Park Avenue Elementary
- Number of Students: 677
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 100%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 7.05%
- Percent of Special Education: 13.79%
- White: 37.78%
- Black: 40.63%
- Hispanic: 10.19%
- Asian: 1.5%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0.75%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.9%
- Multiracial: 8.25%
- Other: 0%
Timing is EVERYTHING. After applying multiple times to be a part of the Solution Tree PLC Project in the state of Arkansas, we were awarded the grant in 2018, becoming official members of Cohort 3. In Hindsight, we began the work of transforming our culture with support from Solution Tree prior to the grant, which set a solid foundation for our PLC journey. During this time, we focused on a shared understanding of school culture and its impact on school performance and student achievement, and the critical transformations that must take place to build a healthy school culture. We conducted an audit, with results prompting us to make changes to our building, including physical, social, and academic. Changes to our behavior started with the counselors creating a house system, growing our community within the school. We spread kindness and served our community by donating over 600 books. We partnered with families by hosting a Back to School Bash, where families could meet teachers in a casual atmosphere. We began prioritizing culturally responsive teaching by partnering with community members to make sure Black History Month was celebrated in a way that honored the heritage of our black families. After training from the 2017 Arkansas Teacher of the Year, our survey revealed that our staff had a shared understanding of how we become more culturally responsive as a school.
It was time to look at our instruction. Our instructional coach led us through instructional rounds, with a focus on creating a responsive pedagogy. The book The Will to Lead, and the Skill to Teach helped us to develop collective commitments around classroom management, academic vocabulary, academic literacy, and learning environment. In August 2019, all of our staff attended the PLC overview training in August of 2019 and then the PLC Institute in 2020.
We started with the shift from covering all of the standards, to establishing our guaranteed curriculum. We identified essential standards (RR Skills) for literacy and math for grades pre-kindergarten through fourth grade. We learned to unpack those standards and determine the learning progressions for each. Teams shifted from individual lesson plan books to developing an electronic shared unit planner. The unit planner documents how teams answer the Four Critical Questions for each unit of instruction. Our guiding coalition continued to help guide decisions while focusing on our vision, mission, and the four critical questions. Common formative assessments (example) began to take form and impact our teachers’ decisions for student learning. Common planning time began to transform to a PLC culture (Team Agenda Example). Teachers now had a shared understanding that all students were the responsibility of all adults in the building.
Now it was time to “Learn by Doing” with the RTI process. With support from our PLC coach and RTI coach, we began working towards establishing an End of Unit Process. This allowed staff to examine student data, student supports already in place, attendance, discipline, and student barriers all in one shared document. Once the team looked at the data, decisions could be made on how to intervene on all levels, including Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3. Teams began to share students during a designated time, focusing on different learning targets within the learning ladder of the Ricebird Ready skill.
Systems lead to sustainability. The End of Unit (EOU) data became our road map for ALL staff. Our behavior team began to meet weekly during the “Behavior Huddle” using EOU data to develop support for students who had “will” as a barrier to their learning. The behavior team began using PBIS and revamped ISS into a restorative justice system (Ricebird Ready Reset) and expanded the behavior team to include the SRO, paraprofessionals, Southeast Behavioral counselor, families, and community mentors. Theintervention teambegan using EOU data to make sure the interventionists were supporting the correct learning targets. The Regular Ed Consult tool was created to support staff and students. The SPED teachers began using EOU data to guide their pull-out time with students, inform the decisions regarding student IEP goals, and improve the SPED referral process. WIN (What I Need) time was embedded into the master schedule in order for all teams, including behavior and intervention, to work collaboratively to provide individualized support for ALL students at PAE. Finally, what we celebrate, the victories with academics and behavior, are all aligned to what matters most: Ricebird Ready!
Systems of Staff Collaboration
All teams meet with the same purpose: to use our artifacts to determine specific actions to improve student mastery of the Ricebird Ready skills.
Grade Level Teams: (meet weekly) input data into the EOU document to provide artifacts for all staff members to use; determine actions steps based on the data. WIN time allows for protected time to intervene on specific learning targets. Team takes time to plan units, create common assessments, develop rubrics that clearly show the expectations of mastery, and share best instructional strategies with other team members.
Behavior Huddle: (meet weekly) input data into the EOU document then provide support to students with “will” barriers; maintain the behavior huddle data, including behavior interventions/plans or any family communication.
Intervention Team: (meet weekly) examines data from EOU to make intervention decisions. Adds intervention information to the EOU document. Holds General Ed Consults as needed for students/staff. These artifacts support all interventionists, including academic, dyslexia, and ESL in their action steps.
Core Team: (meets as needed) examines school artifacts. Uses the four critical questions and the three big ideas to discuss what the data shows and what school-wide actions may need to take place.
Guiding Coalition: (meets as needed) uses school artifacts and feedback from their teams to provide two-way communication between administration and teams.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
Our viable guaranteed curriculum: Ricebird Ready (Academic and Behavior)
Teachers work in collaborative teams to build shared knowledge regarding national, state, or provincial standards; district curriculum guides, the content and format of high-stakes assessments; and expectations of teachers at the next level to clarify the essential knowledge and skills all students must acquire to be Ricebird Ready for the next grade level.
Grade level teams met and agreed on the most critical skills needed by the end of each grade level for literacy, math (2019), and writing (2020), which became our Ricebird Ready Essential Standards.
Those skills were matched to the state standards, unpacked as a team, and learning progressions were established and agreed upon. Grade-level teams have begun the task of taking the learning targets/progressions and comparing them across the building to ensure vertical alignment.
Grade level teams are using their unit reflections and addressing questions 3 and 4 of the PLC process within the unit planners to determine the amount of instructional time dedicated to the essentials and the pacing within the unit.
Grade level Ricebird Ready common assessments were created (with support from our PLC Assessment Coach) to represent the rigor of the standard and assess the individual learning targets within the essential. Rubrics are used to ensure all teachers have a shared understanding of mastery.
Grade-level teams have begun the process of students tracking their own data and growth. There is a shared understanding among the staff: students should be able to understand what proficiency looks like and how they can reach proficiency.
The school board has approved Standards Based Report Cards for kindergarten (beginning fall 2022). This report card will be made up of Ricebird Ready Skills and Ricebird Ready Behaviors. The plan is to move this report card up through all grade levels, but at a pace that is best for our staff and families. Transitioning to this style of grading will help us better communicate Ricebird Ready as our guaranteed curriculum to our families and community.
The behavior task force (2018-2019) created a school-wide behavior matrix to make sure Ricebird Ready behaviors were clearly defined and agreed upon by the staff. The staff rotated through the building to create expectations for all areas of the building. This collaboration led to our Ricebird Ready Behavior Expectations.
Ricebird Ready behavior lessons are available for staff to use. All classrooms travel throughout the building to practice RR behavior expectations.
The school began utilizing PBIS (2019) to align and support the Ricebird Ready Behavior Expectations. Staff was trained on utilizing the online system, promoting not only positive reinforcement through a school store with points, but also keeping data on behavior, including location, time of day, student, class, grade level, etc.
Monitoring Student Learning on a Timely Basis
All staff uses the four critical questions to guide the action steps to improve student learning.
The Ricebird Ready skills are assessed with common formative assessments and common summative assessments (question 2) throughout literacy, math, and writing. Teams use questions 3-4 throughout the unit to determine targeted support or enrichment to be provided by teachers and/or teams, including the intervention team, behavior huddle, GT teacher, etc.
Grade level chairs meet to look at data after each common formative assessment. Teachers plan for Tier I and II interventions to use daily (K-2) during WIN time. Teachers are able to determine what skill is missing on the learning ladder, how to respond to it and work as a team to make sure students are mastering those progressions.
The EOU process, which takes place at the end of each unit, allows all staff on campus to intervene and/or support students with their learning targets and RR skill mastery. WIN time allows for Tier II and Tier III targeted instruction in both academic and behavior skills.
There is consistent transparency with all student data through the EOU spreadsheet, which can be accessed and used by any certified staff in the building at any time. Administrators use the Unit Dashboard Routine to track where grade levels are within their units and to know when the EOU process will take place for each grade level.
Teams across the building gather evidence of student learning from a variety of sources within the EOU spreadsheet. Interventionists are able to use this data to pull students and help them with skills on the learning ladder that they are struggling with.
The Behavior Task Force transitioned to become the Behavior Huddle (2020). This team meets weekly to look at the End of Unit data and PBIS data in order to know what support is needed for students and/or staff. Weekly communication is provided with data updates, action plans, and tips for teachers.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
Systems of Intervention: What I Need (WIN)
WIN time provides protected time for Tier II and Tier III interventions. Interventions are strategically planned as a result of the data in the EOU spreadsheet. All students at PAE receive WIN time based on their individual needs. Classroom teachers, counselors, interventionists, specialty teachers, resource teachers, and any staff needed may provide interventions to students. Overall, WIN time primarily focuses on K-2 reading foundational skills, 2-4 reading fluency, and any learning targets required for all Ricebird Ready skills PK-4.
WIN for Reading Foundations
Teacher-led small groups 2-3 times per week based on Heggerty assessment data (K-2)
K: Small groups with interventionists 3-5 times per week based on BOY screeners and EOU data
Grades 1 & 2: WIN time is 2-3 times a week for 30 minutes with interventionist based on phonics screeners and/or skills that were essential to prior grade levels
WIN time for 3rd-grade phonics provided by classroom teachers for 30 minutes for 2 or 3 days a week (teachers share students based on phonics data)
WIN for 3rd grade phonological awareness takes place in small groups 2-3 days a week
WIN time for 3rd grade: with full-time interventionist 2-5 days a week for 20 minutes each day and/or part-time interventionist 1 day a week for 30 minutes
Computer Lab: Rewards based on passed Reading Foundation Lessons (K-2)
Computer Lab: Rewards based on testing out of phonics
WIN for Math Essentials
Grade 4 provides WIN time for 30 minutes daily between CFA’s on specific learning targets and share students across the grade level for 2-3 days prior to final CSA
Grade 3 provides WIN time daily (Tier II and Tier III) during iReady for 20 minutes
Grades K-2: WIN for math essentials after CFA/CSA during math block
WIN for Literacy Essentials (3rd/4th grade)
Unit Data: 3rd and 4th Grade teachers complete an intervention cycle for 2-3 days following the summative assessment. Teachers share students based on learning targets
Computer Lab: iReady personalized learning plans/goals for reading comprehension
WIN for Behavior
WIN time takes place via Behavior Huddle, Ricebird Reset, or during grade-level WIN time based on EOU data (skill versus will)
- A behavior Menu of Supports are utilized as needed to support students with behavior
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
Teachers collaborate, learn and grow as they work through the four critical questions as a team in order for all students to become Ricebird Ready.
Teams start with the end in mind, creating assessments, discussing possible barriers or struggles for students and how they will be addressed through explicit instruction, then they work to establish a shared understanding of what the ending product will look like. Units include samples of student work showing proficiency.
Instructional Expectations are posted throughout the building and in the team-meeting room (Gap Attack Room).
Once CFA data is discussed and a plan to intervene within the teaching cycle is created, teachers work together to determine what should take place by learning target within that WIN time. Teams keep a log of which students receive targeted support and what specific support is provided. The effectiveness of the intervention cycle is monitored via screener, CFA, or CSA.
Sharing instructional strategies among the grade level and across the building vertically helps to strengthen the Tier I instruction within the classroom. Sharing strategies that are successful is a part of our unit planning and grade level team agendas.
Culture of sharing strategies:
During early release days or AMI instructional days, it is not uncommon for teams to meet vertically to share how they are teaching specific skills to students.
Math teachers model strategies in team meetings and show how they are engaging students in the learning by sharing activity ideas within the unit planner for all staff across the building to access.
Informal teacher observations may take place among team members on a regular basis. Teachers are comfortable going over to other classrooms to watch direct instruction and/or small group interventions.
Special education and GT teachers have access to the unit planner and may add strategies that may support struggling students or provide extensions for other students.
Regular Ed Consultations take place with the intervention team, bringing all team members together (interventionist, literacy coach, teacher, special education teacher, administrator, parent, etc.) to create a plan to support individual students who are struggling with learning targets necessary for mastering essentials. For example, one student goes down a grade level to attend phonics instruction to help with mastery of the first-grade phonics learning targets.
The reflection portion of our unit planner provides a system that impacts improved student learning. Teachers have found that reflecting on the struggles during the learning cycle and how those struggles were addressed effectively helps those teachers to know how to adjust the timeline of the unit or the order of learning in the unit to improve student learning the next year.
New Teacher Mentoring: New teachers are given mentors to support them with engagement strategies, school-wide systems or protocols, support with PBIS, etc. Grade level teams support new teachers in unit planning, assessment building, rubric creation, engagement strategies, and the four critical questions. Each month, new teachers receive support from the administrative team in a different area, including parent communication, grading, etc.
Sharing engagement strategies: teachers share instructional slides (Grades 1,2,3,4) that may include links to videos, apps, technology games, or group activities.
Sharing Ricebird Ready Behavior strategies: Beginning of year, mid-year, and as data determines, the Behavior Huddle will provide lessons, videos, and other supports to strengthen Tier 1.
Supporting students with barriers: the EOU process allows for team members to determine barriers for students who aren’t Ricebird Ready. By marking those barriers into the EOU spreadsheet, teachers can receive support from various teams, including the Behavior and Intervention teams.
Achievement Data Files
2010 Stuttgart Daily Leader-Voted Best School
2013 Stuttgart Daily Leader-Voted Best School
2013 Stuttgart Daily Leader-Voted Best Place to Work
2014 Stuttgart Daily Leader-Voted Best School
2014 Stuttgart Daily Leader-Voted Best Place to Work
2015 Stuttgart Daily Leader-Voted Best School
2016 Office for Education Policy-Southeast Region High Achieving Elementary Math
2016 Office for Education Policy-Southeast Region Beating the Odds for Elementary Math
2016 Office for Education Policy-Southeast Region High Math Growth
2017Office for Education Policy-Southeast Region Beating the Odds! High Elementary ELA Growth elementary level
2017 Office for Education Policy-Southeast Region Beating the Odds for Elementary Math
2017 Stuttgart Daily Leader-Best Afterschool Program
2017 Stuttgart Daily Leader-Voted Best School
2017-2019 Principal served as a lead principal for the state through Arkansas Leadership Quest
2018 Office for Education Policy-Southeast Region Beating the Odds! High Elementary ELA Growth elementary level
2018 Presented at the Arkansas River Educational Cooperative
2018 Presented to the Department of Education for Elementary and Secondary Schools about how our school engaged with families and the community about improving our school culture
2018-2019 Worked with Solution Tree to improve school culture district-wide
2019 Principal completed Loving What They Learn: Research-Based Strategies to Increase Student Engagement Book review for Solution Tree
2018 Principal completed a Teaching Matters micro-credential for Arkansas Strategic School Leader Building Culturally Responsive Education
2019 Arkansas Leadership Academy Master Principal-Pam Dean
2019 Stuttgart Daily Leader-Voted Best School
2019 Stuttgart Daily Leader-Best Employee Recognition Program
2019 PLC Project Cohort 3 School
2019 Principal completed Presenting Perfected: Four Domains for Successful Presenting Book review for Solution Tree
2020 Principal participated in the Statewide Guiding Coalition for the Academic Playbook
2020-2021 Two teachers participated in the planning of the Arkansas Playbook Team