Bonaire Primary School (2023)
- Number of Students: 639
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 29.4%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 0.5%
- Percent of Special Education: 13.8%
- White: 61.82%
- Black: 18.94%
- Hispanic: 8.92%
- Asian: 0%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0%
- Multiracial: 8.45%
- Other: 1.87%
Bonaire Primary School opened in July of 2020. The school was built out of the need to offer relief to the growing population at Bonaire Elementary School. Teachers who were in primary grades at the elementary school were transferred to Bonaire Primary and a few additional hirings were also necessary based on the allotment.
Once all faculty and staff members were in place, members of the guiding coalition were strategically chosen. Each grade level was comprised of two teams, blue and silver, and each team had a member on the guiding coalition to help us forge ahead on our new journey. The guiding coalition was formed and a new name was developed, the B.U.I.L.D Team (Bobcats United in Leadership and Development). The B.U.I.L.D. Team met together to work collaboratively to define shared values and distill from them a unified mission and vision for our school. Our mission is that all students will master foundational skills in a safe, warm, nurturing environment that creates resilient, life-long learners prepared for the future. Our vision is that our school will be a source of pride in our community and students. The mission and vision were officially adopted on July 30, 2020.
The master schedule was key to helping carry out our mission and vision. We knew that our schedule must provide time for Tier II and Tier III interventions. Yes, all students can learn; however, the time and supports needed for high levels of learning to occur would vary from child to child. We created a master schedule to support daily academic opportunity time. We would refer to this time as Bobcat Buildup. Bobcat Buildup would take place Tuesdays through Fridays each week for 30 minutes and students would be shared across the entire grade level based on the data that was being used that week for grouping. Mondays would be devoted to our social emotional learning program, Second Step. During Bobcat Buildup, Tier III interventions would be provided by our early intervention program teachers to the lowest 15 students on each grade level. Any Tier II interventions needed would be provided by classroom teachers during Bobcat Buildup.
We established an intervention team that was comprised of our early intervention program teachers, our lead special education teacher, the counselor, and administration. Our intervention team would meet monthly to analyze the progress of our Tier III academic students and our Tier II and III behavior students. We also established the Tier III interventions that we would use for reading and math and the priority in which we would implement each intervention based on specific needs. The intervention team established a clear process for recommending students to Tier III. A form was developed for the homeroom teacher to use to document the Tier II interventions that had already been implemented with the student and other helpful information such as absences and overall grade level performance.
Our next step in our process was for grade level collaborative teams to establish our essential standards. These agreed upon standards would represent the guaranteed mastery that would take place by the end of each school year. Once essentials were mastered, we agreed that we would focus on students mastering the standards that we deemed, “nice to know”. Our next step was taking the essential standards and explicitly thinking through what the expectation of the standard entailed. This conversation was done with vertical alignment and adjustments were made to our essentials based on this vertical planning work.
Our teacher teams then created a playbook for their grade level. The playbook would serve as the instructional framework for each grade level. The playbook went through every component of the instructional day and stated what the teacher and paraprofessional should be doing at all times. Pictures were included to show exemplars of the classroom library, centers in the classroom, and any other area that our grade level teams needed clarifying. The goal was that there would be no variability in the quality of instruction from classroom to classroom. These instructional frameworks listed in the playbooks would become the focus used in observations from administration.
During pre-planning of the first year we also did work that was centered around common formative assessments. Grade levels used the essentials to begin building a rough guide for the common formative assessments that would be needed throughout the year. We pulled assessments from the district when appropriate and began creating the assessments when necessary.
Our focus year one was to ensure solid Tier I instruction. Teacher teams met twice a week for collaboration consistently throughout this year. We knew that an entirely new reading curriculum was being rolled out at the district level, so we mapped out this implementation to ensure mastery of one component at a time. The playbooks were instrumental in helping determine what mastery should look like. Peer observations and teacher walk-throughs helped monitor this work as well.
Finally, using Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), we discussed behavior expectations in all areas of our building and created a matrix for these behaviors. We sought to be intentional in teaching behavior and academic expectations and to establish a common language that would be used throughout the building.
Our second year we knew our focus had to be solidifying our Tier II and Tier III systems and processes. We created an essential standards grid to provide a way for teachers to track student progress as a grade level throughout the year. This grid was broken down into the beginning of the year, middle of the year, and end of the year. Teachers unpacked the essential standards into learning targets that students needed to master at these three intervals of the year.
The B.U.I.L.D Team discussed the expectations of our Tier II and Tier III placement and established our criteria. We agreed that if a student is missing only a small number of essential skills, that student will be placed on Tier II and will receive interventions from the classroom teacher targeting skill deficits in both reading and math. The classroom teacher monitors the progress of the student.
If a student is missing a large number of essential skills, this can be more indicative of fundamental gaps in their learning. The intervention team discusses these children and determines next steps based on the data entered into the essential standards grid. The appropriate Tier III interventions will be defined and implemented by our early intervention program teachers and monitored by the intervention team.
Another goal in year two was to ensure we had strong Tier I math instruction. Although our district provides a plethora of math resources in our district-wide units, our teachers expressed a need in minimizing these into what works best for Bonaire Primary School. A task force was created that focused on studying the math units and breaking them down into user friendly documents. The math task force worked alongside their grade level teams to edit the units with essential standards and 1-3 strategies for addition and subtraction that will be used to teach students in grades kindergarten through second. We wanted to be sure that the strategies taught within the units were vertically aligned.
Lastly, we were chosen as a pilot school for a new writing curriculum for kindergarten and first grade during our second year. This writing curriculum complemented our reading framework. A writing task force was created to ensure a successful implementation of the curriculum. This task force broke apart each umbrella in the program, aligned it to our assessments, and worked collaboratively to streamline this process. This writing task force was the final piece needed to ensure Tier I instruction in all content areas.
In June of 2022, a team of teachers from our guiding coalition and administrators attended a
Solution Tree PLC Institute. This experience confirmed that we had laid a solid foundation within the PLC process and brought forth a new focus for the upcoming school year. Year three of our school brought about a change in leadership. A new principal was named early in July of 2022. Systems and processes that were already established ensured that the momentum of our PLC work would not stall. To begin this year, grade levels established roles and norms within their collaborative teams. We also began a book study on Learning by Doing with our B.U.I.L.D. Team. We decided to go back to the fundamentals due to the fact that we had a few new teachers in our building and to make sure that we built a common understanding and a collective responsibility around all things PLC.
We dove deep into our data and noticed that our gifted and special education students were not growing at the same rate as their peers. We created a Growth Task Force and provided two different books as a resource to support the work of teachers of both of these subpopulations including, Yes We Can: General and Special Educators Collaborating in a Professional Learning Community and Enriching the Learning: Meaningful Extensions for Proficient Students in a PLC at Work. This task force was led by the special education program and gifted program teachers in our building. Roles and norms were established and the teachers created the meeting schedule and agendas. We met at regular intervals throughout the year to analyze the growth of our gifted and special education students, bounce ideas off of one another, and create next steps for students who were still not growing at the expected rate.
Another critical move in year three was looking at our special education students’ schedules. We wanted all students to be included in Bobcat Buildup and so changes had to be made to the schedules of our interrelated special education teacher and paraprofessional. We ensured that our special education paraprofessionals were available to serve students during our Bobcat Buildup time.
Our work around common formative assessments also continued to evolve. Teacher teams continued to develop and revise common formative assessments to guarantee the intended level of rigor in the standard was represented in the assessment. Teacher teams began to implement a data analysis process for common formative assessments in order to analyze the data by student, by question, by standard and uncover any trends that might emerge.
As our third year is rapidly approaching the end, we can say with certainty that our PLC is successful and thriving. Our growth and achievement continues to increase as evidenced by our NWEA MAP Growth Assessment, iReady Diagnostics and common formative assessments. We have also hosted several schools within our district to come and observe our teachers and teacher teams as they implement instructional strategies that support high levels of learning for all students. We have systems and processes in place to facilitate a culture of continuous improvement.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
During our first year as a school, we wanted to establish a strong foundation in the work of PLC’s. Each grade level collaborated on what they deemed essential and shared this with our Guiding Coalition. Our teacher leaders worked together to develop an outline that laid out these essentials for the beginning of the year, middle of the year, and end of the year. Once this took place our teachers worked together to unwrap the standards into learning targets at these three intervals. Our Guiding Coalition provided time to vertically align these essential expectations and ensure that we were on one accord. In doing so, our teachers were able to answer the first PLC question ‘What do we want students to learn?’ Teachers expressed they wanted a streamlined way to monitor student progress on the essential standards. Our teacher leaders developed an essential standards spreadsheet for each grade level. This spreadsheet lists the standards and the learning targets for the beginning, middle, and end of the year. Each grade level has access to this spreadsheet, and it is updated weekly to track student progress. This also provides teachers with on-the-spot data for students who are struggling and may need Tier II interventions.
Once our essentials were established, teachers developed an assessment plan. Using the assessment plan, teachers collaborated as a grade level and developed common formative assessments for each standard. Teacher teams mapped out the dates that these would be given and aligned it with the pacing for both reading and math. This assessment piece is work that continues to be a focus for Bonaire Primary School, as we always want to be sure we are assessing our students appropriately and according to the standard. Each year we revisit our CFA’s and edit them to include more rigorous questions and develop new assessments as needed. Our grade level teams also review their essential standards each year and adjust as they see fit. In addition to our CFA’s that are given throughout the unit, students also complete benchmark assessments that are used to guide our instruction. Students also take the NWEA MAP Growth assessment, NWEA MAP Fluency assessment, and iReady diagnostics. These assessments are another way to monitor student progress and provide targeted information regarding student needs.
In addition to collaborative team meetings that occur twice a week, we also have data meetings twice a month. These meetings take a deeper dive into school wide and classroom data. Teachers analyze informal running records to plan next steps for their guided reading groups. They also analyze NWEA MAP Growth and NWEA MAP Fluency data to plan instructional strategies for small group lessons. Common formative assessments are analyzed to target individual student needs for small group instruction or Bobcat Buildup (academic opportunity time), and make instructional decisions on which teacher may better serve students in a particular content area. After benchmark assessments are given (3x a year), our faculty and staff take part in a data protocol that breaks the data down on the school, grade, and classroom level. Teacher teams analyze students’ strengths and areas of opportunity. They utilize this data to make classroom instructional decisions as well as what the need of the grade level is.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
Collaborative teams implement common formative assessments throughout their units to monitor student progress towards essential standards. Teachers enter the data into the spreadsheet and discuss during their team and grade level meetings. Teachers utilize the data from the common formative assessments to develop flexible groups for our academic opportunity time, also known as Bobcat Buildup. This is a protected 30-minute time period during the school day provided for teachers to provide Tier II and Tier III interventions. During this time, students change classes across their grade level and receive personalized instruction based on assessment data. Our early intervention program teachers provide Tier III interventions during this time and our classroom teachers are focused on the Tier II interventions. Teachers work collaboratively to analyze data and place students in the group that will target the essential skill they are lacking. Students are reassessed and moved to different groups based on their progress.
Our school has established an Intervention Team that consists of administrators, the counselor, our special education lead teacher, and our early intervention program teachers. This team meets monthly to analyze student progress and to make decisions regarding Tier II and Tier III placement and interventions. This team utilizes the essential standards spreadsheet to monitor student progress towards mastery of the essentials. The team also monitors student behavior interventions and suggests adjustments as needed. When a student is placed on Tier III our early intervention program teachers provide the interventions and monitor the student data. Teachers continue to provide Tier II interventions in the classroom and additional support, but Tier III interventions are handled at the school level. Data is monitored and analyzed monthly to make decisions regarding special education referrals or adjustments to the intervention if they are not proven to be successful.
Our early intervention program teachers are the instructors that provide Tier III interventions. Our Tier III reading intervention that is most often used is the Leveled Literacy Inventory (LLI) from Fountas and Pinnell. We have seen many students grow leaps and bounds and eventually move from Tier III back to Tier II. If students are not successful in LLI we take a deeper look at what is keeping the student from growing. We will take a more targeted approach and utilize Heggerty for phonological awareness and other interventions from interventioncentral.org. This website provides us with a plethora of choices to target specific phonics and phonological awareness needs. Math interventions are also gathered from this website. We also utilize iReady and assign targeted lessons to help students become proficient in certain skills.
As stated, our teachers have a protected time within their schedule in which they swap students across the grade level. Students go to the area that has been deemed a need for them. Collaborative teams discuss who is the strongest teacher to provide instruction for each area and develop flexible groups. These groups are adjusted often as teachers see students making progress. Each grade level has a different time dedicated to what we refer to as Bobcat Buildup. The reason the schedule is set up this way is because we wanted to maximize the use of our early intervention program teachers and several special education paraprofessionals. This allows them to support all three grade levels K-2 during this time by providing additional staff members to serve small groups of students.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
Our school has come a long way in the last three years. Beginning in 2020, our focus was ensuring strong Tier I instruction. We unveiled a new ELA curriculum during this time as well and knew that we needed to take teachers through this process slowly and provide them time to become proficient. We monitored their progress each step of the way. We were also taking them through establishing a foundation for the PLC process and were aware that this would also need to be done delicately. We provided our teachers with a voice throughout the process and guided them through each step, providing support where needed.
Now we are coming to the end of year three and the culture we have built is one of collective responsibility, interdependence, and collaboration. Our teachers collaborate twice a week, sometimes more, to plan, monitor student progress, analyze evidence of student learning, and make important decisions regarding next steps for students.
We understand there is always room for growth. As we are looking forward into next school year, we have begun narrowing down our goals and focus for our school to continue being a sustainable PLC. One next step for us is to continue editing and creating common formative assessments that include different depths of knowledge. As we have been looking through our assessments this year, we have noticed that some need to be adjusted to ensure rigor is being taught and assessed. We have a significant population of students who are high achievers and want to be sure our students are still learning and growing at high levels. One way to ensure this achievement and growth is taking place is to monitor our instructional practices and assessments.
A focus of ours in the 2023-2024 school year, will be to ensure we have a set of enrichment opportunities for our students. We will conduct a book study with the book Enriching the Learning; Meaningful Extensions for Proficient Students in a PLC at Work. This will take teachers through the process of identifying students for enrichment and the instructional strategies that will benefit these students the most. One thing that we have done this school year is develop a Growth Task Force that monitors the progress of our special education students and our gifted identified students. We analyze data and pinpoint specific skills that these students need and plan lessons and activities to keep them fully engaged. We will continue to foster this task force next school year and develop a set of enrichment ideas that will benefit the students of Bonaire Primary School.
Bonaire Primary School is moving in the right direction. The PLC at work process is important to us and we have built a culture that supports high levels of learning for all. We provide professional development opportunities for teachers to grow their knowledge base in this process and we provide time for teachers to collaborate in teams and grade levels to ensure they are all contributing to the process. Teachers open their doors for one another and other schools in our district to observe and learn new strategies that will support students. We have a focus for next school year and know the things that are needed for improvement. We are strategically working to place teachers in the right place and ensure that we have teacher leaders leading the charge.
Achievement Data Files
-Emerging School for PBIS by GADOE 2021-2022
-97.8 for Content Mastery on 2022 CCRPI (outperforming district and state scores)
-84.7 for Readiness on 2022 CCRPI (outperforming district and state scores)
-February 2022: Two of our second grade students were invited to the state capitol for the Georgia Art Education Association Capitol Art Exhibition
-December 2022: Awarded accrediation by Cognia
-March 2023: Anchored 4 Life Club Established