- Number of Students: 353
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 26%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 1%
- Percent of Special Education: 18%
- White: 60.34%
- Black: 1.42%
- Hispanic: 10.2%
- Asian: 1.42%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0.28%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 26.34%
- Multiracial: 0%
- Other: 0%
Rendezvous Elementary began its PLC journey in the fall of 2016. The 2016-2017 school year was a year of change for Rendezvous. The year prior, Rendezvous was the largest elementary in the state of Wyoming, housing more than 600 students 3rd-5th grade with state achievement scores well below the state average. Following district reconfiguration, Rendezvous became a 4th-5th grade intermediate elementary with 8 sections of 4th grade and 9 sections of 5th grade. With reconfiguration, 16-17 brought turnover in staff including a new principal.
Prior to 16-17, Fremont County School District #25 had begun work in unit development including articulating priority and supporting standards by grade level. With the curriculum foundation started, Rendezvous dove into the work of PLC, first and foremost with a focus on shared leadership through collaboration and a relentless focus on the four critical questions of learning. Each content team had a Tier 1 planning leader and Tier 2 Intervention planning leader. Teams met twice a week to develop lesson plans aligned to priority standards.
After one year of focusing on PLC structures, every content team showed growth on the state assessment during the 16-17 school year. Rendezvous was within five to ten percentage points of the state average compared to 20 points below the state average across all content areas the year prior. In school year 17-18, year two of the Rendezvous PLC journey, the state adopted a new next generation assessment called WYTOPP (Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress). Even with the change to a more rigorous assessment and the state’s warning that scores will likely drop, Rendezvous continued to grow, even exceeding the state average in one area.The positive trend continued into the 18-19 year with the highest achievement scores on record for Rendezvous Elementary, moving the school from “partially meeting expectations” to “meeting expectations” in achievement and equity indicators and “exceeding expectations” in growth indicators set by the state.
In order to nurture a positive school culture while focusing on PLC structures, the Rendezvous Guiding Coalition (RGC) took note of lessons learned from Anthony Muhammed’s Transforming School Culture. The team worked intentionally to support tweeners, professionally confront fundamentalists, and keep the focus on data and learning for all. The RGC also made a point to take time to celebrate the hard work of staff through encouraging notes, shout-outs and recognition, and helping each other when the going gets tough. “Teamwork makes the dream work” is one of our many mantras. We also celebrate our students’ hard work on our student leaderboard. Each class has a team mascot and cheer. Top leaderboard teams are recognized at quarterly assemblies with awards and participation in fun activities such as dodgeball or hungry hippos.
Rendezvous is celebrating PLC success, but not stopping. Through PLC coaching, staff revised its mission statement, added a vision statement, and drafted collected commitments. We recognize this work is never done and that learning for all is attainable for us.
And then….COVID…. During the spring of 2020, Rendezvous was thrust like the rest of the world into full time virtual learning for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Although we did not take our state assessment that spring, we were able to give our new students in 2020-2021 the WyTOPP assessment “off grade”, meaning we gave our 20-21 4th graders the 3rd grade assessment, and our 20-21 5th graders the 4th grade assessment. This allowed us to see how much “COVID slide” was in play following pandemic school closure. In addition to off-grade data, we assessed our students with our new district universal screening, Fastbridge, and supplementary data using IXL. (This data has been added to our Additional Data document.) After collection, we triangulated the data to identify students far below in 2 of 3 assessments or based on teacher recommendation from classroom data points. These students received Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions based on IXL and teacher small group instruction or para one-one small group instruction. On a typical year, students identified for Tier 3 would be in a flexible small group setting with our highly trained paraeducators providing the intervention. We could not provide that level of intervention because of the requirement to cohort students, but we adapted our MTSS system to ensure three levels of intervention were still happening.
In addition to providing modified interventions, the guiding coalition tracked all of our PLC Products in order to maintain the greatest level of fidelity possible in these uncertain and restrictive times. Tracking PLC products allowed us to learn from each other. The guiding coalition took time to look at the other content team’s products and refine their own or give feedback and support to those teams struggling. Each leader of the guiding coalition took back this learning to their team, and each team followed through with refinements.
One of our greatest Covid success stories is the implementation of co-teaching classrooms. In order to cohort students and provide inclusive learning, we used our cafeteria and library to make large, co-taught learning spaces with two regular ed and one special ed certified teacher in each. Our special services department brought in a trainer specific to co-teaching best practices, and these teams of teachers worked together to provide instruction that met a range of learning needs and styles. Not only did we see great growth for our students receiving specialized instruction, we saw great growth for non-speed students. This model was so successful during last year’s Covid restrictions, we have done our best to continue it this year. (See Sped Co-Teaching Board Presentation for more information.)
The last noteworthy part of our Covid PLC Story is our intentionality around keeping our traditions and celebrations. Every year each pod chooses a team name, chant, and mascot for our leaderboard and assemblies. We recognize and celebrate the upholding of our mission with a quarterly assembly that announces our leaderboard champs and classroom Most Valuable Players (individual students who’ve upheld our mission.) Although we could not have our assemblies in the gym, we held them virtually and “confetti bombed” our leaderboard champions. We purchased our MVPs special hoodies that had previously only been for staff, and we blasted as much of this as we could on our social media.
Although Covid has and continues to be a challenge for our PLC, we are continuing to ground ourselves in the Big Ideas and using The Four Questions.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
Pacing guides, assessment maps, and essential standards are used in order to develop learning targets in Tier 1 collaborative content teams. (What do we want students to learn?) As learning targets are developed, so is the criteria for success that can be used to remediate a given skill or concept. Explicit Tier 1 core instruction, aligned to the learning target, is then given to all students in a gradual release format. After this first instruction, student learning is assessed through a quick check for understanding (CFU) in order to identify and intervene immediately. Students who need more instruction are retaught in small groups until students can show understanding and progression towards the learning target. This informal tool may also give feedback to teachers regarding next steps for Tier 1 instruction.
For each essential standard, students are assessed using a Common Formative Assessment (CFA). (How will we know if they have learned?) The CFA data is then brought to the next Tier 2 collaboration time, which is held weekly. The data is analyzed and student work samples are evaluated to identify specific instructional strategies for Tier 2 intervention groups. Those who were not proficient then receive intensive, small group, explicit instruction to work towards mastery of the essential standard. (What will we do if they don’t learn?)
Students who show proficiency in the essential standard are placed in a group that focuses on extension and enrichment around the identified standard. (What will we do if they already know it?) This focused Tier 2 instruction is monitored throughout the cycle and discussed each meeting until a new essential standard becomes the focus of the Tier 2 time.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
MTSS is present and thriving at Rendezvous Elementary School. The master schedule provides separate Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 academic times. These protected times provide students multiple opportunities to receive targeted instruction, reteaching, extension, and interventions. We have a school wide system for recording benchmark and progress monitoring data that is used to determine proficiency and movement through the tiers.
Our guaranteed and viable curriculum is delivered with fidelity during Tier 1 instruction by classroom teachers, with assistance from special education teachers when appropriate. Teams collaboratively plan Tier 1
instruction weekly to identify student needs and create instructional learning targets and checks. Student learning is supported here through explicit instruction, timely intervention, and multiple reteaching opportunities.
Students take CFAs, after Tier 1 instruction has been delivered, that have been created and aligned to essential standards by classroom teachers. This data is used to form and plan Tier 2 intervention groups. Content teams meet collaboratively during a weekly Tier 2 collaboration time to analyze data, create a SMART goal, identify next steps, and create focused lessons to help students progress towards and achieve mastery. Students are then placed in skill based groups and provided with targeted instruction multiple times a week during W.I.N. time (What I Need), our scheduled Tier 2 block.
Based on our universal screener and classroom data, students showing intensive needs are identified. They are then evaluated, using the intervention program assessments, to determine if Tier 3 placement is necessary and which type of intervention is appropriate. Students in Tier 3 interventions are progress monitored weekly by paraeducators leading small groups, who are highly trained in these research-based intervention programs. In addition, collaboration between Tier 3 and classroom teachers is done bi-monthly to analyze student growth and needs.
Additional systems are in place to support our students that require an IEP. Special Education teachers collaborate with classroom teachers bi-monthly to share instructional strategies, consider student needs, and determine instructional accommodations to enhance student learning in the classroom. Students’ IEP goals are addressed during the Tier 3 instructional block with accommodations and support provided during Tier 1 instruction. This system supports all students in receiving grade level instruction, while also working to meet individual needs.
Part of our school’s vision is to ”propel all towards productive futures by recognizing and developing unique strengths.” We accomplish this by providing opportunities both during and after school. During school, content teams have started to identify enrichment activities to push all students who have become proficient in essential standards. After school enrichment programs are also available in order to provide all students with access to enrichment activities, regardless of their academic proficiency. This promotes growth mindset, increases vocabulary, and offers rich experiences that enhance students’ love for school by allowing them to explore their unique strengths.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
Rendezvous Elementary School’s mission statement, “Work Hard, Love to Learn, Care for Others and Ourselves” is evident in our planning, practice, and culture. As a team, we work together to ensure that all students can and will learn. We take collective responsibility and keep the focus on student achievement.
We have planning structures in place to ensure that our time and discussions are focused and productive. Each team has identified norms and roles, which hold all team members accountable and allow for safe and student-focused conversations during all collaborative planning times.This has produced a high level of trust between team members which allows data to be openly discussed. Because of this, all members contribute and constructive feedback is given and received.
We believe that we can and should learn from each other. Educators in our building have good advice, great examples of classroom practices, and strategies to share that can make all of us more effective teachers. During our district-wide late start time dedicated to teacher collaboration, we often open classrooms to all staff where selected or volunteer teachers demonstrate particular area of expertise. This type of professional development we have named “pineappling,” since the pineapple is a symbol of hospitality. Through these efforts, we are able to share effective practices to use in our classrooms.
We’ve also learned from each other through classroom learning walks. This practice has required a level of trust to allow colleagues to visit classrooms during instruction time. Learning walks have provided opportunities to see best practices at play and to have productive discussions around the observations made during the walks.
At Rendezvous, we operate under a model of shared leadership. We each belong to a committee that meets throughout the year to work together towards an identified and measurable SMART goal. One of the committees is our building leadership team, the Rendezvous Guiding Coalition (RGC), whose purpose is to lead high level PLCs to achieve our school’s mission and vision. This committee is empowered through their leadership opportunity by receiving training, such as Solution Tree PLC and Leadership Now. This training is then shared to all team members, allowing for even more collaboration and focus on collective student achievement.
Achievement Data Files
Additional Achievement Data
2017-2018- Rendezvous Teacher nominated Fremont County School District #25 Certified Employee of the Year
2018-2019- Rendezvous Teacher nominated Fremont County School District #25 Certified Employee of the Year
Letter to the editor in local paper, Riverton Ranger- “There’s excitement in the air for the new school year. Editor, I had an occasion recently to visit Rendezvous Elementary School in Riverton. The school was buzzing with faculty and staff, all working to ready the facility for the day. You might, like me, know Rendezvous as the old Riverton Middle School. I hadn’t been in the building since our boys were there in the 1980s. Rendezvous is wonderful! The building is immaculate, the walls are bright with colors, and posters and eye-catching announcements. There is a delightful mural, newly painted, on one wall. But best of all is the excitement in the air. These educators (and they are all that, from custodians to the principal) are eager to see their students. I am sure this is true for every school in school district 25. Have a great school year, and thank you for educating Riverton’s precious children. They are indeed our future.”
-Barbara Gose, Riverton
Recognition email from middle school principal-
I wanted to share with you some notes from our 6-8 math meeting this morning.
The sixth grade teachers have had some very good results on their first two unit summatives. When I asked them what they were doing to see such positive performances, they both credited the preparation the students are receiving in fifth grade as a major contributing factor to their success in sixth grade.
Please pass along our thanks to your crew and all their hard work. It does not go unnoticed in the land of Sparta. -Brant Nyberg, Principal"