Main Street Visual and Performing Arts Magnet School

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

For the past three years, Main Street (previously Oaklawn) has been engrossed in the PLC process through the Arkansas Department of Education’s PLC Pilot Project. At the beginning of this process, Oaklawn Visual and Performing Arts Magnet School went through an administration change with a new principal and assistant principal. At that time, the school was underperforming and there was high teacher turnover. The teachers worked in isolation and there was no consistency throughout the grade-levels or building. Common planning time was only used to meet to discuss logistics and to share information. During the 2016-2017 school year, Oaklawn administrators noticed that the state of Arkansas was planning to use millions of dollars to implement “PLCs”. After further investigation, a team of four members went to the Professional Learning Community at Work Institute in Atlanta, Georgia during the summer of 2017. During this institute, many of Arkansas’ legislators and members from the Department of Education were in attendance. After learning about the PLC process, the school decided to apply for the Arkansas Department of Education’s PLC Pilot (Cohort 1). 

Our team was highly confident that we would receive this award because of the networking we had done during the institute. However, we received word that our application was not chosen. We knew that this was the right work, so we decided to start with the book, Learning by Doing. Our first step was to “get the right people on the bus” that would help drive the work. We created our first ever Guiding Coalition. The Guiding Coalition was made up of teachers we thought would help drive the work. We then started learning everything we could about what it meant to function as a PLC by reading books and watching Global PD videos. We purchased Learning By Doing for all of our staff and started to build shared knowledge as a group. For this first year, we focused on building culture and getting clear on question one, what do we want students to know and be able to do? Our team quickly realized that we had to make sure we were functioning as a team focused on the same goals. In October 2017, our administration team started to attend all collaborative team meetings weekly. We facilitated the team meeting and truly tried to mirror what we were expecting. Our biggest goal during the team meetings was to build shared knowledge and unpack grade-level standards. After facilitating team meetings for months, the lead teachers (who were also on the Guiding Coalition) began facilitating. This is when we started to see a shift from me to we. 

In the Spring of 2017, our Guiding Coalition reapplied for the Arkansas Department of Education PLC Pilot Project for Cohort 2. We used all that we had learned this previous year and included that in our new application. We found out in the summer of 2018 that we would be a part of Cohort 2 and we could not have been more excited. We knew that we could continue the work, however, now having Solution Tree coaches onsite would help drive the work even deeper. 

During the 2018-2019 school year, our district implemented “Early Out Wednesdays” and this gave our collaborative teams one more hour per week to meet. We were able to use this time weekly to continue the work we had started. Additionally, during this school year, 29% of new enrolling Kindergarteners were already identified as needing special education services. This created a need for our school to create a system of support for all learners. Our Guiding Coalition planned weekly professional development to continue to build our shared knowledge. We learned as a team best practices and became crystal clear of the “why” behind Professional Learning Communities. Another big shift we took on as a building was to learn what building consensus truly means. This year our mission, vision, and collective commitments were redesigned to include ALL learners. 

The last two years our school has grown tremendously. The PLC process has caused us to reflect on everything at our school- our practices, policies, and procedures. During these transformational years, we have grown from a Pre-K-4 campus to a Pre-K-6 campus, as well as moved and have a new name! The work of our teams continued to grow and we only focused on what truly matters. Our Guiding Coalition has been the guiding force with the changes that have happened these past few years. As we reflect, our team started off unsure of the work, but as we learned more and grew we saw a shift happen in our building. Our team embraced the work and the mountain we were climbing became smaller.

Through this process, we have learned that the answer is truly in the room. We have transformed into a collaborative culture where student learning drives everything! Our collaborative teams are focused on the right work. Main Street staff are proud of the work that we have accomplished during these past three years and we know that through this process we will continue to improve our practices each and every year.

 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

To create a guaranteed and viable curriculum, our school focused on the four critical questions of learning. As a building, we needed to determine what was essential at each grade-level. Teams begin with the end in mind, what does proficiency look like for students at the end of each unit? Our collaborative teams identified essential standards and determined what proficiency looked like for each standard or learning target. Common Formative Assessments and Common Summative Assessments are created before starting the unit of study. 

At Main Street, monitoring student learning has become part of our daily routine. Collaborative teams are at the center of this work. Our collaborative teams meet weekly to determine the learning targets and skills that our students need to learn and create assessments to gage their mastery of these learning targets and skills. The collaborative teams drive the work of analyzing student assessments and/or work to make instructional decisions. The collaborative teams have each developed common formative assessment data tracking tools to help organize data. These data tracking tools make it easier for teams to determine strengths, areas of growth, and next steps for each individual student. Teachers and staff use the results from these assessments to determine next steps for each individual student (intervention or extension). 

Students track their individual progress through data notebooks, SMART goals, or individual goal sheets. Any students who have not met specific benchmarks, goals, or shown mastery on a skill are provided specific interventions through the collaborative team. If any students are still in need of support after targeted interventions they will be referred to our school wide intervention team. This intervention team is made up of the principal, assistant principal, special education designee, human service worker, math specialist, and three reading specialists. This team uses CFA data, progress monitoring data, and teacher input to determine next steps for specific students. Through implementing our intervention team, we have seen a dramatic drop in the number of students being referred for special education services. Each grade-level team has a Google folder that houses all current CFA data, by student, by skill. Additionally, the meeting room has data charts that show grade-level progress on essential standards. These charts are updated after assessments with current data. Currently, we have also developed a school wide essential standards mastery document. This document provides a summary of proficiency by grade-level on essentials standards. Additionally, the document gives current student data for each essential standard. 

As a school we focus on the whole child and it was evident that we had been concentrating on academics with our students, but our students were lacking with social/emotional behaviors. Our behavior team (teachers, counselors, support staff, Human Service Worker) identified Tier 1 essential behavior that we expected all K-6 to learn and be able to do. A Tier 1 behavior plan was developed with the input of a variety of stakeholders. The plan included proactive strategies to teach kids specific expectations as well as develop social skills. A plan was also developed for school wide common teaching of building expectations and social skills. A Tier 2 plan was also developed by a team. This plan includes specific interventions that are appropriate for specific behaviors. Every four weeks, the behavior team meets with each collaborative team to discuss specific next steps for students. Building wide behavior data is reviewed weekly to determine specific students that need intervention at the Tier 3 level. These students work closely with on-site school counselors, Human Service Worker, and outside therapeutic agencies. 

Through this process our school is constantly improving our practice to impact student learning. Our teacher teams know the work is never done, they are always striving to improve how they gather data, analyze student work and strategies, and apply new knowledge in the next cycle of improvement. 

 

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

What do you do when more students need Tier 3 intervention than you can provide? This was a question that came up often at our school before we started on our PLC journey. Our students were below grade-level in reading and math and were not making adequate progress. With a high percentage of special education students, our staff felt they could not teach on grade-level skills because their students were not ready. As a school we knew we had to make a change. During the 2018-2019 school year, we started to put some new practices in place. The first change we made that year was what we called “essential time”. Our Guiding Coalition felt that so many students were being pulled out during the day for therapy, resources, or intervention and they were missing Tier 1 instruction. From this, we developed a master schedule that included one hour for each grade-level to have uninterrupted time. No students were pulled out of the classroom but support services pushed in. We also piloted one grade-level using the Boundless Learning Co-Teach model through John Hopkins University. With this model, students were able to stay in the classroom for all Tier 1 instruction. Additionally, the special education teacher became a part of the grade-level collaborative team adding critical insight on instructional strategies that were effective for all learners. 

In the Summer of 2019, our Guiding Coalition team continued to refine our master schedule to include essential learning time, but now for both Literacy and Math. Additionally, staggered intervention blocks were created so that building support staff (special education teachers, interventionist) would be available at that specific time. Data from CFAs were used to determine students who needed additional time and support. Our collaborative teacher teams worked together to determine next steps for these students.

Currently, each grade-level continues to have built in essential time. Since we are a large building, our essential time is staggered so that we can utilize support staff where they are needed. Essential time is built in for each grade-level for both math and literacy. Each grade-level has time built in the day to provide support and/or extensions for any students who may need it. Teachers use collaborative time to discuss next steps for students who need additional support. Tier 3 time is determined with the input of the collaborative team. The staff who work with students in need of Tier 3 services are experts in their specific areas.

 

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 are made up of grade-level teachers and support staff. These teams meet regularly throughout the week with an hour of collaborative planning time daily. Each of the classroom teachers have a specific role on the team and these roles are rotated throughout the school year. Norms have been established and are regularly reviewed. Teams have developed norm checks so all team members have a procedure if/when a team member breaks a norm. Each team meeting is organized through a common agenda that was created by our Guiding Coalition. The agenda has continued to be revised each year. 

Guiding Coalition has worked to build shared knowledge and building capacity in their own collaborative teams. Our Guiding Coalition members have had the largest impact on the continued growth of our collaborative teams. Our collaborative teams follow the Plan, Do, Study, Act cycle to identify and unpack essential standards for each unit of instruction, develop common formative assessments, analyze student work, and implement a plan for instruction/intervention. The work of teams is all geared towards specific SMART goals. Building level SMART goals are determined by the Guiding Coalition and our leadership team. Each collaborative team creates SMART goals that align with our overall building goals. Our team SMART goals are shared building wide on the weekly memo. 

Being a performing arts magnet school, our arts team has also become a high-functioning team through this process. This team includes music, art, theater, choir, band, PE, dance, and library staff who work collaboratively to develop essential learning targets in each grade for each specific area. These skills are vertically aligned so that rigor and expectations increase at each grade-level. This collaborative team has also developed building wide artist units of study that all grade-levels utilize. 

Our collaborative teams have driven the work of this process. Through their work, they have been empowered to share strategies and improve their practice, which has led to students learning and achieving at higher levels! 

 

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Through this process, MVPA has focused on results in both academics and behavior. During the past 3 years, we have seen a shift in the performance of our students. In our primary grades, we utlize the NWEA Map assessment and DIBELs. In grades 3-6, we have utlized ACT Aspire Assessments. For the past two years, we have used the interim assessments with ACT Apsire. 

During these past 3 years, there has been a shift in the building culture as well. Staff turn-over during these years has dramatically decreased. The implemenation of the PLC process has made a significat impact on our school data.  

  • Selected as a Cohort 2 school for the Arkansas Department of Education’s PLC Pilot Program.

  • Selected as one of only three schools to be highlighted in the Solution Tree/ Arkansas Department of Education's Documentary about the Arkansas PLC Pilot.

  • MVPA Guiding Coalition presented at Dawson Co-op about the PLC Process and its impact.

  • MVPA has one of the only model Co-Teach classrooms in the state of Arkansas. 

  • MVPA 2nd grade collaborative team chosen to lead in the creation of the Arkansas Playbook. This was created to assist teachers around the state during the COVID pandemic to address learning gaps. 

  • MVPA 2nd grade collaborative team chosen to lead at the Statewide Guiding Coalition for the 2020-2021 school year. 

  • 7 staff members presented at the ADE Summit in the summer of 2020. 

  • MVPA was awarded the SOAR grant ($39,317.00) to implement a Kindergarten bootcamp and purchase necessary instructional materials.

  • MVPA was awarded the National Showcase School for Capturing Kids Hearts for the 2020-2021 school year.

  • HRS Level 1 certified during the 2020-2021 school year. 

  • MVPA continues to be a model for the Hot Springs School District and surrounding districts, many of whom have come to observe the work in action.

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