F.E. Smith Intermediate School (2023)

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


Our work with Solution Tree began during the 2018-2019 school year. During that time, our District consisted of five elementary schools, each housing a K-6 population. In that first year, we engaged in shared learning and worked to build an understanding of Professional Learning Communities with a solid focus on high levels of learning for all students. 

Concurrently, we were planning for a major transformation in our district as we transitioned from five K-6 neighborhood schools to three grade-level centers. In the Fall of 2019, Smith Intermediate School opened housing all the district’s 3rd and 4th grade students. This transition afforded us the opportunity to come together as a new staff and essentially build a new school with a culture centered on high levels of learning for all. We began by establishing a shared mission and vision, and identified the collective commitments to guide our work.  Additionally, we created teams, structures and systems to support the work. Each of the grade levels was organized into teaching and learning teams. Our Guiding Coalition (Building Leadership Team/BLT) was created, with the primary focus of leading and supporting the work of collaborative teams. The members of our Building Leadership Team provided guidance, oversight and feedback throughout the process, and continue to do so as we have grown in our PLC practices. 

We have remained focused on the big ideas of a PLC and the 4 essential questions, always with the goal of making decisions based on what is best for our students. We have worked to ensure a Guaranteed and Viable curriculum focused on essential learning for all students.  Essential standards, common assessments, goals, and collective commitments, as well as our established team norms drive our daily and long-term work. We continue to identify areas for growth, engage in professional learning, research and share best practices.

The challenges presented during and following COVID provided us with an opportunity to re-examine our practices and determine how best to support our students. This has included revising schedules to ensure adequate intervention time and support personnel. As we looked at our reading data, it became evident that students in the post-COVID era were struggling to read.  We provided all teachers with professional development in the Science of Reading and training in LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling). We adopted new ELA curriculum materials, CKLA (Core Knowledge Language Arts), and provided on-going training to support teachers in its implementation. 

We continually review our data and thus far the data has confirmed that our intentional and systematic changes are working to improve student reading.  These changes have helped to better inform our instruction and to identify additional steps we can take to improve instruction and learning for all students. While we are still in the early stages of our reading instruction transformation, the results we have seen have given us confidence to continue on our PLC journey. 


1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Collaborative Teacher Teams are at the foundation of the teaching-learning cycle. During the summer months and throughout the school year, teams meet to review identified essential learning for students. This work occurs across grade level teams, as well as with vertical teams K-6. In recent years, teams have unpacked standards into learning targets and specific skills, written and reviewed common assessments, updated pacing guides and structured units. As we have adopted new curriculum materials, teachers participate in training and unit study, review assessments to ensure there is understanding of what is being assessed, check for alignment to our essential learning and determine what will demonstrate proficiency. 

Throughout the year, teacher collaborative teams meet twice per six day cycle. During one meeting, the grade level team reviews the pacing guides and specific units of study, shares instructional strategies, identifies potential misconceptions, reviews any upcoming assessments and scoring rubrics, and reviews what will determine proficiency. Teacher teams then meet a second time in the cycle to review data from common assessments and collaboratively plan for reteaching and enrichment. This work includes review of student work samples, identifying common misconceptions and grouping students for interventions based on specific skill-based needs. Students are also identified for extension opportunities. Instructional strategies are discussed and shared among team members.  Data trackers are used to continually monitor overall progress towards proficiency of the identified essential learning and team-based interdependent goals. This allows us to target our areas of highest need in an on-going and timely fashion throughout the year.


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

Our Building Leadership Team has worked closely with the building principal to develop and continually improve upon the systems and structures in place to ensure that adequate time and support are available to all students. Time is built into the master schedule to allow for Teacher Team Collaboration Time (TTCT). In addition to the Tier 1 core instructional periods, each teaching team has two 30-minute intervention blocks built into their daily schedule. We call these intervention blocks TEAM time. (Together Everyone Achieves More) TEAM time is used exclusively for ELA and math intervention (Tier 2 or 3) or extension opportunities.

As we have reflected on our structures and our ability to support all students, our building schedule and staffing assignments have been adjusted. We most recently built a schedule which allows for all interventionists to be available during all TEAM times throughout the day. Additionally, grade level teaching assistants are assigned to TEAM times, as is our Library Media Specialist who provides enrichment opportunities for students. We use flexible grouping to support students' specific skill-based needs and to best utilize all available personnel in meeting those needs. Student progress is continually monitored and shared with team members to ensure students are appropriately grouped and regrouped to allow them to get the instruction they need. 


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

The work of teams is central to all we do. At the forefront is our Building Leadership Team (Guiding Coalition) which continually models and leads this work, maintaining the focus on high levels of learning for all - both students and staff.  They are visible in their support of and planning for the work of collaborative teams. They assist with planning for staff meetings, including revisiting our Mission, Vision and Collective Commitments, reviewing data, identifying and planning for additional training and resources, reviewing systems and structures, and planning presentations for others. They listen to their colleagues and ensure those voices are heard and needs are met. All collaborative teams in our building function with an agreed upon set of norms and collective commitments. 

Teachers are provided with on-going professional development to support their learning in order to best meet the learning needs of our students. For example, our student reading data indicated that students were struggling to read. A deeper dive into the data told us that many were struggling with learning the code. As a result, we provided all teachers with professional development in the Science of Reading and training in LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling). We adopted new ELA curriculum materials, CKLA (Core Knowledge Language Arts), and provided on-going training to support teachers in its implementation. As we focused on developing teachers’ collective knowledge of reading instruction, conversations during collaborative meetings became more meaningful and were action focused to address the skill gaps many of our students had experienced.


Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

As a district we have used AimsWeb Plus as a universal screener to assist in monitoring student progress. The following goals are for all K-6 students:

  • ReadingGoal:100% of students will be proficient on the AIMSWEB ORF subtest and/or make a year’s worth of growth.
  • Math Goal: 100% of students will be proficient on the AIMSWEB Math Composite and/or make a year’s worth of growth.

The growth data chart shows progress towards those goals

Achievement = % of students who reached proficiency
Growth = % of students who made a year or more of growth
Goals = % of students that met proficiency and/or made one year's growth

Also attached is our LETRS data from beginning of year to end of year. As mentioned in the narrative, our students were struggling to read.  This data was used throughout the year to inform our instruction and allowed us to group students for interventions based on specific skill gaps. Proficiency levels for each skill are color-coded for each student. Green represents proficiency - no need for intervention.

Lastly, teacher teams rely on data from common formative assessments to monitor student learning and plan instruction. Each teams sets goals using this data and regularly compares results. Assessments, data trackers, and misconception sheets work together to break down results into actionable items by student and skill. 


We have not yet received any awards.