Karen Johnson •
Alisal Elementary School • Pleasanton, CA
All Means ALL
Alisal Elementary School is located in Pleasanton, CA and serves an increasingly diverse population. As part of our district mantra that "All Means All", we have delved deeply into data on a regular basis to look for and address subgroups of our population who continue to need extra support. In the Fall of 2015, we were horrified to find out that within our students with disabilities subgroup, we were failing miserably.
At Alisal, close to 16% of our total population fits into the category of "Students with Disabilities". We have 4 self-contained Special Day Classes on campus in addition to the standard number of students receiving resource support for a school our size. After the testing year 2014/2015, our scores on the state-wide assessments for these students showed that only 15% of them were at or above grade level in ELA and 0% fell into this category for math. We knew we had to take action, but what?
As a site, we explored many different options for addressing this need. One of the things we decided to do was change the way our resource program operated. Previously a primarily "pull-out" program, we challenged ourselves to change to a model where supports were pushed into the classrooms instead. The other thing we did was start the conversation about RTI and PLCs. Finally, we explored ways to get our SDC students into the mainstream classroom as much as possible in order to ensure that they had access to grade level curriculum and interventions whenever appropriate.
Over the course of the 2015/2016 school year, we continued these conversations and our commitment to doing things better in order to better meet the needs of our students. We looked closely at common assessments and adjusted teaching and techniques in response. Although we saw little by little the improvements that were being made, it was not until our SBAC scores were released in the Fall of 2016 that we were able to verify that what we were doing was working.
In the area of ELA, our scores in this subgroup increased to 25% of students being at or above grade level - a 10% increase from the year before. In the area of math, or scores rose to 29% of students in this subgroup meeting or exceeding standard - a 29% increase over the year before. Elated with our successes and progress, we were determined to continue this work with additional subgroups that needed our attention.
For the 2016/2017 school year, as we continued to work with our students with disabilities, we also decided to target our socioeconomically disadvantaged students. During the 2015/2016 school year, only 14% of this subgroup was at or above standard in ELA. In the area of Math, 41% of this subgroup were at or above standard. After a year of looking closely at the students who fit into this subgroup and improving our PLC and RtI practices school-wide, these numbers rose in 2016/2017 to 62% at or above standard in ELA and 46% in math. Additionally, our scores for our students with disabilities subgroup continued to grow, increasing to 41% proficient or above in ELA and 35% proficient or above in Math.
Through the growth of grade level teams engaging in the PLC process, a dedication to looking at and responding to data, and a collective commitment to all of our students, we have been able to impact change for all students at Alisal. At Alisal, ALL really does mean ALL.