Lake Elementary School

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

The idea of a Professional Learning Community came to our school district 13 years ago. With the research to show that this would have a large impact on the success of our students, we began our PLC journey with great excitement. As the years went on, our PLC has continued, but it was not functioning the way it was intended. Grade level teams were meeting weekly, but the meetings were not focused around the PLC process and student work. Under new leadership, the last three years have taken us on a PLC journey to return to what they were created to do.

After administration, along with a group of teachers, attended the Solution Tree Conference in Las Vegas in 2018, we returned with a fresh outlook on how to get our PLC back on track. This began with a strong Leadership Team. Each grade level is represented in our Leadership Team and we meet 2-4 times a month to determine what practices would best support our teachers in guiding students toward growth. They have adopted and embraced the role of “going first” when we have an initiative to roll out to the faculty. We get feedback from the leadership team members and perfect our plan before taking it to all grade-level teams. This ensures we always move forward with the best ideas and each grade level has a voice at the meetings. 

In the last three years, our focus as a PLC has been on tracking student growth to ensure that students are being challenged and experiencing success toward mastery of their goals. To do this, we have individual teachers use their end of unit/quarter assessments to identify the skills and knowledge needed to master the content. Teachers track students based on these specific skills to determine if the students are on track to meet individual student goals. When they are, teachers create a plan to push students beyond their current level of mastery. When students are not, teachers identify ways to intervene with those students. We continue this cycle by bringing in student work each week to determine if the plans we have put in place are working or need to be adjusted. 

We have also implemented a schedule focused on supporting teachers in the PLC process. Grade level teams meet at least once a week with a member of the core instructional team, which is an administrator or the instructional coach. This allows administration to be involved in what is happening in each and every classroom on campus and provide those teachers with the support they need to move forward each week through the PLC cycle. 

Taking these steps has had a positive impact on our teaching, and therefore, on our student performance. Last year our school performance score grew from 92.5 to 93.9, keeping us as an “A” school; this growth is twice as much as we achieved the year before. Our Louisiana K-8 status index has increased from 85.1 to 87.6. We have 58% at Mastery or above in ELA and Math, a growth of 3% from the year before. 95% of our students moving on to high-school have earned 6 or more credits in their freshman year. We continue to see student growth in our classrooms as a result of ensuring we are reaching all of our students at their level. 

Our PLC has come a long way in the last few years. Each team comes to their collaborative team meeting with a clear focus and leaves with an action plan and specific next steps to improve student achievement. Teachers aren’t just teaching a curriculum, they are teaching their students and responding to students’ needs. This same focus of tracking students and meeting them at their level is seen consistently throughout professional development days, leadership meetings, and weekly grade-level meetings. Creating this one focus has allowed teachers to put their best efforts into student growth, which is our goal every single day. 

 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Our teachers implement curriculums with fidelity in our classrooms to ensure that all students are receiving high-quality instruction on a daily basis. School-based administration does consistent walk-throughs to monitor the implementation of these curriculums and provide feedback to promote the growth of teachers, which results in the growth of students. District-level leadership also implements curriculum walk-throughs to determine efficient implementation of curriculums in our schools across the district. 

Teachers administer district-made benchmark assessments that allow us to track student progress quarterly, as well as determine the success of our students in comparison to the rest of the schools in the district. Teachers write student learning targets at the beginning of the year to develop individual state testing goals for each student. Benchmark testing is also used to track student progress towards those individual goals. 

Through the PLC process, student success is tracked based on common, rigorous assessments, and action plans are developed to push all students toward meeting their goals.

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

Teachers set rigorous goals for each student at the beginning of the school year based on district and state testing from the previous year. Through the PLC process, teachers track their students to identify Question 3 and Question 4 students. Action plans are developed to support students not meeting their short-term goals. These plans consist of interventions such as pulling students in small groups, implementing new strategies to improve student work, and using timers to help students manage their time efficiently. Action plans are also developed for students who are consistently scoring on the mastery level to challenge them on an advanced level. At the start of the year, vertical teams met to identify the characteristics of advanced work in all subject areas. This list of characteristics is used to give feedback and create strong models for students who are consistently scoring at a mastery level. Once intervention plans are implemented, team members collaboratively score and discuss student work to identify trends and determine if the interventions need to continue or be adjusted. Students who continue to not meet their goals get more intensive interventions on a daily basis and their progress is monitored weekly through the problem-solving process. In this process, a student’s reading and math levels are determined and specific interventions, such as remediation programs, reading fluency strategies, and math computation practice are used to target identified weaknesses. Over a period of time, the student is monitored to determine if the intervention is aiding in student achievement. Through these processes, both struggling students and high-achieving students are given the support they need to be successful.

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

Our high-performing collaborative teams are consistently developing their teaching practices with a focus on improved student learning. In grade-level meetings, teachers create common formative assessments and use these to plan instruction. After assessing students, teachers bring student work to their grade level meetings to collaboratively score student responses and use this information to determine the best way to grow students. Teachers share which practices worked best in their classroom to guide students toward mastery of the standards. This allows us to purposefully work through the four questions; we determine what we need to teach, how we will know if students understand, what we will do when they don’t, and how we will push those who do. Our collaborative teams work through these steps cyclically as student work informs what we should teach next. 

Our specials, which for our school includes physical education, art, music, band, drama, and robotics teachers, also focus on sharing experiences of effective teaching. These teachers meet at least weekly to collaboratively plan how they will each incorporate writing into their future lessons. They then bring back student writing samples to their team meetings to determine the effectiveness of their instruction and share strategies that best support core instruction. Teachers adopt these best practices and implement them in future lessons to continue this process of student and teacher growth throughout the year. 

Through staff-development and district, state, and national conferences, teachers are continually working to improve their teaching and student learning. Our 8th-grade team presented on “Leveraging student tracking to cause student growth in PLC's at a conference in San Diego for Illuminate. The presentation went so well, that Illuminate asked them to record their presentation as a webinar to be shared with all school districts using this testing platform. We also had teachers present on “Promoting student thinking through distractor analysis” at the Teacher Leader Summit in New Orleans. Our principal went on to present this at the AMLE conference in Nashville. A team of teachers attended the Solution Tree conference in Vegas in 2017, where they were able to re-deliver valuable information on implementing a PLC with success in our school. Our special education teachers attended Superconference in Lafayette, Louisiana to improve their work with our special education population. Our teachers are eager to learn new strategies that will improve their student’s success each day. 

In addition to this, there are a number of people on our campus currently in graduate school furthering their education by pursuing degrees in Educational Leadership. At the end of last year, 3 teachers on our campus were promoted to master teacher positions, 1 teacher is serving as a leadership intern, and our lead special education teacher is now working as a district supervisor. 

There are many opportunities within our own campus for teachers to grow. Our principal led a book study on Douglas Reeves' 100-Day Leaders where teachers were able to meet and discuss how leaders can promote positive changes in the school. New teachers are given additional feedback to support them through their first year at our school. New teachers and SPED teachers were given a day to meet, plan, track students, and develop action plans. As part of our school improvement plan, classrooms are identified that need additional faculty support. Our school is one where teachers are given the support and encouragement to grow as leaders.

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Schools that have designated subgroups from the Louisiana Department of Education are required to monitor the achievement of each of those subgroups. In 2018, Lake Elementary School was labeled by the Department of Education as “urgent intervention needed”  for our special education subgroup. With the achievement of our special education students in 2019, the Louisiana Department of Education removed this label from our school. Lake Elementary currently has no subgroups in any academic label of concern, including “urgent intervention needed” or “urgent intervention required.” We credit this improvement to our dedication to the PLC process and student tracking.

2019 Louisiana Department of Education Top Gains Honoree
2018 Louisiana Department of Education Top Gains Honoree
2019 Annual Jump Rope for Heart Participant - $20611.56 raised
2019 Two Special Commendations for 4-H
2019 Shell Science Lab Regional Challenge Grant Winner
2019 Reach a Kid Teach a Kid grant winner
2019 National World War II Robotics Challenge - National Runner-Up
2019 Junior High School Student Council State Convention Oratory Contest - 1st Place
2019 Eight Winners of Ascension Fund Teacher Grant
2019 District Outstanding Support Person of the Year
2019 Beta Elementary Fiber Arts - Third Place
2019 Beta Elementary Engineering - Fifth Place
2019 Beta Elementary Drawing - Third Place
2019 4-H Ascension Parish Yell Champion
2018 Shell Science Lab Regional Challenge Grant Winner
2018 Reach a Kid Teach a Kid Grant Winner
2018 Illuminate Education User Regional Conference - 5 employees presented as invited speakers
2018 Eight Winners of Ascension Fund Teacher Grant
2018 District Teacher of the Year
2018 District Girls Track and Field Champion
2017 Seven Winners of Ascension Fund Teacher Grant
2017 Reach a Kid Teach a Kid grant winner
2017 District Girls Soccer Champion
2017 District Girls Basketball Champion
2012 Girls Basketball Championship Runner Up
2009 District Girls Soccer Champion
2002 District Girls Soccer Championship Runner Up
2000 District Boys Soccer Co-Champion
2 time Louisiana State Music Assessment Sweepstakes Winner for the Louisiana Music Educators Association
15 time District Music Assessment Sweepstakes winner for the Louisiana Music Educators Association
2 National Board Certified Teachers
1 National Board Certified Counselor
1 National Board Certified Assistant Principal
30 Faculty with a Master’s Degree or higher

Presentations by faculty:

PLCs: Leveraging Collaboration to Move Student Achievement. Illuminate Louisiana Regional Meeting. Gonzales, Louisiana. (October 29, 2018).

PLCs: Leveraging Collaboration to Move Student Achievement. [Invited]. Illuminate Education User Conference. Regional Meeting. San Diego, California. (January 31 and February 1, 2019).

Leveraging Student Tracking to Cause Student Growth in PLCs. Louisiana Department of Education Teacher Summit. Annual Meeting. New Orleans, LA. (June 26-28, 2019).

Prompting Student Thinking Through Distractor Analysis. Louisiana Department of Education Teacher Summit. Annual Meeting. New Orleans, LA. (June 26-28, 2019).

Prompting Student Thinking Through Distractor Analysis. Association for Middle Level Education Conference. Annual Meeting. Nashville, Tennessee. (November 8, 2019).

 

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