Lotus Elementary School
- Number of Students: 366
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 42%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 14%
- Percent of Special Education: 18%
- White: 59%
- Black: 4%
- Hispanic: 31%
- Asian: 1%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0%
- Multiracial: 5%
- Other: 0%
Principals from both schools attended an Illinois Principal Association meeting in 2014/15 that highlighted the PLC process. As a result, administration determined the importance of establishing collaborative grade level teams through common plan time. Staff in teams were encouraged to create norms and norm breach protocols to structure team meetings. In addition, team leaders and administration began a book study with, “Learning by Doing.” Shortly after, the Board of Education approved our request for early release every Wednesday allotted for professional development to target PLC process and secure collaborative team time. The 3 Big Ideas of PLC and 4 guiding questions were introduced to staff and used as a framework for our work. Around this same time, team leaders from Lotus attended a session at the Raising Student Achievement Conference led by Anthony Muhammad and were inspired by the work he had done with schools on shifting the mindset. They were encouraged to bring forward a book study on “Transforming School Culture.”
In 2016, the administration brought in Solution Tree expert, Heather Friziellie. During this time we focused on the PLC continuum and laying the foundation. Staff have since been encouraged to attend Summer PLC institute 2017-2021. In 2017, Lotus primarily focused on guiding question 1- What do we want students to know and be able to do? This entailed prioritizing essential standards, unpacking standards into learning targets, developing common formative assessments which ultimately led to a shift to standard based reporting. We also aligned our mission and vision during our strategic planning sessions to include our “One Team, All In” motto. After our 2018 summer session for PLC, Maria Nielsen inspired our commitment to 15 day challenges to ensure a guaranteed and viable curriculum and a focus on data. In 2019, Lotus administrators attended a session to establish a successful Guiding Coalition led by Mike Mattos.
Currently, during our new staff orientations we begin incorporating guiding principles of the PLC model. Twice a year we have our teams take the Critical Issues Survey for Team Consideration in Fall and Spring to be able to goal set and reflect on goals. Our focus now is to narrow down our Collective Commitments that will help move our school forward.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
The Teaching and Learning Cycle is used as a tool to bring structure to our collabraotive meetings and monitor student learning on a timely basis. The Planning Phase of the T&L Cycle walks teams through the Universal Design for Learning. Before moving into new targeted units, teams identify their grade level essential standards and unpack them into learning targets. Teams then build a vertical learning progression which begins at the bottom of a ladder with foundational skills and moves up the ladder to more complex skills. This sequence guides students through the acquisition of all expected concepts and skills in a gradual and developmental way while building on prior knowledge.
Common formative assessments (CFAs) are developed before the unit begins. Assessments are tightly aligned with grade level expectations identified in the district’s curriculum to ensure validity and reliability. Teams who develop the assessments complete their assessments as if they were students in order to better understand any scaffolds or learning misconceptions that may occur throughout the unit.
Teams work collaboratively to develop proficiency scales and determine various levels of understanding. This encourages teachers to think about interventions and extensions prior to teaching the unit. In order to ensure students learn the information, concepts, and skills identified in the district curriculum, teachers regularly monitor student learning through a variety of assessments, performances, or other measures of learning.
The Analyze and Monitor stage is congruent to the Adapt stage of the T&L Cycle. Both stages focus on differentiation in all Tiers of instruction. During the Analyze and Monitor stage, teachers spend time formatively assessing student understanding in order to meet the needs of all learners. Data from a variety of quick checks and other formative assessment practices help teachers determine what learning is taking place and how to organize flexible groupings.
Throughout the Adapt stage, teachers use guided practice and research-based strategies. During small group instruction, teachers reteach unlearned skills and concepts, reinforce partial learning, and extend learning for students who have shown proficiency. Teachers continually monitor and adjust their instructional practice. This rapid cycle of improvement combined with 15 day challenge unit designs has allowed us to closely monitor student growth in a timely manner.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
MTSS is a system of supports for students who are struggling academically and/or behaviorally. As MTSS services are a component of support for the general education curriculum, MTSS is not considered special education. For students receiving Tier 3 interventions, the members of the problem-solving team (PST) continue to track the progress and review the data. After data analysis, the PST may determine that in order for the student to make significant progress, the student may need additional Tier 3 supports and/or special education services. The PST will collaborate with the teacher(s) and guardian(s) to determine whether the student should continue with Tier 3 supports or be referred for a special education evaluation. In the event that an evaluation is deemed necessary, the student's gaurdian(s) will be provided written notification of the PST decision. Parental consent must then be obtained in order for the student to be evaluated for special education.
In Tier 1 all students are benchmarked three times a year (fall, winter, spring) utilizing NWEA MAP for ELA and iReady for math. Classroom teachers implement the district's core instruction and behavioral standards. Students are deemed ready for Tier 1 when they are at or above the 26th percentile on benchmark assessments.
In Tier 2, in addition to core instruction and PBIS, reteaching is provided 30 minutes a day in Reading, Math and Social Emotional. Interventions are provided in a small group setting (i.e. 2-8 students), may be delivered within the general education classroom, and require frequent progress monitoring. Students eligible for Tier 2 interventions are first identified through benchmarks if/when they fall between the 11th and 25th percentile. Additionally, teams analyze CFAs to determine Tier 2 supports.
Students who need additional behavioral supports beyond PBIS are recommended for Tier 2 behavioral interventions and are given individualized goals to achieve. Progress Monitoring for behavior Interventions are determined by the grade-level team as a component of the intervention plan.
The Tier 3 interventions are more intensive in the approach and/or the frequency of the intervention. Tier 3 is often provided to students in a 1:1 setting outside of the classroom. Tier 3 supports may include interventions from Tier 2 but are delivered with a higher level of intensity and/or frequency.
Students who fall below the 11 percentile on benchmarks may be eligible for Tier 3 supports Progress Monitoring occurs once a week. Students who require an individualized behavioral plan or more intensive behavioral supports are eligible for Tier 3 interventions. Progress Monitoring for Behavior Interventions at Tier 3 is determined by the problem-solving team (PST) as a component of the intervention plan. Guardians of students who receive Tier 3 interventions are informed of the student's participation in the process through written and verbal notification.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
Collaborative team time (CTT) is a sacred time blocked out in the schedule which allows teams to collaborate around the teaching and learning cycle. This time includes but is not limited to, early release Wednesdays and an hour of collaborative plan time every day.
Our Guiding Coalition was developed in 2018 as a way to build teacher capacity with a focus on improved learning for all students. The guiding coalition also helps to facilitate staff meetings: The purpose of staff meetings is to provide growth opportunities for all staff in social and academic areas driven by the school improvement data. Lotus’s Guiding Coalition continuously works to…
Build collective knowledge
Make purposeful change for improvement
Evaluate progress using data
Lead through risk taking
Model grit and integrity
Appreciate different perspectives
Imbed collaboration as a way of life
Create unity across the District
Demonstrate commitment to “All Means All” and “One Team...All In!”
Instructional coaches were adopted in 2017 in an effort to build teacher capacity with a focus on student learning and data. Our instructional coaches facilitate regular professional development and support teachers through coaching cycles. Our instructional coaches also plan with teams regularly using the 4 Guiding Questions.
Additionally, through our teacher mentor program, teachers are assigned a mentor that supports them with school protocols and procedures. As a team we have created monthly flyers that provide discussion topics which support fidelity among teacher mentors/mentees.
Achievement Data Files
Additional Achievement Data
Lotus students take the NWEA MAP Assessment for Reading three times a year. This data is nationally normed and aligned to the Illinois Assessment of Readiness. This data set indicates the three tiers of instruction and the growth our students have made over the 2021-2022 school year. As a result of the pandemic, the IAR/state testing was not administered in 2019-2020. Additionally, all benchmarks were put on hold until the 2021-2022 school year.
Gold Status Preschool for All - Early Childhood Block Grant
Platinum PBIS School
All Things PLC Published Authors