Woodbine Community School District

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

Beginning in the Fall of 2020, after reviewing the PLC at Work Process, the Woodbine Community School District (WCSD) set out to improve adult agency and student achievement in a personalized manner. This started with revising the district's mission and vision. A team made up of board members, community members, administration, staff, and students came up with a new school vision of "forging innovative alliances and pathways" and a new mission of "providing an environment where all are welcome and given access to personalized, unparalleled experiences that will positively shape futures." Staff particularly anchored onto the word "unparalleled" and consistently looked for ways to be unparalleled in the region and in the classroom. Between the Fall and Spring, the guiding coalition made up of staff and administration in various grade levels and subject areas reviewed and collaborated on the PLC at Work process, which culminated in the district leadership team attending a virtual PLC at Work conference. During the conference, staff had the opportunity to debrief and plan to share with other staff. After that day, the guiding coalition made a plan to share the amazing webinars with the whole staff during professional development. Staff had choices on which sessions to attend. All staff attended a common training on the PLC process. Staff was also surveyed about their beliefs regarding student learning. This survey showed that all staff believed students could learn at high levels. This data was shown to staff multiple times throughout the introduction to the PLC process as well as when hard conversations had to occur around a commitment to student learning. 

During the 2021-2022 school year, the guiding coalition formed district goals surrounding the PLC process. This established learning targets and progress indicators toward the goal that helped all staff focus on the right work during grade level and vertical collaborative team meetings. Each of these research based steps helped to solidify shared understanding and commitment to the PLC process.

Staff was also surveyed on what they value in a school culture. Through a shared decision-making process, staff settled on five core values: commitment, collaboration, communication, positivity, and growth-focused. Staff is reminded of these values during professional development sessions and in staff meetings with principals. Staff also reflect on how they are doing with these values during collaborative team meetings.

For example, our leaders show commitment to the PLC process by being present at most collaborative team meetings. Principals, instructional coaches, and the superintendent sit in on as many collaborative team meetings as possible, leading by example in displaying these values. Team norms are reviewed and reflected upon at every collaborative meeting. Many of these team norms revolve around communication and being positive. Being growth-focused occurs through the goals we set and new learning we explore during collaborative team meetings.

 
 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

In the spring of 2021, staff used two full professional development days to identify essential standards in their content areas. They looked for standards that had high leverage, endurance, and readiness. We then looked at state testing alignment and solidified our essential standards. The entire district’s essential standards are kept in a shared spreadsheet so staff at the next grade level knows what is expected of students in that subject area in the previous grade level. During grade-level and vertical collaborative team meetings, teachers continuously look at student data to determine if students are mastering the essential standards. As we continue to engage with this work through collaborative team meetings, we’ve realized that some essential standards need to be changed. The spreadsheet makes it easy to do so and keeps everyone on the same page knowing which essential standards are taught in which class. 

Throughout the summer of 2021, administration and teachers also allotted substantial personalized professional development time to building proficiency rubrics for each of the identified essential standards (example proficiency rubric attached). These give guidelines to staff, students, and parents on what constitutes proficiency for each standard. Building-wide collaborative teams split up by grade level and subject area continuously have inquiry-based discussions centered around if students are mastering the standards according to the proficiency rubrics. Proficiency rubrics are continuously revised as staff gain a stronger understanding of their standards through their collaborative teams. This has played a significant role in the growth metrics shown in Math and English on the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP).

In our district, we are committed to a results orientation grounded in student evidence within our professional learning community. We use formative assessments aligned with our essential standards to monitor student learning. After analysis and frequent feedback on assessments from student results, we immediately implement instructional changes designed to further student achievement in any particular standard. We do this in our collaborative teams which are grade-banded at the PK-4 level, and subject-banded at the 5-12 level. These teams have time within the master schedule at both the elementary and secondary levels (see attached schedule documents) to meet at least twice a week for 30 minutes. During these times, we also look at data from sources outside the curriculum including state assessments in order to plan next steps for instruction.

For example, our 7-12 Social Studies and English vertical collaborative teams may choose one standard to focus on during meeting times that shows up throughout the different grade levels. Teachers break down the differences in learning throughout the grade levels using proficiency rubrics and then form and analyze assessments created in relation to the progression of the standard. After students are assessed on the standards, teachers bring student work to the collaborative team meetings where it is analyzed with the proficiency rubrics to determine if students have achieved proficiency. If they haven't, collaborative teams discuss strategies to help students retake or revise formative assessments to reach proficiency. Since collaborative teams meet so often, this feedback process and planning for next steps in instruction takes place frequently.

Our reporting system is also grounded in the belief that student learning should be transparent to staff, students, and parents. Our school operates in standards-based assessment and reporting where we can clearly see after teachers enter in scores who is at proficiency on a standard and who is not. This system also allows for progress to be noted, so all stakeholders can clearly see how a student is progressing in terms of proficiency on any given standard. 

 

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

Woodbine has implemented Tiger Learning defined as “learning that enables students to move at the depth and breadth of their learning, provided in an in-person format supported by a system that allows immediate educational movement for students. Upon proficiency in essential standards, students have the opportunity to move at the pace of their own learning.” Students are allowed in our system to move at the speed of their own learning as they reach proficiency. This provides natural extension for students and frees up valuable, limited class time for teachers to work in small groups with students who struggle to attain proficiency.  In addition, our Tiger Extended Learning program pairs certified talented and gifted instructors with students who may require more extended instruction. These staff members work with teachers and students to deepen learning around the essential standards. 

For example, students who want to earn an excelling score on an essential standard have the opportunity to create their own understanding of the learning. Recently, one student created her own project and asked teachers if she could reach an excelling score for two essential standards in two different courses as she was utilizing both science and social studies standards within the project. By having the clear proficiency rubrics, she was able to easily do this and the teachers were able to objectively judge whether what she created clearly showed the excelling score for that standard.

In grades K-4, the master schedule includes common intervention time. During this time, students are grouped according to what they need based on data analyzed during collaborative team meetings. Students are not isolated to their particular teacher, and can move to different classrooms and be taught lacking skills by experts in that content area or intervention.

 

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

At all grade levels, grade-alike and subject-alike collaborative teams focus on forming goals around essential standards that students are not making growth or progress on. This aligns to our district's academic goal of having all students reach proficiency on all essential standards by the end of the school year. Teams also review and plan interventions based on progress monitoring data and literacy and math screeners. After forming a SMART goal utilizing the reflection sheet (attached), teams discuss strategies to meet the goal, implement a strategy in their classroom, review the results, and repeat the process, adjusting teaching as needed. This keeps the conversation in collaborative team meetings continually focused on improving student learning.

For example, our physical education collaborative team recently formed a goal around having students reach proficiency in this standard: "The physically literate individual exhibits responsible personal and social behavior that respects self and others." They looked at how that standard varied between the different grade levels and took observational notes on how students were progressing on the standard as students were doing physical activity and playing games. After that data was gathered, their collaborative team looked at the results to determine who was not at proficiency. Teachers discussed strategies to help students reach proficiency and explicitly taught lacking skills through small groups or one-on-one conversations at the beginning or end of class. Teachers also used the shortened classes on Mondays to explicitly teach these skills. They then reviewed observational notes again to see if that instruction had helped students reach proficiency on that standard.

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

While still early in our PLC journey, significant gains have already been made in student improvement. Although no state testing accountability data was collected in the 2019-2020 school year, K-6 students did still participate in fall and winter Formative Assessment System for Teachers (FAST) assessments in the areas of reading and math. These assessments show a strong focus on learning for all students. Compared to the state average of 59% of 4th grade students receiving free and reduced lunch who showed proficiency in English, Woodbine’s 4th grade free and reduced lunch proficiency rate was at 71%. In the same year 73% of Woodbine 3rd grade students on free and reduced lunch were proficient compaed to 56% in the state.  This same pattern persists through the 2021-2022 fall assessments where 66% of 5th grade students on free and reduced lunch were proficient compared to 46% in the state.

At the middle and high school levels, proficiency rates have also been consistently higher than state averages. In the 2018-2019 school year, 77% of 8th graders were proficient in English in the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Academic Progress (ISASP) compared to the state proficiency rate of 69%. In the same year, 83% of 8th graders were proficient in Math compared to the state proficiency rate of 71%. This trend continued when students took this assessment again in the 2020-2021 school year. Woodbine 8th graders' proficiency rate was 15% higher than the state's in English, 6% higher in Math, and 18% higher in Science. 

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