Mission Road Elementary School

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

Mission Road Elementary School (MRES) is one of twelve elementary schools in Bartow County in Cartersville, Georgia serving approximately 460 students from Pre-K to 5th grade.  Mission Road’s Professional Learning Community (PLC) journey began with a self-analysis of our present school culture that is based on building positive relationships. “Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” (Pierson, 2013). Our self-analysis opened our eyes to the fact that we needed to become a school with a collective commitment to improve student learning. Through this discovery, our Guiding Coalition (GC) was formed. Our GC created Mission and Vision statements and Collective Commitments that we use to guide our path to collective teacher efficacy.

Mission: Mission Road Elementary…where all students are empowered and encouraged to reach their full potential.

Vision:  Mission Road Elementary will build a foundation where every student will develop the academic, creative and social skills needed become responsible contributing members of the community.

Collective Commitments:

We will hold all students to high academic and behavioral expectations regardless of background or past experiences.

We will assess student learning to drive instruction, set appropriate learning goals, and inform students and parents of progress toward expected targets.

We will celebrate the successes of students and staff on a regular basis. 

We will provide a safe, secure learning environment for students and staff members.

GC members champion the process and help shift the culture to transform the school by “Acting their way into a new way of thinking, rather than thinking their way into a new way of acting.” Collectively, GC members demonstrate the following characteristics: position, power, expertise, credibility, leadership, and/or “willing and able” qualities. GC members help build consensus through shared knowledge, gaining staff buy-in, revisiting our “why”, our purpose, and redelivering the Bartow County School System PLC Playbook to collaborative teams (including special areas, gifted, ESOL, exceptional education). We want all collaborative teams to function at high levels with an understanding of best practices in learning design and data analysis.

After receiving Learning by Doing (DuFour et al., 2016) at the PLC Institute in Atlanta in 2018, we began the process of focusing on the right work. The PLC process prompted the mindset shift toward collaboration whereby monthly trainings and informative sessions provided by administration to staff sparked a catalyst for change. The GC led in providing clarity while functioning as a Professional Learning Community. The GC participated in a book study on Learning by Doing to build a solid foundation for understanding the PLC process. We started the process of shifting our focus to the three big ideas, which are: a focus on learning, a focus on collaboration, and a focus on results.

During the 2018-2019 school year, MRES implemented a collaboration schedule that allowed  teams to meet twice weekly from 7:15-8:00am. After creating their team norms, our collaborative teams began the process of deconstructing standards with the help of our Instructional Lead Teacher (ILT). This process guaranteed that standards had the REAL (readiness, endurance, assessments, leverage) characteristics. The process led to the development of a guaranteed and viable curriculum that includes Essential Standards for each grade level and content area. During this time, MRES continued to use data from Universal Screeners to guide instruction. Teachers have office hours two days per week from 7:15-8:00am to allow for reteaching of essential standards when needed. Collaborative teams use common agendas for meetings to create an environment that focuses on the four critical questions.

In 2019-2020, our GC continued to focus on their work toward a guaranteed and viable curriculum by creating learning targets for the Essential Standards and implementing the Teaching Assessing Cycle to strengthen Tier 1 instruction. Each grade level also created a SMART goal for the year. Our GC completed a book study and training on Design in 5. The goal of this book study was to help our teachers create assessments that would focus on student learning. Teachers had training on assessment creation, learning ladders, and the use of rubrics. Our collaborative teams began creating Common Formative Assessments (CFAs) and Common Summative Assessments (CSAs) for each essential standard. Teachers began to use data to efficiently and effectively analyze student learning.

During the 2020-2021 school year, we began to focus on questions three and four. Using the book Taking Action as our guide, we began to train our staff on the benefits of intervention and extension. Bartow County added a Lead Support Specialist (LSS) position to help teachers implement the Response to Intervention (RTI) process. The LSS provided data sheets to help monitor student progress with Essential Standards. Our LSS also leads our School Intervention Team (SIT) meetings.

A school-wide intervention/extension block was created in our master schedule to prioritize time for reteaching or extending our Essential Standards daily. A schedule was also created to ensure that ALL students were receiving Tier 1 instruction. Our staff members began to understand that all students are the responsibility of everyone on the team. With the help of the LSS, teachers began to use data to create flexible groups for the intervention/extension block. Our collaborative teams continued to work together to strengthen Tier 1 instruction. 

We continued to build shared knowledge in our Guiding Coalition by reviewing 1-5-10 teams and watching videos on the Global Professional Development site. We formed subcommittees to promote schoolwide initiatives on behavior, STEM, and literacy.  Our GC also received virtual training from Rich Smith on PLC/RTI Refinement.

During the summer of 2021, our GC members attended the Achieve Institute. Sessions during the institute focused on grading practices and improving the RTI process. The GC used the book Grading from the Inside Out for discussions related to grading practices. At the beginning of the school year, teachers were trained on expectations for grading. This will be an ongoing discussion as we work to change the mindset of teachers and parents with regards to grading. Our goal is to focus on every student becoming proficient on ALL Essential Standards. To begin this shift, we have created Essential Standard Progress Reports for each grade level to be included with traditional progress reports. We want to be sure we are reporting progress on Essential Standards to parents. Our goal is to shift from traditional grading to full implementation of standards-based grading. 

MRES has implemented a focus on literacy for the 2021-2022 school year. Bartow County added a Reading Support Specialist (RSS) to our staff. Our RSS is working with teachers to incorporate Orton Gillingham into their instruction. She is also working with our students who need Tier 2 interventions in reading. Our entire school participated in the “One School, One Book” program to involve parents in our literacy initiative. Every student received a copy of the same book with a reading schedule to allow participation at home.

In addition to our focus on literacy, we are also focusing on question four. We have had various trainings on how to increase rigor in the classroom. The GC has examined teaching strategies and the Hattie effect scores. During grade level meetings, our ILT and LSS explained and modeled some new strategies and each teacher implemented one new strategy in their classroom.

MRES is committed to transforming our mindset from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning. We will do this by continuing to focus on the Three Big Ideas, the Four Critical Questions, and the Professional Learning Process.

Pierson, Rita. (2013). Every kid needs a champion. Ted Talk. Retrieved on 20 Oct 2021 from https://www.ted.com/talks/rita_pierson_every_kid_needs_a_champion?language=en

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Mission Road Elementary School is committed to monitoring student learning on a timely basis. Teachers at MRES use the four guiding questions as a guide when evaluating and analyzing data and adjusting instruction to meet the needs of all learners.  To monitor student learning, teachers administer and analyze data from a variety of sources, such as: DIBELS, MAP, Growth Measure, Common Formative Assessments and Common Summative Assessments. 

DIBELS

Dynamic Indicator of Basic Literacy Skills (DIBELS) benchmark assessments are given three times a year. DIBELS procedures and measures are used to assess acquisition of literacy skills to help predict future reading proficiency. DIBELS may be used to evaluate individual student development as well as provide grade level feedback. Students who do not score at grade-level are also progress monitored using DIBELS twice a month.

MAP

Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) benchmark assessments are given three times a year. MAP growth uses RIT (Rasch Unit) scale to measure and compare academic growth. The RIT scale makes it possible to compare a student’s score at various points throughout their educational years. MAP is given in reading and math to all students, and students in grades 3-5 also take the science and language arts assessment.

GROWTH MEASURE

Growth Measure benchmark assessments are given three times a year to students in grades 3-5. Growth Measure is a reading assessment that can be a powerful tool to track student progress. The assessment measures the student levels of reading comprehension and uses the Lexile Framework to report progress. Growth Measure allows teachers the ability to match readers with appropriate text.

COMMON SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENTS

Summative assessments are designed to determine a level of proficiency on the intended essential standards and learning targets at a moment in time, usually at the end of a unit. Collaborative teams use the Design in Five process for developing effective, efficient, and engaging common summative assessments. (Dimich, Design in Five)

When creating CFAs and CSAs, collaborative teams use the Common Formative Assessment Protocol. Establishing common protocols ensures that all assessments are given the same way across grade level teachers (same directions, amount of time, etc.) Assessments are scored during collaboration to allow for uniform data analysis.  

COMMON FORMATIVE ASSESSMENTS

Collaborative Teams create CFAs based on their learning targets from their unit plans. Once the CFA has been given, the team will analyze data to answer the following questions: What learning targets did the students do well on? What learning targets did the students struggle to understand? Is there a need for whole group intervention? If not, which specific students need intervention or extension?

HOW DO WE MONITOR THE DATA?

Teachers meet as collaborative teams to analyze data from benchmark assessments and Common Formative and Summative Assessments. Teams examine data “student by student and target by target”.  Information from CFAs and CSAs is used to place students in intervention and extension groups. Intervention groups focus on helping students reach proficiency on specific learning targets.

Students also monitor their progress usingLearning Ladders. Students use the ladders to establish learning goals. When students and teachers share established goals for learning, the effect size is 0.56 according to John Hattie.

Our School Intervention Team (SIT) also uses data to diagnose, target, prioritize, and monitor Tier 3interventions to increase student learning. The SIT focuses on the individual needs of the most at-risk students, working to intervene and offer solutions in complex cases to increase student success.

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

The best intervention is prevention. In the past, Response to Intervention (RTI) was a pathway to special education, and our staff did not have a clear understanding of the process. After reviewing our subgroup data and current RTI procedures, we needed to adjust our mindset and RTI process to achieve a guaranteed and viable curriculum where all students can learn at high levels. This shift of having a successful Tier 1 instructional block and creating a systematic tier of support led to a collective commitment that gave students access to all tiers of instruction.

As our Guiding Coalition (GC) attended Solution Tree conferences and our teacher collaborative teams met twice a week to monitor student learning through the Teaching and Accessing Cycle, our school became laser focused on all students having the time and support dedicated to student achievement. A schedule was created to ensure students receive an effective Tier 1 block, a dedicated Tier 2 “Wildcat” block for additional support or extension on Essential Standards, and a Tier 3 block to address intensive remediation for students who are multiple years behind as determined by universal screeners and diagnostic assessments. This data driven schedule allows teachers to provide specific intervention or extensions to best meet everchanging student needs.

Additionally, Bartow County School System provided each school with a Reading Support Specialist to guide and train teachers to use a systematic literacy approach to help close reading gaps in all grade levels. Our Reading Support Specialist supports our teachers with pinpointing a student’s foundational literacy deficiencies, implementing literacy interventions, and streamlines our K-3 literacy curriculum. Along with our RSS, all Bartow County Schools have a Lead Support Specialist (LSS). The LSS provides support to ALL teachers, delivers professional development on best practice strategies, and monitors the RTI paperwork and data, while focusing on interventions and extensions of Essential Standards. Once Universal Screeners and Common Summative Assessments are completed, the LSS collaborates with teachers, School Intervention Team, and Guiding Coalition to make sure students are receiving specific research-based interventions and extensions to move students to the next level, ultimately gaining foundational skills they need to excel. MRES designed a multitiered system of support inverted pyramid that provides our collaborative teams with a visual model of interventions and who is responsible for implementation.

Lastly, MRES has a strong and effective Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support (PBIS) framework that develops our students’ social, emotional, and academic needs. All students receive Tier 1 instruction on schoolwide expectations on pro-social behaviors that promote academic success. This year, we added an Academic Behavior Matrix to reinforce our specific and expected academic behaviors creating a positive environment where learning flourishes.

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

Mission Road Elementary’s PLC journey began in 2018 when our Principal, Sherrie Hughes, attended the PLC conference in Atlanta. It was then that she became a member of the district’s Guiding Coalition.  Using guidelines established at the district level, MRES then created a school Guiding Coalition with representatives from every grade level and department. Knowing that creating a PLC community within MRES was a top priority, we began to educate ourselves about the process.  To create school wide “buy -in” for this important cultural shift, our GC created a mission and vision statement. We also created a set of collective commitments that would ensure our focus would center around improving learning for all students.  The GC became the engine that drove our PLC process. Members of the GC helped to breakdown barriers and created the foundation for our Professional Learning Communities.

Last year, our GC participated in the Guiding Coalition Efficacy Analysis. Results from this survey helped our GC realize areas where they needed to increase their knowledge. During GC meetings, further training was given on 1-5-10 teams and rigor. Information from GC meetings is always shared with each collaborative team at their twice weekly meetings.

Over the course of the last three years, our district has offered the opportunity for professional development through Solution Tree. Staff members have attended conferences and Bartow County hosted the Achieve Institute for our GC members to attend. We also have access to Global Professional Development and have used this resource numerous times to build staff capacity. Our GC has also participated in the following book studies: Learning by Doing, Taking Action, Design in Five, and Grading from the Inside Out. GC members work with their collaborative teams to create a shared knowledge of the PLC process.

The Instructional Lead Teacher (ILT) position was created to facilitate and support teachers with the shift towards a PLC mindset. The ILT, in conjunction with the administration, provided resources, professional development, and guidance at every step in the PLC process.  The following year a Lead Support Specialist was added to support teachers and students in the RTI process. This year, a Reading Support Specialist was added to MRES. The support team offers training and guidance in all areas of the process to continue to build teacher capacity.

Our master schedule allows teams to meet twice per week for forty-five-minute blocks for collaboration. During this time, our teams have worked to deconstruct standards and work through the R.E.A.L. process to identify essential standards to create a guaranteed and viable curriculum. The teams work through the Teaching Assessing Cycle for each essential standard based on their created pacing guide.

Our collaborative teams focus on student data and share information on CFAs and CSAs. The team uses evidence of student learning to inform and improve individual and collective practice of its members. Teachers discuss successful instructional strategies to help benefit all learners.  Collaborative team meetings have allowed for job-embedded learning that is ongoing and focuses on high levels of academic success for our students.

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

We have attached an additional document (2021-2022 CFA progress) to document data of progress made on CFAs. Teachers have conversations about this data during their collaboration days each week. Students are placed in interventions based on this data. Our Lead Support Specialist also meets with teachers to discuss individual students and monitor progress. 

We have also attached an additional document (2021-2022 SMART Goals progress) that documents progress made toward SMART goals. During mid-year conferences this month, we will be discussing progress with each grade level and making plans for next steps. This year our Guiding Coalition decided that our SMART goals would be written using MAP/Acadience/Growth Measure to monitor progress.  Bartow County School System SMART goals were written using these measures also. We used their goals as guidance for our school goals.

We have also attached MAP and Acadience data for fall to winter 2021-2022.

2018 Georgia Milestones Highest Achievement ALL Subjects 

2018 Georgia Milestones Highest Proficient/Distinguished 5th grade science

2018 Georgia Milestones Highest Proficient/Distinguished 4th grade math

2019 Georgia Milestones Highest Proficient/Distinguished 5th grade social studies

2019 Georgia Milestones Highest Proficient/Distinguished 4th grade math

5 star Climate Rating

Bartow County Teacher Grants-numerous winners yearly

Teacher Ambassador for Donor's Choose

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