East End Middle School (2023)

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

Collaborative efforts, shared understanding, and collective commitment to the PLC at Work process are not something that becomes authentic to the culture of a school by sheer happenstance. Significant work has been put into establishing common expectations, systems, and processes focused on meeting the needs of all students at East End Middle (EEM). As a result, our school culture has become one focused on the collective efforts of all toward shared goals as we work collaboratively to meet student needs. This work has been the focus over the last three years at EEM.

  • In 2019-2020, EEM was established as the second middle school in Sheridan School District. During the school’s first year, COVID-19 hit, limiting the collective efforts and processes implemented at EEM.

  • In 2020-2021, EEM GC members attended Arkansas Leadership Academy’s Team Institute. The purpose of the team institute was to develop leadership among staff members to increase student and adult learning within the school. 

  • In 2021-2022, EEM’s Guiding Coalition joined ADE/Solution Tree’s Regional Network Training focused on the PLC At Work Process. Year One focused on the Foundational Pillars, specifically on the vision, mission, values, and goals. EEM’s Guiding Coalition began the work to revise the vision and mission during the 2021-2022 school year. 

  • At the beginning of the 2022-23 school year, EEM established formal, protected time for collaboration. Protected time for collaboration enhances learning by ensuring ALL students have access to core instruction of essential standards (Tier 1). In the spring of 2022, EEM piloted JacketTime. JacketTime is a dedicated time in our master schedule for teacher collaboration and student intervention. Our master schedule provides teachers with collaborative planning time for the PLC process. All teachers meet once a week with their content area team as they work through DuFour’s four questions, unpack essential standards, identify learning targets, determine proficiency scales, design common formative assessments, and analyze results to impact the next cycle of inquiry. By providing formal systems and structure for collaboration, teachers have worked collectively within their collaborative teams focused on the PLC at Work process.  

  • At EEM, we are committed to continuing adult learning. Our current principal joined our team in the 2022-2023 school year. At the beginning of the year, we completed a Needs Assessment. Based on the results, the three focus areas for adult learning were: Hope & Efficacy, Student Investment, and Learning Culture. As a result, we changed our practices and mindsets to develop a culture that builds hope & efficacy, motivates and encourages students to invest in their learning, and creates a culture focused on education. 

  • After the needs assessment, our staff began our work by developing our Collective Commitments. All staff were involved in developing our Collective Commitments and signed off on the final copy stating their commitment to our shared beliefs at EEM.

  • After developing our Collective Commitments, our guiding coalition worked with Bill Ferriter through Solution Tree to provide training to teachers on supporting students’ Work Behaviors. This work addressed the area of our Needs Assessment relating to student investment. We developed processes to involve students in tracking their learning, both academically and behaviorally. Through training our staff on these protocols and tools, we began to see a shift in processes that positively impacted student investment in learning. 

  • We then began a book study on effective instructional practices to support our area for growth of “Learning Culture.” We used Marzano’s work to guide our development of EEM’s Instructional Model. Through this work, we structured collaboration around effective instructional practices across all content areas and grade levels. Our teachers learned a specific instructional strategy, implemented the approach in their classroom(s), then came back to the table with evidence of student work to collaborate with their peers on the next steps as they determine alignment and proficiency across the grade level. 

  • Also, during the 2022-2023 school year, EEM’s Guiding Coalition participated in Year Two of Regional Network training focused on the Assessments, specifically on learning targets, proficiency scales, common formative assessments, and learning progressions. EEM’s Guiding Coalition brought back the learning. They developed a roll-out plan aligned with our school improvement plan to collectively implement and monitor PLC at Work processes with the staff. 

  • Based on our work this school year, our staff completed a post-assessment for our needs assessment. This post-assessment showed an increase in all categories rated low by teachers (Hope/Efficacy, Student Investment, and Learning Culture). This data suggests that commitment to the PLC at Work Process impacts student learning, our beliefs and values as educators, and the culture of a school.

Through building shared understanding and commitment to the PLC at Work Process at East End Middle, we are working to develop a culture of continuous improvement through targeted improvement practices, goal setting, celebrations, cycles of inquiry, and systems for meeting student needs. As a result of implementing continuous improvement processes, our staff has contributed to the positive school culture at EEM, focused on ensuring success for all students. We have developed a mindset within our students who strive for excellence as they work to meet their goals. Outlined below is more information on how we have implemented a culture of continuous improvement at EEM:

  • EEM has focused extensively on goal setting this school year. We have set building goals for Lexia PowerUp (our computer-based intervention software). We have set building goals for behavior. We have analyzed our current reality for Capturing Kids’ Hearts implementation and set building goals to improve our CKH processes. We have set building goals for our PLC teams, not just for academic purposes but for the processes (such as 100% of teams will have standards unpacked by the end of 22-23 SY). Our goal setting has allowed us to celebrate the successes, big and small, as we motivate and encourage our students and staff to attain our goals! We celebrate character education through monthly character award assemblies. We celebrate our students achieving Lexia PowerUp goals through weekly announcements and prizes. We celebrate our teams reaching a specific milestone in our PLC processes. Our guiding coalition constantly monitors and evaluates our progress on our school improvement goals and objectives, adjusts the action steps as needed, and celebrates the successes of our school as we meet the milestones we have set in place. 

  • All stakeholders have accepted the challenging responsibility of leading school improvement reformation. In 2022-2023, we developed EEM’s short-cycled school improvement plan (SIP). We took our year-long SIP and broke it into 90-day cycles for improvement. Our focus areas were academics and culture. Specifically, our Guiding Coalition (GC) is gathering and analyzing data to develop goals for our area(s) of growth. This information helps as our GC creates a plan of action and implements it within their respective content and grade-level professional learning teams (PLTs). We continue to gather data, monitor effectiveness, and adjust as needed. Three of our action research initiatives include the PLC Process @ Work, protected collaboration, and reading support.

  • Content PLTs are involved in cycles of inquiry focused on student learning. Teacher teams identify essential standards using the REAL criteria (readiness, endurance, assessment, and leverage). After identifying essential standards, teams collectively unpack standards and identify learning targets. Teacher teams then develop their common formative assessment, develop proficiency scales, and administer the CFA. Most importantly, teams put CFA data on a shared data spreadsheet, allowing teams to analyze results collectively and determine intervention/enrichment and next steps. Teams must identify misconceptions in student work that guide instructional plans for students below proficiency, at proficiency, and above proficiency. 

  • Grade Level PLTs are interdisciplinary teams who meet every other week and focus on continuous improvement. During grade-level PLTs, teachers collaborate on universal skills and research-based instructional strategies. EEM’s Schoolwide Instructional Model, founded in Marzano’s Classroom Instruction that Works and Hattie’s Visible Learning Research, was introduced and implemented through interdisciplinary teams during the 2022-2023 school year. It has been powerful to witness our elective teachers (art, music, band, P.E., etc.) and content area teachers (math, science, E.L.A., social studies) collaborate around the same instructional practices as they all bring different examples of student work to determine alignment and proficiency across the grade-level. We hope to continue this work next year as we work to build our instructional model at EEM.

  • At EEM, inclusive education is an ongoing practice. Sixth-grade English Language Arts classrooms are piloting the model. In inclusive classrooms, a special education teacher assists special education students inside the general education classroom. This support system allows special education students to learn alongside their peers without being pulled into a resource setting. The general education classroom is the least restrictive environment for these students. Special education students get the grade-level education they deserve and reach their IEP goals in a general education classroom. Our focus has been to ensure all students have access to high-quality instruction through equitable access in an inclusive learning environment. At this time, we are conducting our pilot without structures and support. Our teachers have taken it upon themselves to use the inclusion model. Student achievement data does indicate a need for more training and support for our teachers on implementing inclusion effectively to ensure access and success for all students. EEM SPED Department has applied for Solution Tree’s Inclusive Practices Project. We are always looking to improve our practices and processes at EEM continuously.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Thomas Many (2022) states, "To establish a guaranteed and viable curriculum, teams of classroom teachers must engage in a process to build a common understanding of what students should know and be able to do." To ensure our teachers at EEM provide a guaranteed and viable curriculum that meets the individual needs of our students, be it intervention or enrichment; East End Middle established systems and processes to ensure all students have access to high-quality, equitable Tier 1 instruction. In addition to Tier 1 instruction, we worked to establish a time within our master schedule to target Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions. Through these systems and processes, we aim to ensure that teachers engage in a collaborative process around essential skills to ensure mastery for all students. The following procedures have been implemented at EEM to create and implement a guaranteed and viable curriculum:

  • Content PLTs have systems and structures for collaborative processes to ensure a guaranteed and viable curriculum for all students. Teams collectively identify essential standards using the REAL criteria. After identifying essential standards, teams collaboratively work on unpacking those standards by identifying the actions students must do to demonstrate mastery. Teams identify learning targets through the unpacking process as well as discuss proficiency. We develop common formative assessments (CFAs) using the unpacking process and proficiency scales to guide the work. Teams work on pacing the essential skills around unit maps. 

  • Next year (2023-2024), our Guiding Coalition has worked to identify the next steps in the PLC at Work Process to ensure a guaranteed and viable curriculum for all students. We aim to implement data analysis protocols to help guide instructional planning based on student assessment results. We also plan on using proficiency scales to track students' learning progression on essential skills.

  • Also mentioned previously, Grade Level PLTs are a system established at EEM to allow interdisciplinary teams time, space, and structure to collaborate around essential universal skills. This structure provides teams of teachers in each grade level the opportunity to work alongside teachers from other disciplines to learn effective instructional practices. We aim to ensure all students learn at high levels. 

  • EEM always strives to follow the data and adapt the best practices for our students. As a result, we requested to meet with Bill Ferriter, a Solution Tree associate. As we have learned how to implement Solution Tree practices and policies, we were eager to learn more and start adapting tools to best fit the needs of our campus to help us better serve students by efficiently tracking student learning within a viable curriculum. 

  • Guiding Coalition members build capacity with their peers by demonstrating PLC practices in faculty and grade-level PLC meetings. The Regional Network Year 2- Coaching Academy gave our guiding coalition the evidence, vision, and tools needed to guide our school to focus on monitoring student learning on a timely basis so that we can provide the interventions and extensions required. 

  • English Language Arts is an area that needs extensive support to better serve our students. Susan Coles, an AR AIMS Consultant and Literacy Coach, partnered with the school to help support teachers by providing feedback on teaching practices, reconstructing units, and directly offering resources to target popular misconceptions with essential standards.

EEM monitors student learning on a frequent and timely basis as a means for teachers to identify students' misconceptions, intervene in essential skills, and enrich student learning through high levels of rigor centered on the essential standards. Student data is frequently monitored by teacher teams, guiding coalition, leadership team, and our admin team to remain instructional agile in meeting student needs in a targeted, timely manner. 

  • Our current content PLTs utilize a data spreadsheet to track student learning on essential skills. Teams work on identifying proficiency based on the essential standard and learning target. Teams develop CFAs and track student data on the learning targets. Once teams have inputted their data, content PLTs work collaboratively to determine our instructional next steps. After reteaching or intervening on the learning target, teams reassess and input a new category on the data spreadsheet that signifies students' second attempt at the CFA. Teams of teachers track student learning on learning targets based on essential skills. Teachers continue this inquiry cycle as they track student learning data on a timely basis, provide Tier 2 intervention on learning targets, and reteach/reassess to ensure mastery of learning for all students. 

  • As a school, we have developed systems to target student needs on a frequent and timely basis. This process includes our At-Risk and SIT (student intervention team) conferences. Our grade-level PLTs meet every other week. During grade-level PLTs, interdisciplinary teams, who share students within a grade level, discuss students who are failing or at risk due to attendance, behavior, or academic performance. Teacher teams collect academic and ABC data for behavior to track interventions, the effectiveness of interventions, and the student's response to the interventions. Each interdisciplinary team has a representative who works with the school-level SIT team. Every other week, the school SIT team meets to review At-Risk students. The school SIT team includes the administration, counselor, instructional facilitator, grade-level representatives, and other personnel that may provide insight into meeting students' needs. We also monitor our At-Risk students at interim and nine weeks reporting to compare their grades to classroom performance, determine their intervention progress, and develop an intervention plan for the next 4.5 weeks. We monitor intervention effectiveness every other week at the school-level SIT team. 

  • Students monitor their learning on a frequent and timely basis with the following systems in place: weekly grade checks, weekly student check-in, and goal setting. We plan to continue improving this area next year by adding proficiency scales for students to track their learning on essential standards. Currently, students check their grades every Monday morning. If students have below a C, they identify missing assignments and reflect on work behaviors needed to complete them and or improve their current performance. Students reflect weekly on our school-wide weekly check-in. This structure allows students to identify what works for them within the learning environment and what improvements they need to succeed. 

  • There are many other goals for student learning/growth that we have implemented at East End Middle to monitor student learning. We use a computer-based intervention support program called Lexia PowerUp. Lexia PowerUp supports our students' academic growth in comprehension, grammar, and word study. We have been goal-driven with our students through their utilization of Lexia PowerUp, and each grade level is making progress on their Lexia goals. Since taking the placement assessment in August, growth has been as follows:

    • Word Study: 74% of our students are now on grade level in comparison to the initial 2%

    • Grammar: 67% of our students are now on grade level in comparison to the initial 16%

    • Comprehension: 72% of our students are now on grade level in comparison to the initial 7%

  • As a result of planning and celebrations, 197 students have completed the Lexia PowerUp program. While this is computer software, it has become more than another intervention. Through our goal-setting and celebrating success, we have seen our culture of learning shift in our students. We are indeed witnessing the power of self-efficacy as our students begin to see that they CAN reach their goals, which in turn has motivated them to attain academic excellence in their grades, work behaviors, formative & summative assessments, etc. Our focus on goal setting, student learning & growth through Lexia PowerUp, as one example, has lit a fire under many of our students, and we have seen the benefits reaped in many other areas, which is one example of students tracking their data and monitoring their progress. We fully expect all procedure changes to lead to increased student achievement.

  • At EEM, we measure intervention effectiveness through our content PLT process, Tier 2 intervention documentation, and CFA data. These allow for ongoing and frequent monitoring of progress. East End Middle's Admin Team and Guiding Coalition also measure our intervention effectiveness through a 90-day cycle. We correlate our standardized assessment data to our interventions to determine whether our interventions have increased student achievement on standardized assessments. As a team, we identify interventions showing increased student learning and determine ways to maximize this process across the organization. We also identify interventions that do not offer a systemic impact on student achievement and resolve the barriers that impact student achievement.

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

“The best intervention is prevention,” according to the father of RTI, Mike Mattos. EEM faculty and staff members are committed to planning to prevent the need for intervention by focusing on Tier 1 instruction. At times, students indicate, through informal assessments and common formative assessments, that they need the opportunity to learn through differentiated strategies. When this occurs, our teachers work collaboratively in PLTs, to identify students with specific needs. Additionally, teachers use data to identify which methods successfully helped students learn content. Based on the data, team members will determine which strategies will be used by specific teachers for students who require support. Likewise, team members also decide which techniques will be used by particular teachers for students who would benefit from extension activities. We use the following structures to help teachers provide both interventions and extensions:

  • JacketTime is a dedicated period set aside for interventions and extensions. EEM teachers use CFA data to determine which students would benefit from interventions and which will benefit from extensions. After meeting to plan appropriate strategies, teachers will select students to attend their JacketTime sessions. This intervention period is a twenty-five-minute block of protective time that occurs daily. During this time, all EEM students are strategically placed with specific teachers to receive instruction tailored to their needs. In addition to helping students through intervention or extension, teachers are gathering data to capture the success of each student.  

  • EEM uses the RTI Scheduler program to create intervention and extension sessions, select students for sessions, communicate schedules with students, and track RTI participation. Before initiating RTI Scheduler, EEM faculty participated in a brainstorming session to determine how to establish the multi-tiered system of academic interventions. Collaboratively, we decided our Tier 3 sessions would be: Mental Health, Dyslexia Intervention, 95% Multisyllable Routine, DSA, and Lexia English. These specific sessions are a top priority because mental health stability is critical for learning. Likewise, it is a core belief that success and the ability to read, comprehend, write, and communicate are correlated. If a student needs help with social-emotional issues or literacy, strategically place that student in an appropriate session before others. Secondly, we place students with Tier 2 intervention needs. These interventions include essential standard support, executive function skills, second chances for work completion, and skill-based interventions such as Khan Mappers, Zearn, and Khan Science. After we place all students who need help, we place the remaining students in self-select enrichment activities. These sessions include Mindfulness, Foreign Language Acquisition, Art, Music, and STEM. 

  • Our Tier 1 intervention program, Lexia PowerUp, was selected due to our school improvement plan. As a faculty, EEM set the following goal: increase the percentage of students reading on grade level by 7%. Students completed the Lexia PowerUp placement assessment at the beginning of the year. The results of this assessment indicated that only 2% of our students were performing on grade level in word study. Throughout the year, we incentivized progression within Lexia using SMART goals and celebrations. By the end of the year, our percentage increased to 74% of our students performing on grade level in word study.  

  • During the 2022 - 2023 school year, EEM SPED teachers collaborated with 6th-grade ELA teachers to create an inclusive environment in the general education classroom for IEP-eligible students. Currently, the SPED PLT is working closely with district staff to plan for the full implementation of inclusive practices in all ELA and math classes, 6th - 8th grade.

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

The East End Middle School (EEM) approach is systematic. Multiple teams support our work. These teams include: Admin Cabinet, Leadership Team, GC, content professional learning teams (PLTs), grade-level PLTs, SPED PLT, and the SIT team. Each unit has a clear purpose and plays a critical role in the success of EEM.

  • The building principal leads our EEM Admin Team. Members include our assistant principal, school counselor, instructional facilitator, and office secretary. The cabinet meets weekly to plan building-level initiatives based on central office directives, teacher feedback, and multiple data points, including student achievement and behavioral data. At these weekly meetings, we determine which teams will focus on specific initiatives. We analyze weekly student and staff check-ins as qualitative data to guide the decision-making processes for the next steps as a building.

  • EEM's Instructional Facilitator leads our Guiding Coalition (GC). Teacher leaders from each grade level and a special education teacher make up the EEM GC. Quarterly, GC attends professional development sponsored by Solution Tree. Currently, we are in PLC Year 2: Assessments. We are leading our staff through PLC Year 1. GC works with Solution Tree associates to bring new learning to EEM teachers. GC members serve as representatives for their grade-level team. Grade-level representatives take the decisions made at the weekly GC meetings to their respective grade-level groups. Each representative is responsible for leading the agreed-upon initiatives with their team. The team monitors their work frequently to determine the next steps. Systematically, we meet weekly to plan our PLC's next steps. The focus is the use of data to drive instruction. GC initiatives include:

    • Teaching the PLC pillars.

    • Creating a Model of Instruction.

    • Planning for initiatives to improve achievement.

    • Increasing attendance.

    • Using SMART goals to guide the work.

  • Our secondary instructional facilitators lead our content PLTs. The instructional leaders use RTI Scheduler to organize PLTs for all content areas and elective courses. Content PLTs are responsible for determining essential learning objectives, creating common assessments, analyzing data, and planning specific intervention and enrichment activities. Content teachers from both middle schools, EEM and Sheridan Middle School (SMS), meet weekly via Google Meet. Elective teachers from both schools meet monthly via Google Meet. The PLC Process @ Work model guides these teams. Guiding Coalition members from both schools are members of these teams and help support the process. PLT members are responsible for documenting their work on agendas, recording CFA data on shared spreadsheets, and reporting progress to building leaders. Instructional facilitators meet weekly with building-level and district-level administrators to monitor the work of individual teams.

  • The building principal leads the SPED PLT. Members of this team include the self-contained teacher and two resource teachers. Our SPED team meets every other week to review student data, discuss upcoming meetings, plan for any current student needs, and discuss effective instructional practices, such as inclusive practices for all students to have access to high levels of instruction. In addition to creating individualized plans for our students who receive services, our SPED team also monitors the effectiveness of our interventions. We have determined that our specific Tier 3 literacy interventions correlate with helping our students gain foundational skills. Acquiring these skills allow our students to perform like their peers in the general education classroom.

  • Lastly, the EEM Admin Cabinet leads the SIT (student intervention team). This team meets every two weeks. During this meeting, grade-level SIT representatives bring information about students for academic and behavioral needs. The group discusses classroom progress, intervention results, and teacher feedback. Intended outcomes include determining the effectiveness of specific interventions and planning the next steps. Once the SIT team makes decisions, the grade-level representatives report back to their grade-level team members.

  • Additionally, these grade-level representatives support both the students and the classroom teachers. They are readily available to help teachers implement strategies to help a student. The SIT representatives also work with parents and provide suggestions for supporting the student at home. Classroom grades, behavioral reports, parent communication, CFA data, and intervention progress monitor all work of the SIT team. The Admin Cabinet completes a quarterly comparison between SIT data and interim assessments to ensure we use appropriate interventions.

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Class of 2027 Data Story:

In 2020-2021, the current group of 8th graders entered East End Middle as 6th graders following the school closures for COVID-19 in the spring of 2020. Like all schools in the United States, quarantine days significantly impacted student learning during the 2020-2021 school year. Multiple students had to spend numerous 10-day quarantines over the 180 school days. In addition to the students being sent home because of Covid-19, teachers were sent home several times during the year for quarantine, leaving students without their teacher and sometimes without a substitute. While this was the reality for all schools in the United States, it is necessary to note the challenges the Class of 2027 overcame as they entered middle school. It is equally as exciting to see the growth in student achievement over three years due to the collective efforts of the staff and students at EEM as we implemented the PLC at Work Process.

In Arkansas, students take NWEA MAP testing three times a year as interim assessments to measure student growth and achievement. As a school, we work with students to identify their growth goals and encourage them to meet them. We monitor our students’ growth and achievement as measured by their RIT scores. Individual RIT scores are compared to grade-level norms to monitor student progress to grade-level expectations. Our guiding coalition analyzes sub-pop data to ensure that all sub-pops demonstrate growth and achievement. When a specific sub-pop is not showing growth or achievement, our guiding coalition analyzes the students’ data in each sub-pop to ensure there are no barriers to students having appropriate access and opportunity to high-quality learning or intervention support. The data presented in the EEM Data Spreadsheet demonstrates EEM’s commitment to student growth and achievement using NWEA as a basis for measuring the effectiveness of our practices. We included comparison data from NWEA’s 2020 norms as a baseline to set our goals. We chose to focus on the Class of 2027 for a specific purpose. This group of current 8th graders has been at East End Middle for three years. During the three years, we, as a school, have been strategic and targeted in implementing the PLC at Work Process. This cohort of students directly correlates to the growth in our culture, systems, processes, and collaborative efforts. The data analysis outlines patterns in our trends. Our plan for the next steps demonstrates area(s) of strength and area(s) for growth in our systems and processes at EEM. 

Attached is the EEM Data Spreadsheet that shows NWEA results for all subpops, including an overall comparison of EEM’s Mean RIT score to the national average. Below are specific spreadsheets that provide evidence of patterns we are proud of and area(s) for growth moving forward. 

In this data, we see lots of patterns to be proud of. They include:

  • Increased Growth Percentage over Time - Percentage Increase NWEA

    • The percentage of students showing growth on NWEA has steadily increased from 2020-2021 to the current school year (22-23 SY). This data suggests that more students are showing growth each year due to the targeted support we have continued to develop at East End Middle through our JacketTime interventions and PLC process.

    • This same group of students has shown an increase of 10% in students growing from 6th to 8th grade in math. 

    • In reading, students showed an increase of 17% of students growing from 6th to 8th grade. 

    • In science, the Class of 2027 showed an increase of 26% of students growing from 6th to 8th grade.

  • Increased Growth Points as Compared to National Average - EEM NWEA Growth Points

    • In math, our overall growth points were much lower than the national average; however, while the national average was decreasing, EEM’s class of 2027 showed a slight increase in growth points over the last three years. We recognize that our growth points are still below the national average; thus, we began implementing math intervention in the 2022-2023 school year. Our math teachers use Khan Mappers, which targets intervention based on students’ needs as determined by NWEA. Based on our intervention documentation, of our current 6th graders, 79.41% of students who participated in Khan Mappers showed growth. This is an increase of 5.88% from the middle of the year. Targeted intervention is vital, and we began that process in math this school year (2022-23).

    • In reading, the Class of 2027 showed a significant drop in growth points in the 2021-2022 school year. We recognized a need and hired a literacy consultant to work with our ELA department to unpack standards and identify learning targets, pacing, and rigorous literacy resources. This consultant observed and provided feedback to ELA teachers in the classroom and collaborated with their content PLTs. As a result of the hard work of our ELA department, the class of 2027’s overall growth points for the 2022-2023 school year increased by 42%, surpassing the national average for the first time in three years.

    • In science, the Class of 2027 has shown a steady increase in growth points from the 6th-grade year until their 8th-grade grade. Once again, while the national average is dropping, EEM’s average is growing. This school year (2022-23), the current 8th graders increased their average growth points by 70%. As we reflect on student growth, we genuinely believe the collaborative efforts of the PLC process have positively impacted our Tier 1 instruction, response to students’ misconceptions, intervention, and student achievement. 

  • Increased Student Performance - EEM Data Spreadsheet

    • To analyze our students’ performance, compared to the national average, we looked at our students’ Mean RIT scores throughout the three years. We used nationally normed data from NWEA’s 2020 RIT Norms Study to compare our students’ average RIT score to the national average. In all subject areas (math, reading, science), EEM’s average RIT score has increased over the last three years. We are below the national average in math and reading; however, our average science RIT score has met the national average. We are growing at a consistent rate to the national average in science. We believe that our students will grow academically as we continue intervening in essential skills missed during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    • Two of our subpops, ELL and Low-Income, increased their mean RIT scores in all subject areas over the last three years. This year, we have targeted our ELL subgroup through a language acquisition intervention to support their English language development. Lexia English is a computer-based intervention program that our ELL students have worked through focused on the English language, specifically speaking, listening, and grammar skills. Based on the EOY NWEA reading assessment, 81.25% of students in Lexia English showed growth. Our ELL students are still performing well below the national RIT norms; thus, we will continue to target our interventions to increase their achievement.

In this data, we see area(s) of growth. They include:

  • Special Education Student Performance

    • Our SPED sub-pop showed a decrease in overall performance in reading and math as measured by their average Mean RIT score over the last three years. To target our sub-pop, EEM has applied for and been granted Arkansas’ Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Office of Special Education’s grant for the Inclusive Practices Project through a partnership with Solution Tree. Our team completed a rigorous application and interview process to obtain this grant. Only four schools were projected to be chosen for this grant, and EEM was chosen as one of those schools. This project will intentionally focus on inclusive practices to support meaningful access to core instruction for IEP-eligible and other groups of struggling learners. Through the intentional and targeted support from Solution Tree coaches throughout the next school year, we will see an increase in student performance in our SPED population.


East End Middle’s Data Story:

Year One: The East End Middle School principal, a first-year administrator, selected a team of teachers to attend the Arkansas Leadership Academy. The group of five educators, our leadership team, went to the academy to learn how to implement change, build leadership capacity, and conduct meetings with the rest of the staff. This process and training laid the foundation for what the PLC process represents. Each time we met as a staff or small group, we began to align all the personnel and institute change toward a common goal. We set norms for conducting our business to become more effective and efficient. 

Along the way, we experienced setbacks. During those times, we would meet as a group, evaluate our needs, set goals, and make a plan for the next steps. One of our original change initiatives included creating an intervention period. We knew our desired outcomes but needed a greater understanding of efficiently running the program. Over time, the intervention period evolved into a study hall instead of a time to address the individual needs of our students. We needed expectations for both teachers and students. Our plan needed more consistency and accountability. As a result of our growth areas, the data indicates only minimal growth for year one.  

Year Two: Our leadership team, now called Guiding Coalition, was led by our instructional facilitator. In year two, we half-heartedlysought ways to improve the systems within our school. We started with an ineffective plan similar to year one. At the end of the first semester and after much frustration, we decided to make three immediate changes: 

  • First, we built a digital data wall that compiled achievement data from NWEA and ACT Aspire. GC members taught their grade-level PLT members to use the digital wall to paint a whole child picture of each student. We used this tool to identify strengths and analyze areas of growth. Collectively, the data indicated a need for improved Tier 1 instruction and targeted interventions.  

  • Secondly, we instituted the practice of using data notebooks. We intended to introduce students to track their progress and take ownership of their learning. We did experience some inconsistency among teachers. The students that tracked their grades experienced success all year, and their growth on NWEA is the result.   

  • To bring about change, our facilitator's third approach utilized a gap analysis tool to help Guiding Coalition members self-realize our current reality. We were visualizing where we were, which created a sense of urgency that demanded change. As a result, we developed an adjusted bell schedule. The amended bell schedule allowed content PLT to collaborate during their contractual time. The unique aspect of our plan is that we virtually collaborated with teachers at our sister school, 20 miles south of our campus. Administrators, our instructional facilitator, and guiding coalition members prepared teacher teams for the pilot during faculty meetings. We piloted PLT collaboration for one unit cycle, which lasted the remaining six weeks of the Spring 2022 Semester. At the end of the pilot, we surveyed teachers and students. We intended to gather perceptual data, reflect, and evaluate any changes needed for the following school year. The survey results allowed GC to discuss data and plan for the upcoming school year. 

Again, similar to year one, we faced setbacks. We then performed a needs assessment to make a plan to keep moving forward. During this time, we studied books such as "Learning by Doing." Our Guiding Coalition attended Regional Network Solution Tree training. In PLC Process @ Work, Year One, GC members meet with Luis Cruze and other associates. 

Year Three: Attendingthe ArkansasLeadership Academy and participating in Solution Tree's PLC Process @ Work has dramatically impacted our capacity as changemakers. We have made tremendous strides in understanding the work and how to move students. We have implemented numerous action research initiatives; protected collaboration time, instruction focused on the learning of essential standards, and celebrations.

  • Following the Year 2 Unit Cycle pilot, our Guiding Coalition developed a plan for collaboration, interventions, and extensions. The intended purpose was to create a sustainable culture of collaboration by developing building-wide systems to enhance access and opportunities for collective inquiry among staff (classified & certified). A collaborative culture allows us to establish a nurturing environment that promotes positive feedback and intentional relationships in which all students feel a sense of belonging and success. As a collective group, our teachers aim to enhance learning by ensuring ALL students have access to core instruction of essential standards (Tier 1), allocating time for reteaching essential curriculum (Tier 2), and developing a systematic process for remediation of foundational skills (Tier 3). 

  • Secondly, we strategically planned to build teacher and student self-efficacy to increase motivation and confidence. Teachers meet in content PLTs and grade-level PLTs to refine essential standards while using the unity cycle and intervening with students. Effectively running the RTI process to serve student needs better can be seen in the spike in growth from year to year. 

  • The Guiding Coalition planned celebrations for NWEA data, collected prizes through donations, and held meetings with students to set goals. Doing so created a culture of celebration and kept students excited about continuing to work on their learning. When we introduced Lexia Reading Intervention, teachers began to track student progress and hold them accountable regularly. As teachers began to buy in more to the process, the success, and the celebrations, their confidence grew. Teachers began to see the work was successful. As a result of teacher excitement, students began to feel good and work harder, and the ones that didn't, we held them accountable until the student decided to complete the learning. 

Our data story will show most growth has happened between Year 2 and Year 3. We believe the growth results from strategic planning, efficiency, and cultivating excitement about learning. The culture in the building has shifted from just going to school to actively participating in learning. EEM is well on its way to becoming a school that truly supports learning at high-levels for ALL students.

  • 2023 Solution Tree’s Inclusive Practices Project Award Winners