Neal Wilkins Early Learning Center (2022)

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

From 2012-2018, the District focused their professional development time around the four questions and standards based grading was introduced and implemented. In 2016, grade level meetings during common planning time were introduced and the use of norms was put into place.  Teams worked on identifying essential learning outcomes, creating common summative assessments, and used an agenda to drive the meeting time.  During the 2017-18 school year, the building experimented with providing enriching opportunities for students which allowed for teachers to collaborate at the same time across the entire building. This schedule was difficult to staff and encountered many challenges. Due to these experiences, a different path was explored.  

In the summer of 2018, the administrative team attended a PLC Institute in Madison, WI. Our admin team used the 2018-19 school year to build capacity by reading the book, Learning by Doing, 3rd Edition.  As 2018-19 continued, it was apparent that the master schedule had to change in order to provide time for staff to collaborate.  Several community meetings took place to answer questions and ultimately a calendar was adopted to provide 90 minutes of collaboration on Wednesday afternoons on a weekly basis.

The mission and vision statements for Neal Wilkins were designed by the staff. Solution Tree Associate, Joe Cuddemi, provided professional development around the foundation of the PLC in April of 2019 and again in August of 2019.  Guiding coalition teams were established and met monthly to oversee and support the implementation.  Starting in the fall of 2019, teams were meeting during collaboration time with team developed norms and an agenda to drive the conversation.  

Throughout the 2019-20 school year, the district participated in a state-wide initiative driven by DPI entitled, Leading for Learning.  This was scheduled to be a four part series with presentations by Chris Jakicic, Angie Freese, Anthony Muhammad, and Mike Mattos, however “Safer at Home” canceled the Mike Mattos presentation.  Our district participated in the Mind the Gaps series provided by Solution Tree/Mike Mattos in 2020-21.  

During the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years, the Neal Wilkins participated in August professional development led by Solution Tree Associate, Angie Freese.  She provided information and support as the staff members continued their work on identifying essential learning outcomes and creating assessments that aligned with the rigor and expectations set by the collaborative teams.

In 2021-22, our building staff read, collaborated, and implemented learning around the book: What About Us? The PLC at Work Process for Grades Prek-2 Teams. In the 2022-23 year, we are reading Poor Students, Rich Teaching by Eric Jensen. My staff have binders that contain the standards, and basic PLC diagrams such as the learning and teaching cycle. These are also available to staff electronically so staff decide on the mode of collaboration.

We have 6 person teacher teams at each level. We have updated our guaranteed and viable curriculums 4K-2 in the past 2 years including Heggerty for phonemic awareness, discovery phonics for phonics instruction, and American Reading Company for core instruction. We meet monthly as a 4K-K staff for vertical conversations. We also meet vertically, 4K-4th grade quarterly.

We believe one of the greatest successes is the results that come from conversations and sharing of teaching strategies that work. 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Teacher teams identified essential learning outcomes, created user friendly, “I CAN” statements and have common understandings of what mastery looks like for each ELO identified.  Fountas and Pinnel is utilized on a quarterly basis to assess student reading levels and in 2021-2022 switched to IRLA toolkits which are implemented throughout the instructional process.

There is a use of common formative and summative assessments at each grade level, and common planning with shared resources completed around essential learning outcomes.

Student requiring Tier II support are progress monitored every 2 weeks on literacy foundational skills.

Students requiring Tier III support are provided weekly progress monitoring in their subject area of need.  

In the summer of 2019, the guiding coalition completed a 3 year building data analysis. This work was used to identify the needs for updating reading and math resources. In 2020, leadership attended a workshop that focused on Evaluating Curriculum Resources. As a result, several teachers volunteered to be part of a committee to evaluate new resources due to little growth in the area of reading especially at the older grades.


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

At Neal Wilkins, the master schedule provides Kindergarten with 30 minutes of phonics instruction at the child's instructional levels. Foundational skills in literacy are the focus.

Tier II students are provided 20 minutes of extra support daily through music and games by an interventionist. Classroom teachers also provide tier II support in the classroom.

Tier III students are provided 2-20 minute additional sessions of research based strategies outside of the core instruction time. These include Jolly Phonics reteach, direct instructions, Let's Play and Learn by Sonday.


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

There are licenses for Global PD and now Global PD Teams available to administration.  The NW principal uses Global PD videos to build capacity at the start of our 90 minute collaboration times weekly. The administrator uses learning walks and team collaboration to coach staff in best practice strategies.

Mindset for Learning Book Study was completed in 2017-2018 which focused on SEL needs and the growth mindset in classrooms, consistent across the building.

The administrative team attended the PLC Institute in the summer of 2018 and over the 2018-19 school year built capacity on their understanding by completing a book student of Learning by Doing, 3rd Edition.  The entire staff participated in a Learning by Doing, 3rd Edition, book study during the 2019-20 school year.  

Throughout the 2019-20 school year, the district participated in a state-wide initiative driven by DPI entitled, Leading for Learning.  This was scheduled to be a four part series with presentations by Chris Jakicic, Angie Freese, Anthony Muhammad, and Mike Mattos, however “Safer at Home” canceled the  Mike Mattos presentation.  As the district navigated the murky waters of the pandemic, they participated in the Mind the Gaps series provided by Solution Tree/Mike Mattos in 2020-21.  

The book study of Taking Action was completed during the 2021-22 school year which provided understanding and clarification around the teacher teams and school teams responsibility.  The idea of supporting student learning through the “Will” and “Skill” lens was also a byproduct of this work. 
The district has been working in collaboration with CESA#6 Center For All since the 2021-2022 school year focusing on equity, diversity and inclusion.  

Neal Wilkins is continuing its professional learning around the ARC reading series and Zearn Math. 

Teachers unwrap the standards into essential learning objectives and build learning progressions from these standards. These are reviewed yearly. Common formative assessments are designed and given to students monthly. The following week, the teams look at the data spreadsheets and group students by ability level for the 30 minute phonics portion of the day. 

Achievement Data Files