Fulton Early Childhood Center (2023)
- Number of Students: 114
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 61%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 2%
- Percent of Special Education: 44%
- White: 73%
- Black: 9%
- Hispanic: 5%
- Asian: 0%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 1%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0%
- Multiracial: 12%
- Other: 0%
***PROMISING PRACTICES SCHOOL***
The Fulton Early Childhood Center is a Pre K building located in Central Missouri. Our PLC story began on October 13th, 2015. As an early childhood building, we did not take a traditional route to becoming a PLC. We didn’t have the traditional training, and our story winds and curves in ways that might seem outside of the norm. As an early childhood center, we faced many challenges that elementary and secondary schools might not face, starting with being taken seriously as a learning community.
Our building has gone through multiple transformations in the last ten years. In the beginning, our building was built as an alternative school, named the “Fulton Academy”. After several years, the alternative program was closed, and the building became a hodge podge of various programs. 10 years ago, when our current principal started, FECC housed an Intensive Needs Classroom (secondary students with a qualification in the area of emotional disturbance), an APC program (in lieu of out of school suspension), Parents as Teachers, a daycare for teen parents and staff, 2 half day preschool classrooms, and two Early Childhood Special Education classrooms. We now house 5 all day pre k classrooms, 4 Early Childhood Special Education classrooms, and Parents as Teachers.
In 2012-13, with our transition in leadership, we asked to be included in PLC. The rest of our district had started the process of PLC professional development, and we were excited to begin. However, we were told no, and that our funding was different, and as an early childhood building, we didn’t need all of that. Each year after that, we asked again, with the same answer.
In 2014-15, we contacted Ginny Vandelicht, who was a PLC consultant with our RPDC at the time. While we weren’t able to join the PLC movement in our district, we knew that we needed to learn and grow regardless. Ginny came to work with us. Her first goal for us was to “have an effective vision worth fighting for”. While our principal was wanting to go through this process, change was hard for several staff members. Some didn’t mind being left off the radar. Ginny worked with our staff through this resistance, educating and empowering us to grow and change. We worked together to develop a mission, vision, and collective commitments.
Looking back, positive change really started to happen for us in 2016-17, when we developed our first leadership team. We went from always working as a whole staff to working as a lead team. Things started moving forward quickly from there!
Throughout the years, our staff has grown, changed, and deepened our practice significantly. We have developed from a staff of people who had “always done it this way” to a staff of people deeply committed to what is truly best for our students. We’ve worked off and on with Ginny, Mark Clements, and now Bertha Richardson to deepen our practice, always pulling whatever resources we could to help ourselves grow. We weren’t asked, expected, or even included in the process, but we did it anyway.
We currently have upper administration who support early childhood in every way. We are now part of the process, and have taken huge steps now that we have the support we need. Through site visits of other quality early childhood centers, a thorough and complete adoption process of a more appropriate curriculum, and constant pushing of the importance of early childhood to anyone who will listen, our staff has truly become a professional learning community in every way.
Our lead team members now facilitate our building teams, as each team works on goals we set with our building improvement plan. With agendas, minutes, norms, and holding each other accountable, we’ve been able to increase student learning, collaboration, academic results, and the overall amount of work we are able to accomplish each school year. Our mission of “Every Child. Every Day. Whatever it Takes” drives us through the hard times, the celebrations, and gives us purpose as we give each student the best that we have.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
Ten years ago, when our principal started at FECC, our building implemented the Project Construct Curriculum. To be clear, it was loosely implemented, and our pre-k classrooms were more like mini kindergartens. Students were expected to sit on the carpet and listen for long periods of time. There was a guided reading time, with books that were way above our students' reading levels. Students were expected to point to the words as teachers read. When in classrooms, the principal would see signs of frustration in students. Once we started gathering data outside of a yearly screening (which had not been done before) we saw that our students were not progressing like we wanted them to. We began working in earnest on developmentally appropriate practice. Our team decided that we needed a curriculum with more guidance, though still play based, and extensive training in that curriculum. We began visiting other early childhood centers, and observing the curriculums that they implemented. We had teachers pilot different curriculums, and our staff came together and decided to implement High Scope. We had a trainer come in to get us started. Every year, at every PD day, we set aside time for PD on High Scope, to make sure that we are implementing it with fidelity and that our staff has the knowledge that they need to do so. Our students' pre-academic skills have improved dramatically, and frustration levels have gone way down. Our curriculum map is linked here.
We have established SMARTgoals based on our priority standards, that we review at the beginning of each year for continued relevance. We progress monitor these SMART goals five times a year, with a week built in for assessment each period. Each classroom has a data binder, with a section for each student. Students set goals with their teachers, track their own progress, and reflect on their achievements. Linked is our rubric that we use to track student progress.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
We have specific challenges within our building as we don't have a specials time, or enough staff to implement a specific intervention time. At the young age of our students, multiple transitions are also challenging. However, we have developed a process that enables teachers to dig into their data, and collaborate together to meet the needs of their students who haven't learned yet, who are on target, and students who are already proficient.
During Data Team time, we complete and/or review our Data Analysis Protocol. Based on our data, we brainstorm different types of lessons we can implement for the whole class. A lot of our lessons can be individualized based on student achievement level. After our collaborative team meetings, teachers implemented lessons from the Data Analysis Protocol, as well as our teacher-created lesson bank in Planbook. After each data cycle, we come together at data team meetings and discuss how the interventions affected our student performance data.
In our effort to create a culture of shared leadership, one of our teachers brought the idea of Planbook to us, a customizable online lesson planning tool. Planbook allows the sharing of lesson plans among our school community with a lesson bank tool. We started with a pilot. Our teachers then presented to the district about Planbook. Our staff has now embraced it, and we use it as a building resource. It has become a key component of our collaborative community, and our commitment toward continual improvement. Linked is an example of a lesson plan in Planbook and a lesson bank.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
Our building lead team is composed of representatives from each area of our building. We have our principal, a representative from Early Childhood Special Education, two from Pre-K, and one from Parents as Teachers. Our Professional Development building representative also joins our meetings. Each person on our lead team leads a focus team. This person is in charge of making sure their focus team has an agenda and minutes with norms and roles, and making sure there is follow through. Our lead team meets weekly, and our focus teams meet once a month. Our lead team reps report out on what is happening with focus teams. We also share those agendas and minutes within our lead team agenda, which is always linked into our online newsletter, so that our staff always has access to them.
We have four focus teams, consisting of an Academic Team, Tier 1 Behavior Team, Culture Team, and Family Involvement Team. We believe these are the four core areas that have to be addressed in order to improve student learning. Our academic team focuses on our curriculum and lesson planning. Our Tier 1 Behavior team focuses on PBIS, Conscious Discipline, and behavioral data. Our Culture Team focuses on building culture, as well as PLC work including our mission and vision, ensuring that we are living both of these every day. Our Family Involvement team is focusing on getting families back into our building post-pandemic, as well as giving them opportunities to be involved in other ways.
Achievement Data Files
Additional Achievement Data
Our data wall is our primary source of data, and where we pulled the numbers to fill out the data template.
Here is the link to our data wall. Please look at the tabs below to access each school year. We have made great progress over the last few years. Our attendance has also evened out. In the years after COVID, we had many students drop or move. This year we've had virtually the same group of students all year. In filling out the achievement data file, we used the percentage of students who are able to identify 15 letters for English and students who are able to count with 1-1 correspondence for mathematics. We do not have a state comparison for this data as we are a Pre-k building.
Our grade level team has established a rubric to identify if a student needs intervention, is progressing, is on target, or above target. We have a formula built into our online data wall that color codes each number so that we can quickly see where our students are. We also have common assessments on specific priority standards that we assess throughout the school year.
Five of our six district buildings have earned the distinction of Exemplary PLC Schools (Bartley, Bush, McIntire, Fulton Middle School, and Fulton High School). Our High School has earned National PLC recognition. Our Early Childhood Center was not included in the PLC process until recently, which meant we were unable to apply for recognition until now.