Republic R-III School District

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

From July 2012 to July 2014, the Republic district transitioned leadership with a new superintendent, assistant superintendent, and curriculum director who all had experience in both continuous improvement and PLC implementation.  While the district had a history of release time, it lacked an intentional, collaborative schedule and the buy-in needed to make the work purposeful and effective.  It was critical for the new leadership team to both understand and honor the past while moving everyone forward in a systematic seamless way. Steps taken revolved around the big ideas that drive PLCs.

  • The fundamental purpose of the school is to ensure that all students learn at high levels. We were lagging behind the state in several areas and certainly not performing at the level of other districts in our region.

  • There can’t be any ambiguity or hedging regarding this commitment.  Our purposes, beliefs, practices and procedures must relate to LEARNING. Conversations were occurring about teaching but not much emphasis was placed on the evidence of learning district-wide. 

  • We cannot achieve this as a district or even an individual site if we work in isolation.  It is our responsibility to build a collaborative culture where collective efficacy can grow and thrive.  We had pockets of excellence without the knowledge or system to replicate. Especially at the K-5 level, there had not been dedicated manpower or time to develop shared resources. 

  • We must allow time for the work, collaboration, and growth to occur.  All stakeholders needed to understand and see the importance of allocating time and resources for the PLC process to be successful and sustainable. 

As we considered this task, we knew we had to go at a clear and steady pace, starting with our classrooms.  We had to equip and empower the educators in our system to know and provide the evidence to propel student learning forward.  We also had to pay attention to organizational health. To address this our Leadership Teams participated in professional learning and book studies about building positive culture.  Aligning all of this to the Republic foundational focus areas of Continuous Improvement, Professional Learning Communities, Response to Intervention, and Leader in Me was essential.  

Below are highlights from each calendar year from 2013-2020 of the steps taken to lay the foundation for success and integration of key frameworks.  For more details, refer to the presentation given at the 2019 Annual Learning Forward Conference held in St. Louis by Dr. Pearce and Dr. Yonke. 

 

2012-2013

  • New superintendent lays the framework and basic understanding of systems thinking.  Gains perspective of needs and perceptions of staff, school board, and community.

  • MS/HS began work on new curriculum units aligned to new standards.

2013-2014

  • Formed district-level leadership teams of AdCab (Central Office, Lead Administrators & Directors) and Evolving Leaders (Assistant Administrators & Central Office).

    • Leadership professional learning around Continuous Improvement and Baldrige Systems Check Level III.

    • Modeling and use of quality tools related to Continuous Improvement.

  • Implemented Building School Improvement Plans (BSIP) with embedded PDSA (Plan Do Study Act) Cycles and  collective commitments.

    • Focused on fidelity and performance measures.

2014-2015

  • Reviewed current state of curriculum and created CDCs (Curriculum Development Committees) in four core areas at the K-5 level to replicate/complement the work already accomplished at secondary level ensuring a Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum (GVC) K-12.  

  • Rolled out plan for calendar embedded School Improvement (SI) Days to have a K-12 district focus.

  • Began research and gained community input on reinstating a weekly release time to allow for collaboration within the school day.

  • Implemented district-level Department Improvement Plans (DIP) to complement BSIPs.

  • Administered a staff and community survey to gain perceptual data.

2015-2016

  • Sent a Leadership Team to attend Professional Learning Communities at Work with the goal of returning with an implementation plan.

  • Prior to the beginning of school, led Leadership Team Meetings/Trainings on rolling out of PLC at each site.  

    • District-wide common training / agendas.

    • Focus on clarity of expectations and consistency of support with district learning specialists.

  • Relaunched Weekly PLC/Collaboration Time with Friday Early Release.

    • Each collaborative team developed a set of norms/collective commitments. 

    • Weekly visits and support from Central Office/Site Leadership to monitor/support implementation.

  • As a result of learning at the Powerful Learning Conference, added reporting of MS and HS common assessment data and implemented Common Assessments at the Elementary level along with a Standards Based Grading (SBG) pilot.

  • CSIP (Comprehensive School Improvement Plan) work began with feedback from over 1,000 community members, parents, and staff.

    • Key Focus Groups developed including administrators, teachers, students, and community members.

    • The district’s mission statement, vision statement, and goals were created through a year-long process with all stakeholders. 

2016-2017

2017-2018

  • Priority Standards in place at elementary and developed integrated units.

  • Rewrote common formative assessments K-12.

  • Aligned report cards with new assessments K-5.

  • Over 70 secondary teachers worked on 68 courses to create common assessments/units.

  • Implemented instructional rounds quarterly at each site by the Central Office and building administrative teams.

  • GLIP (Grade Level Improvement Plans-Elementary) or DIPs (Department Improvement Plans-Secondary) were developed.

    • Many classrooms implemented PDSAs with students.

  • Implemented LIM (Leader in Me) district-wide to address needs of CSIP outside of core academics.

  • Sent another Leadership Team to attend Professional Learning Communities at Work.

  • Sent teams to attend MO Powerful Learning Conference and a district team to RTI at Work.

    • Sent a team to visit a neighboring district with similar demographics but higher student achievement to learn about RTI.

    • Piloted RTI in Spring with one 3rd grade team.

    • Training on how RTI fits into PLC and Continuous Improvement processes.

2018-2019

  • July Leadership focused on the key focus areas of CCI, PLC, and LIM and how the pieces all work together for both staff and student success.

  • Entire staff training “Taking Action: RTI at Work” by Dr. Austin Buffum summer prior to school beginning.

  • Embedded RTI into schedule and practices at all elementary schools.

  • Formed pilot teams at MS/HS to visit Republic’s Schofield Elementary and plan roll out at secondary. 

  • Development of Department Score Cards. 

  • Launch of RepMO Leaders/University Partnerships Program for advanced degrees. 

2019-2020

  • Tailored Professional Learning choices to focus on “Big Rocks”.

    • Summer 2019 Learning:  Creating high-quality assessments & RTI.

    • Embedded school year SI Days moved to be more personalized to the site.

  • Expansion of RTI to Secondary in Math/ELA. 

  • Continued support from Central Office and weekly site visits with site leadership teams and teachers driving the work.

  • Continued learning and refinement from teams who are operating well in collaboration, including RTI. 

  • Creation of tight/loose document to support continued implementation district-wide but allow for more site autonomy.

  • Deep dive into 3rd grade reading results to determine needs/areas for improvement.

  • When schools shut down in spring due to COVID, district leadership created a continued learning plan with site leaders. Within two weeks, had a distance learning plan in place that allowed grade level and content level teams across the district to create and share resources for students.  A district administrator served as a support for each team to monitor staff well-being and student learning. 

  • Grade level collaborative teams worked to determine learning needs and gaps of priority standard instruction due to COVID in anticipation of returning to school in fall of 2020. 

  • Return to Learning Teams were formed to address learning, health/safety, wellness, and specifics around acceleration of learning loss.

By adding all of these components from 2012-2020, it has had the cumulative effect of building the PLC that we are today. It is critical as we move forward that we monitor and sustain this work as new leaders and teachers are added to our system.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

As we begin this portion of our sharing about our PLC practices, we feel the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is most appropriate. For this reason, we invite you to gallery walks around our district.  The thread of the foundation pillars of PLC is evident in the daily work and conversations of our teachers and leaders, leadership, and ownership of our students.  Each of the gallery walks capture pictures and highlights of 

  • Staff and students monitoring student learning on a timely basis

  • Creating and utilizing systems of interventions and extensions to provide students with additional time and support for learning

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

We hope these gallery walks convey the depth of commitment to excellence for our students and the joy we have in growing and learning together as collaborative teams.   We can, with pride, say there is no place we would rather be than RepMO and so much of that is due to our PLC journey, one step at a time and always together.

Gallery Walk for Monitoring Student Learning

As a district, we realize the importance of a GVC as a foundational piece for successful PLC work and collaboration. Both the creation and implementation of a GVC is at the heart of our collective responsibility and has become not only an essential teacher team action but also a district focus for success.  The district has prioritized this work and included the addition of specialists in support of it.  As evidenced in our most recent summer training for secondary teachers and our in-house leadership development program, RepMO Leaders, presentation, we have an operational definition of curriculum and the processes in place to aid in creation and implementation.  We utilize the Understanding by Design Framework of Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe and also the HOW of curriculum development from What Works in Schools by Marzano. Our template has developed over the years based on teacher input, alignment with our teacher evaluation tool, and principles of PBL.  It is important for our curriculum development to be “by our teachers-for our teachers”. 

Our first steps were to identify and communicate essential content.  We utilized criteria of endurance, leverage, readiness, teacher judgment, and assessment connections to determine priority standards PK-12 in all content areas.  In addition, our secondary core courses have identified spiral standards critical to moving our students from basic knowledge to deep understanding and transfer.  As seen on this secondary example of a course goals document, the priority standards (★) and spiral standards (Ⓢ) are identified.  

Next, we ensured this essential content could be addressed in the amount of time available for instruction. We also knew it was important to sequence and organize content so that students had ample opportunity to learn it.  This was accomplished by pacing guides in K-5 and matrices in secondary (8th grade ELA example).  Each grade level or course has one of these guiding documents as part of our living and ongoing curriculum work.  

To ensure essential content is addressed, once the key pieces of goals documents and pacing guides/matrices are in place, the teachers work collaboratively to develop the written teacher guides using the UbD template.  Common Formative Assessments are created, vetted, and then used by grade level or content teams.  Elementary teams are standards-based and have developed proficiency scales for assessments.  The results of these assessments are available to teacher teams and used to guide weekly collaborative conversations and quarterly department/grade-level data team meetings. 

Another important step has been to consciously address the need of protecting instructional time.  Department level and site leaders were asked to create “Stop Doing Lists” to support focus on what is most important:  chasing our mission of “Preparing Each Student for a Successful Future.”  

Our curriculum work is ongoing and never static; we adjust and adapt as needed to meet the changing needs of our students and circumstances.   Each summer, time and budget are devoted to K-12 curriculum review and revisions based on student data and teacher feedback. 

Administrators and teams of teachers monitor student learning on a weekly basis during their collaborative time.  At the elementary level, teachers utilize standards-based common formative assessment data in Pulse, a reporting tool that provides grade-level Objective Marks Analysis reports.  The district uses a screener three times a year to assess students for possible tier three intervention needs.  Several reading data points are imported into a reporting tool to efficiently identify students for Reading Proficiency Plans.  Principals rotate and meet weekly with grade-level teams during collaboration time.  They also meet quarterly with grade-level teams to deeply analyze data and create responsive plans. Each grade level team also has a GLIP (Grade Level Improvement Plan), and data is shared on data boards near the entry of each site.   Our elementary students set their own personal and academic WIGs (Wildly Important Goals).  Many classrooms have a PDSA board to monitor classroom goals and create a response plan.  As we became solid collaborative practices, our next step was to embed RTI into our daily schedules using implementation research from Dr. Buffum.  Teachers created short, 5-7 question assessments to split students into RTI groups and used a post-assessment to measure growth and the teacher’s impact.  Most recently, due to circumstances created by COVID, teachers utilized standards reports to create a Recovery of Learning/Learning Acceleration Plan for our current school year.  This shows we know students are still learning and helps us to identify their gaps in learning.

At the secondary level, teachers collaboratively plan common assessments with a district assessment blueprint, administer, then report pre and post common assessment data on their priority standards/goals every quarter via Google spreadsheets.  The teacher-level sheets feed into a content-level and course level sheet that teachers utilize in their collaborative time to study data and create responsive plans.  The teacher-level sheets feed into a principal-level sheet used to monitor progress toward the Building School Improvement Plan goal of more than 80% of students reaching 80% mastery.  Like elementary teachers, secondary teams utilize short, 5-7 question assessments to split students into RTI groups and use post-assessment data to measure growth and teacher impact, and time is built into daily schedules.  Principals support teams during their collaborative time and meet with core department leaders to monitor progress and make adjustments.  The high school participates in ACT/WorkKeys/ASVAB District Testing in the spring for juniors and a Practice ACT twice a year. This provides students with customized reports, and teachers with itemized data reports used to create department plans in response to data.

In addition to the global work in K-12 mentioned above, we closely monitor and support instruction for students in subgroups with a committed focus on students with IEPs.  We are dedicated to providing the time and resources for teams to close the achievement gap between subgroups and the overall population.  The information contained in this document provides a clearer picture of the continuous improvement efforts in this area.

 

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

Gallery Walk for Interventions & Extensions 

At the elementary level, each site has dedicated time for RTI in their schedules at least four times per week.  The teachers and leaders participated in district training and follow up support from a district team.  Teachers develop and utilize short assessments, in addition to their grade level CFA, to help develop focused lessons on key skills and move students from teacher to teacher based on need, either intervention or extension.  Students who have already mastered essential standards often work on standards at least one grade level above.  Specialty area teachers, special education teachers, and administrators are critical contributors, pushing into classrooms during RTI. 

At the elementary level, we also have:

  • 2 dedicated full time Reading Recovery Teachers at each site who monitor and support Reading Proficiency Plans.

  • Math Recovery Training for regular and special education teachers.

  • A specialized reading program called RISE for students reading below grade level.

  • SIT (Student Intervention Teams) consisting of counselors, leaders, and teachers who meet monthly to support learners.  

At the secondary level, approximately 20-30 minutes four times per week is dedicated to RTI.  Unwrapping standards and assessing individual key skills provides the teachers with the opportunity to place the more rigorous items in ascending nature. In turn, this supports an efficient way to analyze data and assign students to an RTI group that supports their needs. RTI training and planning time is offered for core teachers each summer and as needed throughout the school year. The secondary buildings have systems in place that include alternating content areas for intervention.  Students who have not been identified for intervention groups in RTI participate in personalized learning or study sessions.  Students in need of tier 3 intervention participate in classes in addition to their regular core instruction.  For example, we utilize Read 180 and System 44 to support students who are reading two or more years below grade level.  Before and after school tutoring is available from content area teachers and includes extension supports such as ACT Prep.  The district has committed to providing transportation for high school students who need additional after-school tutoring. The district gifted program also extends into middle and high school with an advisor on site to support student needs.  High school students have extended opportunities related to college and career.  Some examples include AP courses, honors courses, senior capstone courses (English, PLTW Engineering, Computer Science, Biomedical Science), dual credit/enrollment, internship experiences in Career Tech Ed, Career Advanced Professional Studies (Engineering & Manufacturing, Business, Teacher Education, IT Solutions, Health Care), and numerous Career & Tech Ed Programs through a local community college.  Secondary students have extended opportunities to interact with experts in various careers of their own choice via Nepris, an online company that contracts people in different fields to interact safely with students.

 

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

Gallery Walk for Building Teacher Capacity

As a district, two of our leading priorities are taking care of our students and taking care of each other. We emphasize that every adult in the district plays a critical role in the success of ALL our students. Each site has a Leadership Team involved in decision-making.  Every month our superintendent meets at a site to allow teachers to share celebrations and concerns.  We have a TASK committee that is made up of teacher representatives from each site who help determine district decisions.  In regard to PLCs, teacher capacity has been built much the same way.  Teachers were involved in determining the reinstatement of weekly collaboration time back into the weekly calendar.  Teachers are involved in creating their own CFAs and determining which standards are essential for their respective content areas.  Our GVC is living and changing based on student needs and driven by teacher voice.  Lead Teams of teachers attend district PLC training to roll out and support the work at their sites.  They understand the purpose of PLC and use the four guiding questions to guide work and discussions based on weekly digital agendas and PDSAs. Teachers share in the leadership of team meetings, while site and district administrative teams are available for support at meetings, rotating throughout each site. 

As a district leadership team, Mike Mattos’ Are We a Group or a Team? guides our commitment to high levels of collaboration.  Site leaders used this resource at their sites to lead conversations for growth, and each year we send administrators and teachers to PLC at Work and Missouri’s Powerful Learning Conference to support and advance these collaborative efforts.  We also offer summer training for site leadership teams to recalibrate weekly collaboration and offer RTI response rate from certified staff. This provides instructional leaders with feedback and direction on where support is needed to improve student learning.

  • collect customer service data at all district trainings as a measure of high-quality professional learning. 

  • mentor and support new teachers at district and site levels through our new teacher mentorship program. 

  • collaborate and learn systematically at the district level through monthly AdCab and Evolving Leaders meetings.  These meetings include the use of quality tools, conversations around student data and growth, and connections to CSIP key indicators.  

  • review and support student learning through site Leadership Teams and quarterly data team meetings.

  • implement monthly SIT (Student Intervention Teams) to address student learning needs. Teams include administrators, regular education teachers, special education teachers, and counselors.

  • plan five school improvement days embedded in the district calendar to allow for horizontal and vertical team collaboration.

  • partner with many universities to offer advanced degree opportunities for staff and high school students.

As a district, we are committed to empowering and supporting teachers. In turn, teachers work collaboratively to equip our students for a successful future.

 

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Republic Schools recognizes that different types and levels of data serve different purposes.  In addition to classroom-level assessments are state assessments that are represented in this spreadsheet.  The district uses comparative data to make high-level decisions and adjustments in district systems.  Comparative data includes state-level data as well as comparable district data.  This spreadsheet utilizes a comparison between the district and state data.  We regularly study all levels of data through a PDSA lens.  In order to efficiently analyze data, we often use a color-coding system to visually see areas to celebrate (green) and to identify opportunities for improvement (pink).  This provides evidence that the practices we have put into place are making a difference for our students. For example, we identified ACT scores as an area needing improvement and developed the Practice ACT and ways to encourage the ACT with promotional posters that celebrate our own high performers through our own students’ individual stories.

At the K-2 level, our state does not participate in state-level testing.  We utilize screener data from a contracted testing service to measure growth and look for problem areas.  For example, this report shows fall 2019 data compared to fall 2020 data, which is of particular concern due to circumstances created by COVID.  This report (math | reading) drills into the same data, by standard, that we can reference across all three testing windows.  Contained in the spreadsheet is K-2 data gathered from an interactive tool used by principals and teachers used during collaborative time.  The tool provides data at the district, building, grade level, teacher, and standards levels. It is important to note the drop in Quarter 1 scores this year, particularly in the area of Reading due to loss of instruction in spring 2020.  We are closely monitoring this and are utilizing acceleration of learning information from our involvement with the State Task Force on Learning Loss. We are committed to ensuring students learn this year’s standards along with addressing any instructional gaps, and this is possible due to weekly collaboration and RTI.

Great teachers and leaders work in Republic Schools, and families move to Republic because of the positive culture and high-quality education experience we provide.  Our community has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, which correlates with our systematic approach and involvement in PLC.  Examples of achievements include:

  • Republic School District, 100% Annual Performance Missouri Report by Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Republic R-III School Board, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 Governance Team Award by Missouri School Boards’ Association
  • Schofield Elementary, 2020 Model PLC School
  • Sweeny Elementary, February 2019 Leader in Me Lighthouse School
  • Sweeny Elementary, 2019-20 Leader in Me Academic Honor Roll
  • RepMO Ready, featured in December 2018 Schools of TechXcellence
  • RepMO Ready, January 2019 Districts of Distinction by District Administration
  • Before & After School Program STRIPES 360, 2014-2020 DESE School-Age Community Grant Recipient
  • Chance Wistrom, former Superintendent, 2013 New Superintendent of Schools Award of Missouri Association of School Administrators
  • Chance Wistrom, former Superintendent, 2020 Robert L. Pearce Award Finalist of Missouri Association of School Administrators
  • Tyler Overstreet, Republic High School, 2017 Exemplary Principal of the Year of Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals 
  • Allison Dishman, 2018 Exemplary Principal of the Year of Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals 
  • Beth Engelhart, Sweeny Elementary, 2019-2020 Missouri Distinguished Principal for the Southwest Region of Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals
  • Natalie Botkin, Health Services Program and Wellness Program Coordinator, 2020 School Nurse Administrator of the Year of Missouri Association of School Nurses
  • Nancy Leonard, Republic High School, 2019 Missouri School Nurse Administrator of the Year
  • Nancy Leonard, Republic High School, 2018 Missouri’s Greatest School Nurse
  • Alice Buckner, Lyon Elementary, 2017 Outstanding Elementary Educator by the Missouri Council of Teachers of Mathematics
  • Amy Skeans, Sweeny Elementary, 2017 Science Teachers of Missouri Excellence in Science Teaching Award
  • Debbie Wells, Price Elementary, 2018 HP Sprouts Grant via TechXellance Technology Transformation
  • Grade 3 Teachers, Price Elementary, 2020 Powerful Learning Conference Presentation “Tiers without Tears”
  • Michelle Kiser, Republic High School, 2017 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Missouri Finalist
  • Kailey Grapes, Republic High School, 2020 New Teacher of the Year of Missouri Educators of Family and Consumer Sciences and Human Services
  • Stacey Robinett, Republic Middle School, December 2018 Missouri Council of Teacher of Mathematics Keynote Speaker
  • Ashlee Liska, 2019-21 MO Afterschool Network Ambassador, meeting with MO and US Representatives and Senators related to care during COVID
  • Ashlee Liska, 2016-17 MO Afterschool Network Outstanding Director Award
  • Matt Pearce, 2017 Afterschool Network Administrator Support Recognition
  • HS Dance Team, 2019 First Place Mix Routine
  • HS Boys Soccer, 2020 Distinguished Scholastic Achievement Award from Missouri State High School Activities Association
  • HS DECA, 2018, 2019, 2020 Gold Certification Award in School-Based Enterprise Food Division
  • HS DECA, 2020 National Emerging Leader Honor Awards
  • Molly Wheeler & Jaedan Atchley, HS DECA, 2019 National DECA Finalists
  • HS DECA, 2018, 2019, 2020 THRIVE Chapter Campaign Award
  • HS DECA, 2018, 2019, 2020 THRIVE Chapter Membership Award
  • Morgan Wojciechowski, HS DECA, 2018 National Otis Spunkmeyer Scholarship Recipient
  • HS Theatre One Act Play, 2020 District Champions & State Qualifier
  • Cooper Carter, Avery Kirby, Lyle Chafa & Abby Villars, HS Senior National Art Society, 2020 Kansas City Art Institute Scholarships & Presidential Scholarship
  • HS Agriculture, 2020 National Top 4 Beef Proficiency
  • HS Agriculture, 2018, 2019, 2020 Superior FFA Chapter
  • Ashton Rogers & Emma Thompson, HS FCCLA, 2020 Gold National STAR Events
  • Ashton Rogers & Madysyn Gremling, HS FCCLA, 2019 Gold National STAR Events
  • Kylie Yates, Taylor Edwards & Addison Butcher, HS FCCLA, 2018 Gold National STAR Events
  • HS JROTC, 2018 2nd Place Nationals Marksmanship
  • Noah Johnson, HS JROTC, 2019 Air Force Chief of Staff Flight Academy Scholarship & USA Air Force Academy Selection
  • Gavynn Hesterly, HS JROTC, 2019 Air Force Association National Award
  • HS JROTC, 2019 2nd Place Nationals Marksmanship
  • HS JROTC, 2019 Air Force Exceeds Standards with Merit (awarded to 5% in the nation)
  • Noah Tattershall & Nathanyal Hanson, HS JROTC, 2020 Air Force Chief of Staff Flight Academy Scholarship
  • Taylon East, HS JROTC, 2020 Air Force ROTC Scholarship
  • Jonathan Willis, HS ROTC, 2020 Air Force Association National Award

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