Cloverleaf Elementary

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

Cloverleaf Elementary School, prior to 2018 lacked a cohesive and collaborative culture.  The student achievement data was stagnant and reflected this deficit.  In the summer of 2018, principals and central office instructional staff attended the Culture Keepers Conference.  The research and information gleaned from this conference was powerful, and a perfect fit for school improvement.  Cloverleaf’s principal, Dr. Evie Barge returned from the conference and eagerly began the PLC journey into a culture shift at the school.  As the system Guiding Coalition went through the PLC culture shift at the district level, the Cloverleaf principal began a school-level Guided Coalition.  Member selection was based on criteria Dr. Barge incorporated from Learning by Doing; the willing and able.  School administration wanted people who would not only be willing to put in the effort to create a cultural shift, but who also had the ability to effectively share the PLC process with the rest of the staff. 

As the District Level Guiding Coalition was established, the principal at the time, Dr. Evie Barge, was a member of this coalition. Dr. Barge was able to go through the process at the district level and created a plan for implementing the foundational pieces at Cloverleaf. In the fall of 2018, the Cloverleaf Guiding Coalition was formed. Member selection was based on criteria incorporated from Learning by Doing; the Willing and Able. School administration wanted people who would not only be willing to put in the effort to create a cultural shift but who also had the ability to effectively share the PLC culture with the rest of the staff.  

During pre-planning, all staff were asked to reflect on their purpose and reason for being educators, their “why,” and were told this would be their focus for the year. The “why” was posted outside every teacher’s classroom door as a reminder of why they chose this profession. This activity translated perfectly into Cloverleaf's purpose as the school dove into the tenets of a PLC culture. To ensure all Guiding Coalition members understood the four pillars of mission, vision, values, and goals, a book study was completed Learning by Doing in order to build a solid foundation for a PLCAs Guiding Coalition worked through the book, the goal was to build a solid foundation for teaching and learning. This would be centered on a common mission, vision, values, and goals.  With the growing knowledge of what it means to be a PLC, the Guiding Coalition, with input from the entire school, developed a new mission, vision, commitment statements, as well as a set of goals.  This first year, with these pillars in place, the level of professionalism grew as the staff became committed to the right work of all students achieving at high levels.  This growth quickly became evident in  actions and data at Cloverleaf.   

The Instructional Lead Teachers (ILTs) were trained in the deconstruction of the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE).  The ILTs led the school in deconstructing the standards to identify the essential standards and learning targets using the Readiness, Endurance, Assessment, and Leverage criteria. Teachers then took this information back to their collaborative teams to determine which standards they deemed essential. This insured a schoolwide singular focus on the right work, as well as helping to create curriculum alignment for the school. The collaborative teams also established SMART goals and set goals with the students.   

In year two, the Guiding Coalition scheduling subcommittee made drastic alterations to improve the schedule. The Guiding Coalition realized that teachers needed dedicated time to collaborate. This was best served by changing the workday starting time to 7:15. This allowed enough time for teachers to collaborate from 7:15-8:00. Teachers’ weekly committed schedule would now consist of two days for team collaboration, two days for office hours, and one day for school duty. Some teachers resisted this change at first, but quickly saw the benefit when regular planning time went uninterrupted. 

The school was lacking a centralized data hub for teachers and staff. Administration, along with the ILT’s felt this was a necessary component to drive the PLC culture further. The Cloverleaf Green Room was created as a place to display visuals for all the universal screener data. It also created a productive meeting place for Guiding Coalition members where the data would help drive the decisions that were to be made by the Coalition.  

The Guiding Coalition, as a singular unit, was quickly taking ownership of the decision-making process of the school. The time came for the group to branch out into subcommittees so that smaller segments of the Coalition could focus more intently on one dedicated area. Subcommittees were created in the areas of literacy, math, Response to Intervention (RTI), Positive Behavior Intrventions Systems (PBIS) and scheduling. Each member of the Coalition served on at least one of the subcommittees. 

Several school leaders attended the RTI at Work Conference. This training helped us grow further in the process and exposed a critical learning gap.  One underperforming subgroup, Students with Disabilities, were missing critical Tier 1 Instruction and our Tier 2 Intervention and Tier 3 Remediation time was combined into a single session.  In the spring of 2020, the scheduling subcommittee developed a schedule with a floating intervention time for Tier 2 and 3. Cloverleaf quickly learned how the “Genius of And” came into fruition in the right work of the Professional Learning Community.  

As the staff grew accustomed to the new schedule and implemented the three tiers of instruction; prevention, intervention, and remediation, goal setting never stopped along with monitoring student growth. Periodically, the staff physically moved students’ names on the data tracking boards, watching students grow from below grade level to “at benchmark”to “above benchmark” based on universal screener data. When a student did not demonstrate adequate growth, the root cause was investigated as to what could be the cause.  The firsSchool Intervention Team (SIT) was formed, to collaboratively dig into root causes for students who are not meeting their goals. In addition, the teacher collaborative teams continued planning using the teaching-assessing cycle with common formative assessments aligned to common summative assessments. The teams focused on reteaching or extending instruction, while the SIT kept a close watch on the progress of Tier 3 studentsDue to these protocols, the number of students has drastically decreased in Tier 2 and is gradually decreasing in Tier 3. 

For years, the Cloverleaf staff examined data and saw a common problem; the level of rigor in instruction at Cloverleaf was not adequate. In 2019, Angie Freese provided the training Assessment and Rigor: Design in Five Part 1. As a result of this training, each essential standard was examined to determine the level of rigor necessary for a student to be proficient. The staff was beginning to analyze their assessments to check for the level of rigor when the unthinkable happened: COVID-19. The good news for Cloverleaf was that the staff was so engrained in a collaborative culture, the teachers continued weekly, almost daily, collaboration via digital platforms. Teachers were actually able to meet more often virtually during the shut down. 

In the three of e implementation of the PLC process. With a sound schedule, the staff set about to continue strengthening Tier 1 with best practices that allowed an increase in rigor. Cloverleaf ILTs led a book study,Design In Five,  by Angie Friese. Ms. Friese then worked with the Cloverleaf Guiding Coalition, many of whom attended a webinar on material covered within her book.  The collaborative teams had changed the mindset of “my” students to “our” students, with teachers making a shift from focusing on just his or her own classroom to an “all-hands-on-deck” approach to improve student learning.  The standards are not just posted on the wall but are posted in a ladder-format in student-friendly language celebrating students who master the learning targets.  Students were beginning to and continue to take control of their own learning.   

During this third year of implementation, Cloverleaf teachers have grown as professionals.  The level of discussion in collaboration time is high with an intent focus on student success.  In the spring of 2021, the schol celebrated the first Cloverleaf “A-team.  This is a district-level award that involves a stringent interview, application, and observation process.  An A-team is a team in which the members work interdependently to achieve common goals that directly impact student achievement.  The Cloverleaf third-grade math team proved not only to the school but to the district and school board, that the team is truly the “best of the best” regarding collaborative teams. At Cloverleaf, there will be many more A-Teams to celebrate as a result of the teachers’ dedication to not only their students but also learning and growing within the PLC process.  In reflection, the staff at Cloverleaf know that the true winners in the implementation of PLCs are the students. The goal is to continue growing, learning, and perfecting the process for Cloverleaf students! 

 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

At Cloverleaf Elementary, the Teaching-Assessing Cycle provided a framework for the four critical questions. This led to making more effective instructional decisions for students. The first critical question is, “What do we want our students to know?” In order to determine this, Cloverleaf staff first had each grade level deconstruct the Georgia Standards of Excellence in both reading and math. Grade level collaborative groups used the R.E.A.L. criteria to determine which standards are essential and which standards are “nice to know”. From these standards, teachers created learning targets and ranked them along a ladder of complexity to determine which are more rigorous than others.

The second critical question is, “How will we know if our students have learned the content?” In the past, teachers primarily looked at the state assessment to determine if the students learned the content. Unfortunately, reviewing this data is more akin to an autopsy; the instruction has already taken place and cannot be changed. As a solution to this major problem, teacher collaborative teams began using the backward design process to create Common Summative Assessments (CSA). A CSA is a tool for measuring if a student is proficient in an essential standard. The CSA is given at the end of a unit after all the learning targets for the essential standard have been taught.

With essential standards determined and a CSA created, teachers develop a unit plan with built-in Common Formative Assessments (CFA) and checks for understanding as learning targets are taught. This allows teachers to quickly assess and monitor if students are understanding the content and also measure to see if their instruction is effective. CFA data provides teachers with a quick way to alter pacing if students are struggling with the instruction, or if it needs to be accelerated.  If students are not proficient, then they will be retaught on response days. Response days are built into the unit plan. Students are matched with the teacher who was most successful at teaching the specific target.

While CFAs are the most important data to collect on students, Cloverleaf also monitors students through multiple universal screeners. Students take the Measurement of Academic Progress (MAP), iReady, and Reading Inventory three times a year. This data is primarily used to determine groupings for Tier 3 remediation (students who are two or more years behind). The School Intervention Team (SIT) has developed an easy-to-follow database to compile this screener data in order to create an accurate picture of where a student truly falls compared to his or her peers.  SIT meets periodically to monitor and check in on student progress for students who are receiving Tier 3 remediation.

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

The third critical question asks, “What will we do if students have not learned the content?” In the past, this has been an area of weakness. Cloverleaf did not have a complete understanding of proper RTI implementation.  For example, some students received Tier 3 instruction all day and missed Tier 1 instruction, even though they were assessed on the Georgia Milestone Assessment (GMA) over Tier 1 curriculum.  Students did not have the opportunity to receive both Tier 2 Interventions and Tier 3 Remediation, even though there were students who needed both. Using data, it was determined that changes needed to be made to the master schedule. In order to achieve a guaranteed and viable curriculum, the scheduling subcommittee had to create a schedule that allowed all students access to all tiers of instruction.

During the first year of PLC implementation, a specific Tier 2 intervention time was built into the master schedule. Based on CSA data, students are placed into Tier 2 groups within a grade level. This protected time was proven effective in student achievement data for both the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school years. However, the Covid-19 pandemic left Cloverleaf with a problem for 2020-2021. How could Cloverleaf continue to increase student achievement using this Tier 2 time without exposing students to various classrooms daily?  To follow Covid-19 protocols, the Tier 2 time had to be altered and the students had to remain in the same classroom. Almost immediately the negative were noticed concerning student achievement and morale. Both teachers and students missed this critical time. Going into the 2021-2022 school year, the traditional Tier 2 time is coming back, with the pandemic at a safer level due in part to the recent vaccination clinic held by the Bartow County School System. Following current CDC guidelines, students can safely switch classes, keeping in mind social distancing, and understanding that our students’ safety and academic achievement are the teacher's number one priority.

In addition, Bartow County Schools changed the schedule for all teachers within the district to allow for a consistent collaborative time during the second year of PLC implementation within our district. This scheduled time for teacher collaborative teams to meet weekly also allowed additional time in the mornings for student support. With the collaboartiveschedule, teacher collaborative teams meet twice a week, which leaves two other days for teachers to  hold office hours and pull students to work in small groups or independently with students outside of the scheduled Tier 2 and Tier 3 support time. Teachers can re-teach information, work on extensions, and even provide opportunities for remediation. It also allows for teachers to provide students with additional extension opportunities, as well as program-specific support in the areas of ESOL, Gifted, and Special Education.

The book study, Taking Action, gave us clarity in providing an effective system of interventions. This study was completed by several members of our Guiding Coalition. The book discusses school-wide responsibilities and teacher-team responsibilities.  Cloverleaf formed its first School Intervention Team (SIT).  This team included the learning support specialist, administration, lead special education teacher, psychologist, school counselor, teachers, ESOL teacher, and instructional lead teacher.  In looking at the essential actions at each tier, we were able to see gaps where students were missing instruction in the various tiers. An inverted pyramid was created of school-wide interventions. This provided all staff with a visual model of responsibilities within the RTI process. This visual model showed that some specific actions are the responsibility of the teacher teams, while other portions of the process are the responsibility of the Guiding Coalition and the SIT. This solidified the “ALL” students approach, in that all students at Cloverleaf are the responsibility of all teachers at Cloverleaf.  

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

During the first year of PLC implementation, Cloverleaf's Principal attended the PLC conference in Atlanta. Following this, a district Guiding Coalition was created. Based on the guidance of the district-wide coalition, the Cloverleaf Guiding Coalition was established. The first order of business was the creation of a mission, vision, and collective commitments. These were created in the fall of 2018, and all classroom teachers started to receive professional development on deconstructing standards from the instructional lead teachers (ILTs). The instructional lead teachers began to meet with grade-level teams and introduced the idea of collaborative teams. Roles within collaborative teams were set and the instructional lead teachers served as the facilitators and assisted in modeling other roles. In addition, the guiding collation started to focus on the four guiding questions, as well as the pillars of the PLC process.

In December 2018, both instructional lead teachers and the assistant principal attended a two-and-a-half-day PLC summit. The instructional lead teachers continued to facilitate grade-level collaborative teams but gradually turned the facilitation over to the teams. Additional training was conducted staff-wide on deconstructing standards. A book study on Learning by Doing was completed by all teachers and was led by the instructional lead teachers.

In the Summer of 2019, various teachers and building leadership members attended the PLC summit in Atlanta. This continued to strengthen the PLC process at Cloverleaf. Sessions on topics such as data notebooks and assessments were re-delivered to the entire staff during pre-planning of this school year. Teachers also received training on the Common Formative Assessment (CFA) protocol from the ILTs during pre-planning. This form sparked discussion between staff and honestly led to a minor roadblock for us in the process.

Within the PLC process, Bartow County and Cloverleaf held aspects that were tight, meaning that it had to happen a certain way. Other aspects were considered “loose”, meaning that collaborative teams had autonomy in the decision making. The CFA protocol form was introduced as a “tight” district-wide. When this was introduced to our teachers, we initially got a lot of push-back as was expected. Teachers already had extensive Tier 2 and 3 paperwork, in addition to mandatory IEP and EIP paperwork. The collaborative teams were very hesitant to accept any new paperwork. The system guiding coalition met and discovered that some of the Tier 2 paperwork would not be necessary as the understanding of the purpose of Tier 2 evolved. Based on this, our SIT at Cloverleaf eliminated traditional Tier 2 paperwork in favor of a spreadsheet. With the elimination of this paperwork, we were able to make the idea of a CFA protocol "tight" but kept the document itself "loose." This way, each team could alter the document to work in a manner that suited their needs. Doing this also focused our Tier 2 process on specific essential standards and allowed our instructional lead teachers to continue professional development on using essential standards to drive Tier 1 and Tier 2 instruction.

During the Fall of 2019, the instructional lead teachers introduced the unit plan as well as the Teaching-Assessing Cycle. Numerous professional development opportunities were conducted by both instructional lead teachers as well as district-level administrators. The instructional lead teachers also started a book study on Design in Five. On March 13, 2020, all Bartow County Schools shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. During the school shutdown, collaborative teams were able to continue their weekly meetings. Several members of our Guiding Coalition completed a book study on Taking Action during this time. Teacher collaborative teams also used this time to meet vertically with the team above and below their grade level to properly plan essential units for the upcoming year. Part of this collaborative time was used to plan for the loss of learning due to the loss of direct teacher instruction during the shutdown.

August 2020 brought back in-person learning to all Bartow County Schools. The Instructional Lead Teachers at Cloverleaf finished the book study on Design in Five. Following this in-house professional development, a representative from each teacher collaborative team attended a virtual professional development session with the author of the study, Nicole Demich, and then re-delivered this information to their teams. The 2020-2021 school year has largely focused on assessments, rigor, and grading. Throughout the school year, the instructional lead teachers have led professional development on the ladder of complexity and increasing the rigor of assessments. Both of the ILTs attended district-level training on the ladder of complexity and increasing rigor. In addition, sessions were provided on the workshop model, covering assessment results with parents, reviewing norms for collaborative teams, creating SMART goals for both students and teachers, a PLC refresher, creating more rigorous assessments, and looking at the rigor of current assessments. The Learning Support Specialist provided additional training on the RTI process.

In December 2020 and again in April 2021, the ILTs and LSS met with teachers to go over student assessment data using MAP, iReady, and Common Summative Assessments. This team individually discussed with teachers various ideas for potential changes that could be made to improve Tier 1 instruction. In addition, the team looked at Tier 2 interventions as well as which instructional remediation students were receiving for Tier 3. The team trained teachers on various intervention programs such as Fountas and Pinnell, Lexia Core 5, and Early Reading Tutor.

In the fall of 2020, each teacher took turns observing another classroom teacher, making notes of teaching strategies they observed in both Tier 1 and Tier 2 instruction. The teachers conducting the observation provided the teacher they were observing with notes, feedback, and “glows”. Following the observation, the ILTs met with the teachers and discussed how using the strategies they observed could strengthen their own instruction and improve student learning outcomes. Teachers were reluctant to have other teachers observe them, but once they started, we immediately heard glowing feedback from teachers. Many noted that this was the best form of professional learning they had ever experienced.

In September 2020, Cloverleaf hosted its first EdCamp, a day of professional learning where teachers chose their professional development session topics. Sessions were available regarding the PLC process, which was taught by the assistant principal as well as the RTI process, which was taught by our district Federal Programs and School Improvement Coordinator. In addition, multiple sessions were available on implementing teaching strategies to increase student achievement and interest.

In the spring of 2021, the Cloverelaf Guiding Coalition attended an all-day session led by various representatives from Solution Tree. During this session, Rich Smith met with the elementary cohort and introduced a new method of planning to several members of our staff, the “pencil plan”.  Following this, members of our Guiding Coalition attended a three-part training from Rich Smith on PLCs which included information on rigor, effective teaching, engagement, assessments, extension examples, creating SMART goals for students, and how students exit Tier 2 and Tier 3. Following these sessions, each member re-delivered the professional development they received to their teacher collaborative teams. This also sparked the creation of Cloverleaf “pencil plans”, a tentative calendar that each teacher collaborative team created for the upcoming school year. By describing the calendar, which also functions as a pacing guide, it was acknowledged that the plan may change and is not set in stone. This fostered teacher “buy-in” and continued to build a culture of collective teacher efficacy.

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Georgia Milestones Assessment 

Cloverleaf’s state testing data has shown consistent growth since 2019. On the most recent administration of the Georgia Milestones Assessment (GMA), 53% of students were considered proficient or distinguished in math. This is ten percentage points above Bartow County and nine percentage points above the state of Georgia. In the area of English Language Arts, Cloverleaf has shown similar growth with 38% of students considered proficient or distinguished on the 2019 administration of the GMA. This is an increase of 10% from the 2016 administration.

College and Career Ready Performance Index 

The College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) is used to determine the effectiveness of all Georgia public schools. Cloverleaf has continually shown improvement since 2016, with the most recent overall CCRPI score at 80.2. This is an increase of 14.4 points over a three-year period.

Due to the impact of Covid 19, Cloverleaf did not administer the Georgia Milestones Assessment in 2020. Fortunately, Cloverleaf and the Bartow County School System (BCSS) were well into their PLC journey. Using data from Common Formative Assessments, Common Summative Assessments, and universal screeners, Cloverleaf was able to adequately identify the needs of their students for the upcoming school year and transition from digital learning back into the traditional classroom.

Measures of Academic Progress 

The Bartow County School System (BCSS) utilized the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) as a universal screener in the fall of 2020. This assessment correlates with the GMS and is a valid indicator of student academic performance. The MAP was administered in the fall, winter, and spring of the 2020-2021 school year. The spring results predict 43.3% of Cloverleaf’s students to be proficient or distinguished in the area of math and 37.1% as proficient or distinguished in the area of language arts on the GMS. While the data is slightly below the 2019 scores, Cloverleaf attributes this to the 14% of students opting to participate in the distance learning program, a high number of student absences from having to quarantine, and the school’s inability to share students between teachers due to Covid 19 restrictions. Prior to these barriers, students were able to switch between teachers in order to receive the instruction teacher collaborative teams deemed necessary from CSA data. This was fully implemented in 2019 but was halted in the fall of 2020.  

Cloverleaf’s assessment data displays a positive trend since implementing the PLC process in 2018. The use of Cloverleaf’s Green Room as a data hub has helped teachers see this growth within the data. As teachers continue to embrace the cultural shift they have created, Cloverleaf grows as a professional learning community.

Monitoring Progress 2020-2021

In June of 2020, our Guiding Coalition set a school-wide SMART goal for the 2020-2021 school year: Students in grades K-5 will increase 20% in reading from the beginning of the year MAP assessment to the end of the year assessment. In order to track progress toward this goal, the MAP was administered in the fall, winter, and spring. In addition, Common Formative Assessments and Common Summative Assessments were created by each grade level collaborative team. These assessments were given to monitor progress toward student proficiency on grade level essential standards. MAP data showed an 18.5% growth increase from the fall to the spring. Although this does fall short of our goal, it provided valuable information to our Guiding Coalition in making decisions for the next school year. For example, we are going back to a set Tier 2 intervention time, which was not allowed during the 2020-2021 school year to maintain compliance with COVID-19 protocols. In addition, we have made changes to the personell makeup of collaborative teams in order to strengthen collective teacher efficacy. 

During the 2020-2021 school year, Cloverleaf tracked the effectivenes of reading instruction by comparing the number of students who were proficient prior to recieiving Tier 2 intervention to the percentage of students who were proficient after Tier 2 intervention. After receiving Tier 2 intervention in reading, the following are the precentage of students proficient within each grade level: 

  • Kindergarten- 85%
  • First- 94%
  • Second- 94%
  • Third- 85%
  • Fourth- 78%
  • Fifth- 94%

Cloverleaf also looked into the effectiveiness of Tier 2 math instruction from grades K-5. After receiving Tier 2 intervention, the following are the precentage of students proficient within each grade level: 

  • Kindergarten- 87%
  • First- 90%
  • Second- 90%
  • Third- 94%
  • Fourth- 89%
  • Fifth- 93%

 

Cloverleaf Elementary received a Five-Star School Climate Rating from the Georgia Department of Education regarding our most recent CCRPI scores. In addition, the school recently received  district-level STEM certification. Cloverleaf is an operational PBIS school with teachers working actively to increase student performance as well as their own. In the last three years, teachers at Cloverleaf have written over sixty grants for both the Bartow Education Foundation as well as Donor’s Choose. Through these grants, they have provided Cloverleaf students with over $32,000 in educational funding. Cloverleaf’s ESOL teacher was awarded a P.A.G.E. STEM grant ($500) for STEM activities in the ESOL program. The third-grade math teacher collaborative team was awarded the “A-Team” certification from Bartow County Schools, certifying that they were the best of the best among all teacher collaborative teams in Bartow County. In 2019, Cloverleaf had the greatest academic gain in ELA for 5th grade on the Georgia Milestones Assessment. In September 2019, we were also awarded a certificate for the highest number of students proficient and above for mathematics in Bartow County on the Georgia Milestones Assessment.

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