Southside Elementary School
- Number of Students: 293
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 50%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 3%
- Percent of Special Education: 17%
- White: 83%
- Black: 0%
- Hispanic: 13%
- Asian: 0%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0%
- Multiracial: 1%
- Other: 3%
Southside Elementary School recently finished their fourteenth year operating as a Professional Learning Community. Looking back over the years of hard work and dedication by our students and staff, it has been very rewarding to see the growth our school continues to achieve. One of the most significant changes the staff at Southside remains committed to is operating as an effective Professional Learning Community. In addition, staff take part in meaningful collaboration (horizontally and vertically), use data to drive instruction, focus on student learning, provide targeted and rigorous interventions, and CELEBRATE student and staff successes. Overall, the foundation of our Southside family fostered through the creation of our community of learners. It is unique that nearly all staff have attended at least one national PLC Institute or Summit, and most or all of our staff have also attended various PLC workshops (sponsored by Solution Tree) within the state of Wyoming. Our school district has a adopted a goal that all staff will attend a national PLC event.
Southside Elementary has continued to score above the state average on the majority of the Wyoming State Assessments over the past five years. Our Professional Learning Community continues to promote a team approach to educating all children. This collaborative effort manifested in our assessment results, which include our exceptional education population. Because of an emphasis on school-wide goals as opposed to isolated improvement, improvement can is evident across all grade levels. While we set school-wide SMART goals for ELA and Math, each grade level also creates their own goals based on grade level data. Teacher teams set target groups focused on those students requiring the most intensive interventions. We feel this has made a direct impact on student achievement and higher test scores. We are continually analyzing data and targeting areas of need including students who are exceeding expectations. With the implementation of our new state standards, classroom instruction is more rigorous, and we continue to work collaboratively while growing future problem solvers and critical thinkers.
We are convinced that school-wide, grade level, and individual goal setting have had a profound effect on student achievement. We are most proud however, of the effect our daily school-wide reading intervention program (based on the DIBELS Screener and the F&P Benchmark Assessment for grades K-5) has had on the sustainability of reading achievement of our students returning after the summer months.
Our PLC practices have produced a culture at Southside Elementary School that is focused on ALL learners. Through collaboration and a focus on student results, our school is a school that is meeting or exceeding expectations on an annual basis. We continue to focus on individual student needs and how to ensure all kids meet their learning potential.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
Through the use of the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System and DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills), our K-5 students are benchmarked (screened) three times per year (fall, winter, and spring). Through a collaborative team effort, data is analyzed and students are grouped according to specific needs (Intensive, Strategic, Instructional Benchmark, and Benchmark reading levels). Intervention groups meet daily for 30 minutes during our Reading Intervention time. Systematic and targeted instruction is provided for students with the greatest needs, which are accomplished through the utilization of scientifically research-based reading programs. Students are grouped and led by our most qualified and certified instructors, which are progress monitored bi-monthly while strategic students are monitored monthly. This data is presented at our grade level collaborative meetings for analyzing and adjusting of instruction where necessary.
In addition to the F&P Benchmark and DIBELS monitoring, we consistently monitor students based on their grade level essential skills in reading, writing, and math. We utilize common formative assessments which are administered and analyzed by our collaborative teams every two to three weeks. The results are used to form intervention or enrichment groups based on student need and to adjust instruction.
Our grade level and building-wide SMART Goals are revisited often to make sure we are continually progressing towards acquiring our intended outcome. Staff and students at Southside are committed to goal setting and monitoring progress towards meeting those goals.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
The staff at Southside Elementary School remain focused on the three big ideas which have led us to our successful creation of systems of intervention. After establishing and aligning our essential skills at each grade level, our staff spent many hours designing effective common assessments and rubrics in reading, writing, and math. Before instruction on a new unit, teachers administer a diagnostic assessment to ascertain the level of understanding their students possess. This allows instructors to differentiate within their classrooms to meet the needs of all students. Instruction takes place for a certain period of time, depending on student need. Common formative assessments are utilized, data is analyzed during grade level team meetings, and decisions are made accordingly. Students who have not demonstrated expected levels of proficiency receive small group intervention, while students who have demonstrated proficiency receive enrichment to ensure continued growth. Intervention/enrichment are provided daily for thirty minutes. A second formative is administered at the completion of instruction to determine if additional intervention is required.
Grade level teams consist of classified and certified staff who offer a wide range of strengths/skills. The certified staff member who demonstrates the highest level of proficiency in a specific area, is assigned the group with the greatest need. This is usually evident when looking at data. Due to varying levels of strengths within our teams, we continue to learn and grow together as a staff. When data portrays these strengths, our staff openly share effective strategies during weekly team meetings, as well as, how they’ve been highly successful in acquiring elevated levels of proficiency with their students.
In addition to essential skills at each grade level, our teams have also written grade level SMART Goals based on baseline data collected at the beginning of each school year. Our staff continually revisits the goals and data through the use of data boards, allowing them to focus on identified target groups while providing enrichment or intervention as needed.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
We began our journey as a PLC 14 years ago by making a commitment to working as a high performing team in order to meet the needs of all students. We set out by creating a shared belief that all students could learn and we would do whatever it takes to achieve that belief. We had to look outside the traditional box and envision what this would look like in our school setting. Schedules were changed in order to provide time for staff to collaborate both vertically and horizontally, daily intervention times were built in for each grade level, duty schedules were created to allow certified and classified staff to attend meetings and provide support for intervention/enrichment, essential skills were aligned and set, common assessments and rubrics were created, book studies and trainings were held in order to educate all members of our school team to provide our students with the best education possible, building and grade level SMART Goals were written and achieved, strategies were shared, results were effectively utilized, wherein our culture began and continues to emerge. Our students and parents know we are a culture who believes in all students, and will provide the necessary time and support to enhance learning.
If you were to ask any student, parent, or staff member at our school what they believe about Southside Elementary School, they would tell you that we are a “family of learners working together to meet the needs of all students.” We are proud of how far we’ve progressed together, and will remain committed to continual modeling and practice of what high performing collaborative teams can do to improve learning for all our students. We will continue to grow and learn as a team, acquire new strategies to enhance learning, research new programs and techniques to support instruction, create higher quality assessments incorporating critical thinking skills, build high-levels of trust holding crucial conversations when necessary, share our success and knowledge with others, but most importantly, we will ALWAYS keep our focus on our students and their learning.
Achievement Data Files
Additional Achievement Data
- Met or exceeded all expectations on our state’s new accountability model (2012-2019)
- Recognized Nationally by “All Things PLC” as a model PLC school
- Recognized Nationally as a “National Title I Distinguished School for 2013”
- Recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2014
- Awarded 1st Place in Wyoming for Summer Reading Program Participation based on enrollment size in the following years: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014
- Awarded 2nd Place in Wyoming for Summer Reading Program Participation in the following years: 2010-2011, 2011-2012, and 2012-2013, 2014-2019
- Title I School with 100% Highly Qualified Teachers
- Awarded the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Grant for the following years: 2009 - 2019
- Achieved State Accreditation every Accreditation Cycle
- Met AYP ( Annual Yearly Progress) every year based on State Assessment results
- Principal and Instructional Facilitator asked to present on the effectiveness of
- Professional Learning Communities at two state conferences and in a neighboring school district on our “Journey as a Professional Learning Community”
- Our school has been visited by multiple school districts wanting to model their collaborative teams and system of intervention after ours
- Instructional Facilitator, Title I Instructor, and Special Education teacher asked to present to three elementary schools in a neighboring community on our School-Wide Reading Intervention Model. This same school district then sent a team of teachers to visit our school to attend our team meetings and observe our school-wide reading interventions
- Principal nominated for National Distinguished Principal for the State of Wyoming in 2011-2012 school year