Quarterly Update for 2017-18 (Mid Year)

2017-2018 Key Initiaties
Quarterly (Mid Year) Update

Progress/Next Steps

Teaching and 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 continue to collaborate and share In Depth Program Review 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. 

Using established criteria, the exemplar and connections committees identified schools, universities, and businesses to interview.  Information learned from the interviews will be shared across all committees.  Initial high-level recommendations will begin to be developed and shared.

Teaching and 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 and defined by action steps, timelines, approximate costs, and the individuals accountable for implementation. The recommendations were broken down into major action steps, 13 for Science and 12 for Health/PE and captured in an action plan spreadsheet, on which committees have begun to identify additional administrators and teachers to assist with their development and implementation. As of January 2018, we have begun or completed work on 7 of the 13 Science recommendations and 6 of the 12 Health/PE recommendations.

Phys Ed & Health In Depth Review Updates to the Science recommendation implementation include: posters created to communicate the philosophy and vision for the department to a larger audience; additional professional development for Amplify resources in grades 6-8 was offered during the January in-service to teachers; a common assessment podcast has been developed for the March in-service when teams will be writing one common assessment for each course; and changes to the program of studies and communications to student began regarding the new pathways.

Health/PE has implemented the following recommendations: posters created to communicate the philosophy and vision for the department to a larger audience; the 8th-to-9th grade health teachers have completed the majority of the revisions to the overlap previously present within the health curriculum; consistent participation rubrics have been created and piloted at the middle school; and an overview of recommendations and work completed was integrated into the district’s Food Service and Wellness Committee.

Star360 Teaching and Learning

Implement Universal Screener (STAR 360) &
Aptitude Screener (CogAT 7)

The implementation of the computer-based, adaptive STAR 360 universal screener for reading and math in grades K-7 for all students and those receiving academic support in grades 8-12 continues. In January 2018, students took the second of three benchmark assessments as a component of the MTSS process for consistently identifying students in need of enrichment or remediation across the district. The third benchmark assessment will be given in March and will provide us with student growth data for the first time, as three data points will be available for the entire 2017-2018 school year.

A district data team, comprised of key personnel members from each building K-8, meets after each benchmark assessment window closes with the tasks of reviewing the performance data, examining the MTSS decision tree data points, and continuing to integrate the assessment results into our district practices. An example of this is the revision of the placement matrices for math and English Language Arts. Initial reports were shared with parents during the fall conferences and mailed home to anyone not attending a conference. The results of the January assessment will be mailed home to families in mid-February and will be accompanied by a cover letter explaining how to interpret the assessment results and will detail the change from the Early Literacy assessment in 1st grade in the fall to the Reading assessment for the January assessment.

Training sessions take place at the building and district level regularly through the use of coaching webinars. A final face-to-face training session is scheduled for the in-service on February 19th for K-6 staff members. The goal of the training will be to utilize the library of instructional planning tools to respond to students’ performance data to impact classroom responsiveness to students’ needs.Students taking Star 360

In November of 2017, the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT 7) was implemented for the first time for students in grades 2 and 5, as a universal ability screener.  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 is being utilized to identify students in need of enrichment and more challenging learning experience and has been incorporated as one component of the gifted screening matrix. A committee of building level administrators, school counselors, and gifted teachers was convened twice to work through the data points selected on the matrix and to run students through a draft of the matrix and to finalize the tool. We rolled out the new gifted matrices for each grade level at the start of the second semester. The district has budgeted for a small number of additional CogAT licenses to use for the purpose of gifted screening, when a child is in a grade level other than 2 or 5. This tool will help us to better identify students’ needs and to ensure that all students in need of differentiated instruction or services are identified for further assessment.

Teaching & Learning

Strengthen Technology Integration (K-12), Device Deployment
(K-6), Digital Citizenship, and Cyber Security

During the fall of 2017, the Director of Technology provided an update of the technology integration initiatives across the six buildings at the joint Operational Services / Academic Achievement Committee Meeting. Available data at the time included 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).

The data from both of these tools was utilized to design building level technology training sessions, facilitated by our coaches. The first semester calendar included opportunities across buildings to engage staff members in attending sessions of interest or need. A calendar for the second semester is being developed and will be deployed in a similar fashion. The January 15th in-service was comprised of sessions created to match the staff members’ self-selected proficiency levels with various technology tools. Sessions were extended to a full 3 and a quarter hour time period to allow for training on the tool, as well as time to begin planning for integration of the tool into the classroom. Additionally, we are continuing to ensure our work through digital citizenship programming in conjunction with the Business/Computer Science In-Depth Program Review to help keep our students safe online. Additional cyber security options and/or strategies are also being explored.

Teaching & Learning

Design and Deployment of Step-By-Step Guide
for Developing Common Assessments

In the Fall of 2017, a district assessment team was reconvened to focus specifically on the development of a step-by-step guide for common local assessments. The 11 member 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 step-by-step common assessment guide was created during a full day training and workshop session in October. A subcommittee of this team met to develop a podcast, which will be shared with staff members in late February to introduce the vision for one common assessment to be developed per course, prior to the end of the year. The finalized podcast prefaces the half-day in-service session on March 29th, when teams will be trained and provided time to work collaboratively on their first assessment.

The concept of developing common assessments arose from a recommendation in both the Health/PE and Science Departments, which is being expanded to include all departments as a best practice. Initially, we have defined the common assessments as “summative” in nature and connected to one unit across a course experience. Once these summative assessments are created, 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.

Student Services & Programs

Introduce MTSS Model for Highly Achieving
& 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 fully deployed to all staff.

MTSS 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 four voice over presentations 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. The four smaller modules that cover the whole process will cover the following:

●  MTSS - The basics of what MTSS is, how it focuses on student need and where/when we meet student need, and what the triggers are for implementing and/or removing an intervention

● Gifted MTSS – An overview of the relationship between MTSS and accelerated/gifted learners; this will include a bit about chapter 16 but will focus on intervention based on strengths

● Tiered Interventions for Accelerated/Gifted Learners – Specific examples of interventions at each tier

● Identification of Gifted Learners – What triggers a gifted evaluation and how does the matrix function in the evaluation process?