Howard Perrin Elementary

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

Built shared understanding and commitment to the PLC process

When our PLC coaches first discussed with us the idea of applying for Model PLC status, our initial response was, “We’re not ready!” Although we had collectively put in a lot of blood, sweat, and tears through the work of the PLC at Work grant and had personally witnessed how this effort led to a laser focus on student learning rather than teacher instruction, we didn’t think we were ready. We were focused on how there is still so much to learn and ways to grow. However, through discussion among the Guiding Coalition, we soon realized this hunger for even deeper learning for both our students and our staff coupled with the self-realization we had not yet arrived as a school and never will – is exactly why we should not only apply but be named a Model PLC school. We now have a deep understanding of the PLC processes of recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students we serve. This understanding is embedded in who we are, and we are constantly striving to find ways to better live out our mission, vision & collective commitments.  

The first hurdle to overcome was convincing the staff of the need for change. By community standards, our school was viewed as successful based upon state ranking criteria and standardized test scores. However, in the summer of 2015, our superintendent brought in Solution Tree consultant Paul Farmer, and a seed was planted that would be watered and cultivated for the next several years. Our team that attended desired to move away from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning. We embraced the concept that “good is the enemy of great” and determined we wanted to lead in moving Howard Perrin from a good school satisfied with providing opportunities for all students to a great school that guarantees all students are learning at high levels.

We knew we needed to build a shared understanding around the why behind the work we were asking our staff to embark upon, so we started our journey by all staff reading Learning by Doing and discussing it in our faculty meetings. This was a year of learning, but we took on bits and pieces of the steps outlined in the book and made a significant transition when teams began to have weekly team meetings with agendas during their common planning times.

The following year we organized a Leadership Team of administrators, our instructional facilitator, and grade-level representatives. This was a good development for our school, but the work we were trying to implement was overall messy. We developed an intervention time within each grade level, but teachers did not share students within the grade level and what they worked on in small groups was not based on anything other than the knowledge that a student was “low”. It wasn’t until the next year when we were accepted for the PLC at Work grant that onsite expertise and clarity made the biggest difference in our journey.

Our first task in 2018 was drafting a mission statement focused on high levels of learning for all students. We shared with staff and made revisions before finalizing. We then determined we needed a second version of the statement written in kid-friendly language because we strongly desired for our students to know and understand our purpose. After all, we needed their understanding and buy-in as well. Students were involved in the wording and the graphic chosen, and that statement is displayed in our lobby, cafeteria, and every classroom. We reference our mission statement every morning before the Moment of Silence in our announcements (and some classes have even developed movements to go with the mission), and our staff wears t-shirts on Wednesdays with the mission graphic. We then went through the same process while developing and finalizing a vision statement and collective commitments.

In 2018, we were identified as a Capturing Kids Hearts National Showcase School. We were overwhelmed at first with the implementation of both this initiative and the PLC process – until we realized these two mind shifts complement each other and we could use the status of being chosen for both honors to catapult us into the development we desired. Therefore, we started each faculty meeting with a review of one of our collective commitments and had staff share “Good Things” that were connected to the chosen commitment. We then had each collaborative team share evidence of this commitment. We felt it was important to establish common language and develop clarity around the focus on learning and results, and our faculty meetings shifted to mini PDs rather than times to disperse information.

Creating a master schedule in 2019 was a game changer for both our Guiding Coalition and our staff. We had already ensured that teams had a common planning time and common intervention time, but when we read It’s About Time together, we realized we had further time management issues to address. We started by asking ourselves how we ensure high-quality Tier 1 instruction for all students and realized that several of the roadblocks we were experiencing that inhibit this are due to scheduling issues. So we listed all the ‘stuff’ that interrupts instructional time and decided upon some non-negotiable components in creating a schedule. We identified and color coded times in the schedule that were considered essential and non-essential so students would not be pulled for services during essential, protected instructional times. Our teams needed more than 40 minutes to collaborate, so we moved a recess to the end of Special classes to give the grade-level teams one hour daily.  Our team of Special teachers embraced this as a way they can provide the structure our grade-level teams need to do the work. The culture of collective responsibility was evident through the challenging process and the work surrounding the development, discussion, and implementation of that first master schedule. This work exemplified our understanding of and commitment to the PLC process and was a turning point in our journey that we build upon to this day.

Facilitate a culture of continuous improvement in school & district

The dedication and commitment to the fundamental purpose of ensuring all students learn at high levels is evident in the improved work of our teams.  Because teams continually discuss essential standards, there is clarity around what students are expected to know and be able to do, and teams are able to set more specific, measurable goals to monitor learning and improvement.  

In the past, teachers would “plan” together, but were lacking a process to determine the effectiveness of those plans.  Teams now focus on the tangible evidence of results to guide the work and continuously improve learning for all.  Teams share with honesty and vulnerability and are willing and eager to learn from each other in order to adapt and meet the needs of all our students.  Our collaborative teams have a belief that “the answer is in the room" when challenges arise in how to best meet student needs.  

Ultimately, a focus on results has strengthened our knowledge of students and our instructional agility.  Teams have a deeper understanding of the students’ misconceptions and strengths.  We shifted our conversations from talking about the students and their next steps to also include increasing knowledge of the collaborative teams by learning from those who were getting the best results.  The use of data protocols has assisted teams in knowing the why behind the errors, and students are grouped more effectively and intentionally for interventions.  

As students and teams reach their goals, we celebrate!  Prior to this year, we held monthly celebrations where teachers selected students for Awesome Academics based on random, teacher-selected criteria.  Our shift this year is to celebrate the specific, measurable goals set with students around essential learning targets and standards.  The practice of sharing learning targets and goals with students and a more consistent use of student reflection through data trackers has helped us intentionally engage our students in their learning. Now we recognize and celebrate the efforts to achieve goals to help sustain the improvement process.  In our most recent celebration assembly, three of our third grade students who were in Tier 3 intervention for phonics, and three of our special education students were honored for being in the top 5 students of their homeroom for making the most reading fluency growth.  Seeing the smiles on their faces and their peers’ congratulations was all worth it!

We realize the journey will never be complete.  The PLC process is how we do business. Our school culture has evolved.  We examine all policies and procedures through the lens of the impact on learning. The cycle of continuous improvement will always be part of our 'To Do' list.   

 

 

 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Grade level collaborative teams gather evidence of student learning on a regular basis.  Before students are assessed, teams are intentional in backward planning.  Teams start with the end in mind and create the assessments first. Teachers have a clear understanding of what proficiency looks like before the teaching cycle begins.  While we use data from state and district assessments, the best and most timely evidence comes from quick checks and common formative and summative assessments. The mid- unit assessments serve as a road map to mastery of the essential standards and learning targets.    

All grade levels use I Can statements to communicate the learning targets and goals with the students.  Students use data trackers to see their progress toward goals.  Teachers share with students what proficiency looks like through exemplars.  Students see strong samples of mastery and are able to foster their ability to critique and revise work.  This increases student engagement and ownership of learning which leads to student efficacy. 

Assessments are aligned with our essential standards to show evidence of what we want our students to know and be able to do.  When teams create unit plans, they set the pace of the assessments and when they will be analyzed.  Using our common data analysis protocol, teams use student work samples and data collected to provide the vital information needed for instructional decisions.  For students who demonstrate a need for additional time and support, teachers determine who will provide targeted support based on expertise, and their own students’ proficiency.  When students are needing intense interventions, a specific, measurable goal is set for each student and monitored for progress using our Intervention Goal Sheets.  

If students do not meet the goal in a timely manner, the team collaborates to determine if new goals need to be set or if the instructional strategies need to be adjusted. Recently, we began meeting quarterly for progress monitoring, so each team can discuss students who are at risk with the larger school team that includes administrators, the instructional coach, and our interventionists.    

 

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

Based on results from common formative and summative assessments, intervention groups, referred to as WIN (What I Need) groups, are created. Using a data analysis protocol, teachers determine groups based on proficiency of learning targets. Student SMART goals are set when new groups are formed, and students are aware that when they meet their goal they can change groups.  Progress is honored and success is celebrated. 

If sufficient progress is not achieved in a timely manner, students can be moved to another group that uses a different strategy to achieve the learning target. This keeps a growth mindset for both students and staff as we share and take responsibility for all students. Teachers meet weekly to intentionally discuss and monitor progress.  In addition to the scheduled meetings, conversations occur before school, during lunch, after school, and at recess as a natural part of our time spent together. We are at the point where conversations about student learning are comfortable, vulnerable, and intentional. 

We acknowledge developing extension groups and activities has been challenging school wide so far. Our progress is ongoing, and since we realize this is an area in which we are lacking, it has become a new focus. Third grade uses WIN group time to extend literacy essential skills by involving students in literature circles.  In second grade, what started as a way to celebrate mastery of basic addition facts (a grade level essential skill) has driven the development of differentiated groups that include subtraction fact mastery as well.  We even had an extension group that used more advanced strategies to move from addition to multiplication in problem solving. Now that the skills have been established and goals have been set, extension groups will meet as frequently as intervention groups as we move past the limitations of life in the pandemic. The WIN group name will be kept for all groups, because based on data each child is receiving what he or she needs during this set time. 

The improvements in our systems could not have been accomplished without our team-developed master schedule.  It protects essential learning and identifies specific, common WIN times.  This was a complex task that reaped monumental rewards for both students and staff!  Interventionists are able to assist grade levels in Tier 2 and see students for Tier 3 without interrupting Tier 1 core instruction.  

 

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

The collaborative team process is deeply ingrained in our culture. The ultimate purpose of Howard Perrin’s collaborative teams is to drive school improvement.  To improve the content of our collaborative efforts, Howard Perrin’s collective knowledge was built through multiple book studies.  We studied seven books over the past two years focusing on tier one and intervention best practices, assessment, and instructional agility.  The staff discussions around these topics helped us realize practices we were doing well, which led to times of celebration, but we also learned where we needed to grow.  

The spark plug to the change in our culture of collaboration was our Guiding Coalition.  Because of their strengthened capacity, the administrators’ roles during collaborative meetings have changed.  Teacher leaders are the facilitators of the collaboration.  They ensure teams are operating through the lens of our commitments and expectations. 

Team meetings are powerful job-embedded professional development because teachers are excited to learn from one another, solve problems together, and make judgments about their practices together.  One of the most important elements that fosters teacher capacity and a laser focus is the development of SMART goals.  The goals are a frequent measure of achievement toward the larger and more broad schoolwide goals.  

Each team created norms to guide their behaviors and clarify how to address disagreements if they occur.  Team norms evolved based on the needs of individual teams.  Each collaborative team follows an agenda that is centered around one of the four critical questions. Team members have roles at each collaborative meeting, the most important being the time management role.  This role’s responsibility guarantees critical topics having a positive impact on student achievement are not rushed through or omitted.  To make an effective use of time, each grade level creates live documents that help with organization of resources, unit plans, data protocols, and assessments needed as shown in these examples

The data protocols forced a tighter and more balanced focus on results.  Teams developed a deeper understanding of the students’ misconceptions and strengths.  We balanced the focus of our team conversations to include students and their next steps as well as improving individual and collective teacher practice by learning from those who were getting the best results.  The use of data protocols assisted teams in knowing the why behind the student errors and grouping more effectively and intentionally for interventions as they compared data from team-developed common assessments.  When we initially introduced the data analysis protocol, we focused on what it could tell us about our students’ learning and used it to simply group our students for intervention.  At first, we did not hone in on the reflective component of the adult learning through the analysis of our common assessments. We became tighter on the expectations and how to utilize the protocols in a systematic way.  The expectation was that each team would ask the following questions: 

  • Where did our students struggle? 

  • What instructional strategies helped our students learn?

  • How can we improve this assessment?

  • Which students need additional time and support? What is our plan?

  • Does this data show we are on track to meet our goal? 

 The teams became comfortable sharing effective strategies and asking for feedback when classes did not meet proficiency or reach their goal as a result of the systematic use of the protocols.  Teams link their data analysis protocol form with the CFA on their unit plans to provide instructional guidance for the following year and to continue to improve their collective practices.

Throughout the process, collaboration has become effortless.  To better prepare our students, in the spring, we spend the final weeks frontloading students with the most essential skills vertical teams identified as a necessity for success in the next grade. The after-school duty schedule was developed with this in mind, and teams have an intentional and protected time at least two days per week to be able to meet with a vertical team during the contractual school day.  

Our collaboration extends within our Specials team as well.  We are a Capturing Kids’ Hearts National Showcase School, and our Specials teachers took the lead in focusing on and assessing the core components of the EXCEL model of this initiative.  (Engage, X-plore, Communicate, Empower, and Launch).  Using the four critical questions as a guide, these teachers focused on social behaviors and dispositions we wanted students to learn and be able to do.  They collected data, and planned next steps for how to support students beyond the classrooms at Howard Perrin. After having so many students being virtual this year, we will continue to build on the work the Specials team initiated as we rebuild community in person in the fall. 

We are constantly celebrating our successes and reassessing and refining our processes.  In the midst of our success story, we are also simultaneously reminding each other the process is messy, and that we will always be learning by doing.

 

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

During the second year of intensive implementation of PLC practices at Howard Perrin, we were looking forward to the state summative assessments -- iStation for our K-2 students and ACT Aspire for our 3rd - 4th grade students. The data trends indicated our students were on track to meet or exceed the previous years’ scores as we were collectively focusing more on results.  However, due to the Coronavirus, our end of the year state assessments were cancelled. Not only were the summative assessments cancelled, but our state also mandated that no new learning or assessments could take place for the remaining part of the 2019-2020 school year.  The following data shows the progress we monitored throughout the 2019-2020 school year before our face-to-face learning was cancelled on March 13, 2020, using our district benchmark assessments.  

K-2 iStation 2019-2020 Progress Report

As shown in Table 1 below, our Kindergarten, first, and second grade students were making growth to meet or exceed the achievement we made at the end of the 2018-2019 school year on our state iStation assessment.   All three grade levels showed growth in each subject area except for Kindergarten reading, which held steady.  

Table 1:  

 

Reading Fall 18-19

Reading Winter 18-19

Reading Spring 18-19

Reading 

Fall 19-20

Reading Winter 19-20

Math Fall 18-19

Math

Winter 18-19

Math 

Spring 18-19

Math

 Fall 

19-20

Math 

Winter 19-20

K

77%

73%

79%

72%

72%

71%

80%

91%

74%

77%

1st

55%

61%

65%

57%

65%

65%

83%

83%

71%

86%

2nd

70%

67%

74%

62%

69%

92%

92%

84%

73%

82%

3rd - 4th grade 2019-2020 Progress Report

Our 3rd and 4th grades used ACT Aspire Periodic assessments and i-Ready assessments to monitor progress and growth throughout the year.  

Table 2 shows the percentage of students meeting the iReady Typical Growth Goal.  According to iReady, Typical Growth allows you to see how a student is growing compared to average student growth at the same grade and placement level.  Our focus for the 2019-2020 school year was to monitor growth of all students in addition to proficiency.  

Table 2:  

 

iReady Reading

iReady Math 


3rd 

Aug - Dec:  

51% to 78% 

Dec - May

N/A

Aug - Dec

16% to 43%

Dec - May

N/A


4th 

Aug - Dec

39% to 47%

Dec - May

N/A

Aug - Dec

21% to 44%

Dec - May

N/A

Our proficiency results from the iReady assessments are recorded in Table 3.  Third grade exceeded their mid-year goals for the number of students showing proficiency in both reading and math.  Fourth grade had not yet met their Math mid-year goal.  

Table 3:  

 

2018-2019 

iReady Math

2019-2020

iReady Math

 

2018-2019

iReady Reading

2019-2020 iReady Reading

3rd


Fall - 24%

Winter - 51%

Spring - 75%

Winter Goal = 39%

Fall - 16%

Winter - 43%

Spring - N/A

 

Fall - 61%

Winter - 72%

Spring - 80%

Winter Goal = 66% 

Fall - 51%

Winter - 78%

Spring -  N/A

4th


Fall - 39%

Winter - 60%

Spring - 76%

Winter Goal = 43% 

Fall - 21%

Winter - 44%

Spring - N/A

 

Fall - 43%

Winter - 57%

Spring - 66%

Winter Goal = 53% 

Fall - 39%

Winter - 47%

Spring - N/A

Table 4 highlights the data collected through our Periodic Classroom assessments. The 2019-2020 school year was the first year for our district to use the Aspire Periodic Classroom assessments, so we do not have scores to compare from the previous year.  

Table 4:  

 

Average Performance Scores on ACT Aspire Periodic Classroom assessments as of March 2020

3rd grade Literacy

Third grade students were administered five periodic Reading assessments during the face to face portion of the 19-20 school year.  The scores and growth on these assessments were a strong indication we would meet or exceed the 56% of students who scored proficient on the Aspire summative from 2018-2019. 

  • Assessment #1--62%

  • Assessment #2--61%

  • Assessment #3--56%

  • Assessment #4--54%

  • Assessment #5--80%


Third grade students were administered four periodic English assessments during the face to face portion of the 19-20 school year.  The scores and growth were an indicator that meeting or exceeding the 79% of students who scored proficient on the Aspire summative from 2018-2019 would be a challenge. The collaborative team responded by implementing and embedding more English Aspire-like questions in our novel studies throughout the year.  We were seeing progress with each assessment:

  • Assessment #1--46%

  • Assessment #2--61%

  • Assessment #3--69%

  • Assessment #4--63%

3rd grade Math

Third grade students were administered four periodic Math assessments during the face to face portion of the 19-20 school year.  The scores and growth were an indicator that meeting or exceeding the 74% of students who scored proficient on the Aspire summative from 2018-2019 would be another challenge.  Unlike the Literacy periodic assessments, the Math assessments do not revisit previously assessed standards.  Each assessment measures a new standard.  Our team analyzed the drop on Assessment #2.  The assessment was given prior to the end of the unit because we were unaware of the flexibility of the testing window.  The team used the results to adjust instruction for the remainder of the unit.

  • Assessment #1--46%

  • Assessment #2--21%

  • Assessment #3--56%

  • Assessment #4--61%

4th grade 

Our fourth grade team underwent yearly restructuring the past three years.  Teachers who started on this PLC process with unpacking the standards and creating assessments were not the ones teaching the content.  This grade level, more than any other, was focused on relearning content each year, and we are confident this impacted the overall learning.  We are revisiting essential standards and assessments as a collaborative team to better understand what our students are expected to learn as we focus on learning and results.  


 

Spring 2019 End of Year ACT Aspire Proficiency

2019-2020 Classroom Assessments Proficiency Sept-March

Reading

65%

71%, 72%, 69%

English

80%

60%, 44%, 64%

Math

71%

52%, 69%, 45%

Total Number of Student Discipline Referrals per Month

During the 2019-2020 school year, our Guiding Coalition not only led the school in revising our Response to Intervention concerning academics but also had a focus on behavior and will.  We began behavioral interventions and meetings as we paired those students with the best staff member to help address the behaviors and to be their accountability partner.  The partners were teachers, administrators, our instructional facilitator, our school resource officer, or the custodial staff.  With this new focus, we saw the impact this had on office referrals.  Table 5 reflects the data.  Unfortunately, we were not able to end the year with these students.  However, we knew the difference was made when one of our 2nd graders told her accountability partner from the previous year that she was still working on her goal in her new class, which was staying focused and turning work in on time.  She was so proud to share the news, and her teacher said she is still making leaps and bounds as this is on the forefront of her mind each day.  

Table 5:  

 

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

18 - 19

8

24

29

12

19

9

18

5

18

6

19 - 20

6

18

9

14

8

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

20 - 21

0

2

10

14

1

6

6

4

   
  • Chosen for PLC at Work grant - Cohort 2 in 2017

  • Referenced in All Things PLC Blog by Robin Noble, “Starting the PLC Journey” April 3, 2019 

  • Featured in this Documentary shown at the Hot Springs PLC Institute

  • Presented an introduction to PLC work at our District New Teacher Orientation - Summer 2020 

  • Second grade team presented to District administrators and school board members about their learning and experiences in Year 1 of PLC at Work Cohort 2 - August 2019

  • School report card letter A from the state for 2018-2019 school year, B for 2017-2018, A for 2016-2017

  • 2021 #6 Best Public Elementary School in Little Rock Area (Niche)

  • 2021 #7 Best Public Elementary School Teachers in Little Rock Area (Niche)

  • Five National Board teachers on staff

  • Financial awards provided through the Arkansas School Recognition Program for high student performance and high academic growth - 2020, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 

  • Capturing Kids Hearts National Showcase School  - 2021, 2020, 2019 

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