Seminole Springs Elementary (2023)
- Number of Students: 488
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 100%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 3%
- Percent of Special Education: 18%
- White: 67%
- Black: 3%
- Hispanic: 24%
- Asian: 2%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0%
- Multiracial: 4%
- Other: 0%
Seminole Springs Elementary is a learning organization who has a vision to create a collaborative learning community that ensures high levels of learning so all students can achieve excellence both academically and socially in order to become productive leaders in society.
In June of 2020, Seminole Springs Elementary appointed a new school principal who supported the belief system of Lake County Schools (LCS) in supporting all students as well as experience implementing the PLC process at the elementary level. During the summer of 2020, multiple teacher and leadership focus groups came together to revisit the school’s current mission and vision. Through the meetings with staff, in addition to parent focus groups, the school landed on the decision to revise the mission and vision to be more centered around high levels of learning for all students through the work of becoming a professional learning community. Collaborating with support staff and teachers, as well as LCS District support staff, helped determine what was working and what wasn’t working for our students, which led to open communication and collaboration from the first day of new leadership. This created a clear message that the three big ideas of focusing on results, collaboration, and learning would be a priority school wide. Seminole Springs now has mission, vision and collective commitments that are supported by all staff and are alive across campus.
Our mission is that Seminole Springs Elementary (SSE) is a place where all students LEAD and SUCCEED. To succeed at SSE we strive for our students to achieve academically and socially, follow The 7 Habits and set and reach goals. It is our vision to create a collaborative learning community that ensures high levels of learning so all students can achieve excellence both academically and socially in order to become productive leaders in society.
Our school wide Collective Commitments are as follows:
In order to fulfill our fundamental purpose and become the school we describe in our vision statement, each member of the staff commits to the following:
- We commit to working and learning together about best practices proven to increase student learning, applying what we have learned, and using evidence of student learning to make decisions and revisions in practice to help even more students learn at higher levels.
We will plan for meaningful acceleration opportunities that will provide students with more time and support to master essential learning targets.
We will provide a supportive environment where each student feels safe, emotionally, academically and socially.
We will teach The 7 Habits and embrace The Core Paradigms of Leader in Me.
We will develop supportive relationships and ensure a positive environment for teachers, students and families.
Leading Through Learning
During the summer of 2019, administration attended the PLC At Work Conference in Fort Lauderdale, attending this conference was key to launching a new school year as a new principal. During launch in August 2019, the new principal brought school staff together to create a common vision for what we wanted students to experience in order to ensure learning for all students in all classrooms. While SSE had previously had years of successful state testing, it was a school where teachers taught in isolation. Teachers individually created their own master schedule, determined their own assessment methods and scoring criteria and the overall experiences that a child would have would vary greatly from classroom to classroom. The message was clearly articulated that the goal of the new principal was to end the educational lottery of a system of classrooms and create a professional learning community that guaranteed learning at high levels for ALL students.
Knowing that learning for adults is key to increasing learning for students, the principal began to implement job-embedded professional learning. During the 2019-2020 school year after clearly defining the work of a professional learning community, SSE began to work with the District’s Instructional Framework for learning. We have used anchor texts such as Learning By Doing, Better Learning Through Structured Teaching, The Teacher Clarity Playbook, From Striving to Thriving and Overcoming the Achievement Gap Trap. In June of 2020, LCS District Leadership, even in the midst of a pandemic, hosted almost 500 participants to attend in person and virtually, to learn with Anthony Muhammed to support our work with eliminating our achievement gaps. The time together with an expert voice has been instrumental to SSE administrators and teacher leaders in creating the conditions for our purpose of focusing on learning rather than to utilize the pandemic as an excuse to stop momentum. During this school year SSE created a Guiding Coalition, made up of grade level teacher leaders and key members of our Student Support Team. The group analyzed and continues to analyze achievement gaps in data and created an action plan to eliminate these gaps.
During the 2020-21 school year, with students learning in person and from home, our goal was to provide our students with the best education possible while maintaining a healthy and safe environment for students and staff. Being committed to the PLC process and ensuring job-embedded professional learning and we remained tight on our expectations which included providing intervention during the school day, collaborating during planning time, leading learning, and using the most current data to inform instruction. During the summer of 2021, the administration and the Guiding Coalition attended the LCS Virtual PLC Institute. It was during this experience, that the team committed to add a day of collaborative planning for grade level teams during the 2021-22 school year. Throughout the next school year, teacher teams came together two days a week to focus on the Three Big Ideas of a PLC. It was through this additional collaboration time that Essential Learning Targets (ELT) were established for each grade level, common formative assessments were honed to assess ELT, grade level assessment schedules became tighter and digital assessment trackers were developed for teams to implement questions 3 and 4 of the PLC process utilizing current data. During the 30 minute acceleration block built into the master schedule for each grade level, students transitioned to a teacher on their grade level to support their skill gap, or be provided with an acceleration opportunity.
Time for collaboration as the school level for teachers has been in place for several years. While there was time allotted for collaboration at SSE, it was unstructured collaboration time and optional among the grade level teams. The district system provides an hour of early release time every Wednesday as well as a minimum of common planning time each week so teams of teachers can learn together. Over the last few years, the district has provided support through the use of district program specialists and school based literacy coaches to ensure this collaborative time is spent focused on the four questions to ensure teacher and student success. At SSE, teacher teams come together two days a week during their plan time with administration, the school’s literacy coach and curriculum resource teacher. The entire school organization comes together one Wednesday afternoon a month to build collective efficacy and shared knowledge across campus with instructional and non-instructional staff.
The district carves our time for all school administrators to come together once a month for professional learning walks. The meetings are gathered at individual school sites at various locations across the district. In addition, instructional coaches gather with their cohorts on a monthly basis. The two groups are charged with the task of bringing their learning back to campus to share their learning as it pertains to the goals and structures of each school site.
It is our purpose for the 2021-22 school year to continue to Create a Great School by Design by building our collective knowledge around highly effective practices. We know that we must continue to hone our collaborative culture, because no one person can meet the needs of every single child.
Creating Time to Support Learning
Understanding that learning occurs at different rates, the focus on intervention and acceleration during the school day is crucial to our way of work. At SSE we have a dedicated thirty minute block, entitled W.I.N (What I Need) time carved out in our master schedule for all grade levels four days a week. After three years, the PLC process is a way of work at Seminole Springs Elementary. Systems and structures are in place supporting weekly collaboration across all grade levels. Teacher collaborative teams rely on these systems to provide the highly effective instructions all of our students deserve, evening during the past several difficult years. As we continually strive to improve, we know these practices have become beliefs. This common vision for learning, the focus on results, and the work of collaborative teams have aligned expectations and provided a guaranteed and viable curriculum that ensures equitable experiences and high levels of learning for all students at Seminole Springs Elementary.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
A guaranteed and viable curriculum is evident in the classrooms of Seminole Springs Elementary. In Lake County, Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment documents are revised collaboratively with teachers each year. These documents include a scope and sequence, aligned resources and formative assessments. At Seminole Springs, collaborative teacher teams use these documents to build their common understanding of what students are expected to know and be able to do in all content areas, as well as determine essential learning targets and develop common formative assessments. Teacher teams with the support of administration and instructional coaches use these to drive their planning for daily instruction and just in time intervention.
Through ongoing monthly professional learning for administration and instructional coaches, we have a key priority to support a common vision through grade appropriate assignments, strong instruction, deep engagement and high expectations. Each day students have multiple opportunities to read, write, think and talk through authentic learning experiences. Seminole Springs teachers utilize these strategies to meet the needs of all students as we continue to strengthen our Tier 1 instruction daily. Job-embedded professional learning is centered around the district instructional framework. Teacher teams align to the same common focus: learning around what we want students to know and be able to do and how we will know when they have learned it. It is our goal at Seminole Springs to create a great school by design, not by chance.
The monitoring of student learning is an on-going process within our school. It starts by using district wide progress monitoring assessments for formative and summative measures. We utilize these quarterly assessments to provide formative data at the teacher level that drives real-time teacher instruction, supports our collaborative teams, and helps answer questions 3 and 4 of the PLC process.
In addition to the district’s common quarterly assessment, our teachers spend time weekly developing grade level common checks for understanding and use these common formative assessments to drive just in time student support during our W.I.N. time. We utilize digital tracking sheets for teacher teams to analyze the assessment data on a student by student, skill by skill basis. Students who are in need of additional support are grouped accordingly and provided intervention from the most expert instructional personnel on the team. Students excelling and exhibiting proficiency are offered accelerated learning opportunities. Teachers over the past three years have developed a practice and a belief system of utilizing this data as a tool to reflect on their teaching and improve practice. As we work toward building high trust teams, those showing high-achievement or growth results in a given essential standard are tasked with providing student intervention while also sharing instructional strategies with colleagues to support professional growth amongst the team. Intervention and acceleration groups are continuously monitored and students are able to move fluidly within groups based on individual needs. Over time we have built the belief system that “all of our students are all of our students,” teacher teams engage in problem solving to decide which students need specific support and create groups based on the needs of students and strengths of teachers. Seminole Springs has moved from an environment of competition and focusing only on the students on a teacher’s roster, to truly investing in all students. In addition, teachers and grade level teams participate in data chats on a quarterly basis.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
Lake County Schools has an expectation that focuses on ensuring intervention and acceleration time is built into the master schedule of every school. This sacred time provides time to support and extend student learning is a priority of Seminole Springs, and we have systems to schedule and monitor students’ needs, growth, and outcomes. Starting in 2019, our instructional staff members have engaged in professional learning to deepen understanding around grading, retention, redos, and interventions.
Administrators have received professional learning around the notion of time embedded during the school day for intervention and acceleration for all students. During a training session for school leaders and teacher leaders, we were presented the formula below as the WHY for embedding dedicated time in every school.
QI + T = L
QI (V) + T (V) = L (C)
The formula illustrates that while quality instruction and time equal learning, when quality instructions and time are varied, learning is constant. We recognize that students acquire learning with varied instruction and/or varied lengths of time; we do not all learn the same way or within the same time constraints. We further recognize that to provide varied time and instruction to all students, it must be built in during the school day. All grade levels have a master schedule with a built in remediation and acceleration time for all students (W.I.N).
We know that the best schedule in the world to support student learning does not necessarily get all students to come to school and to be ready to learn. As we have examined causes for gaps in learning, our Lake County School district took a deeper look into each student and each cause. The notion of “by kid, by cause” led the district to implement new structures for students who needed more behavioral support. Sometimes are late, absent or fail to complete work, resulting in learning loss. The implementation of Restorative Practices has built trust, community, and relationships to determine root causes and repair harm. Our school’s administration, student support team and Positive Alternative to School Suspension (PASS) teacher have been trained in Restorative Practices.
In addition to Restorative Practice, Seminole Springs Elementary just embarked on Year 3 implementation of The Leader in Me framework. Leader in Me is an evidenced based, comprehensive-school improvement model - developed in partnership with educators - that empowers students with the leadership and life skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. Leader in Me is based on a theory of change known as the See-Do-Get Cycle. When you change the way you SEE things, it influences what you DO and the results you GET. The Leader in Me experience begins with a whole new paradigm for education. Educators rediscover their passion through Leader in Me as it redirects their focus back to a deeper understanding of student achievement. Many people equate leadership with a formal position of authority. But we believe anyone can be a leader by intentionally leading one's own life (leading self) and working well with and encouraging the greatness in others - whether family, friends, neighbors or colleagues (leading others).
We are committed to continuing to strengthen our systems of support to ensure that they are both systematic and timely. Throughout our journey to become a PLC school, we continuously renew our commitment to ensure every student learns at high levels.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
As a learning organization, we know that we must be learners to create learners.
The school’s commitment to build collective capacity resulting in student learning is highlighted weekly through a digital newsletter called The WAG - Week at a Glance which provides additional PLC aligned resources, videos and learning. This communication goes out to every staff member in our school to ensure consistent communication of our expectations for students in our school. This shared vision has transformed our school from one focused on logistics to a school focused on learning.
Achievement Data Files
Additional Achievement Data
Covid Data Comparison
With schools shutting down in March of 2020, we truly feel that the PLC process saved us in terms of minimizing the negative impact of student learning loss during the pandemic. As the Covid Seminole Springs/Lake/State comparison data sheet shows, Seminole Springs’s decreases in student achievement were less than the state average in many areas. As you can note in our School Student Achievement Data for Grades 3-5 our students either met or exceeded the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) proficiency rate in ELA, Math and Science in comparison to our District and State. In addition, our third grade students with an IEP showed an increase in the area of ELA in comparison to our pre-Covid data. Our Kindergarten-2nd grade students progress monitoring tool is iReady for both ELA and Math. During the 2021-2022 school year our students met or exceeded both our District’s and State’s percentage of students meeting proficiency.
At the close of the 2021-2022 school year, Seminole Springs Elementary ranked 4th out of 22 elementary schools in Lake County in terms of total points earned toward our school grade (391 points/56% = school grade B). In addition, our students in our Lowest Quartile (LQ) in grades 4 and 5 had the highest learning gains in Lake County (64% of LQ students made a learning gain). To conclude the 2021-2022 school year, Seminole Springs increased the overall school grade by 25 points/4%.
As a result of maintaining momentum and committment to being a Professional Learning Community at Seminole Springs Elementary, even in the midst of a pandemic, our students have fewer gaps in learning to make up than their peers statewide. Having teacher collaborative teams in place prior to the change in virtual learning allowed a supportive process for teachers to learn together to accomplish goals they could never anticipate needing. Once we returned to our building, our teachers were able to continue the process of focusing on student learning, collaboration and how instruction is impacting student results.
- Rookie Teacher of the Year District Finalist - 2021-2022
- District Science Fair - 5th Grade Team - 1st Place - 2021-2022
- Superintendent's Reading Challenge Award - 2020, 2021, 2022
- District STEAM School Silver Award - 2022