Ringgold Middle School
- Number of Students: 777
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 48%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 1.37%
- Percent of Special Education: 21.1%
- White: 90.4%
- Black: 1.9%
- Hispanic: 0.4%
- Asian: 3.2%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.7%
- Multiracial: 3.4%
- Other: 0%
At the beginning of the 2015-16 school year, Ringgold Middle School began training teachers in the Data Team process. During the course of the year, teachers looked ahead at one unit they were going to teach the second semester. For this unit, teachers built common assessments, charted the data, and planned reteaching/enrichment days based on that data. They continued to build common assessments for each unit. The Administration and Academic Coach also brainstormed with teachers ways to take collaboration to the next level. For example, we moved from talking about what we were going to teach and our daily lesson plans, to things like how to do we know students are learning and what do we do when they do not learn it (we did not realize at the time, but we were exploring the four guiding questions of a PLC). Essentially, that first year, we were making the shift from focusing on teaching, to focusing on student learning. We talked about sample agenda items and what would be an effective use of our time. Teachers were encouraged to not use the time to talk about anything that could be done through email, but instead focus on deeper topics. A time was set aside each week for teacher collaboration. Catoosa County as a whole, began the PLC journey in the 2017-18 school year. This district focus provided validation for the work we were already doing in our school, and provided a more structured framework of learning and support for the journey we had started two years before.
Time was then built into the school day for Tier 2 and Tier 3 intervention. We have continued to focus on the benefits of collaboration- what can each member bring to the team to help support one another in areas of weaknesses. Teams become the learner and seek out to find best practices. Instead of only meeting to talk about what we are teaching this week, collaboration is guided by what student achievement will look like, and how to get high levels of achievementfor all students. Data is used to drive the next steps in the classroom, instead of letting our curriculum map do the guiding. Our teachers have come to depend on one another for support instead of working in isolation. Our emphasis on action and doing has created a culture of continuous improvement.
At Ringgold Middle School, our goal is to create a culture where we are continuously seeking ways to improve student learning. We revisited our value promise, so that we would have one that we would use daily and refer to often: Every tiger, every day, without exception. Our teams set collective commitments and hold one another accountable for these commitments. A collaborative culture is embedded in our day-to-day school life by having teachers organized into collaborative teams. Teams work together often during a week, but the administration sets aside every Tuesday during planning time for teachers to meet with their team. This time is protected- no IEP meetings, parent conferences, or school meetings are scheduled on Tuesdays. Each team is guaranteed this time every week with no interruptions. Administrators and the Academic Coach attend PLC meetings, to offer support for teachers and ensure that we are focusing on the right work.
Student learning is the focus and priority of our collaborative teams, and the expectation is that when we say we have high expectations for all students, we truly mean all students. Teacher teams work with this in mind- they are all our students.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
All Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies teachers at Ringgold Middle School meet weekly with their PLC. Their team consists of people who teach the same subject and grade. At the beginning of the year, teachers create a common pacing guide, curriculum map, and Common Formative Assessment calendar that will be revisited and revised often throughout the year. Over the course of the last two school years, all subjects participated in Essential Standards training at the county level. At this time they decided which standards were essential to teach each year, across Catoosa County. Each of these standards was then broken down into teacher learning targets, student learning targets, and examples of rigor for that standard. Teachers continued this work back at the school level, with revision of their common curriculum maps and pacing guides. Common Formative Assessments in the form of pre, mid, and post unit tests are written that focus on these common, essential standards. During PLC time teachers discuss the standards of each upcoming unit, and what mastery would like.
A variety of strategies are used to monitor student learning. A universal screener is given three times a year for Reading and Math as benchmark data, as well as to help identify students in need of Tier 3 intervention. The most timely way to monitor student learning, though, is through the use of teacher created Common Formative Assessments. These are given in the form of pre, mid, and post tests for each instructional unit. This data is charted so that teachers can see which students are making progress and which ones are falling behind. Teacher conferencing and student self-assessment is also used. As part of student self-assessment in some classes, students fill out an error analysis after each assessment, and in others students keep track of standards that they master based on the results of their assessments and artifacts. Teachers use other, less formal ways to continuously gage student learning. Examples of these include, open ended questioning, think/pair/share partnering, summarizing, technology polling (Quizizz, Kahoots), misconception checks, and frequent practice.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
Teachers give Common Formative Assessments in each instructional unit, for pre, mid, and post tests. This data is charted and shared among the PLC. Student strengths and weaknesses, as well as class strengths and weaknesses are analyzed so that teachers can compare instructional strategies and build on the strengths of one another. After the mid and post tests, teachers plan buffer days to address students in need of Tier 2 intervention or extension. Buffer days activities are differentiated so that students can get help in their area of need or continue learning through an extension activity. Some examples of this include teachers organizing learning stations within their classroom based on different standards, teachers assigning individual remedial activities or extension in Google Classroom (students get assigned different work based on their need), or even reorganizing multiple teams of students into areas of need and redistributing them with a teacher to address that need (for example, three Science teachers each doing a different thing in three different rooms, with students placed there by need as opposed to by team). Tier 2 and Tier 3 intervention time for Reading and Math takes place daily during 6th Block. Students are placed in Tier 2 intervention classes based on continuously struggling with grade level content. For Tier 3 groups, multiple years of GA Milestones scores and benchmark data are used to place students in these groups. Their progress is monitored in the intervention programs that are used (Ascend Math and Reading Plus) and reevaluated every 4 ½ weeks to determine if other students need to be moved in or if some students can be moved out of these classes. This mainly applies to new students to our school. Most Tier 3 students stay in these classes for the full year because they are multiple grade levels behind. Students in need of Tier 3 intervention in both Reading and Math are placed in a class that is designed to give help in both subjects. Students not needing intervention are placed in a 6th Block class designed to provide enrichment activities in all core content areas.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
The high performing PLC teams at Ringgold Middle are very intentional about what they do to improve student learning. During meetings they adhere to commonly created norms, as well as a previously agreed upon schedule of what to discuss during the meeting. Before leaving the current meeting, they set an agenda of things to accomplish at the next meeting and decide what everyone needs to have when coming to the next meeting.They create and use common formative assessments so that they can see trends in student learning, find areas of improvements, and sort students into groups of identifiable weaknesses for remediation. They have a shared pool of rigorous tasks that force students to think deeply, to read and write, and to problem-solve. We share duties and split our research/planning between the team members so that we are not all trying to do the same thing. They collaborate throughout the week, and not just during the time set aside by administration for them (every Tuesday during planning). They are not competitive with another about scores, so they share with one another. They listen to each other’s ideas and compromise. All members of the team participate and share. The most successful teams in our building are never satisfied with how far their students have come, but are always looking for ways to improve student achievement.
Achievement Data Files
5-Star Climate School 2018-19 Distinguished Title I School