- Number of Students: 280
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 100%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 16.3%
- Percent of Special Education: 17%
- White: 5.9%
- Black: 70.6%
- Hispanic: 20.1%
- Asian: 0.3%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0%
- Multiracial: 3.1%
- Other: 0%
Lindsey Elementary PLC Story
Lindsey Elementary School is a Title I school located in the Middle Georgia area, south of metropolitan Atlanta. Lindsey Elementary is a neighborhood school that serves 280 students in grades PreK-5. In June 2017, two teachers and the principal attended a PLC at Work Institute in Atlanta, Georgia, with the goal of establishing a guiding coalition to develop guaranteed and viable curricula for all students. This would mark the beginning of the school’s journey toward implementing a PLC at Work culture at the school.
With that work progressing but knowing the school needed more clarity on how PLC at Work processes could support the district’s RTI processes. In October 2017 the counselor and the principal attended the RTI at Work Institute in Tampa, Florida. Prior to the conference, the 2017 state testing data were released to the public, which again exposed the school's need for change when none of the student subpopulations met the state’s growth targets for achievement.
Throughout the RTI Institute presentations and workshops, we were able to share with several RTI at Work presenters and associates the school’s background and the work we have done since the PLC Institute while reiterating the need for more guidance. This is where the trajectory of the school truly shifted. Through the institute and their use of Taking Action (Buffum et al., 2018) upon returning to their school, we learned how to establish the role of leadership, intervention, and teacher teams in the RTI process and through each team’s collaborative work. We learned how to establish a foundational culture of interdependence as their PLC urgently worked toward a common goal. And we learned how to redefine the school’s mission and vision to ensure that learning for all students meant learning for all students.
Soon, not only did the principal notice the positive shift in the school but the teachers were noticing a drastic and positive change in their culture as well. We had a clear vision, mission, purpose, and framework to accomplish the substantial work in front of us and achieve our goals. Collectively, we established a master schedule, SMART goals, and new budgets that supported PLC and RTI processes. As a result, Lindsey Elementary became a completely different school.
Although the state changed the calculation in reporting schools’ CCRPI scores in 2018, we saw gains in our progress data and an increase in the reporting of groups in the school who met improvement targets. Specifically, in 2019, we saw an eighteen-point increase in progress reporting resulting in an overall of ninety-eight score thus outperforming both the district and state. Moreover, gains were made in the climate scores (Figure 1.1), survey results from the faculty and staff, students and parents and an increase in our overall school attendance (Figure 1.2).
Currently, we do not use the term PLC as much as when we started, just over three years ago because it has become fully integrated into the expectation of how we do business. PLC at Work has completely transformed the trajectory of our school as we share our experiences and collective commitment to continuous improvement.
|School Survey, Student Climate and Attendance Data|
|Overall Climate Score|
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
Lindsey Elementary School is collectively committed to the ongoing process of monitoring student learning on a timely basis. As a result of our commitment, we implement PLC at Work processes in order to systematically and timely review data from multiple sources such as screeners, common end-of-unit assessments and common formative assessments aid us in making data-based decisions about student learning. This process is performed on a weekly basis by collaborative grade level teacher teams and monthly by the school level data team and the school level intervention team. The analysis of student data includes reviewing student work, question analysis and by student and by standard analysis. Teacher teams have data charted for individual classes by grade level. This assists teacher teams in determining which students need extensions and which students need additional time and support on what skills, targets and standards. As a result of collaborative meetings, teacher teams develop systematic, timely and directive interventions and extensions for identified students. This process also allows teachers to exercise instructional agility and make real time decisions based on the data to meet the needs of their students. Teacher teams review and study unwrapped essential standards, create end of unit assessments, common formative assessments and formative assessments to monitor students’ learning unit by unit. Teams have norms, protocols, processes, and systems to display their classroom data, as well as, combine grade level data on all end of unit assessments and common formative assessments. Teams then review the SMART goals created for the unit and review their progress towards meeting the set goals.
Additionally, students are engaged in monitoring their own learning or progress by tracking their data in their data notebooks. This process helps the students become invested in their own learning. Students are given goals and expected levels of proficiency they must achieve for their essential standards. Students then chart their progress and compare it to goals set for grade level expectations, mastery or proficiency. Students also use their data notebooks for conducting student-led conferences with their parents and discuss their goals, progress, and steps needed to be proficient or extend their learning.
Lindsey Elementary also has monthly school-wide data team meetings to review academic data of all students and the progress monitoring data of Tier 2, Tier 3 and Special Education students. The data team reviews common formative assessments, end of unit assessments, screener data and work samples to discuss the learning progress of students as well as discuss and reflect on Tier 1 instructional practices of classroom teachers. The Intervention Team meets monthly to create plans of support for students identified as needing intensive remediation as they are performing well below expected grade level proficiency expectations. This team includes the administrator, content specialist teacher for reading and math, the Media Specialist, Special Education lead teacher, the Speech Pathologist, ESOL teacher, the Program Specialist, the Phycologist, Counselor, the School Social Worker and the Parent Engagement Coordinator. Discussions are focused on students who receive and/or need Tier 3 support. The team problem solves for the general education teacher to create a learning plan for each student. Then another staff member is assigned to the student to help provide additional support apart from the classroom teacher so the student does not miss grade level instruction. The additional staff includes resource teachers (EIP Reading, EIP Math, ESOL, Media Specialist, Special Education teachers, Specials teachers and Counselor), Paraprofessionals and the Parent Engagement Coordinator.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
Lindsey Elementary has tight systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning essential learning skills, targets and standards. Grade level collaborative teacher teams meet weekly to analyze data from common end of unit assessments and common formative assessments to determine which students need additional time and support on specific essential skills and learning targets. These teams then systematically, directly and timely plan to intervene to meet the needs of every student identified. Additionally, they plan to adjust their instructional practices (instructional agility) as needed based on the feedback and results of the data. These actions ensure we keep our focus on collaboration, learning, and results at the forefront of every collaborative planning. These tight processes help teams to identify what students will receive Tier 2 support in order to help them master the essential learning targets for the unit. We created a master schedule that supports our commitment to intervene systematically, directly and in a timely manner. Built into the master schedule is an hour block for intervention and extension for each grade level. Homeroom teachers provide Tier 2 support to all identified students while resource or content specialist teachers provide Tier 3 support to those students identified by universal screeners or teacher recommendations based on various sources of data. This is to ensure the educator administering the intervention is the most trained and competent at the task.
Additionally, Lindsey administrators and teachers have truly developed a culture of “our students.” We embraced having a collective responsibility for all students. We understand the importance of providing Tier 2 and Tier 3 support in addition to learning new essential grade level curriculum. Teacher teams build in time to provide intervention (additional time and support) for grade level standards by collaboratively pacing out each unit, being sure to build in days to administer common formative assessments and days to respond to the data by providing intervention to identified students. After analyzing data from common formative assessments, the team decides on what standards, targets or skills students will need additional time and support. Teams then share students to ensure the most trained person serves students in providing intervention. This action ensures that all students needing intervention and extension will in fact receive the prevention and support needed to be successful. These steps repeat unit by unit ensuring teams follow/implement the Teaching-Assessing Cycle.
The school level data team meets monthly to engage in intentional discussions around the data of all students in the school. The team examines universal screeners, end of unit assessments, common assessments and county benchmark reading data. The team then decides who will get Tier 2 support, Tier 3 support and extension. Students who are identified as needing Tier 2 support receive it from the classroom teacher. Students identified as needing Tier 3 support receive it from additional personnel (resource teachers, paraprofessional and specials teachers) during the school-wide I/E time. I/E time is built into the master schedule for all grade levels. I/E time is an additional sixty minutes of support students receive in addition to the Tier 1 instruction in reading and math. Students receiving support are in fluid groups and can change as the team reviews the progress data of the students.
Teachers at Lindsey Elementary, truly embrace the philosophy and mindset of collective and shared responsibility. Teams build in days to intervene and extend the learning for the students in each unit after administering a common formative assessment; then analyze data to get feedback on instructional practices and make adjustments. They also analyze data in order to group students and determine the teacher that will provide the additional instructional support to identified students and identified standards and skills. On the designated day, teams move students to the identified group to receive the additional instruction and practice. On this day the teams determine the frequency and timing of check in and follow up by administering “quick check” formative assessments to monitor the effectiveness of the added instruction. The cycle is repeated unit by unit after each administered common formative assessment.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
Lindsey Elementary values building and increasing teacher capacity to work as a member of high performing collaborative teams that share essential learning objectives and take collective responsibility for all students learning across all grade level essential standards. The primary focus of all teacher teams is to share learning outcomes. At Lindsey Elementary the most common structure of teacher teams is collaborative grade level teachers teams to include paraprofessionals. However, there are processes in place where vertical teams are needed in faculty meetings or school wide data team meetings. Additionally, there are interdisciplinary teams made up of teachers who teach different content and share the same students so they focus their efforts on shared essential skills. These teams include our special education team, specials team and our content resource teachers (EIP Math, EIP Reading, ESOL and Media Specialist). Each teams’ focus is to improve student learning; therefore, each team must have shared data to discuss students. This shared data is obtained from the universal screeners and benchmarks the students take three times a year.
The leadership team created a master schedule that supports one of the three big ideas of a PLC-a focus on collaboration. Each team is provided sixty minutes of collaborative planning each day. And an additional ninety minutes is provided each week to give teams time during their contractual hours to focus on essential actions of teacher teams. Lindsey Elementary believes that the highly effective professional learning community believes in the fundamental assumption that the key to improved student outcomes is continuous job embedded professional learning. This professional learning occurs during grade level collaboration as teams address and answer the four critical questions of a PLC, study and unwrap standards, review resources and examine student data.
The leadership team created collaboration protocols for the school to ensure each teacher team is intentional about addressing the four critical questions and focuses on the right work. Lindsey Elementary defines the work of a high performing teams:
Create norms and SMART Goals
Identify, define and clarify essential standards or learning outcomes for each grade level
Create a unit plan where teams are intentional about implementing the Team-Teaching Assessing Cycle by creating a unit by unit plan, creating common end of unit assessments, common formative assessments, and developing team SMART goals and provide high quality Tier 1 instruction
Administer and analyze common end of unit assessments and common assessments to identify students who need additional time and support, review progress towards team level SMART goals, as well as analyze the effectiveness of the provided instruction.
Take responsibility and implement the additional time and support (Tier 2 interventions) for students who were identified by assessment data to include extension and/or enrichment
Identify students needing intensive support (Tier 3 interventions)
Identify students needing extension
These processes have led to Lindsey Elementary establishing high performing teams across grade levels that are focused on the right work-ensuring all students learn at high levels. In addition to the grade level team, resource teachers, paraprofessionals, specials and Special Education teachers are regular members of the grade level collaboration.
Specials (Art, P.E. and Music) teachers also work with teacher collaborative teams to discuss the needs of the students they serve for intervention. Additionally, the Specials teachers have a weekly collaboration time to discuss students they serve and ways to support the essential standards of K-5 math and reading in their classroom. Job embedded professional learning is provided to help the teachers learn various strategies and content to implement in their classrooms. Specials teachers have provided valuable input with a different perspective and strategies that teams may not have thought to implement. Additionally, the Specials teachers participate in data team meetings, faculty meetings, vertical team discussions and leadership team meetings which allows them to engage and encourages cross-curricular dialogue. Moreover, the Specials teachers also share valuable information with teachers about the students’ strengths, challenges, talents and gifts that may not be noticeable in the general academic education classroom. This further helps as the Specials teachers also provide additional intervention support for identified students who need Tier 2 and Tier 3 support during our school-wide I/E time.
Another team that focuses on the needs of the students is the Attendance Team. This team includes the office staff, counselor, school social worker, and an administrator. The primary purpose of this team is to track the attendance of students and intervene early so students can stay in school. This team identifies students showing signs of attendance concerns or trends toward excessive absences. This team contacts parents to inform them of the importance of school attendance and the impact of lack attendance has on student learning. The goal of the team is to ensure students come to school each day, on time and ready to learn each day of the academic school year. Systems and processes are put in place to help the team focus on the goals of ensuring high levels of learning for all students and meeting the personal and instructional needs of all students. This can only be done if the students are coming to school.
2019-Georgia Identified PBIS Operational School
2019-Lindsey Elementary School earned a renewal of its Advanc-Ed Accredited School status.
2015 Georgia Title 1 High Progress Reward School
2007 Georgia Title 1 Distinguished School
2006 Georgia Title 1 Distinguished School
2005 Georgia Title 1 Distinguished School