Cloud Springs Elementary
- Number of Students: 340
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 77.15%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 1.47%
- Percent of Special Education: 16.47%
- White: 87.65%
- Black: 2.65%
- Hispanic: 2.35%
- Asian: 0.88%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0.88%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0%
- Multiracial: 5.59%
- Other: 0%
Cloud Springs Elementary School (CSE) began the PLC journey in the 2017-2018 year. The journey was born out of a determination to improve. For the past few years, CSE struggled with student achievement and had been labeled a failing school based on CCRPI scores. In 2017-2018, staff turnover meant the formation of a new administrative team (Principal, Assistant Principal, and Academic coach), led by the former assistant principal. While she knew she didn’t have all the answers, she believed in her team. Collectively, we could accomplish great things.
CSE had not always faced such struggles. It was once regarded as one of the highest performing schools in the county. There is great pride in the legacy of the school as many former students now have kids and grandkids who attend. However, over the years the dynamics of the population changed. Parent involvement gradually plummeted. More and more often, students came into our building facing difficult living situations, such as being raised by grandparents and the effects of generational poverty. Well-meaning teachers were not equipped to engage the changing population and the culture of the building slowly shifted away from its once high academic standards. The assumption was that because of this adversity, students couldn’t or wouldn’t learn at high levels. We lowered our standards in the name of compassion, but truthfully, we were just “loving our kids into poverty.”
That all changed in the summer of 2017 when the administrative team and academic coach attended PLC at work Institute. There, they were exposed to stories of schools - just like ours - who were beating the odds. The stories cemented in the minds of administrators that ALL children, regardless of their background, disability status, or socioeconomic status are capable of learning at high levels. We knew that the road ahead of us was long, but we also knew that our students were worth the work.
The process began by providing staff with the reality of our current situation. Staff symbolically “let go” of all of the barriers to student learning we couldn’t change by releasing balloons, vowing instead to focus our efforts on the things within our control. Implementing teacher teams and a Tribal Council (Guiding Coalition) were foundational steps, but the real work came from challenging and adapting our own beliefs about what our students could achieve.
Each year, more layers were added to our program. Collaborative teams, intervention time, and dedicated progress monitoring ensured that we were constantly adapting our teaching practices to best fit each child. We were fueled by successes, big and small. Our CCRPI score increased in year 2 from failing to a D. Evidence of student learning was observed across the board. Teachers were still working hard but were no longer spinning their wheels.
In year 3, our school received the highest CCRPI score we’d gotten in years. We celebrate these successes knowing that our work is never done. There is always something to improve. But kid by kid, skill by skill, we are collectively committed to our mission: To ensure high levels of learning for all!
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
The expectation at Cloud Springs Elementary is that all teachers will collaborate and reflect on student learning and professional/instructional practice. During team times (collaborative learning teams), teachers use the four guiding questions and essential standards to create unit plans (core instruction) and common assessments, both formative and summative. Within the unit plans teachers identify learning targets. The data from these assessments is used to drive further instruction within the classroom. Teacher teams use data to group students across the grade level based on students’ needs for extension and re-engagement. Teachers re-engage/extend based on common assessments twice weekly for thirty minutes. Data is constantly being monitored using these tools within the team. Teachers reflect on their students' learning and their professional practice. They collaborate with their team to determine which teachers are re-engaging students and which teachers are extending students (information gathered from the data of each classroom). Teachers have a team drive that holds agendas, meeting minutes, and student data.
Students are also assessed with a universal screener three times a year in reading and math. They are progress monitored weekly or monthly, depending on if they are Tier 2 or Tier 3 students. This data helps to determine if a student needs intervention and if the intervention implemented is effective for student growth.
CSE uses several research-based intervention programs that give the recommended usage and student data. In addition to intervention teachers monitoring student progress regularly, interventions are also monitored through the Academic Student Intervention Team (A-SIT) monthly. This team monitors academic progress and if interventions for specific students need to be adjusted. CSE students also manage their own learning through the use of data notebooks to set goals and monitor academic growth. This tool helps hold students accountable for their learning and allows them to share their data with parents during conferences as well as “student showcase” nights.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
In order to provide students additional time and support for learning, Cloud Springs Elementary (CSE) has two protected Extended Learning Blocks during the school day. The first Extended Learning Block is a 45-minute segment for reading. Students are grouped across grade levels and meet the needs of all of ALL students, depending on the need for intervention or extension. Classroom, additional support teachers, and paraprofessionals are all utilized to provide intervention support as well as giving students on or above grade level opportunities for extension.
A 30 minute Extended Learning Block is used specifically for math. Students are grouped within their classroom, depending on the need for intervention or extension.
Within the master schedule, additional time is set aside twice-weekly strictly for re-engagement/extension of common formative and common summative assessments. This time is specifically for Tier 2 re-engagement/extension.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
We have worked to build capacity through a variety of ways. A Guiding Coalition was formed immediately and the current reality of the school was discussed. A new mission and vision was created and collective commitments developed. A consensus was gained by getting input from internal stakeholders. The Guiding Coalition was provided professional development on developing high performing teams.
Professional Development at Cloud Springs Elementary centers around Solution Tree's Learning by Doing. The administrators and academic coach meet weekly with all teachers to provide opportunities to reflect, plan ahead, and provide feedback. They plan units together, develop and analyze common assessments, and then reflect on professional practice, in order to improve student learning. Vertical planning teams meet monthly to discuss commonalities between essential standards and analyze data across all grade levels. Singletons collaborate at the district level as well as at the school level. At Cloud Springs, singletons collaborate to provide Tier 2 social-emotional support to students. They meet monthly and look at student data and participate in a book study on the book Growth Mindset. All collaborative meetings are driven by the 4 Guiding Questions and the CSE mission: ensuring high levels of learning for all. Through all of these experiences, CSE has become a high performing, collaborative team.
Achievement Data Files
2017 - 2018 County Superintendent Medals for:
Creating Hope Award (ELA for ALL students)
Creating Hope Award (ELA Economically Disadvantaged Students)
2017-2018 5 STAR Climate Rating (CCRPI)
2018-2019 5 STAR Climate Rating (CCRPI)
2018-2019 Governor’s Office Student Achievement Beating the Odds School
2018-2019 Title I Reward School
2018-2019 Reading Plus Achievement Awards in the areas of combos and words read
2018-2019 PBIS Operational School