Carlton Gardens Primary School
- Number of Students: 350
- Percent eligible for Education Maintenance Allowance: 5%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 10%
- Percent of Special Education: 1%
- White: 38.8%
- Black: 0%
- Hispanic: 0%
- Asian: 32.9%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0%
- Multiracial: 0%
- Other: 28.3%
At Carlton Gardens Primary School, we have been able to successfully move students forward due to the collaborative and persistent efforts of our teachers who insist in putting the needs of all students as the primary driver for student achievement. We attribute the success to the work we have with common formative assessments, weekly collaborative team meetings (where time is devoted to discussions that will have a direct impact on student learning); and our use of the data from our assessments to improve our instructional practices.
The impetus came in 2012, after the principal undertook professional reading on Professional Learning Communities from various sources (including a video conference link facilitated by Rick Dufour that was organised by Western Metropolitan Region) and leaders in this field. The inspiration for the commitment came from the Guiding Coalition attending the DuFours’ Leading Professional Learning Conference in 2013. The Guiding Coalition came away from this conference recognizing the key characteristics necessary for high levels of learning for all students which had to include, essential learning outcomes, standards-based instruction, common pacing lessons, formative assessments, and a developed plan of action.
Back at school we identified a number of goals and anticipated outcomes for the implementation of this practice:
In the beginning of the school year teachers begin the collaboration process by developing team norms for their grade levels.
The teachers work collaboratively (PLC) in their teams to identify essential learning outcomes, create common pacing guides, develop formative assessments, analyse data and implement intervention/enrichment time in Mathematics.
Collaborative time (two hours) during the school day to focus the guiding questions each week,:
What is it we expect our students to learn?
How will we know when they have learned it?
How will we respond when they don’t learn?
How will we respond when they already know it?
The Guiding Coalition is very clear in the understanding that the most important tool in an effective school is an effective teacher. Since teacher actions affect student actions, analysis of student data is an important process for teachers at Carlton Gardens. A PLC room was created with collaboration needs in mind. A large meeting table with plenty of space for materials and teachers was added. An IWB is in the room to make it easier to share resources from the web or the teachers’ public drive. Teacher References and resources critical to team work were moved into this room to create a one-stop teacher resource library. We have created a timetable that supports PLC work during the school day and promotes collaboration within grade level teams. Every Tuesday after school, there is scheduled time for professional learning and dialogue to occur within teams and across the school.
Our teachers have spent a great deal of time writing essential outcomes and common assessments tied to measuring student progress towards mastery of these essential outcomes. Teachers regularly use data from Common Assessment Tasks and other assessment forms to gauge the effectiveness of their teaching and to set student learning goals. SMART goals are part of our school’s Annual Implementation Plan, which is monitored and adjusted regularly by the Guiding Coalition.
We have found over time that we are more focused on the ‘right work’. Teachers have reported that PLC meetings are more focused on instruction and informed by quality assessments than ever before. Teachers are modifying their instruction and working collaboratively to improve their instruction, and to ensure their teaching is alligned to the learning needs of the students. Discussion around data sets, instruction and individual students are a regular part of those meetings.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
At Carlton Gardens we use data and assessment to better target instruction. Our grade-level teams begin benchmarking student learning at the beginning of the school year. Teachers also use the previous year’s data to make comparisons. Staff know that the ongoing monitoring and analysis of data is pivotal in improving student learning. Teams gather regular evidence of student learning from a variety of sources such as benchmarking, online English and numeracy interviews as well as Common Assessment Tasks to inform and improve both their individual and team practice. As part of the PLC process team leaders provide the Guiding Coalition with updated data. As the leaders of the school it’s important that they know where all students are placed on the learning curve and provide the necessary resources (including human) to ensure optimal learning conditions exist. Part of the Principals role in the PLC process is to keep a current and regularly updated database of all students not proficient in order to track the interventions put in place and make judgements regarding how effective these interventions have been and whether targets have been met.
Students are also responsible for tracking their own learning goals and achievements. Students are aware of the level of proficiencythey must reach and when they feel confident that they have mastered their goal they are given a task followed by an exit slip if the teacher believes the goal has been achieved.
Teaching Teams are released for two hours a week during the school day to plan their three weekly cycle and common assessment tasks Reading, Writing and Numeracy. Teachers draw their content from the Australian Curriculum which has been culled significantly to ensure that ‘essential standards’ are covered adequately.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
Our teaching teams plan in three-week cycles. Learning and teaching for the cycle is based on the results of relevant testing, that is aligned with our Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum. Reading, Writing and Maths is planned on a weekly rotation, to ensure there is sufficient time to analyse data, making sure that learning is based on student needs across the cohort. During this process, once students’ needs have been analysed, teachers are provided with professional learning/professional reading to ensure that their teaching practise is best practise and research-based. Teachers are encouraged to increase their knowledge and skills in areas that the team identify a need for growth. Near completion of the cycle, a Common Assessment Task (CAT) occurs, to identify students who have achieved below, at or above the set outcomes. Then the next cycle of planning and teaching on a new topic begins.
To ensure no students are left behind, CAT’s which assess students’ understanding of our essential learnings in Mathematics are used to group students for further instruction. Students are grouped according to results of their CAT’s. Teaching teams identify and utilise the strengths of each individual teacher when planning the ‘Response to Intervention’ (RTI). The teacher who has had the best results teaches the students who are struggling with a skill or concept. Enrichment sessions are also offered for students who have shown a need for extension. These ‘intervention’, ‘consolidation’ and ‘enrichment’ groups are run outside of our minimum five hours of weekly Mathematics Instruction. Extra teachers are assigned to each team during RTI time. At weekly team meetings, teachers discuss effective teaching strategies and document them using a common diamond template to identify what each group will focus on. During the RTI process, teachers discuss the successes and setbacks for each intervention group collaboratively and move the students through the groups fluidly.
Please see the file "rti-example" for additional information.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
At Carlton Gardens the Guiding Coalition have invested a lot of effort, time and financial resources to ensure teaching teams are well-equipped to face the demands of teaching young children. Each team has been assigned a leader well versed in the school’s curriculum and practice. Team leaders ensure teachers in their team are focused on the right work and that professional discussion is centred on student needs and achievements. In addition to meeting as grade level teams, we meet in vertical teams. Teachers find this to be beneficial because discussions about standards ensure consistency throughout the school. As a school we believe that it’s crucial we all use the same academic language across the grade levels.
Professional learning is an important component of teacher development at Carlton Gardens PS. In addition to curriculum days, every Tuesday night after school, teachers meet in action research groups to collectively inquire about either a new or existing initiative. A substantial amount of time is also dedicated to work around the PLC process, the guaranteed and viable curriculum and to the Art and Science of Teaching which are part of the Annual Implementation Plan. School focused professional development has allowed the teachers to grow and reflect on their practice, ensuring the highest level of teaching instruction and learning occurs.
Additional Achievement Data
During 2013 all teams at Carlton Gardens Primary School (CGPS) began writing SMART goals for literacy and numeracy. They were given time to reflect on their cohorts data from the previous year and together as teams they developed the SMART goals using CGPS’s SMART goal proforma, which had teams reflect on current realities regarding student achievement, decide on the years SMART goals, record strategies and actions, decide on who would be responsible, make decisions about timelines and finally agree on the evidence that would be used to establish their success. In 2014 and 2015 SMART goals for each year level were reflected in CGPS’s Annual Implementation Plan. This ensured that these goals were in line with our school’s goals as outlined in our current Strategic Plan. We are currently working towards our teams reflecting on their SMART goals during the year.
At CGPS we have had a big shift towards teams regularly collating and using data to help them identify the learning needs of their students and then planning their teaching and intervention based on their findings. Our whole school assessment schedule has been changed over the years to ensure there is a balance between summative and formative assessment. It also ensures consistency across the school and means that teams have access to a range of data for each student. We use an online program called ‘Student Performance Analyser’ to upload all results from assessments. This is done regularly throughout the year and teams are able to access all data. This program has supported our teams in their shift towards using data to inform their teaching.
Student learning data indicates that Carlton Gardens Primary School has had significant improvements in student learning outcomes. This is demonstrated by NAPLAN and a number of other assessment means including English Online and Teacher Judgment data. It should be noted that by 2013, student performance in Literacy and Numeracy had improved above the state average. CGPS is achieving results better than other schools with a SFO similar to the school. In 2015 we have had tremendous improvements in numeracy, this is contradictory to State improvement. Our strong results in this area may be attributed to the numeracy focus for our Response to Intervention.
In 2009, 20% of students in Year 5 reading were in Band 3 and 4 and by 2013 5.3% were in Band 5 and 94.7% were above band 5.
In 2009, 6.3% were in Band 3 and by 2013, 0% were in Band 3 and 81.8% were in Band 5 and 6 or above and 100% above Band 4.
In 2014 both our year 3s and year 5s obtained results in reading higher than demographically similar schools (similar SFO).
In 2015, both our year 3s and year 5s reading results were higher than the state.
In 2009, grade 5, 10% were at band 4 and 75% were at Band 6 at above. In 2013, 75% were at band 6 or above and none below band 5.
In 2009, we had no students in band 2 or below but in 2014 4.5% at band 2 and we had 75% at band 4 or above. And we had 81% in band 4 or above.
In 2014 our year 3s obtained results in writing higher than demographically similar schools (similar SFO) and our year 5s performed higher than the state.
In 2015, our year 5s data was considerably higher than the state and higher than demographically similar schools (similar SFO) and our year 3s performed higher than schools in our region.
In 2009, 20% of grade 5 were at band 4 and 80% were at Band 5 or above and in 2013 100% were at Band 5 or above.
In 2009, 7.7% of grade three students were at Band 2 and 68% at band 4 and above. In 2013 O% at band 2 or below and 88% at band 4 or above.
In 2014 our year 3s obtained results in numeracy higher than the state and our year 5s performed higher than demographically similar schools (similar SFO).
In 2015, both our year 3s and year 5s performed considerably higher than the state and also higher than demographically similar schools (similar SFO).
Our NAPLAN Relative Growth data for 2015 shows the relative gain of students from Year 3 to Year 5. In Reading, 70% of our students achieved average or above average growth. In Numeracy 93% of our students achieved average or above average growth. In writing 75% of our students achieved average or above average growth. In Spelling 93% of our students achieved average or above average growth and in Grammar and Punctuation 75% of our students achieved average or above average growth.
Please see the file "data-7989" for additional information.
In 2013, Carlton Gardens Primary School was ranked in the Top 20 schools statewide.