Quarterly Update for 2017-2018

2017-2018 Key Initiatives Quarterly Update (Nov. 13, 2017)

Progress/Next Steps

Teaching & Learning: Continue In-Depth Program Review (Math/Business/Computer Science) 
Building upon the model created in 2016-2017 for the in-depth program review process, the Math and Business / Computer Science Departments have made progress in identifying key areas of study. Four interdependent subcommittees will continue to collaborate and share information regarding each of the “bucket” themes (i.e., exemplar, connections, research, and data/information).The groups have also leveraged in-service sessions and after school sessions to utilize time more effectively and limit disruption to the instructional day as the work is accomplished. The core team for each department continues to plan and then work with the expanded team in the execution of newly identified action steps. Progress is charted at the end of each meeting to document work accomplished and to be done at the next meeting.

Teaching & Learning: Implement In-Depth Program Recommendations (Science/Health/PE)           
At the conclusion of the Science and Health/PE in-depth program reviews, eight recommendations were identified for each department. The recommendations were followed by action steps, timelines, approximate costs, and the individuals accountable for implementation. As we reflected on the work accomplished during the first quarter of the 2017-2018 school year, we broke the recommendations down into major actions steps. There were 13 identified major action steps for Science and 12 for Health/PE. We have begun or completed work on 7 of the 13 Science recommendations and 4 of the 12 Health/PE recommendations. Examples include: modification to the Eden Hall schedule to include science instruction every day; Amplify resources for grades 6-8; integration of the vision and philosophy across all schools; and a number of science pathway recommendations that will be reflected in the 2018-2019 program of studies. In Health/PE, the vision and philosophy has been integrated across all schools, the 8th-to-9th grade health teachers have collaborated to reduce overlap in the health curriculum, Health/PE staff have provided resources for other teachers related to brain break activities, and FitnessGram has been used a common assessment across all middle school classes.  Throughout the rest of the year, we will continue working through the recommendations in conjunction with the previously established timelines embedded within each in-depth program review report.

Star 360 Teaching & Learning:  Implement Universal Screener (STAR 360)
& Aptitude Screener (CogAT 7) 
After a comprehensive study process last year, we implemented the STAR 360 universal screener for reading and math in grades K-7 for all students and for those students receiving support in grades 8-12. The initial benchmark was given in August/September utilizing the computer adaptive interface. As students answer questions correctly, the questions become more difficult. As students answer a question incorrectly, the level of the question lowers. At the end of the set of questions, the students’ approximated instructional level is calculated as an overall domain score, complete with subdomain measures as well.

These screeners are used in the MTSS process to help identify students with either remediation or enrichment needs in both reading and math. Determination of appropriate interventions within each of the three tiers of instruction are made utilizing decision trees, ensuring consistency of responsiveness and instructional programming across the district. Parents received reports containing the results of the first student benchmark in the fall during parent/teacher conferences. Those unable to attend the meetings will receive the report in the mail.

Star 360 After the students have taken three assessments, the accuracy of the data is at its highest, having responded to the computer adaptive testing model through three iterations. Teachers are also using the data to plan instructional groups within the classroom to both remediate and extend topics for students. This is a step towards meeting individual students’ needs and altering their instructional experience.

The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT 7) is being implemented for the first time in the district this month (November). Students in grades 2 and 5 are being universally screened to determine their ability levels on this group ability assessment. While the results do not reflect an individual intellectual quotient score, they provide valuable information to the educational team about a student’s ability level in comparison to students in their grade nationally. This assessment will be utilized to identify students in need of enrichment and more challenging learning experience and will also be utilized as one component of the gifted screening matrix. The change to the screening matrix will be made only after we have received the scores from our Pine-Richland assessment window in November and have had time to work through the results with our administrative and psychological team. The infusion of this assessment provides us with more robust information about students, which we have not had available in the past.

Teaching & Learning: Strengthen Technology Integration (K-12), Device Deployment (K-6),
Digital Citizenship (Students & Staff) & Cyber Security    
The district’s continued effort to strengthen technology integration is evident through all six buildings. At the joint Operational Services / Academic Achievement Committee Meeting held on October 23rd, Mr. Stoebener reviewed data from the Spring 2017 BrightBytes data collection and the Fall Teacher PRSD Skills and Competencies Survey.  The BrightBytes data showed large amounts of growth in the categories of  Environment (Support) and moderate growth in Skills and Access. Opportunities for improvement exist in the classroom specifically related to digital citizenship and the use of technology to improve the 4 Cs (i.e., Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity). Using the data collected over the last year the building technology coaches developed a training calendar of events for teacher to attend throughout the first half of the year.  Many of the sessions align with tools that will help teachers better utilize technology to improve the 4 Cs in the classroom.

Teaching and Learning: Design and Deployment of Step-By-Step Guide for Developing Common Assessments
A district assessment team was reconvened to focus specifically on the development of a step-by-step guide for common local assessments. The team consists of educators from across the K-12 grade spans and across both core and special area content areas, as well as district and building administration. The 11 member team held its first committee meeting this year on October 30th for a full day training and professional development session, culminating with a first draft of the step-by-step guide for common assessments. This guide will assist with a recommendation emerging from both the Health/PE and Science Departments, addressing the need to develop common assessments within these content areas. The goal is to expand this recommendation to include all departments in developing common assessments in phases. Initially, we have defined the common assessments as “summative” in nature and connected to one unit across a course experience. During the March 29th in-service session, we will be deploying the guide to our staff members and engaging them in the development of one assessment this spring. In future iterations, we will expand this work to include additional common assessments by unit and will develop building-based data teams to reflect on the results of these assessments to share best practices among our teaching staff to ultimately benefit the students’ learning.

Student Services and Programs:  Introduce MTSS Model for Highly Achieving and Gifted Students 
During the 2013-14 school year, the district convened a committee to develop a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) to meet the needs of struggling learners. Out of that committee came a tiered model and an accompanying decision tree that allowed building level teams to make systematic, data based, informed decisions on how to intervene when students struggle to learn. During the 2016-17 school year, the pupil services department created an MTSS Model for Highly Achieving and Gifted Students. The model mirrored the previously developed MTSS system for struggling learners. In the spring of 2017, this model was rolled out to principals but not implemented. During the first quarter of the 2017-18 school year, the MTSS Model for Highly Achieving and Gifted Learners has been discussed and referenced among building level MTSS teams. Next steps will include the development of a voice over powerpoint that will be shared with all teaching staff members with the goal of strengthening the understanding and full implementation of the MTSS Model for Highly Achieving and Gifted Learners.

Finance and Operations: Evaluate Managed Print/Copy Services

Ricoh, previously IKON, started a vendor relationship with the Pine-Richland School District in the 2003-2004 school year.  Ricoh provides copier and print management services.  This includes staffing of the district's centralized copy center, provides services and ink/toner district-wide laser printers and multifunctional devices (MFDs), and facilitates the delivery of large print jobs and the district's interoffice mail system.  Historically, these services have cost approximately $400,000 to $500,000 and (in 2017) results in 24 million paper impressions per year.  The current agreement expires December 2018.  By reviewing Ricoh and other competitors, we will ensure services are not only competitively priced but also reflect advanced technological features.

Mr. Stoebener has been in the process of gathering sample Request for Proposal documents for managed print services from other school districts.  In addition, he has been working with our current Ricoh team members to gather information on our current inventory of laser printers and multifunctional devices and the associated volume of impressions per machine and per building.

The next steps will be to develop evaluation criteria and a rubric and to identify the members of the proposal review committee. A Request for Information (RFI) document will be drafted and issued to four to six vendors. Building walkthroughs and site assessments will be conducted with potential vendors. The proposal review committee will review information submitted in order to narrow potential vendors and ultimately provide a recommendation to the Operational Services Committee.