Davis Middle School

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

Uinta County School District  No. 1 is a “hometown” conservative community nestled in the Southwest corner of Wyoming. The Uinta Mountains are our backyard, where we fish, hike, climb, 4-wheel, and snowmobile. Our demographic is well established and the people who live here do so by choice; it is an amazing place to raise kids. Uinta County School District #1 is the top employer in our community with agricultural, manufacturing and natural gas. Uinta County is the second poorest county in the state of Wyoming. Our goal is to ensure high levels of learning for all students. 

 

During year 1 of our journey (2017-2018) our district advanced in the direction of Professional Learning Communities philosophy and Davis Middle School steered a course toward becoming a model school. Davis Middle School is in year five of our PLC journey. We caught the vision of the PLC work in August of 2017, when our administrative team spent two days with Thomas Many. Our team came back excited about being “PLC right” not “PLC lite”. We immediately established collaborative teams between content, grade levels, partner schools, and administrators. The center of our PLC work was to establish strong content grade level teams between Evanston Middle School (EMS) and Davis Middle School. Both middle schools were singletons so we decided to team up, allowing our teachers the opportunity to identify their priority standards, write proficiency scales, develop units with learning targets and write common assessments. This same year our collaborative teams attended three days of training with Jan Hoegh from Marzano. This work was centered in the Art and Science of Teaching. Our collaborative teams were excited about this framework and the fire was lit. As an administrative team, we watched the first webinar from the Marzano group on the High Reliability Schools framework. HRS was adopted and the framework was laid in creating a school that was safe, supportive, collaborative and ensured high levels of learning for all students.  

 

In our second year (2018-19) our school continued deepening our work by bringing Jan Hoegh directly to our district to work with our administrators and teachers. We spent one week with each collaborative team during the summer to deepen our proficiency scale work. Units of study continued to develop and our assessments improved. Our Guiding Coalition attended an RTI workshop with Mike Mattos and the Davis RTI Team became focused on removing learning barriers for students and putting in place intervention and extension opportunities. 


 

In the course of year 3 of our PLC journey (2019-2020) our Guiding Coalition, guided by our study of Learning By Doing, created our Vision & Mission statements and our Collective Commitments. We implemented the formula Powerful Collaboration + Excellent Instruction + Caring Mentors = Gold Standard Learning. We continued to send a combination of content teachers to RTI conferences with Mike Mattos, and other exceptional instructors, growing a solid foundation in understanding and allowing the PLC process to do what it was designed to do in our work. The Davis Team committed to setting the goal every quarter to have every student proficient on the essential skills, knowledge and dispositions identified by each grade level team. Our work would be demanding, but the reward immeasurable. We ended the school year with 90% of our teachers attending PLC Institutes with their content specific team. 

 

Over the course of Year 4, (2020-2021) our PLC journey was a year of recovery, healing, and moving forward. Our administration committed to meeting the needs of students and teachers. The 2020-2021 school year was filled with unprecedented challenges. We dove into the work of understanding standards referenced reporting, separating academic and behavioral reporting, and building our knowledge around grading. Davis Middle School set the goal to transition from the traditional grading system (A, B, C, D, and F) to reporting grades based on individual student proficiency on essential grade level standards. 

 

Year 5 of our PLC Journey (2021-22) has been a year of transformation and leveling up our effective instruction. We streamlined our work in the High Reliability Schools framework and began to see sustainable growth and traction. The work previously done in our PLCs and Guiding Coalition paved the way to enhance the effectiveness of our Demon Win Time. Building on the book study, It’s About Time: Planning Intervention and Extension in Secondary Schools, and the work previously done in our RTI/MTSS team, we modified our intervention time to be targeted, timely and systematic, allowing teachers to meet students’ needs in an even faster manner. 

Being a PLC school means that we “work” our collective commitments every single day. Our PLC focus is high levels of learning for ALL students. We are mutually accountable to each other and know we can continue to grow as educators. PLC is “business as usual” at Davis Middle School.

 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

As PLC Teams at Davis, we have ensured a guaranteed and viable curriculum by establishing strong collaborative teams that meet weekly with clear norms established and an agenda to guide their time. Together teams have used the state standards and blueprints to establish their essential learning. Teams have written proficiency scales for every essential standard and they have created tight unit plans with learning targets in place. Teams have written common formative assessments that are given with data collected and shared in the PLC.  Instructional strengths and areas of growth are discussed. Teachers use the data from their assessments to place students in daily Demon WIN Time interventions.  Interventions are timely and targeted. Teams have clear data around their Tier 2 interventions moving student proficiency levels significantly to ensure higher levels of learning for ALL students.

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

Initially, we saw the need for students to be improving in literacy and designed daily intervention solely focused on literacy. This idea evolved into a literacy and math combined focus. Following the work we did with Solution Tree and our work in It’s About Time: Planning Intervention and Extension in Secondary Schools, we modified our enrichment time into what is now Demon WIN time, allowing every instructor in the building to have access three days a week to meet every student by every skill. As we fine-tune Demon WIN time, we continue to dial in on an exceptional system of intervention and extension. We persist in advancing our understanding, our implementation, and our commitment to providing students with the best possible support for learning.

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

At Davis, our PLC teams perform at high levels, because we are continuously focused on what students know and are able to do. This has driven our teams to become experts in knowing their content, understanding how to measure it, and then having a well developed plan for how to respond and plan accordingly. Initially we had about 32% of our students ending each quarter with one or more failing grades. Every RTI agenda started by looking at our D&F List data and making decisions from that data. After six years of RTI work we ended quarter one with ZERO students on the D&F List. We consistently have less than seven students ending each quarter with a failing grade. We continue to work towards our goal of “All Students Proficient on All Priorities” and we have shifted our frame of reference to “by student by skill” thinking and intervening. Our PLC content teams focus their time on common formative assessment data and diving into PLC questions 3 and 4. As we are striving to understand our assessment data, we focus on improving targeted intentional formative assessment. This is possible with the combination of evaluating outcome assessment data and anchoring our best practices when normal state assessment data was not available; the year resulted in record student learning at Davis Middle School.

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

In 2013, DMS was ranked 51st of 71 middle schools in the state of Wyoming. We received a 1 star rating as measured by schooldigger.com. Since that point we have steadily improved from year to year. In the last 6 years, as we have taken on HRS work, and the PLC framework, we have seen dramatic growth going from 30th of 72, in 2017, to 18th of 76 middle schools in 2021. This year we received a 4 star rating by schooldigger.com.

We are excited about the growth in our data that we have seen in the last 6 years at Davis Middle School. The RTI team at Davis have taken steps to reduce the number of students failing classes.  We implemented daily interventions in our schedule, we have weekly PLC teams looking at data, comparing data, and placing students in Demon WIN time to ensure students are mastering our identified priorities. The RTI model is embedded within our school to ensure a guaranteed and viable curriculum.

Since 2013, we have seen growth overall in our WYTOPP assessment data from: 

  • 47% 2013 to 62% 2021 (MATH)

  • 53% 2015 to 64% 2021 (ELA)

  • 33% 2013 to 55% 2021 (Science)

We sustained our collaborative work through COVID. Our PLCs continue to meet and continue to see growth through data. We have moved historically from the bottom third in Wyoming to the top third. Even though we saw a small drop from 2018- 2019 in our overall performance, we saw a recovery in spite of COVID, and look forward to celebrating continuation on this growth trajectory.   

 

DMS is a Marzano High Reliability School Level 1, and will certify as a High Reliability School Level 2 in April 2022

Of 79 middle schools in Wyoming, DMS is ranked 18th, as measured by schooldigger.com. 

National PTA School of Excellence, 4 consecutive years

WAEMSP, Number 1 middle school in Wyoming, Summer Reading

Largest middle school PTA membership in Wyoming

Highly acclaimed Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education, Principal Christopher Brown

National Distinguished Principal Nominee, Principal Christopher Brown

Teton Science School Fellow and Storer Scholar, Rylee Berger, teacher

 

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