Freedom Elementary School

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

Our PLC path at Freedom Elementary School has been quite the journey. While Professional Learning Communities have existed by name in our building for many years, in the past it has felt more like "another thing" rather than the powerful and transformative work it should be. Teachers felt like PLCs were report out sessions instead of collaborative opportunities to meet student needs as a team. At times, they also took the image of mini faculty meetings where the agendas were dictated and decided by school leadership. We have come a long way in strengthening the work of our collaborative teams in recent years. Our work with Solution Tree and our partnership with Fern Creek High School, has allowed our Instructional Leadership Team and facilitators to see the power in addressing the four critical questions. It has also allowed us to become sharply focused on student data and mastery of standards as well as developing next steps based upon that information. A significant contributor to our success has been the inclusive nature of our collaborative teams. Intentional and thoughtful planning of the master schedule that works arounds the demands and needs of the special education/intervention schedule has allowed for all stakeholders to have common time each week to meet in their collaborative teams. These teams include our general education, special education, and intervention teachers. One additional component that has allowed our PLCs to flourish this year has been the significant investment made in developing quality common formative assessments. Having a stream of data that is reliable, aligned with our focus of instruction, and easily disseminated has allowed for a much richer level of discourse and action planning in our collaborative teams. Because our assessments are accurately identifying mastery of standards, the PLC work has evolved to include guaranteed systems of recovery for students that have not yet mastered content and extension opportunities for those students that have. In other words, our PLC work has allowed for added differentiation in the classroom for students on a daily basis. In previous years, we were definitely stuck in the habit of being data admirers and speaking in generalizations about how students were performing in class with no system of recovery to ensure standard mastery. In addition, our movement towards becoming a PLC model school has also empowered teachers to take leadership roles within the building. The role of facilitator has helped shift the culture of collaborative team meetings from administration led to teacher led. This change in dynamic has truly helped flip the script from “another thing” to an opportunity for growth. While we are a long ways from being a finished product, Freedom Elementary is miles ahead of where we have been in the past and we are excited to continue moving in the direction of a school-wide Professional Learning Community structure.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

The work of our Professional Learning Community at Freedom Elementary School has greatly expanded its ability to track student mastery levels. As a school that has already converted its grading practices to a standards based approach, the transition of our PLC work in this direction was smooth. In the last school year, we have invested a significant amount of time and energy collaboratively building quality common formative assessments that align with the scope and rigor of our grade level standards. Teachers developed these assessments within their collaborative teams as a mode to keep a constant pulse on student understanding. This was accomplished through professional development hours, weekly collaborative team meetings, and teacher planning days. A significant number of hours (50+) have been devoted by each collaborative team over the course of the last year to develop and refine these assessments. The information gained from them allow for guaranteed systems of recovery to be enacted throughout the course of instruction that ensure students have every opportunity to master grade level content. All assessments are made available through the use of Google Forms. This provides us an immediate breakdown of student mastery levels and this data is accessible to all parties involved in teaching and recovery roles for the students being assessed. In addition, our collaborative team meeting room has data walls that include every student and every standard in the areas of reading and math. Our essential standards are color coded for additional emphasis. As students master standards through initial core, they are checked off in black. For those students that master standards through recovery, we indicate mastery with a red check. This system of tracking student mastery allows us to zoom in on individual students while also keeping a pulse on the group as a whole. 

 

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

An area of particular focus this year has been the intentional implementation of guaranteed systems of recovery. We utilize the information gained from our common formative assessments to determine individual mastery levels of our students with regards to specific grade level standards. As we assess students, those that have not yet mastered a particular skill or concept are provided an aligned recovery. Students continue to be reassessed and recovered until mastery is achieved. The interventions and assessments are developed and implementation planned through collaborative team meetings. Our teams utilize a few different protocols after the delivery of pre-assessments and common formative assessments. Through these protocols, teachers are able to meet individual student needs through recovery and extension. Freedom Elementary School has an intentional block of time scheduled into the school day called Clinics where much of this work is achieved. During this time period, we personalize learning for all students. This time period allows us to implement guaranteed systems of recovery based upon common formative assessment data. As a result, our clinics have become completely devoted towards recovering standards not yet mastered and the extension those that have by individual students. This work is an “all hands on deck” approach where regular education, special education, and interventionists work in unison to address student misconceptions as planned developed in their collaborative team work.

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

Building capacity and leadership within our collaborative teams has been a growth area at Freedom Elementary School this year. We have successfully implemented PLC facilitators at each grade level. Through training, practice, and reflection, our facilitators have become an integral part of keeping our teams focused on the agendas developed and aligned with the four critical questions. They also have helped to create a culture where adherence to the team developed norms are expected. As an Instructional Leadership Team, my instructional coach and I have noticed significant improvements made in the area of focused work. Teachers are not only having rich discussions about student performance levels but they are also putting actionable steps in place as a result. Being product minded is an area of current focus for our collaborative teams. While rich discourse is certainly encouraged during team meetings, we also want to be mindful that the work itself is the central focus. By monitoring that piece, we can ensure that our students are benefiting from the work of our PLC.

 

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

The assessment structure and standards in Kentucky have changed significantly over the course of the past several years in almost every content area. Because of that, it is somewhat difficult to track student data longitudinally as you are comparing assessments that have changed from year to year. While we certainly look at KPREP data (state assessment), we also utilize other data sources that have remained consistent in structure. Up until the current year (2019-2020), Freedom students have taken the MAP assessments three times annually. As indicated by reports attached, FES has consistently performed at the top of the district in student growth through the course of the academic year. This school year, our district began utilizing the CASE assessment which is designed as a benchmark to indicate student proficiency levels. It is modeled after our state assessment. Students take it three times annually much like they did with MAP previously. As you can see from the report that is attached, students at FES are increasing their proficiency levels in reading and math and are above the district average across the board. 

Additional Achievement Data:

  • 2013-14- Proficient/Progressing School
  • 2014-15- Proficient
  • 2015-16- Distinguished/Progressing School, School of Distinction

(Achievement labels not assigned starting in 2016-17)

 

2015-16 Distinguished School/School of Distinction (Top 2% in the State)

Kentucky Center for Mathematics (KCM) Model School- 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19

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