Goodman Elementary School

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

Upon entering Goodman Elementary School on any given day one would feel a sense of positive culture, climate and collaboration. This has not always been the case as our story will tell. 

As shifts in the administration and leadership happened a few years ago, it was obvious that the building wasn't grounded in a strong mission, vision or common goals. It was an environment of survival and self-isolation. Teachers didn't even eat together or talk to each other, much less share information or collaborate. As student achievement conversations began to occur and the data showed a downward trend, it was clear that a re-evaluation of the priorities at Goodman Elementary School needed to happen.

The principal worked to locate and discover a few key "stakeholders" in the building. These teachers were ones that had a lot of pull and clout with the other teachers and were leaders of sorts, not always for good, but leaders according to their peers. These teachers and staff members were the ones to start conversations with, run things by, share wonderings, ask questions and work with to see if they wanted to "pilot" some things knowing this would be shared with others immediately. This began to raise the stakes at Goodman Elementary as it set the stage for defining that clear purpose of high expectations for all staff (we weren't to students yet), all staff, which made some very uncomfortable and they chose to find a new place to work. A few of the things that followed quickly after are as follows: 

  • Explaining the why behind everything - this created buy-in. All brains need to connect and feel a part of something, the team was willing, they just didn't understand. Anytime an initative starts to go the wrong direction, still to this day, it starts with the why. 

  • Worked with teacher leaders to decide on a few initiatives that led to our vision and mission creation. This was started with a gallery walk sharing ideas from each and every team member regarding what "we" wanted to be and become. We could only bite off one bite at a time. 

  • Teachers were leading the changes as they were bought in and wanted it for themselves, their kids and the community. 

  • Trust for the building leader as this time was full of building up the teachers and staff. Finding what they were good at, helping them find grows and glows and supporting them through the grows until they became glows. Follow through and consistency was what created that trust.

  • Celebrations every step of the way...big, small, tiny, it didn't matter. We expected and celebrated growth for everyone, big and small! 

  • Immersion of data...we started small (we called it Big 5 Data) and discovered the why and the how for data collection and how to use it to do our jobs better and to prove what we are doing and implementing and changing is working, or not working. This was the beginning of standards based instruction for our building. 

  • Always trying to stay educated and one step ahead so the team had no surprises when it came down the pike. 

  • Learning walks - this was the single thing that changed the culture and upped the game for us at Goodman Elementary. We started doing these quarterly but now do them monthly. Learning walks are beyond powerful as they provide opportunities for peer feedback, and something that the building leader participates in each and every time. This shows the importance to the team and is a great opportunity for specific feedback that is less pointed from the leader. 

Another big piece of the puzzle needed for the teachers and staff, who had little knowledge of the PLC process, was to bring attention to the current reality in regards to data, behavior, morale, culture, retention, success, parental involvement, community, etc. We were working towards a mission and vision but weren't clear yet. We started by working together, in 2014-15, to share and create a document called Mutual Expectations. This was the beginning of our PLC process, however we had a long way to go. At the end of the first semester, starting this year (2014-15), the principal sent out a grow and glow survey to reflect the mutual expectations and scheduled individual meetings for each and every staff member to share, talk, plan, and support each other. These still happen every year. They are time consuming, but they are a huge part of the safe and supportive culture we now have. 

The Goodman Elementary staff continuously worked towards adopting the "our kids vs. my kids" mentality through creating a sense of culture, making things personal while we worked to create a school for "our [own] kids", intense immersion of data, standards-based instruction, and accountability through goal setting (both individual and building-wide).

  • Data walls were created, data meetings occurred for the first time, collaboration became a focus and requirement, a new master schedule was created based on common plan time and allowing time for collaboration, grade levels came together to decide on a few standards to make the focus and teachers were immersed in new professional learning. The ball was rolling and the framework was beginning to make sense. 
  • Our instructional coach worked with each team to observe and do learning walks outside of our building. The goal for this time was to gain a common understanding of what high expectations and rigor looked like in action and where we wanted to go/be. Teams then worked to chart all of the characteristics of what a high-quality classroom would look like, then used a strategy, called Spend a Buck to narrow their focus towards what they wanted to immediately implement and what they would do first. They set SMART goals on these and created implementation plans and coaching cycles to help them achieve these goals. This was powerful!

In the spring of 2017, as we were prepping for what was predicted to be the highest performing year for Goodman Elementary, we experienced a large setback. A tornado came through on a Tuesday evening in April and destroyed our school, our focus and all of our momentum. This proved to be a much larger setback than originally thought. It affected not only our proficiency of course, but also our teacher retention, building culture and teacher efficacy. For the 2018-19 school year, we were basically back to square one in many ways. After recalibrating and addressing the mental health and trauma of both staff and students, we could then regain our focus on student achievement. 

Fast forward a few years, many training sessions, some emotional rock-bottoms, re-learning of the PLC framework, and the growth in many areas is finally evident and positive! Goodman Elementary School has worked to create a mission and a vision. This was created the 2nd year, but developed, tweaked and re-worked each year until is became who we were in 2018. Teams finally were able to establish norms and collective commitments, and the building saw the need for leadership and created a Guiding Coalition (application based) to encourage shared leadership and further the knowledge and commitment. These leaders are a team of teachers of all levels and expertise who are committed to improvement through communication, collaboration, and accountability to ensure all kids learn at high levels. 

The Goodman Guiding Coalition meets regularly throughout the school year to both develop themselves as leaders as well as to share feedback and thoughts from the staff to continue to focus on removing obstacles and increase the focus on culture in our building so it remains positive and forward thinking. This allows every voice in the building to be heard. The GC also meets for a summer retreat where we review our mission and vision and discuss any revisions that may be needed as our building continues to develop into a successful PLC. 

Currently at Goodman Elementary School, due to PLC focus and training, an emphasis on Tier 1 instruction for all is now consistently the priority. In addition, you will find a focus on data and instruction through our building-created data tracking system, monthly learning walks to ensure forward thinking instructional practices, weekly protected collaboration time with a highly trained and experienced facilitator (GC and instructional coaches) to promote productivity, shared learning expectations through common unit planning based on the four corollary questions defined by Dr. Richard DuFour, and consistent data conversations in the classrooms by both classroom teachers and students. (See Guiding Coalition Retreat Notes 2020)

Goodman Elementary School recently created a collaborative team with our special services department, both certified and non-certified, in order to provide layered interventions to our most critical learners in a timely and effective manner. These students are tracked on a daily and weekly basis and this team meets weekly to discuss progress and to plan and provide the most research-based interventions at the Tier 2 and 3 level (See the book, The Comprehensive Intervention Model: Nurturing Self-Regulated Readers Through Responsive Teaching by Dorn, Soffos, and Klein. This has required immense training for this team provided by our building instructional coaches and interventionists who continuously immerse themselves in new learning. In turn, this collaborative team and their practices have proved to be an effective use of time and resources based on the most recent state testing data. One practice we have found successful is the use of Every Student Every Standard. This is a building-wide created document that tracks all students and their progress on power standards as well as growth in iReady and progress monitoring using running records. This document is highlighted and color coded according to those with greatest need or lack of growth to ensure that no student falls "through the cracks". The intervention team utilizes this document to decide on universal accommodations that students need to be taught. These accommodations, such as human reader, paper/pencil, small group, etc when tracked on ESES and followed through to MAP testing, proved to be an effective tool according to our most recent MAP data where we had zero 4th grade students fall in the below basic (BB) category in ELA. This was including our 5 special education students. 

It is evident that a mindset shift has occurred at Goodman Elementary School as there is a clear need for all students to learn and the team will do whatever it takes to help each child find success. 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

At Neosho School District we have determined our essential standards through vertical alignment K-12. Proficiency scales were created through collaboration to determine the success criteria and the learning progressions. This process was/is teacher led and administrator/coach supported. This helped set the bar for learning so students could focus on not only reaching the bar, but going beyond. These scales are the language used is Every Student Every Standard and are what we track. We used DCI (District Continuous Improvement) to determine success critereia and make sure that our assessments and state requirements align. 

During collaboration, our teams work to develop Tier 1 unit plans to include the standards and scales mentioned above. These plans are based on Marzano's work and include the 4 corollary questions central to the PLC process. 

Our school, Goodman Elementary, monitors student learning through the use of formative assessments which are tracked building wide by a document called Every Student, Every Standard (ESES). This data is entered weekly, if not daily, by teachers and interventionists to track student progress and growth toward mastery of those essential skills. 

The essentials were determined through K-12 vertical alignment at the district level using Achieve the Core to determine high leverage standards. Grade level teams meet to discuss and determine success criteria through the help of Heflebowers work, A Teacher's Guide to Standard Based Learning. In those meetings, they developed mostly summative common assessments. 

Representatives from DESE, DCI as mentioned above, have taken part in our collaborations, with our teams, to develop formative assessments that align and correlate to the DOK levels outlined in the teacher/team created proficiency scales. These formative assessments are collectively graded and analyzed through Data Analysis protocols to then make instructional decisions answering corollary questions 3 and 4. 

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

Through the use of ESES (mentioned in the prior question), we are able to complete data analysis protocols to discover weak teaching areas, students not making growth, and students who are needing extension. Using this formative data, placed in ESES, teachers create RTI groupings. Teachers form RTI groups for ELA, Math, and Writing and collaborate with our intervention team (sped, speech, reading interventionists, and instructional coaches) and follow through with pointed interventions to reteach, reassess and extend. In addition to collaboration, data team meetings are also held to review student data and ensure the interventions that are in place are working. If the data shows they are not, a plan is made to increase intensity and/or time. As you'll see in the video, teachers and interventionists work together looking through the diagnostic and summative data to identify target groups of students. These students are deemed as having potential to make growth towards proficiency. Based on the data, an approriate intervention is decided that will help close the gap and coaching cycles various other scaffolding options are offered to support teachers and staff in the implementation of this intervention. Dates are set for intevention progress monitoring to be in ESES as well as a date to check in to track the effectiveness of the intervention and the efficacy of the teacher. These target groups are flexible as students grow and become proficient, other students are identified. 

Through practices such as target group identification, small group assessment, human reader groups and other accommodations available to our students as stated by the state Department of Education, and through the hard work of our collaboration with interventionists, sped team, and counselor...we've had huge success with our subgroup population. The students are made aware of how they test the best and how accomodations are for all kinds of work. Subgroup students are always taught Tier 1 instruction first and then the other Tiers follow up for transfer of these skills. Students are taught how to use the accommodations and when to ask for them, as opposed to the accommodations being used "for them". All means all for our students and students in these subgroups have just as high expectations for them as any and they are reaching them! 

Students also monitor their own progress of learning and skills by goal setting in things such as student data notebooks. Students are encouraged to take part in their learning progression by way of student-led conferences and reflection after formative assessment in the classroom. 

The process for those not making adequate growth is as follows. Target students are identified in ESES as needing additional interventions due to lack of progress and/or functioning below grade level. The teachers are trained in interventions by our instructional coach and/or building interventionist. The interventionists and classroom teachers use intervention checklists and anecdotal notes to track teaching points and student strengths and weaknesses. The interventionists and classroom teachers discuss these students and their areas of growth weekly during collaboration. A timeline is set to revisit and track growth, which is to be recorded in ESES. At the end of an intervention cycle, new interventions are suggested and implemented and/or further diagnostic data is requested through our special services department. In addition to classroom interventions, the building interventionist determines students with greatest need according to running records, iReady, Observation Survey, and language screeners. A schedule is created to ensure NO student misses any Tier 1 instruction.

 

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

Our collaborative teams meet weekly with team-created agendas to use the time looking at specific student and class-wide data. SMART goals are created consistently with the mindset that all students have potential to show growth and/or master these essential skills. SMART goals are created with the work of the SMART goal planner for each unit and for building wide summative data. For example, we noticed in 4th grade, according to their BOY diagnostic on iReady, their students were struggling in the domain of vocabulary. The team created a SMART goal around this domain focusing on growth for 100% of their students based on a pre-assessment (iReady). They implemented Tier 1 word study instruction and created/implemented Tier 2 interventions to be completed in small groups. The data not only increased for MID-year iReady, but the end of year MAP data also reflected success in this area.

When in collaboration, teams look for strategies and accommodations as well as confer with instructional coaches for best practices. Teachers participate in coaching cycles with our coaches to continue to grow professionally in order to impact student achievement.  These cycles directly impact student success as a student centered approach is used to plan coaching cycles. The coaches push into classrooms to model best practices and strategies to help build the knowledge and capacity in teachers in a particular area. The coach and the teacher will have a debriefing meeting to discuss the practices they noticed and questions they may have and then they plan the next steps together. The coach will follow up and observe the teacher in action and provide specific feedback. All coaching cycles are based around student data and what the teacher feels they need support in so they can impact student achievement in a positive manner. 

We are also big believers in the fact that some of the best professional development can be from the teacher down the hall. We put this practice into place through the use of Learning Walks. The purpose of learning walks is multifaceted. One purpose is to create a safe and positive work environment by leaving encouraging and supportive feedback for every teacher every time. We have found this to build culture and trust. The second purpose is for the teachers to watch a peer teach in a self-identified weak area. This builds capacity in the teacher we are watching but also builds capacity and growth in the teacher(s) observing as they all leave with different takeaways they can immediately implement within their classroom. Participation is modeled and expected as admin, coaches, and all personnel take part as we all want to focus on professional growth.  With all of the things we have learned and work through within the PLC process, we have learned that we value the importance of sharing our knowledge with others. As Hattie talks about in his research, Collective Teacher Efficacy has one of the highest effects on student achievement, we have found that placing teachers in that consultation role does just this. 

Another document we have used to help all members of our PLC see the big picture and how their daily work creates growth in change is through the digital data wall. This is also how we track Tier 2 and 3 interventions, how students are getting core+more through our labeling in this document. This document does not have names in order to help reduce the excuses that are sometimes subconsciously used to label kids and therefore give them a reason not to be successful. This builds capacity for the classroom level teacher to see the areas of need in reading and writing and watch those that are targeted make growth. It also helps to drive the decision on which students need which interventions. The digital data wall is updated and shared 3 times a year using DRA and iReady reading and math scores.

 

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

The teacher data file that has been uploaded above includes our building MPI (Map Proficiency Index) as well as each teacher's MPI, K-4. This is how we collect and track assessment data for K-2 as they do not take state assessments. The goal is for teachers to know that they all have a hand in student success no matter if they are a state test taking grade or not. This reinforces our "All means all" mentality and creates school-wide accountability for student achievement in a measurable way. This document also helps us to set goals for growth and to track teacher success through measurable data. 

Our implementation of PLC and true collaboration helped our school and district to achieve some of the highest percentage of growth in the iReady Diagnostic assessment. Representatives from iReady came to Neosho to inform and celebrate with the school board. We were one of the highest ranking districts in the nation according to this data. 

For Goodman Elementary, according to the various points data (iReady, Evaluate, DRA, and MAP), we went from being among the lowest performing schools in Neosho School District, to the second highest performing and highest percentage of growth! We attribute this success to our intentionality with the PLC process. 

Our school also received PBL (Project Based Learning) certification from Magnify Learning in the 2020-21 school year which was also possible due to our high levels of understanding of the Multi-Tiered System of Supports and the instructional cycle planning. Our PBL's were only able to be successful because of the student supports that were already in place ensuring that no student was able to "fall through the cracks". 

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