter, read articles, and decided which articles to incorporate into weekly team meetings. Our MTSS team focused on best interventions we could provide this school year and collaborated with our ELL facilitator to ensure we were utilizing best core instructional teaching practices for our ELL and all students.

After piloting and completing our SPP spring of 2021, we decided our school-wide focus for the 21-22 school year was Collective Efficacy and vertical alignment of all common assessments. Please see our Data Skeleton attached as an artifact. Our main focus was built around this quote regarding formative assessments that we all chose as the basis of our teams goal this year: “Deeper learning is enhanced when formative assessment is used to 1.  make learning goals clear to students 2. continuously monitor, provide feedback, and respond to student’s learning progress, and 3.  involve student in self- and peer assessment." -Learning by Doing 

 

 

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Looking at our School Performance Plan (SPP) for 2021-2022 Events 6-8 and Event 9, you will find our grade level/staff discussions and next steps for each Quarterly SMART goal/Common Formative Assessments for ELA and Math that are aligned with our Essential Standards (please see additional attachment section for Data Skeleton and Curriculum Map - Essential Standards Example). After reflection, staff decided to keep our Quarterly SMART goals at the high percentages, even though not all grade levels were able to meet those goals last year.  During the Covid year 19/20 we were shut down completely for 4th quarter, mandated by our district to just ‘review’ already given content virtually. During the 20/21 and 21/22 school years, our focus was to ensure our students were making gains in their Essential Standards in ELA and Math. In the 20/21 school year, 25% of our students/staff were learning virtually, 75% in building. In the 21/22 school year, all staff and students came back into the building. There was a mask mandate, staying 6 feet apart, loss of collaboration both school years. Students wore masks through March of 2022, we also had staff/student exclusions of 5 days every time they were in close contact with a positive case, which caused major missed instruction this year. Looking at our SPP results for the 21/22 school year, we did not meet our goals in ELA and Math, however, realizing we need to continue to differentiate for our students and fill the holes/gaps that Covid exclusions had caused, we kept our goals at the 85% for ELA and 90% for math of students mastering the Essential Standards. Also, due to the focus on math and ELA during the 2 years of Covid, our 5th grade Science was below the district average, and our behavior data had increased. This caused us to implement Science and Behavior SMART goals quarterly for 22/23 school year due to our declining scores. (see SPP Event 9 for more information). 

One primary focus throughout the pandemic years, was focusing on our ELL student population. Over the last three years we have worked diligently to improve students who are categorized as ELL to proficiency. The following numbers indicate the students that have exited the program completely in the past three years:

  • 2019-2020 0 students
  • 2020-2021 3 students
  • 2021-2022 13 students

National Model PLC School 2019, 2020, 2021

Jan 20/21: District email regarding how our Kinder students utilizing DreamBox: Of the 50% of children using DreamBox, most (and almost all) are on track. "Just wanted to say nice job to your teachers who are integrating this as a tool. It shows their hard work of getting students ready for 1st grade."

Fall 19/20 Washoe County School District Award: Inspiring Elevation Gains in Student Achievement: Sustained High Growth Across Subjects

NSPF 5 Star School for the previous 3 years (We went up 6 points the 18/19 school year, 90 out of 100.) No rating for 19/20, 20/21, 21/22 due to Covid.

Nominated for School of the Year, 18-19 (New WCSD project this year)

Our Student Council was nominated for Student Group of the Year, 18-19 (New WCSD project this year)

Our Student Council was also recognized by the Reno Aces Fundraising Program & Greater Nevada Credit Union for raising funds for the past 3 years. They placed 2nd and 3rd highest fundraising in the community. 

We were voted by the school board to stay off the Multi-Track Year Round Calendar for both 17-18, 18-19 school years due to the highly organized and efficient way our very over-crowded school was operating.

 

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