In 2012, Community Unit School District 201 established the Professional Learning Communities (PLC). Many of the academic changes and successes are a direct result of teachers having the opportunity to meet every week and collaborate. Each of the schools has provided a brief accounting of what teachers have been focused on this year in their PLC’s. Each month, for the remainder of the school year, an update will be posted to provide school community members with a snapshot of what teachers are focused on in their PLC groups.
Elementary teachers have been working with their teams every week to focus on the development of unit plans, establishing learning objectives, and reinforcing the use of various common writing rubrics. Although very few teams have addressed common end-of-a-unit or standards-based assessments for Math skills, reading and writing assessments have been the focus over the past several weeks has been focused on reading and writing assessments. All grade levels have established scope and sequence for reading standards and major writing pieces. There has been effort to integrate Science and Social Studies content into that curriculum to develop unit plans, particularly by the ELL and Dual Language teachers. After working with Kellie Doubek, all teams have an established rubric. These rubrics are important because the skills are in a continuum and the teachers need to articulate the assessment criteria vertically. The elementary teachers have reviewed the results of at least two common assessments and based on those results have made instructional decisions to support their students. Every time teachers administer an assessment, they examine the validity and reliability and make adjustments for next time.
The junior high teachers also used PLC time to update curriculum maps, confirming that the scope and sequence are aligned. As we work within our curriculum maps, we become more familiar with the standards and ways to make it more accessible to students. Throughout the year, all teachers have been working within their departments to identify learning targets (exactly what students should know and be able to do as a result of having participated in a lesson) for every standard in their curriculum map. Clear learning targets ensure that teachers have a clear focus for lessons and that students have a firm understanding of what they can expect from the day's lesson.
Teachers work as a team on specific student learning objective (SLO) goals. The 6th grade continues to analyze data and monitors progress made toward our team's Student Learning Objective (SLO). The 6th grade SLO states that 80% of students will increase their ability to organize an argumentative essay, as demonstrated by achieving a score of proficient or above within the organization category on the junior high writing assessment, from pretest to posttest. Each teacher shares a strategy he or she is using in class to achieve the team's goal and reports on how it's working. The 7th-grade team is also working on a writing assessment, specifically working through data and connecting it with their SLO. Using our PLC time to focus on student writing has been valuable to collaborate on teaching methods that impact student achievement. The 8th-grade team has been working hard on preparing students for the Spring testing benchmarks. As we analyze data, teachers collaborate to get a better understanding of where students are at and how we can utilize the MAP learning continuum to maximize classroom instruction. The entire faculty and staff conducted our second Data Carousel of the year to look at the Winter Benchmark through multiple assessments and reflect/problem solve (specific data points include MAP, AIMS+, grade level writing assessments, and PARCC).
High school teachers worked in their teams for the final preparations for SAT testing. Our teachers implemented their last formative assessments with specifically targeted instruction while preparing our Junior class for the SAT. Teams are also looking at future planning vertically within their departments so that our curriculum and instruction helps to scaffold learning targets with backward design from SAT and AP assessments. As PLCs shifted in recent weeks, teachers focused on administering the end of year common assessments. Departments will use data to plan for next year. Departments analyzed the scope and sequence of skills to ensure that the curriculum is properly scaffolded through the grade levels. Finally, based on the data derived from the SLO process, the common assessment was reviewed and items may have been revised.
Over the past several weeks, our teachers have accomplished a great deal as collaborative teams. Across all grade levels, teachers focus on the various activities that ensure student success. Early elementary grade level teams analyzed benchmark assessments including AIMSWeb and Fountas & Pinnell. Teachers discussed various classroom practices that support students whose scores on assessments indicate that they are above grade level expectation. For example, second-grade teachers confirmed how the recent data could be used to determine what level books to assign for reading groups. In addition to benchmark assessment data, the teachers all used locally developed common assessments. Each grade level team has collaboratively developed assessments for either ELA or Math to address critical standards that students need to master. These common assessments are also used to analyze student proficiency on the specific standards that are part of team goals associated with teacher evaluation. The instructional coaches have a significant role in the process. For example, the coach from Miller works in close collaboration with the first-grade teachers to develop assessment items and rubrics that adhere to the standards. Over the past several weeks, they have been able to analyze the data from several common assessments, after which time they discuss specific lessons that can effectively fill the gaps for students. The second-grade team’s goal was to improve foundational skill in writing conventions. Teachers determined that students have attained the expected growth targets using the teacher-created common assessment. Now students will use short writing pieces to assess whether they can apply the skills in an authentic opinion writing piece. The teachers collaborated on the mentor text, question type, and success criteria. The third-grade team’s common assessments in reading have revealed valuable information about our students’ readiness to take the PARCC test. To prepare students to compose their writing pieces using technology, the team decided to administer the common assessments using Chromebooks. The fourth-grade team works very hard to gather essential resources that align to the standards. In the past couple of weeks, the students took a common assessment for various reading standards. The teachers scored the responses and collaborated on the most effective methods to provide student feedback. In fifth grade, the team goals include vocabulary and writing. Teachers have been evaluating scores from the common assessments to determine growth over the year. It is important to know that the work of the elementary teachers is being supported by the instructional coaches and the literacy consultant. Teachers engaged in extensive professional development around literacy standards and assessment writing. PLC time is an extension of those growth opportunities. Our students have benefited a great deal from the increased capacity of our teachers.
WJHS also focused Professional Learning Community (PLC) time on various activities that support students. These include revising curriculum maps, building common assessments, unpacking the Next Generation Science Standards and reviewing benchmark data. Grade level teams have conducted Winter MAP/AIMS Data Review process, led by our Instructional Coach (Laura Riley), Media Specialist (Sheila Ruh), and SASED Educational Consultant (Tiffanie Torrisi). Within this process, students are identified to receive or discontinue intervention in Reading or Math. This process determines the Tier 1, 2 and 3, through Response to Intervention (RtI) or Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS). The literacy consultant, Kellie Doubek supports our efforts. She continues to work with the staff on Writing-Across-the-Content-Area and effectively evaluating assessment data to drive instruction.
At Westmont High School, PLC teams in core content areas are working on analyzing data from targeted focus areas of instruction based on the 12/7 Practice SAT test. Extra core PLCs have worked on analyzing student learning objective goal data to drive their daily instruction. This also includes designing and aligning assessments in Mastery Connect. Students are impacted in a positive way as teachers use PLC time to collaborate on finding ways to provide instruction for students who are not meeting the learning targets.
Manning and Miller
During the months of October, November, and December teachers focused on the development of common assessments for reading. Teachers selected specific standards that have been addressed during the past several weeks. The assessments are designed to be in close alignment with classroom learning. Grade level teams reviewed student results for common assessments. Also, teachers continue to deconstruct the standards into learning targets and align classroom assessments with those targets. Curriculum maps are reviewed and refined. Grade level teams spent a significant amount of time sharing teaching strategies and materials. This collaboration helps maintain consistency across the grade level. In recent weeks, teachers evaluated the progress of their Student Learning Outcome goals, including evaluating student work and next steps for classroom instruction. Interventionists including reading specialists, ELL, and student support teams work on various activities that support students. These include evaluating assessment data, deconstructing standards, designing professional development activities, and the sharing of instructional materials.
Westmont Junior High School
In the past couple of months, WJHS focused on having grade levels conduct a Fall MAP/AIMS data review and team goal setting process. This was led by our Instructional Coach (Laura Riley), Media Specialist (Sheila Ruh), and SASED Educational Consultant (Tiffanie Torrisi). Within the data review process, students are identified (through multiple data points), that either need to move into, out of, or stay within, Reading and Math interventions. This process identified the Tier 1, 2 and 3, through Response to Intervention (RtI) or Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS). Additionally, in an attempt to work towards our school goals of using data to improve student learning AND creating/improving upon innovative teaching and learning practices at WJHS, teachers utilized their innovative minds to choose their own adventures, and report out on how the time they spent will improve student learning. Kellie Doubek (Literacy consultant), also worked with the staff on Writing-Across-the-Content-Area during our PLC/faculty meeting time. Lastly, the faculty met and had discussions based on the book, Mindsets in the Classroom: Building a Culture of Success and Student Achievement in Schools. The focus of the chapters was on how growth mindsets affect the classroom and practical ways to build growth mindset into a school culture.
Westmont High School
All core content area teachers examined the results of the practice SAT assessments. The teams spent a great deal of time aligning the individual questions with content area standards. Teachers used an online tool called Mastery Connect to enter the assessment data so that the students’ test scores can be evaluated in such a way to drive instruction in the coming months. In recent weeks, teachers utilized available assessment materials that align with the SAT to use with students as common assessments. Teachers focused on improving instructional practices, thoroughly preparing students to master the standards, and supporting students as they demonstrate their skills in the future standardized assessments.
The PE teachers throughout the district are utilizing a new assessment tracking system called Fitnessgram. This program is useful in analyzing student fitness data and help teachers make adjustments in their instruction. The PE teachers at the HS determined that students were underperforming in the area of aerobic fitness. Although teachers have adjusted their exercises to allow for more time for aerobics, students need to demonstrate motivation and a commitment to improving. The availability of Fitnessgram has enhanced the opportunity for teachers from across the district to collaborate and use student data to set goals and align instruction to meet the needs of the students.
Teachers from across the district spent the first PLC meetings developing a grade-level or department level Student Learning Objective (SLO) that they will work on for several months. The process for developing the SLO starts with the selection of standards or Learning Targets that reflect skills students will need for future grades or courses or those students need to be successful across all subject areas. Examples include basic math skills, vocabulary, or writing. As a team, teachers designed the assessment or the performance task and the corresponding scoring rubric that measures the level of proficiency of the Learning Goal. This process is developed collaboratively to ensure that the SLO is attainable but rigorous. After the delivery of the first assessment, teachers looked at baseline data to plan instruction. The teams made decisions about how often they will collect data to monitor student progress. Later in the year, teachers will give an assessment to determine how much growth students attained toward the Learning Goal. Although each classroom of students presents unique challenges, teacher work together to find useful resources, instructional practices, and formative assessment methods. All teachers, including those who work with Special Education students, must participate in an SLO. Interventionists and Library Media Center teachers partner with classroom teachers and meet with them during PLC time.
After the teams complete their SLO plans, the focus of PLC meetings shifted to address these four questions:
The specific activities depend on grade levels. The following will outline work that was done over the past couple of weeks.
Manning and Miller
The K-5 teachers used the time together to review the ELA curriculum map. During the past couple of PLC meetings, teachers worked with their grade level teams to select the set of standards with which they will design a common assessment. Collaborating with colleagues to set proficiency criteria, find resources, and align teaching strategies provided a valuable professional development opportunity for the entire team. After the assessment is given, they will compare the data. Teachers will support their colleagues with the all-important reflection process. Teachers may revise their curriculum maps to reflect new methods of instruction and assessment based on the data. Most importantly, teachers will help each other determine the types of differentiation and interventions for both struggling and high-achieving students. The special education teachers also explored strategies to help students strengthen their executive functioning skills. This process of development, delivery, and reflection, will be the ongoing theme for the 2016-2017 Professional Learning Communities.
Junior High and High School Core Content Areas
All of the students from Westmont Junior High School and Westmont High School took a school-wide writing assessment. Teachers used a common rubric to score the writing piece and analyzed trends. From the baseline data, teachers will design instruction and formative assessment methods to support students’ writing proficiency throughout the year. One of the primary focus for PLC’s at WJHS for the month of September had the entire faculty calibrating, grading, and analyzing the results from the writing pre-assessment. A post-assessment will be given in May of 2017 so we can identify areas of growth. Additionally, Kellie Doubek (Literacy consultant) has joined WJHS for the second year in a row. She continues to work with the staff on Writing-Across-the-Content-Areas. Teachers will work with Kellie during PLC and Faculty Meeting time several times this year. During the past couple of weeks, the junior high teachers started a book study on Growth Mindset in the Classroom, by Ricci. This professional literature and the conversations around it are setting the stage for WJHS’s Professional Learning Community.
The core content department teams at Westmont High School worked on other types of common assessments. First of all, students took the practice SAT. The ELA and Math teachers aligned the assessment items to Common Core State Standards. The test results were entered into the assessment scoring system used by all high school teachers, called Mastery Connect. The program provided an efficient way for teachers to analyze the data. Also, content area teams worked on department-level common assessments. In most cases, teachers grade the common assessments as a team to guarantee inter-rater reliability. Teachers will move forward with developing instructional strategies to support department goals and the schoolwide SAT preparation goal.
The student support staff such as school psychologists, social workers, and speech pathologists used PLC for professional development activities related to their roles.
The Kindergarten team prepared for Kindergarten Open House. We put folders together for the parents and designed a common power point to present. We also reviewed the Fountas & Pinnell reading assessment that will be administered in May.
First grade continued to align state standards to math "I can statements." We discussed classroom management strategies and how we handle excessive tattling. We also reviewed ELA curriculum map and discussed what standards we want to reorganize by month.
We reviewed our spelling scope and sequence and our ELA curriculum Map. During our SIP day, we learned about vocabulary strategies and various math resources. We would like to suggest that we meet to articulate across grade levels for math and reading.
We introduced the new third-grade team members to our curriculum work. We also discussed and shared strategies for PARCC practice in the area of constructed responses. We collaborated on ELA standards for modifying our curriculum map in that area, which we hope to work on more extensively in the future.
April's PLCs focused on using Making Meaning, Determining Importance. We created a summative assessment for Point of View and developed a grade 4 summative assessment for 2015-2016 SLO Goal -open ended response with commonly misspelled words.
We met with the entire 6th grade team for articulation about the standards for all subjects. We reviewed our Student Learning Objectives data which was collected in the spring. We continued to work on ELA common assessments.
Physical Education and Health:
We discussed the Fitnessgram program and contacted the company to research the software. Fitness testing will be done the same across the district. All physical education teachers would like to be formally trained for this program.
We reviewed the new WIDA Standards introduced in March. On the SIP Day/PLC we attended the Kelly Doubek meetings and reviewed the Fountas and Pinnell Testing procedures. We had PARCC preparation training. We discussed the BPAC (Bilingual Parent Advisory Committee) and the upcoming International Festival hosted by the BPAC on May 20, 2016 at Miller School.
Library Media Specialists:
The Elementary Media Specialists worked on the K-5 grade research curriculum "I can" statements. We also prepared for the annual library board presentation. The CUSD 201 Media Specialists spoke at the 4/26/16 Board Meeting. The topic presented was titled "School Libraries Transform Learning."
Instructional Coaches/Math Interventionist:
The math interventionists shared more strategies with each other to use with our students in interventions. We also discussed how we were going to implement spiraling different math skills for each grade level. We discussed AIMSweb TEN and how we were going to test the students for the spring benchmark. Once the testing is complete, we will look at the data to determine where our next focus will be.
We discussed the PARCC assessment and how it will impact our student population. Additionally, the PLC team analyzed scheduling the PARCC assessment sessions for students in grades 3-5 to be most successful.
The speech team collaborated with the South preschool teachers and staff to prepare a parent presentation on summer activities and skills that will maintain/increase speech and language skills of preschool students over the summer. We also viewed a webinar on how to better evaluate our ELL students when they are referred for a speech and language evaluation using formal and informal measures.
The school psychologists discussed specific caseloads that were concerning as well as plan out future PLC meetings. In the next month we plan to discuss tests that we will need for next year, narrowing down which documents we would like to fill out for a smoother domain process, and learning the new Power IEP program.
Manning and Miller Elementary Schools
The kindergarten team looked through documents and filtered out any activities that did not align with Common Core State Standards in the area of literacy. We put the digital files of the instructional materials in a location where all teachers would have access to them. We worked with the reading specialists to develop phonics scope and sequence.
The first grade team created third and fourth quarter Math assessments. They revised the second quarter assessments to align to the report card. The team met with reading specialists and coaches to discuss and gather instructional materials for the new Phonics scope and sequence.
The Second Grade team developed agendas for our grade level math meeting and our meeting with the reading consultant. We developed common assessments for our third quarter report card.
We developed common assessments aligned to the English Language Arts Common Core State Standards. Assessments included comparing and contrasting biographical texts. Rubrics were created to use as assessment tools to measure student growth.
Grade 4 worked on reading formative assessments. Students will write about what they are reading. In order to help students meet the Common Core standards in reading, students should be practicing how to support their answers with text evidence. We will be using the data from these assessments to help drive grade 4 reading curriculum for the future.
We discussed future educational opportunities for the remainder of the school year. Math word problems were discussed for our new SMART goal. We need to help students understand the problems by breaking down each one, looking closely at the meaning of key words, visualizing the problem, and writing a number model.
The Special Education department focused on writing instruction. The team collaborated on incorporating a linear graphic organizer into writing instruction to assist students with organizing their thoughts and completing a quick write on what they have read. These two interventions are based on the Kellie Doubek model for writing a cohesive text.
The ELL team worked on our SLO (Student Learning Objective). We previously gave a pre and a post test assessing the new NGSS standards for third grade. We computed the percentiles for student progress based on the student goals and expectations set at the beginning of the year. We modified current lessons and assessments to determine changes that need to be made and concepts that might need to be retaught. We examined the new WIDA "CAN DO" descriptors. The Can Do Descriptors highlight what language learners can do at various stages of language development as they engage in teaching and learning in academic contexts. We started to align the new descriptors to current curriculum and outlined areas that need to be adapted to them.
The Fine Arts team planned the Fine Arts Night in March. The Jr High worked on the flyers and posters for the event. The whole team created student lists for the show.
Sue Ellen Jacobs and Julie Graham have been planning the HS/Elementary school social justice collaboration project, assigning groups and countries. The date for our Empty Bowls fundraiser and details for the event are in the works.
We our broke into smaller groups during meetings, due to our various stages of progress in curriculum development. In elementary music we completed updating exit goals, and are currently developing rubrics.
Library Media Specialists:
The Elementary Library Media Specialists completed the learner statements and components for grades two and three research curriculum maps. We also continued to work on maintaining the iPads.
Instructional Coaches/Math Interventionist:
The math interventionists used the report cards as a guide to create a scope and sequence for math interventions. We discussed different strategies that we are using with our students and shared resources with each other. We are in the process of creating pre and post assessments of basic math skills for each grade level.
We discussed social skills training and how they can be integrated into lesson plans. We discussed individual cases in order to provide insight on certain testing instruments that were used. Lastly, we discussed scheduling difficulties for the end of the year and plans to complete testing in an efficient way.
During this month's Professional Learning Community time, I worked on the presentations for Erin's Law, collaborating with staff to schedule when the lessons may be taught, and consulting with the special education team about students on our caseloads. I worked with the junior high social worker and collaborated about specific situations and students.
The Speech Team began an outline and started planning the Parent presentation we are going to give at South School on April 21st. We viewed a seminar from ASHA titled, "Turning Problem Behavior Into Effective Communication". The seminar discussed students who demonstrate problem behavior and the idea that this behavior stems from having difficulty communicating their thoughts.
Physical Education and Health:
The Elementary Physical Education teachers discussed using FitnessGram and recording our scores for the state with the Junior High and High School teachers. This time and discussion was extremely valuable.
The reading specialists at Manning and Miller used Professional Learning Community time to support K-2 teachers. We used the time to identify resources and materials to teach phonics. We matched the resources to the list of research based instructional strategies. Currently we are aligning resources and instructional strategies to support developmental spelling.
Westmont Junior High School:
In the month of February, WJHS focused one Professional Learning Community day on departmental time (revising curriculum maps, building common assessments, unpacking the Next Generation Science Standards and C3, among other things). One Professional Learning Community had the grade levels conducting a Winter MAP/AIMS Data Review process, led by our Instructional Coach (Laura Riley), Media Specialist (Sheila Ruh), and SASED Educational Consultant (Tiffanie Torrisi). Within this process, students are identified (through multiple data points), that either need to move into, out of, or stay within, Reading and Math interventions. This process identifies the Tier 1, 2 and 3, through Response to Intervention (RtI) or Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS). Our school also completed its first, school-wide Data Carousel, in which we look for major trends over time and break down root causes for any negative trends. This was documented on our WJHS Facebook Page as well (pictures for process). Kellie Doubek also worked with the staff on Writing-Across-the-Content-Area during our School Improvement Process Day.
Westmont High School
Data from objective tests in Honors Accounting were studied. This led to researching why 30 percent of students have been incorrectly answering 5 questions out of 15. An intervention activity was created in which the students re-wrote the questions including the distractors, on the questions they answered incorrectly.
The Guidance Department reviewed the ongoing individual course selection process with current WHS students as well as incoming 9th graders. Each student appointment was documented and course request data was compiled in Skyward. Data reports were then prepared for school and district administrators to review.
We focused on scope and sequence for AP since we will not be offering AP Language and Composition next year. (We are moving Lang & Comp to Senior year which requires one year of all students taking Lit & Comp--this is a significant change and process.) We also looked at our maps with Lindsay’s guidance in order to bring more unity to the mapping process. Additionally, we assisted one another with interpreting MAP data.
We reexamined or course placements and discussed solutions for students who are misplaced or struggling.
We met with our building administrator to review the data that had been collected from the administration of our Executive Functioning Rubric. We discussed the need to develop tools to use in developing the skills our students are lacking. We also discussed methods for teaching executive functioning skills and additional ways to collect data for progress monitoring the skills. We will use our time on Institute day developing the tools for the EF portfolios.
We administered the Data Analysis Post-Test to all 9th grade science students. We analyzed results and were pleased to find that a vast majority (at least 80%) of students improved their overall score by several points. We are now working to develop interventions that will address remaining gaps.
We looked at student data from our midpoint SLO assessment. Level 1 teachers refined assessments and looked at technology tools to help remediate students who are not making sufficient progress. Spanish 2 teacher has been working on rewriting a novel to maintain the literacy goal for the department and differentiate the text to several reading levels.
We worked on the Fine Arts Night with all the Fine Arts teachers in the district. Time was also spent developing the Theatre Stagecraft class for content and sequence.
We looked at our finalized Department Exam and discussed when and how to begin implementing it in the coming months. The department drew up a list of formative assessments that we find most useful in each level so we can begin to coordinate and scaffold their use from one grade level to another. We began to develop a plan to address two critical issues for our students, a lack of notetaking skills and writing for Document-based questions and Free Response Questions on AP Exams.
We discussed the current status of the student groups currently participating in the behind the wheel portion of Driver Education; upcoming group selection and possible summer driving schedules were also addressed. The health website and several social health activities have been restructured due to lower than expected social health test scores (in Health). Physical Education continued to work on improving students’ cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength, muscle endurance, and flexibility to help the students perform better on their FitnessGram assessments.
For the past month, the kindergarten team has worked on modifying the literacy portion of the report card. We gathered and reviewed samples of report cards from surrounding districts. We also reviewed the Common Core State Standards for literacy. Using this information, we edited and added to our current report card assessment. This will be an ongoing process. We also reviewed the new science standards and discussed ways to incorporate them into our curriculum. We reviewed and edited the new scope and sequence for phonics as well.
During our first grade PLC time, we have updated our grading scale to correlate with the new report card. We reviewed quarter 2 math assessments and results, as well as, discussed subsequent modifications of set assessments. The first-grade team also collaborated about math and writing workshop. The shared instructional materials, strategies, and student work examples.
During our PLC time in December and January, the second-grade team continued to collaborate about our new standards-based report card and the new phonics curriculum. Our new report card sets expectations for all students to achieve by the end of 2nd grade. It also requires our students to show they understand what they’ve learned. We have also been designing assessments aligned with the standards. We are excited to see a scope and sequence of phonics instruction! We discussed how to incorporate spelling, sight words and vocabulary. We will continue to discuss whether to have a formal spelling list.
The 3rd-grade team reviewed data from our common assessments in math. We also created new common assessments for upcoming units. We collaborated with the intervention specialists to discuss differentiation strategies for our students.
For the month of December and January, the 4th-grade team continued to work on our Student Learning Objective (SLO) goal. We administered an assessment we created, and evaluated the results. Through reflection, we refined our assessment and planned to re-administer in the spring. We also looked at our MAP scores and researched different reading websites that can be used in the classroom during Readers Workshop.
The 5th-grade team reviewed their midterm results from their SLO goal and met their goal. They will need to give a final assessment in February to determine if they reached their final SLO goal. In addition, the team reviewed winter MAP reading scores and have met their SMART goals in the area of reading. They are currently reviewing new data and creating a new goal.
We collaboratively refined our curriculum, specifically addressing reading comprehension and writing strategies. Our goal is to close the achievement gap for our students and their peers. Mrs. Alt and Mrs. Hinman shared information from a professional development seminar about writing effective present levels of performance and IEP goals for students that have deficits in reading comprehension. Lastly, we collaborated on ways to create effective portfolios for our upcoming summative evaluations.
At PLCs in January, the ELL team worked on completing an ACCESS testing growth chart. This chart helps us effectively analyze student test scores from Kindergarten through 4th grade. We also discussed future goals for the PLC time.
We finalized the timeline for the collaborative service field trip to Feed My Starving Children on February 3, 2016. Our next goal is to determine the projects students will be working on after the experience at FMSC leading up to the Empty Bowls fundraiser in the spring. Our plan is to tie it all together during the Fine Arts Night in March. The choral musical department continues to align curriculum vertically, in hopes of providing young singers a smooth transition from building to building. In December and January, our focus has been on the WHS choral learning outcomes and re-writing them to better reflect Mr. Urlaub's instructional priorities.
Library Media Specialists
The library media specialists have focused their efforts on planning and preparing for the MAP and ACCESS testing. They also spent time designing learning activities that integrate technology, specifically iPads.
The Math Interventionists are developing a scope and sequence to implement with Math students. We are in the process of gathering resources to use during Math intervention time.
Instructional Coaches/Math Interventionist
One focus for the elementary instructional coaches has been to help the Reading Specialists on creating a Phonics Scope and Sequence for grades Kindergarten through Second Grade. The coaches have also been working on scheduling and preparing for upcoming curriculum literacy work. They also met with the math interventionists and grade level teachers regarding math curriculum planning.
The school psychology team met with a variety of special education personnel and staff during the month of January. These meetings included getting together with the Junior High staff to discuss the Elementary and Special Education Act (ESSA). We talked about how the Every Student Succeeds Act will be replacing the No Child Left Behind Act in 2017 and the difference between the two. On two other occasions, Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBAs) and Behavioral Intervention Plans (BIPs) were created for students with behavior and academic difficulties. Lastly, we met with the special education teams at our respective schools to discuss students that were having difficulty both behaviorally and academically and what interventions or plans could be put in place to help these students. We met with the consultant from SASED and the Director of Special Ed. to review and discuss the RTI procedures for the individual schools in the district, Procedures such as how interventions are coordinated (when, how, how often, and what kind of grouping), how progress is evaluated, how that information is documented and shared, and how school teams are addressing fidelity in implementing interventions were discussed. The school psychologist and school social worker for South school met to review various evidence-based social skills programs for preschoolers and select programs appropriate for the First Start and Early Childhood programs. They collaborated with the teachers at South to coordinate schedules for implementing the social skills groups. They reviewed procedures and materials for implementing the social skills programs. This is an ongoing process that will continue with the teachers and aides as the social skills curriculum is implemented.
We continue our exploration of appropriate vocabulary goals for students who need assistance in this area. Specifically, we are examining the literature regarding increasing the oral and literate language skills of children in poverty.
Physical Education (across the district)
The PE department discussed various assessments. The team discussed the transition to the use of FITNESSGRAM to deliver a standardized fitness test (mandated by the Illinois State Board of Education) for the next school year. Teachers are beginning to use the flipped classroom model to prepare students for skill assessments. A YouTube video will be put into Google Classroom the week before with an exit slip.
Out of the four PLC's that we had in the month of January, one was focused on departmental time (revising curriculum maps, building common assessments, unpacking the Next Generation Science Standards and C3, among other things). Two PLC's were based on grade level meetings (which can be reviewed from the month of December). During the additional grade level meeting, teachers continued to focus on the goals they set while working with Kellie Doubek, the CUSD 201 writing consultant. Each grade level team worked with Kellie for a day at some point in January. Additionally, the 8th-grade team and high school 9th-grade team determined the outgoing 8th-grade student placements for next year, while the 6-12th grade Fine Arts and Physical Education Departments continued aligning their curriculum. Lastly, the fourth PLC time was utilized introducing the Data Wall and Data Carousel process, in which student assessment data is physically posted and analyzed for the entire faculty to see. WJHS will be going through the Data Carousel process in early February after we get the NWEA Winter MAP scores.
Honors Accounting II Data: Created a Learning Objective/Vocab/Review Question resource for Honors Accounting II as an intervention based on data from first-semester summative assessment data. After reviewing the assessment data post-intervention, student proficiency increased by 10%.
During PLC meetings, our Guidance Department continued planning for a successful course selection process for the upcoming 2016-2017 school year. These plans included classroom presentations and activities that heavily relied on technology. Once these presentations were complete, data was reviewed and utilized to prepare for individual course selection appointments.
In January, we focused on the skills necessary to prepare students for the AP Literature and Composition class that all juniors and seniors who are enrolled in AP will be taking. Erika and Ron presented the skills that are measured on the Lit & Comp test. We continued our discussion with a focus on our planning and making sure we incorporate elements that are addressed, in particular, curriculum. Our discussion revealed that we need to incorporate more poetry--much more poetry. The result was that Jane and Judi agreed to incorporate a poetry unit, as well as, adjunct texts that include poetry. We will measure our progress with periodic assessments modeled on the poetry analysis questions on the Lit & Comp test.
The math department is working on the implementation of FALs and looking at the data wall of incoming freshmen. Eighth-grade placement is critical to high school success. We also worked on placement of high school students.
Rubrics were completed by all students enrolled in resource during the last week of November. Resource teachers and/or teaching assistants also completed the rubric for each student. Following this task, we discussed some confusing statements and made adjustments accordingly. We also developed a list of activities to teach skill deficits in executive functioning. Finally, a data form was created to tally results.
Science has been developing final interventions to address our data analysis learning objectives. We will be giving the post-test to all freshmen on 2/16 in order to meet the SLO deadline for non-tenured teachers. Finally, we are discussing a possible revision to science course offerings.
The department continues to work on processing data for Student Learning Outcomes and analyzing the mid-point assessment data to improve areas of instruction and individual remediation needs.
Spanish 2 continues to work on lessons for the Modern Teacher platform to create flipped student-centered instruction.
Lately, I have worked with Zach from the Junior High to develop eighth grade exit outcomes and what I was expecting for entering freshmen. We talked about language to be used and what was reasonable to be taught before entering high school.
Since Theatre Stagecraft is new this year, I have spent time working on developing a semester-long course that will be documented in detail for future use. I have contacted two other colleagues outside of Westmont who teach Stagecraft to help me develop a sequential course.
We discussed the benefits of scale testing and how it aligns throughout the curriculum; which exercises best prepare our students to meet the state/national standards, while simultaneously working toward a more mature sound in the ensembles; and the levels of performance expected and how rhythmic accuracy pertains to each level.
The Social Studies Department used PLC time to meet with our administrators to implement our SLOs. Time was also used to coordinate with the Junior High social studies team to discuss incoming freshmen and their proper course placement for 2016-17. The department entrance and exit exam was also finalized.
The PE Department has been using the PLC time to work on their SLO documents. We have also collected fitness data in our classes and have discussed ways to improve student effort in regards to improving their fitness levels. We have also discussed classroom management techniques and the need to work with difficult students in a more effective way so they can remain in class and complete the class requirements with minimal disruptions to the rest of the class. In Health class, I have been working to incorporate short writing activities into my homework assignments, as well as, updating lessons in preparation of next year's 1 to 1 computer situation for my students.
Manning and Miller
The team worked on the selection of instructional materials to align with standards. We addressed our collection of guided reading books across the district. We compared the available vocabulary programs and discussed pros and cons of each. The team shared resources and assessments across the grade level to ensure alignment and consistency. We completed the documentation of this year’s SMART goals.
During PLC first grade teachers created math goals for the an upcoming team math meeting. We reviewed the second quarter assessments to determine alignment to the standards along with student readiness. We also discussed assessment data for sight words and what teaching strategies we were doing in our classrooms to improve word retrieval among our students.
Second-grade teachers completed the documentation of SMART goals. We also celebrated the success of our SLO goal: "Upon completion of Unit 1 in math, the general education students will improve upon their pretest score by at least 10 points or more on the post-assessment. Those who receive math intervention services will improve by 15 points or more on the post-assessment." Our team shared teaching strategies to improve instruction for Math. We revisited our Math curriculum map for the purposes of refining student learner statements, assessments, and instructional materials. As a team, we developed pre and post assessments for all units in Math.
The third-grade team has been working on their SMART goal tiers which included increasing student achievement in math fact fluency using the data from the M-COMP assessment. We completed and submitted the SMART goal documentation to our school administrators. We engaged in collaborative discussions regarding our Student Learning Objective (SLO) goal as well.
The fourth-grade team worked on completing their assessment for their SLO goal. We are engaged in collaborative discussion around our school goals and how our instructional practices will implement them.
The full fifth grade PLC discussed how we will prepare for the grade level math meeting. Our building level PLC times were used to explore teaching strategies that embed technology tools. We also worked toward our SMART goals.
The team discussed the curriculum and instructional materials that will be needed to make the teaching and more effective and relevant. After evaluating our needs, we prepared our orders. We had a training for the new apps on the tablets we received. In order to prepare to administer the ACCESS test electronically in January, we referenced the WIDA website and discussed the needed training.
The Visual Arts team created a K-12 vertically aligned curriculum based on the theme Portraiture and the National Art Standards.
During the month of November, the elementary school instructional coaches worked with the reading specialists to develop a questionnaire for the staff. The questionnaires were completed by the grade level teachers, so they can gather the most accurate information that will be useful when discussing the scope and sequence. As a team, they discussed the important areas that need to be focused on with phonics and spelling for grades K-2. Once the tentative scope and sequence has been drafted, future work will involve the development of materials and discussions centered on best teaching practices. The Math Interventionists worked with the Technology Director to explore ways that technology that will benefit the students receiving math interventions.
Over the last month, we have met with both the junior high and high school for physical education articulation. We have discussed skill development from kindergarten to senior year and what areas need to be revised and improved. We also discussed trying to improve our outdoor facilities (gaga court, tennis court rehab) in order to increase the number of units we teach.
During the month of November, the psychologists met to discuss topics such as RTI protocol, preschool screening results, behavior plans for students, and specific cases concerning students with complex issues. Lastly, we had located important documents concerning RTI and talked about ways to improve the process.
With the librarian at Manning Elementary and other staff, we explored how technology is used with students including apps that are available on the iPads. It was helpful to learn how to use the apps and to consult with other staff about implementing the use of these with students.
We reviewed math interventions available for grades K-6. After reviewing the voluminous list of math interventions, we were able to narrow it down to two choices. Those choices were Focus Math from Pearson and Connecting Math Concepts from McGraw-Hill. We requested and received samples of those materials. After an extensive analysis of the materials the team unanimously agreed that Focus Math was the best option because of it's procedural practices.
We completed developing our program, "Communication Development for Young Children" for the Parent Night at South School on Nov. 11, 2015. The team presented our program which consisted of each of us speaking about specific language development techniques, a video showing examples of positive parent-child language interactions, and a handout. The team collaboratively explored how technology (iPads) is used with the elementary students at Manning and Miller. With increased availability of technology, we discussed how we can expand the use with students from South School, as well as the JH and HS.
Westmont Junior High
The 8th-grade team continues to utilize PLC time to analyze data and determine instructional strategies to support all students. The team reviewed both MAP and AIMSWEB data to determine a goal for the 8th-grade class as well as for individual students. The team is unpacking content standards, building connections between content area and the Common Core English/Language Arts standards, as well as aligning academic vocabulary across all academic areas. We continue to develop common instructional tools and strategies.
The 7th-grade team at WJHS has been utilizing our PLC time to use MAP/AIMS/CAP and COMP data to drive instructional decisions. We continue to work on our team goal of engaging our student in reading and incorporating more writing into our curricula. We have been sharing writing strategies we use during our classes to help with this goal. We also have articulated subject area goals from grades 6-12. Additionally, the literacy department continues their work with the Better Lesson professional development program and the social studies department just organized and carried out a successful student-centered Veterans’ Day assembly.
During PLC afternoons, the 6th-grade team was often involved in desegregating data to determine student levels of achievement. Students were placed into either a math or a reading intervention depending upon their district assessment scores. We’ve recently reviewed the first district benchmark testing and determined student placements for either a reading or math intervention or an E-period classes. The literacy team is involved in a virtual coaching experience called “Teach Cycle.” The goal of Teach Cycle requires our instructors to plan a lesson using a particular strategy, implement the lesson, collect data, and finally evaluate student results.
Explo/PE joins a grade level team once a month to support grade level goals such as how to use data to inform instruction and prepare for E-period. In addition, Explo/PE collaborated with the elementary and or the high school on the vertical articulation of specific disciplines. We have shared and aligned the current exit outcomes and set goals for the future.
Westmont High School
From the Principal
Westmont High School has been a model PLC in the areas of “Learning for All,” building a Shared Vision and Mission, establishing and following through on specific, measurable and time-bound goals and maintaining a Results orientation. These are the fundamental concepts of P.L.C. work. Our focus for future improvement is on collaborative teams analyzing student performance information and implementing instructional interventions that will lead to measurable student achievement growth. Our graduation rate success and our significant increases in national rankings are our strengths we can build on, but our passionate commitment is to increase student learning in all academic areas. This is the focus of our professional learning community.
This month the Business Department reviewed data from two unit assessments that focus on accounting terms. After conferencing with students, the business teacher implemented a new format on the unit summative assessments based on the accounting term section. Student's scores improved and more than 50% of the students increased their scores by a grade letter. After conferencing with students regarding the new format, they felt more confident while taking that portion of the assessment.
During PLC meetings, our Guidance Department reviewed students’ practice ACT scores from the October WHS Universal Testing Day. Individual scores, as well as subject-specific results, were shared with each academic department. Our department also updated and utilized junior pre- and post-surveys created to gauge students’ varying levels of ACT preparatory needs.
The English department worked towards completing the data-gathering activity from the September and October Universal Baseline Writing Prompt. The data collected from the baseline data will then be used as part of the Student Learning Objective (SLO) pilot process this school year. We also discussed vocabulary instruction and collaboratively developed our final exams.
The high school math PLC is analyzing the data from the fall 2015 MAP scores and the Universal Testing Day ACT scores. The team looked for general trends in the data as a whole class as well as individual student scores. Interventions were then created to address any identified issues. The data from the SLOs was also discussed in depth.
During the month of November, the Special Education Team collaborated, researched, and completed the following elements on a Universal Executive Functioning Rubric: set number criteria for each section, reviewed and finalized criteria for the rubric, set procedure for implementing initial rubric, and discussed student self-reflection of the skills assessed in the rubric. It was decided that simplifying language for instructional level students would still need to be completed. We then began to compile a list of tools, strategies, and methods for teaching the executive functioning skills.
The science department has used recent PLC time to analyze practice ACT results. Each of the 40 questions was analyzed to determine the percentage of students responding correctly or incorrectly. The science department then identified which skills were most frequently missed in order to increase emphasis on these skills in the upcoming classroom activities, labs, and assessment questions.
The Spanish teachers were able to analyze data for level 1 Spanish exams. The teachers met with Hector Freytas to finalize their 2015-2016 Student Learning Objective (SLO) and plan for their 2016-2017 SLO. The teachers continue to work on their common core assessments for French and Spanish 3.
This month Brett has been working on the course Stage Craft, looking at data on how to use best practices in a "non-classroom" environment. He also developed formative assessments aligned to his SLO summative assessment.
Mr. Vaughan worked on the alignment of the scale protocols for the wind players. He also determined rudiments for percussion. Finally, he discussed the benefits of using solfege for the younger players in the band. He is also developing and aligning assessments to track and monitor student performance data.
This month the Social Studies department concentrated on completing and implementing our Student Learning Objective (SLO) projects. We also worked on our vertical articulation with the junior high school. A major part of this articulation required the crafting example question items that aligned with our expectations of student abilities.
During our November PLC time, we worked on our social justice collaboration project between the Grade School art students and the High School Studio Students. We are also creating common, grade level appropriate, assessments for social justice projects, discussed exit outcomes and looked at how they aligned with the National Art Education Standards. In addition, we are assessing our portraiture units district-wide and working to create common assessments.
The PE department participated in vertical articulation with all members of the district PE staff grades k-12. We discussed facility improvements and equipment needs to better serve our students at the high school. We also discussed, organized, and implemented an aggressive driving presentation for the swim and driver education classes.
Manning and Miller
We met with the Principals from Manning and Miller to finalize Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) goals. Our team agreed to work on setting high expectations for our students regarding literacy. Our goal statement is as follows: At winter/spring benchmark 80% of our students will meet or exceed one of the following growth statements based upon their Fall Aimsweb Nonsense Word Fluency (NWF) score. 1) Students who scored 5 or below on their Fall NWF assessment will meet or exceed the 25% goal of 15. 2) Students who scored above 5 on their Fall NWF will meet or exceed the 50% goal of 25. We finalized report card standards for kindergarten across the district. Our team reviewed Spanish report card standards. We discussed parent involvement to include reports/letters/notes/messages in the student's primary language to increase communication between home and school.
In the month of October, district first-grade teachers wrote a grade level SLO goal. We discussed the SLO goal with administrators at a follow-up meeting. The first-grade team wrote SMART goals for their individual schools. We also finalized and reviewed the new report card for this school year.
Linking report cards to state standards is the newest report card trend. A standards-based report card lists the most important skills students should learn in each subject at a particular grade level. Last year, we began exploring ways the present 2nd-grade report card could be revised to align with the state standards. During our weekly PLC meetings this October, we were allowed to move forward with making this revision become a reality. This was not an easy task but with a team approach we were successful in creating a report card that will we hope will provide more consistency between teachers. Students now receive marks as M- meets, T-working toward, or N-need more time for each standard. Students get a separate mark for effort, work habits, and social skills. Because all students are being evaluated on the same grade-appropriate skills, parents can know see exactly which skills and knowledge their children have learned. One of the biggest adjustments for students and parents is that the newly revised report card focuses on end-of-the-year goals keeping teachers and parents focused on student learning goals from the very beginning of the year.
The third-grade team collaborated on our SLO goals this past month. We discussed instructional strategies used to meet the needs of our individual learners using developmental spelling data. In addition, our team reflects on the weekly math lessons and discusses ways for improvement going forward. Our team constructed two math assessments for the current unit.
The fourth-grade team is working arduously during PLC time fine tuning the grade level SLO Goal for the 2015/2016 school year. The SLO Goal was purposefully created to monitor and collect data in connection with the Rebecca Sitton spelling curriculum that is utilized by 4th grade. Our goal tracks students’ ability to utilize frequently confused words throughout the school year. Using the information acquired from the 4th-grade level meeting with the District’s ELA consultant, Kelly Doubek, the team is refining our ELA curriculum maps.
This month in PLC we finalized our Student Learning Objective goal which focuses on written expression in math. We also finalized the rubric that will be used to score the assessment. The fifth-grade team met and graded the baseline assessment for all students from Manning and Miller. Based on student results we developed a plan of action and are currently executing this plan in our math classes. Additionally, we analyzed fall reading and math MAP results for all fifth-grade students to determine areas of highest concern. We discussed resources available to impact student learning. We shared ideas and information on lesson plans.
Library Media Specialists
The Library Media Specialists have worked on creating assessments to evaluate the research process. In addition, we researched programs to help support technology in the classroom.
Fine Arts – Music
The Fine Arts team, while preparing for the week to week presentations of our students’ learning, has also been reviewing and realigning particular exit goals to better reflect state and national Fine Arts standards. The music staff has been preparing for the months’ performances, such as the Jazz Café, and fall play at WHS, hoping to find strong correlations with Fine Arts standards within the material, “as-is,” while looking at potential alterations in material learned/performed to better align w standards. We have been reviewing K-5 music curriculum, continuing in a two-year process of changing scope and sequence of exit goals to align with the band and chorus programs at WJH. Two major changes have been an earlier introduction of rhythmic concepts in grade 3 through 5, and more emphasis on sol-fege singing in grades 1 through 5. To continue in this process, more time will be needed to meet with the WJH Music staff, as well as input from the visual arts staff for the organization of finalized ‘map’ of scope and sequence.
Fine Arts – Art
Vertical articulation, K-12, is taking place to share and align the current visual arts exit outcomes.
Teachers discussed various fitness testing models. Articulation was done K-8 to define exit outcomes and improve the transition between schools. The team researched instructional methods where technology could be embedded to facilitate data collection. Examples include HR monitors, mobile applications, and Google Apps.
Instructional Coaches/Math Interventionists
October PLC time has been productive for the math interventionist and the elementary school instructional coaches. With the beginning of the year assessments (MAP, Aimsweb) completed, we were able to analyze the data and focus on specific areas of the assessments while brainstorming different ways to meet the needs of all the students. We looked at programs, such as Reflex Math, to see how that can be utilized to work on math fluency at the second-grade level. The math interventionist applied for, and received, a grant to use the Reflex Math for a select group of students this year on math fact fluency. This connects to their Student Learning Objective) goals. The students receiving math intervention have already been introduced to new strategies for working on math fluency.
We spent our time completing and reviewing our SLO goals. We made adjustments on our goal based on our students' results of the pre-assessment. We also adjusted questions on the assessment due to student responses. We met as a dual language/ELL team and discussed program needs. Finally, we created a newsletter for both buildings to go home with student progress reports.
We are continuing our discussion on phonics instruction in our guided reading groups. We are using developmental spelling data to drive our instruction and incorporating Words Their Way strategies to provide more effective intervention. PLC time has given us the opportunity to debrief and discuss our meeting with Kelli Dubeck and how we will implement her suggestions into our interventions. We discussed parent-teacher conferences and we are pleased with the outcome. We were able to discuss our expectations and give them a better understanding of the intervention their child is receiving.
During the month of October, the elementary special education team discussed reviewing and came to a consensus on how to complete and utilize the new forms found on FileMaker this year. We have continued lively discussion regarding the special education scenarios and how they relate to the Danielson Model. We are continuing to work with bringing new team members up to speed on department policies and procedures. Finally, we have begun to have some preliminary discussion on math interventions.
During the district social worker PLC meetings this month, we were able to meet with all school support specialists to discuss a training that we attended. This training was to learn about Nonverbal Learning Disability. We met as a team to discuss how we will be using this information within our district. During the other PLC meetings, the social workers met together to discuss the implementation of Erin's Law. We have been able to draft a parent letter, review the lessons and materials we will be using, and plan out the days and times that the lessons will be taught.
The Student Services Team which included: speech pathologists, school psychologists, social workers, and Linda Klawitter, met this month to discuss a recent professional development workshop on Nonverbal Learning Disabilities. We also went over test kits or programs that we were in need of ordering/downloading amongst the team members. After this student services meeting, the school psychologists met with their own respective related service personnel each week to discuss caseloads and students that were struggling thus far in the school year and what we can do to help. During these meetings, intervention methods and suggestions were discussed.
The Speech Team has been working this month on a presentation for parents whose children attend preschool classes at South School. It is scheduled for Wednesday, November 11th at 7:00 pm. The presentation is designed to help teach strategies to facilitate vocabulary and language development in young children.
Westmont Junior High School
This October, the Panther staff has been reviewing student benchmarking data from our AIMSweb and MAP assessments to inform our instruction and to use as input for the creation of our 2015-2016 SMART goals. Grade level teachers have also been using this data to make entrance/exit decisions for students in our E-period and Intervention classes. Make sure to ask your student for their MAP data information that was sent home before conferences. Our departments are continuing to work on aligning our curriculum, working through TeachCycle on the Teach-Measure-Learn process, articulating with Westmont High School, and calibrate the scoring of student writing samples based on a school-wide writing rubric.
Westmont High School
From the Principal
Westmont High School has used our PLC process to collaboratively build a shared vision and specific, measurable time-bound goals. This process has been essential in W.H.S. becoming one of the most improved and top performing schools in the country with a true 99% graduation rate (100% for Latino and African-American students), double-digit increases on the state exams, reaching Adequate Yearly Progress for the first time in 7 years, significantly reducing the number of discipline incidents and suspensions, increasing the number of passed Advanced Placement exams by over 400%, and being recognized in all three national rankings as one of America's top high schools. We are passionately committed to continuous improvement, and the PLC process is the vehicle we will use to make greater gains in student learning and achievement.
During October, I have been working on my SLO, using a standards-based assessment for Honors Accounting, Principles and Procedures Assessment. The first assessment took place on Oct. 6th. The standards-based assessment (each question on the Honors Accounting provides a wealth of information to help adjust my instruction). Using this data that collected during PLC, I conferenced with each student so they can also see much more information about their learning.
During PLC meetings, our Guidance Department has been reviewing the current systems in place at Westmont High School to track student records, particularly sent transcripts. As our seniors continue to complete Transcript Request forms to send their transcripts to 4-year schools, 2-year schools, technical schools, the military, and potential employers, our department is working together to maintain the accuracy of this data. Westmont High School is also collaborating with the district office to create a uniform process to former students who request their district student records.
This month, the English department has been focusing on gathering data from the student essays written in September. The samples were initially graded using a holistic rubric by all WHS teachers during our October Institute day. We followed the holistic grading with a formative review using a rubric based on TSI skills. We are working to complete those essays within the next two weeks. At the time of completion, we will have gathered sample information from almost all students and will be able to analyze the data for trends. We will then be able to address those issues in our classrooms. Our follow-up comparative data will be provided by the Semester I final exam.
The math department has explored the Formative Assessments Lessons (FALs) that will give the teacher and the students’ data on student learning. Teachers will examine the data during PLC time from a specific class and determine a particular action that will correct any misconceptions or gaps in learning.
In the month of October, the Special Education department developed a department SLO relating to executive functioning. This plan was then reviewed with a building administrator. We have now created a rubric that covers the following executive functioning areas: goal setting, planning and organizing, initiation and persistence, self-monitoring, self-awareness and flexibility, and finally execution and attainment. We will assess all students that are enrolled in a Resource period and make an action plan with students based on identified skills deficits.
The Science department has distributed individual student scores on the Data Analysis Pre-Test. Students in Science classes used their individual score reports to set learning growth targets. The department is using PLC time to develop interventions and lessons that will address learning gaps and help student progress towards their individual learning goals.
We have been evaluating textbooks and are pretty close to submitting the necessary paperwork for Board approval. We should be able to wrap this up in the next week or two. Meg is waiting for the assessment piece that goes along with the textbook series before making a final recommendation. We have completely finished level 1 and level 2 CORE tests--we have aligned them so that they are a version of a common assessment (between French and Spanish) and we have made some adjustments after having used them. We have started level 3 common assessments. We are on the third CORE test for level 3. We have also examined student scores on level 3 chapter exams in French and Spanish to determine where the breakdown in learning occurred.
We have been analyzing the change that is being made for vertical articulation and adjusting our entrance/exit outcomes as it becomes clear. With Mr. Troyer and I now in our second year in the district, we have discussed the changes that happened last year and what to expect next year.
We worked on aligning scale testing across the buildings. We worked on aligning rhythm testing across the buildings. We worked on basic skills for departure from 5th to 6th grade, and 8th to high school.
The Social Studies Department finalized development of our SLO goals and began their implementation phase in several classes. We spent one session in collaboration and articulation with the social studies staff at the Junior High in order to implement an entrance/exit exam. Finally, a portion of our PLC time was spent looking at student writing samples in order to identify student needs.
The Visual Arts Department discussed exit outcomes per grade level through 8th grade and per class in the High School. We are in the process of sharing our exit outcomes and using the national Standards as a guideline for aligning our Portrait Units.
WHS and WJHS PE staff members discussed the current policies and philosophies that exist within in their programs. Special attention was given to the fitness tests that are commonly used at each location. WHS PE staff members discussed the new Lifetime Fitness class that is being proposed for the 2016-2017 school year. WHS PE staff also discussed ways to promote and encourage active lifestyles (and athletic participation) from early childhood throughout high school and beyond. Ideas include: creating a culture of movement at the elementary levels by offering intramural sports several days a week before or after school, partnering with the park district to encourage participation in youth sports, inviting school groups or individual to attend high school athletic events for free, allowing coaches the opportunity to meet with the elementary students to discuss athletic opportunities at the junior high and high school.
Manning and Miller
The team developed Student Learning Objectives for all kindergarten students. We reviewed and finalized curriculum maps and student assessments; created ways for the kindergarten team to share resources, focusing on online materials. We cleaned up and reorganized google doc resources, gathered last year when the team was working with the math consultant, and met with our instructional coach to discuss classroom needs and possible solutions with a focus in math.
So far this year during first grade PLC, we created a collaborative sight word SLO goal. We discussed scheduling with the math interventionist and instructional coach. We are working to familiarize ourselves with Google to efficiently complete required forms for PLC. We briefly reviewed the first grade math curriculum map for August/September.
This year, the district wants teachers to establish an appropriate SLO goal (trial situation). After reviewing our AIMSweb math assessment and Unit 1 pretest results, the 2nd grade team decided to work together to improve student outcomes during our math workshop/rotation time. We decided to use our Place Value within 1000 units which we developed last year to meet Common Core State Standards. Together, we completed the SLO template and submitted it for review. Each teacher has been using a variety of resources to teach the concepts in this unit and will evaluate the final results.
This month, the third grade PLC focused on spelling and math. Our Student Learning Outcome is based on developmental spelling. Assessments have been identified and benchmarks were created to measure student progress. Instructional strategies, best practices, and supplemental materials were shared among our team and the reading specialists. In Math, we are adjusting our curriculum map to reflect our use of Everyday Math and Engage New York in the workshop model to better meet the needs of our students.
Fourth grade has spent their PLC time discussing how to most effectively practice and use Student Learning Outcome (SLO) goals to enhance instruction. We discussed multiple possibilities, as well as, how to effectively use resources on hand to assess student learning. This year, we decided as a team, to focus on having students correctly apply multi-meaning homophones (there, their, and they’re) into their daily writing. We will be using Sitton spelling to assess this goal, and continue to work on developing a district writing assessment that will accurately assess this outcome. We also have been discussing how our new primary resources in both reading (Making Meaning) and math (Everyday Math 4) align to the CCSS and how they are working in the classroom. Finally, we have begun to look at the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and are discussing ways in which we can collaborate as we move forward with our science curriculum and practices.
In our PLC this month, we have had a lot of discussions. We have gone over the beginning of the year organizational ideas, discussed the new math and reading materials, shared instructional strategies we are using with the new materials, and discussed our goals from last year. With the new SLO goal pilot, we have spent a portion of each PLC learning about the requirements, looking at samples, hearing about Cathy’s experiences last year, discussing what we want to work on this year, and writing our proposed goal. At the end of the month, we read the article, “When Status Quo is a No-Go,” and discussed the impact on our schools.
Instructional Coaches/Math Interventionist
The first month of PLCs has been a busy and productive time for the math interventionist and the elementary school instructional coaches. They met with all grade levels to discussion best times to work with students on math interventions and looked at data to see which students would benefit most from those interventions. Another important area that was discussed was the use of technology and how that would look with math interventions and in the classroom with the teachers during math workshop. While discussing the format for math interventions this year at the elementary school level, the math interventionist and instructional coach focused on their SLO (Student Learning Objective) goals and came up with a plan on how to implement it for this school year.
The elementary reading specialists have collaborated to align and organize reading interventions and assessments. PLC time was also devoted to analyzing fall benchmark data in addition to the review of previous year’s goals and progress.
Our team reviewed last year’s PLC achievements. We collaborated on bringing our new team member up to speed with our unique processes. Collaboratively outlined, crafted and refined our “Student Learning Objectives”. Read and discussed assigned article. Engaged in some student specific problem solving. Collected and prioritized future agenda items.
Library Media Specialists
We will be focused on the students use of print and digital resources to research information about a topic and create an organized finished product. One area of focus will be on redistribution of resources to best support curricular needs and promote student development.
Physical Education and Health
Our PLC meeting time this past month for Elementary Physical Education has allowed us to collaborate and focus on grade level curriculum mapping. Currently, we are focusing on 3rd grade curriculum maps and lessons. This time has allowed us to share ideas, thoughts, and information on lesson planning. We have focused on planning our SLO which we are doing jointly. We will be focusing on 2nd grade locomotor movement skills and outcomes.
The Visual Arts Team is working on a series of collaborative projects where high school and elementary school students come together to work on various student centered/choice driven artmaking experiences addressing personally relevant subject matter. Some ideas that are being discussed are teaming up with local charities and hospitals to knit caps for pediatric cancer patients, creating a student driven video tackling the subject of IDENTITY, collaborative comic books about Social Justice, and yarn bombing the school grounds. By incorporating Teaching for Artistic Behaviors and Studio Habits of Mind Framework the team is developing a common assessment for Student Centered/Student Choice projects that is adapted for Elementary and Secondary Art Students. For future PLC time, our goal is to work out scheduling the collaborative projects and having a follow-up discussion on the common assessment...How are we using the assessment? What needs to be different for the Elementary students versus the Secondary students? The Visual Arts Team is also looking to develop pre and post assessments that are grade level specific in elementary, and standard specific in the High School, based on mastery.
We collaborated on our shared student learning objective (SLO). Our SLO focuses on the Next Generation Science Standards with our third grade EL students. The standards it addresses are related to weather & climate and forces & interactions. We developed and revised interactive, higher level questions addressing these concepts that are also integrated with key vocabulary.
Our first month, we discussed a variety of topics. We viewed parts of the DVD: Increasing Oral and Literate Language Skills of Children in Poverty, Chapter 3 - Strategies to Enhance Language Stimulation and Chapter 4 - Enhancing Oral and Literate Language Stimulation. We are choosing sections of these chapters to develop a presentation for parents of preschoolers at South School. We also discussed procedures for preschool and kindergarten screenings. We met Angel, the comfort dog and started to think of how we could incorporate Angel into our therapy sessions. Finally, we reviewed Discussed apps. appropriate for speech therapy for our students.
For my first PLC meeting, I joined the school psychologists in learning about the kindergarten and preschool screenings. I learned how to administer and score the tests and the procedures of the tests. During the other PLC meetings, the school social workers collaborated on the implementation of Erin’s Law in all schools in the district. During our time together, we discussed how Erin’s Law will be taught to the different grade levels, we drafted a letter for parents explaining Erin’s Law and our obligation to teach about sexual abuse and how to work with students who have a strong reaction to the lessons being taught. We also discussed questions we had specifically with our caseloads, test assessments, and learning specific procedures for social workers in this district.
During our September PLC meetings the school psychologists, and, on occasion, the social worker, discussed both the kindergarten and preschool screening processes and the administration of said screenings. We also met as a special services team and were introduced to various resources, such as the use of a comfort dog named Angel. Comfort dogs are starting to be used more widely in the school setting and we were able to gain information about the services provided as well as the availability of these services. Lastly, we reviewed unfamiliar assessments for use with the Autism population. During this time, we had discussed relevant cognitive tests and rating scales to administer, as well as other assessment procedures pertaining to this area.
Westmont Junior High School
Westmont Junior High School has two current types of PLC's. Teachers meet in departmental and grade level PLC's throughout the school year, based upon the Professional Development Calendar that was developed before school started.
In our grade level, PLC teachers analyze the student assessment data to determine their instructional needs. Placements are made in Math or Reading Intervention classes when necessary, or students attend E-Periods (enrichment). Entire grade level goals are also determined after the Fall MAP testing and re-visited after the Winter MAP testing period.
Additionally, Westmont Junior High teachers have been diligently working in PLC's on their Student Learning Objectives (SLO's), with their departmental PLC teams. When developing and implementing SLO's, teachers create student learning growth goals based upon the needs of their students. Typically, these SLO's can also be referred to as common assessments. They then monitor students' progress throughout the year and use the data to inform their instruction.
Lastly, the entire school has adopted a common writing rubric across the three grade levels. All WJHS teachers work together to assess student writing. This is a powerful thing for both students and our teachers. This rubric is aligned with the work that Westmont High School has done as well.
Westmont High School
The school is administering a school-wide writing assessment two times this year in order to goal set with grade levels with regards to writing skills. Grade levels have met to discuss the prompt that will be administered and how each content area can contribute to the building of skills needed in order for students to be successful. They will meet next to grade the assessments and develop 2-3 goals per grade level.
The science department recently finished editing and revising the department-wide Data Analysis Exams. Pre-Tests were administered to all students in science on 9/24/15. The Science Department will now analyze the data from the Pre-Test scores and implement instructional strategies designed to best address students' learning gaps.
The English department settled on a synthesis prompt and administered the essay test during the week of September 14. We have developed PD for training the staff in preparation for a group grading activity during the October 9 institute day. Following holistic grading of the essays, the English department will grade the essays using the rubrics developed over the course of the last two years and entered into Google Forms during summer 2015. Once these activities have been completed, we will have gathered baseline writing skills data on all students.
The Social Studies Department has concentrated its PLC time developing our SLO goals and working towards their implementation. We have also looked at ways the Common Core Standards apply to our various curricula and how they can be normed over the various classes offered. Finally, a portion of our PLC time is spent sharing resources and strategies that may be useful to the other teachers in the department.
The High School Math PLC is working on Formative Assessment Lessons FALs, that will give the teachers data to show students strengths and weakness about specific standards. We will also explore teacher specific assessments and how that relates to student learning. We will also focus on looking at AP stats and AP calc data to increase involvement and success.
In the month of September, the Special Education department met with the English department to discuss spring MAP and set reading norms for the fall administration of MAP. We participated in grade level teams to establish guidelines for universal baseline data for writing. We also reviewed our student data wall as we transitioned caseloads.
Business Education has been working on crafting a baseline writing assessment that will be graded using the AP scoring rubric. The baseline assessment will be given to Honors Accounting students during the month of October.
Our department updated all of our level 1 core quizzes to check for retention. We are currently working on assessments for SLO and data collection system. In addition, we are also evaluating textbooks for possible pre-AP courses/AP level at Spanish 4/5.
The PE/Health/Driver Ed. Department uses PLC time to discuss and analyze the preliminary physical fitness data collected at the start of the semester. Once areas of concern are identified, we attempt to incorporate specific exercises and activities to help students improve their scores. In addition, our PLC team discusses ways to stay current with new fitness trends, we share ideas on how to incorporate more technology into our classrooms, and we update each other on the topics and activities that are taking place in our respective classes and content areas.
During PLC meetings, the Guidance Department has been reviewing data to ensure that all WHS students are on track to meet WHS and State of Illinois graduation requirements. We have also collaborated with our Social Work Department to ensure that students are receiving necessary supports. Additionally, we have reviewed data from previous years' College Information Nights to ensure that we are addressing all requests in this year's College Information Night.
Target: to create pride in the Fine Arts. They have created a website www.whsfa.weebly.com to keep parents and the community updated on the events. Also, after looking at performance data, they have been discussing the Jazz Cafe and changed the name to The Fine Arts Cafe to give more students an opportunity to perform.
The band teachers from the high school and elementary school have been working on aligning methods used for the instruction of rhythm.