Chaparral Elementary School
- Number of Students: 424
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 100%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 12.26%
- Percent of Special Education: 22.64%
- White: 42%
- Black: 7%
- Hispanic: 42%
- Asian: 2%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 1%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 2%
- Multiracial: 4%
- Other: 0%
Our Professional Learning Communities (PLC) journey began in 2018 when our current administrator came on board at Chaparral. Prior to our current principal, there were four other principals from 2012-2018. The school had seen a decrease in achievement resulting in the state awarded letter grade falling from a B to C in 2017-2018 school year. There was also a negative impact on parent, student, and staff surveys reflecting culture and climate issues. Even with the previous installation of Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS) Tier I, discipline was at an all-time high with 845 office referrals. On the staff Working Conditions Survey in 2017-2018, the indicator, “I believe I can influence decisions at my school or department” received a rating of 46.6% dropping almost 30% from the year prior, indicating a lack of empowerment and collaboration between staff and administration.
The school committee that interviewed the new administrator wanted to bring consistency and sustainability to the culture and structure of programs on the campus. We began during the summer of 2018 forming a teacher leadership team composed of a representative from each grade level, along with special areas, special education, academic interventionist, and the school instructional coach. We engaged the team in The Three Big Ideas that drive the work of a PLC:
1. We had to have a focus on learning.
2. We needed to build a collaborative culture.
3. We had to take collective responsibility and be results oriented
(DuFour, Dufour, Eaker, Many, and Mattos 2016)
It was important that the leadership team was involved in the decision making process on how we moved forward while understanding our current reality. The team determined that we would start by having grade level collaborative teams meet twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with a focus on planning for best first instruction. Collaborative teams centered their work around the first two questions of the four critical questions: "What do we want students to know?" and "How do we know they have learned it?" (DuFour, Dufour, Eaker, Many, and Mattos 2016). Collaborative teams worked together deconstructing standards, writing clear learning targets and developing aligned exit tickets. We ensured the master schedule allowed for a 40 minute intervention period per day. Data was used to strategically group students based on need during this time. Additionally, our staff formed a separate PBIS team to strengthen our approach towards the promotion of school safety and good behavior.
In January of 2019, Chaparral took leadership to the PLC Summit in order to strengthen their understanding of a collective efficacy as a school to influence the academic and behavioral outcomes on our campus. Attending the summit propelled the PLC commitment on our campus. Our teacher leaders took ownership in the process and started influencing their colleagues in the belief that all students can learn at high levels. We spent the remainder of this first year reworking the mission, vision, and values that centered around our motto, “All Means All.” Chaparral posted the new mission, vision, and values so it was known to all stakeholders. The culture began to shift at this time to a collective responsibility for the success of all of our students. Collaboration had a direct impact on: teacher trust, empowerment, motivation, and school climate.
Each year we revisit the purpose of functioning as a PLC to bring all new Chaparral members up to speed with how we work together as a school, collectively. We discuss our mission, vision, and values to establish a collective commitment to achievement for all. We have embedded writing SMART goals for our school and our grade level teams, which helps to ensure all students are making academic progress. Our collaborative teams have developed common formative assessments and exit tickets to track progress to our overall goals. We have moved on to answering questions three and four of the four critical questions, "What do we do when students don’t get it?" and "What do we do when students do get it?" We have begun to flex students within grade levels during core content blocks as well as intervention time so that students get exactly what they need. We have examined our staffing needs to include a full time social worker and a math interventionist that also play critical roles in intervening to meet the needs of our students. Although we have had some challenges with COVID, we have not lost sight of high expectations of student achievement by functioning as a PLC school and ensuring we celebrate our successes along the way.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
Students at Chaparral know what they are learning and what is expected of them by the end of every lesson. Collaborative teams plan lessons together centered on learning targets and success criteria that are shared with students in kid-friendly language by posting them in the classroom and are referred to throughout the lesson.
Once exit tickets or CFAs are administered, teams meet to discuss successes within the assessment with a focus on what instructional strategies worked. This discussion has allowed individuals within a grade level to learn from one another and adjust their instructional practices when reteaching in small groups and in some cases flexing students between classrooms during core content time to ensure all students are getting exposure to effective strategies that meet their needs.
Grade level SMART goals and data are posted in our PLC room to monitor student growth through interim benchmarks and quarterly data analysis. SMART goals are set by each grade level with an intentional focus on our subgroups of special education students and English Language Learners. Data from multiple data sources are used to develop interventions or extensions for our students in four week cycles with progress monitoring that ensures the intervention is effective, or whether an additional intervention is needed. Additionally, teachers have individual data meetings three times a year with the school instructional coach and/or principal where they share their students’ individual successes as well as develop individualized action plans for students that are not showing academic gains.
This year, students started keeping their own data binders where they were responsible for creating goals for themselves and tracking their own growth on their attendance, behavior, and grade level content skills (i.e. sight words, fluency words per minute, or math facts) or on priority standards. There was a need to build student efficacy on the campus. The data binders ensured students were taking ownership of their own data while developing a plan to reach their goals. All students, Kindergarten through 6th grade, presented their data binders to their parents at student-led conferences in the fall. This encouraged our parents to become an active partner in their students’ academic progress at school and was well received with positive parent comments during our fall parent-teacher conferences.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
Our master schedule allows strategic interventions to take place throughout the day in multiple ways. All of our grade levels have common schedules that allow them to have small group time during their core Tier I instruction. During this small group time, teachers are able to differentiate within the classroom with flexible groupings. Teachers use classroom observations and data to inform these groupings. Teachers with English Language
Learners ensure that these students are being provided with targeted language instruction within one of the small groups. While teachers work with small groups, the rest of the class is working on various identified learning tasks, which are short learning activities that have students moving through previously learned skills for multiple exposures and increased rigor.
Our resource teachers work within this small group time in our master schedule to meet the needs of their special education students and work on their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals. Our resource teachers have integrated themselves into each collaborative team to ensure a guaranteed and viable curriculum for all students between their general education and special education classes. They developed a calendar to be able to ensure that they attend one grade level meeting weekly so that they are scaffolding their instruction to support the classroom content. This allows our resource students multiple exposures to the standards with more time at their skill level.
Within the master schedule, each grade level is allotted a common 40 minute intervention block. During this time, students are flexed strategically. Data from multiple data sources are used to develop interventions or extensions for our students in four to six week cycles with progress monitoring that ensures the intervention is effective. Students are grouped between our Reading Academic Interventionist (AIS) or our two paraprofessionals in our literacy lab, between our grade level teachers in which one teacher is specifically assigned to target our English language learner students, our math interventionist, our gifted teacher, and as needed for Social/Emotional interventions with our social worker or other service providers such as speech, occupational therapy, or physical therapy. The students are assigned to the teacher or paraprofessional who can best meet the particular need of the student.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
Annually, we complete a Working Conditions survey. In 2020-2021, the indicator “My principal or direct supervisor encourages collaboration within and across teams at my school or department,” received its highest rating with a 93%. Below you will read about how we have established our collaborative culture.
Starting each school year, Chaparral revisits what it means to function as a Professional Learning Community (PLC). We discuss the benefits of working in collaborative teams which builds community and trust amongst our staff. We identify priorities, analyze achievement, and set goals to meet the academic, social, and emotional development of students. We revisit our mission, vision, and values to ensure all staff have shared beliefs around the work we do as a school. Our vision, mission, and values are proudly displayed on banners hanging on our fences, written on the back of staff T-shirts, and throughout the building as a consistent reminder of the work we do and gives our community a glimpse of what we strive to become.
The Chaparral Leadership Team is critical within our school improvement process. Selected leadership members partner with administration to assume collective responsibility for progressing student and adult learning at Chaparral. Team members engage in problem-solving and decision-making processes in order to move the school’s improvement efforts forward. Teacher leaders that serve on our leadership team facilitate collaborative team meetings and serve as a communication link between staff and administration. Our leadership team reflected on the information they learned at the PLC Summit in 2019 and 2020 along with other school data to create our 90-Day action plans.
Collaborative teams meet twice weekly during common planning times and 45 minutes weekly on Wednesdays to discuss the continuous learning cycle. Teams use structured agendas with agreed upon working agreements (norms). Teams deconstructed all of the standards to develop a shared understanding of the standard and how they will scaffold the learning targets in order to meet the levels of proficiency and rigor of the standard. Yearly, teams review these deconstruction documents to revise them based on the previous year’s lessons and to gain new team members input on the standard if needed. They create exit tickets and common formative assessments (CFAs) for particular lessons or end of standard assessments. Teams agree upon the success criteria of assessments to measure if students are meeting the learning goal or if they need more time/support. Collaboration is so embedded in our culture that most teams meet daily to plan, analyze data, or create assessments. Administration and the instructional coach are committed to being members of each collaborative team.
When our staff returned from the PLC Summit in 2019 they started incorporating a reflection at the bottom of their agendas to reflect on critical issues for team collaboration. Taken directly from Learning By Doing: Professional Learning Communities at Work, 2006 grade levels choose four critical issues to focus on. Having the same focus across all collaborative teams helps strengthen our overall school PLC.
Achievement Data Files
Additional Achievement Data
Chaparral K-2 DIBELS Literacy Proficiency Data 2017-2021: The DIBELS assessment was given three times per year in grades Kindergarten through 3rd grade from 2017-Spring of 2021. It is comprised of literacy assessments derived from “The Big 5 Literacy Skills.” An important note about this assessment is that the subtests change each time the assessment is given and the cut scores for proficiency increase from the Beginning of the Year (BOY) to the End of Year (EOY). Reading the data going down the columns in each year per grade level would seem like the school lost the amount of students it had at proficient or above, but by looking at the overall district averages in the same way shows a decrease from BOY to EOY. The best way to show growth on this assessment for Chaparral is by comparing the school to the district averages each year at the beginning, middle, and end of the year. Each year up until 2020-2021, the school dipped below the district averages at multiple times throughout the year in multiple grade levels. In 2020-2021 Chaparral was above the district average each time the assessment was given except in 2nd grade for BOY only where the school tied the district average. In the 2020-2021 school year BOY was not administered until mid-October and was done in person when in the past it was administered in August. MOY was administered online in December, only two months later so there would not be as much growth, and EOY was administered in person in May after the students returned to in person learning in the middle of March.
Chaparral K-2 STAR Literacy, STAR 3rd-6th Reading, STAR 1st-6th Math Proficiency/Growth Data 2021-2022: The STAR literacy assessment replaced the DIBELS assessment this school year (2021-2022). STAR literacy, reading, and math assesses students at their current individual levels regardless of their grade level. An example of this would be a 2nd grader being assessed on 4th grade concepts because the computer based assessment recognizes that the student is proficient in reading skills at a 4th grade level based on correct responses to questions as a student progresses through an assessment. It is also given three times a year just like DIBELS. The reason for the switch in the assessment was that this current assessment will allow tracking of school, grade level, and individual student growth over time and generate reports of specific subskills a student is proficient or deficient in making groupings for interventions more targeted for teachers. From looking at STAR Math K-6, Star Literacy K-2, and Star Reading 3rd-6th, the data shows that Chaparral is outperforming the district in proficiency and in growth in almost all grades, on every assessment. Two areas that we as a school are going to dig into the data deeper is 4th and 5th grade reading. We have higher levels of students’ proficient in those grades but they are not growing faster than the district according to the median growth scores.
Chaparral K-2 District Math Proficiency Data and 3rd-6th Grade District Benchmark Proficiency Data: These assessments are used to determine mastery of grade level standards. These assessments have changed yearly in format and in content so growth over time is not something that can be measured using these assessments. Some years they were written by teachers across the district and then in 2018 the assessments were created through School City (a program that has a test item bank). Some years they were cumulative of all the standards to see progression in that year and other years they are only assessing the standards taught in that quarter. Some tests are given paper/pencil and other years the assessments have been on the computer. The only data gained from these assessments is if Chaparral is out performing the district at the time they were given.
Chaparral 3rd-6th Grade State AZmerit Proficiency Data: This is the state assessment given to students annually to measure proficiency in reading and math (and in 4th grade science). In 2016-2017 the test was still given paper/pencil and in 2018-2019 the students in the district started to take the test on the computer. It is important to note that each year the assessment was given there was a different principal leading the school. The current principal started in the 2018-2019 school year. The school did dip in some areas on the state assessment due to cultural issues needing to be addressed such as forming collaborative teams and addressing student discipline. By looking at benchmark data for the 2019-2020 school year, it is evident the school was on track to make growth on AZmerit with PLC systems in place. Unfortunately, COVID shut down schools before the state tests were given. In 2020-2021 the students were online and only came in for the state assessment in the last quarter. It is evident that online learning effected our performance on the state assessments, especially our 3rd grade students who missed out on a quarter of their 2nd grade year and were online all of 3rd grade. In most other grade levels we outperformed the district but struggled to outperform the state. Our current district assessments for the 2021-2022 school year indicate that we are out performing the district and are a predictor we will see improved scores on the state assessments.
Chaparral Social/Emotional Student Surveys: The Panorama for Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) survey provides schools and districts with reports that give a picture of SEL at each school, including strengths and opportunities for growth. Teachers and principals can use Panorama’s reporting and analytics to understand the social and emotional levels of their students. Provided are four different reports, one taken last spring (2021) for our 3rd-5th grade students and a separate one taken by 6th graders as well as two new surveys taken this fall (2021) to gain insight on the SEL of students since they are back to in-person learning. The data indicates that since students have been back in-person their social and emotional well-being has increased on our campus and we are out performing the district. Only one area came back with a decrease. That was on the fall (2021) 3rd-5th grade survey in the area of school safety. After further examination with our students, many did not understand what a “physical fight” meant and they perceived disagreements, even verbally to be physical. Our school social worker has since had lessons within classrooms to clear up and address these misconceptions.
Chaparral K-6th Grade Student Discipline 2017-November 2021: Our school-wide discipline data is tracked every month from our district database. We compile this data monthly and discuss areas of strengths or areas in need of improvement with our school PBIS team. The data shows that we have decreased our data by 75% since the 2017-2018 school year.
District Staff Working Conditions Survey 2020-2021: This is an annual survey that our district sends out to all staff to in order to gain feedback on the overall climate and culture of the school/district. Our working conditions survey came back the highest it has been in three years. The indicator, “I feel I can influence decisions at my school/department,” that was mentioned in the PLC story, has almost increased by 30%, indicating that staff once again feel empowered to make decisions to improve student achievement.
Progress Monitoring of School-Wide and Grade Level SMART Goals Based on Essential Standards/Skills:
Attached are our school-wide SMART Goals for the 21-22 school year based on our STAR Assessments for Early Literacy, Reading, and Math. This data allows our school to measure percent of students at grade level proficiency as well as student growth percentage. These two categories make up 50% of our state letter grade so it is crucial that we monitor progress towards these goals. Our school monitors our two sub-categories that have enough students that could make us a Targeted Support and Intervention School (TSI) if we do not show growth; those two subgroups are English Language Learners and Special Education students. Chaparral also sets SMART Goals to measure growth on the state assessment AASA. These percentage increases align with increase goals our district sets overall. The documents following the school-wide SMART goals are a variety of samples of grade-level SMART goals based on content. Grade level teams identify essential standards/skills to be taught and develop SMART goals to increase overall mastery of the essential standard/skill. Some show a variety of standards (ex. 5th grade reading) that the grade level is tracking to increase the overall reading proficiency goal for 5th grade. Some show one standard in isolation (ex. 3rd grade reading) along with student data as to how they performed on that particular standard to be able to group for intervention or enrichment. Along each side the teachers research strategies for reteaching purposes. There are also some samples from our math interventionist who collaborates with grade levels and pulls students during the intervention block. At the end of each intervention cycle, the teachers receive a progress report of standards worked on, skills taught, the student’s score on the pre and post assessments and recommended next steps. Sample CFAs used to monitor interventions are included as well.
2015-2022 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant Recipient
2019 PBISAz Bronze Award for Tier I PBIS Fidelity and Outcomes
2019-2020 PBISAz AmAZing Award
2020 D-Backs School Challenge Recipient
2021 APS Supply My Class Grant Recipient
2020-2022 School Safety Program Expansion Recipient
2021-2022 Results Based Funding Recipient
2021 Arizona State Professional Educators Mini-Grant Recipient