Calais Elementary School

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Principal's Report

Principal's Report February 2015

E-mail Print PDF

Principal and Superintendent’s Report – February 11, 2015

Link to the current Continuous Improvement Plan: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1h9mfTofFfdiiUqc6OkdIMZ-GArTWzqpSkTXc3Xinl3o/edit?usp=sharing

  1. Literacy

Our Friday, February 6th in-service day will provide teachers from across the SU time to analyze reading assessment data together. Our elementary reading specialists have designed an engaging and action packed training for upper elementary and middle school ELA teachers on scoring and analysis of results on the DRA-2. As a reminder, the DRA-2 is a new reading benchmark assessment we will be using in place of the Fountas and Pinnell (F&P) assessment in grades 4-6. The shift has been made because this assessment is a better fit for grades seven and eight and therefore will provide for a smoother transition from elementary to middle school.

The WCSU Literacy Steering Committee has completed their official first version of student achievement non-negotiables in writing. In the coming weeks, Marissa will work with our committee representative, Marcy Larrabee, to design roll-out activities for both our classroom and allied arts teachers. It is great to see this curriculum work gathering momentum!

The CIP indicators for February 9th are pasted below. Action steps for literacy will be updated in the coming weeks.

Blue/italic text = indicator that was not met

Red/underlined text   = indicator that was carried forward from previous benchmark date

(Text in “Did We Make   It?” column will be black/bold if indicator has been met)

By February 9, 2015

  1.   Evidence of instruction aligned to writing conventions scope   and sequence in grades K-6
  2. Formative assessment data entered into writing conventions   tracking tool for grades K-6
  3. Winter F&P administered; results analyzed for class- and   school-wide trends, income/special ed status/gender trends, and individual   student needs
  4. Evidence of whole (or nearly whole) class re-teaching in areas   indicated by Fall F&P
  5. Evidence of whole (or nearly whole) class re-teaching in areas   indicated by first post-instruction writing prompt and writing conventions   formative assessment tracking tool
  6. Intervention documentation in place for students identified as   below grade level on Fall F&P
  7. December computer/typing skills assessment complete
  8.   Finalized K-6   computer/typing skills scope and sequence (by 1/5/15 as stated in goal)

As of Feb. 3rd:

A.       No evidence has been   collected. At the same time, the staff has agreed to use the conventions   elements of the WCSU Writing Student Achievement Non-Negotiables as the guide   for this document and teachers do reference the N-N’s when planning   instruction and assessing students. Official roll-out of writing   non-negotiables will occur before February vacation. Evidence of this   alignment should be available in March as the formative assessment protocol   will have been finished and in use for about a month at that time.

B.     The writing committee is   nearly finished with writing conventions checklist/formative assessment   protocol; as noted above, we expect assessment data to be available and being   used to plan instruction and provide feedback to students by the end of   March.

C.     Assessments (F&P for grades K-3   and DRA-2 for grades 4-6) administered on time. Analysis will occur at SU   in-service day on Feb. 6th.

D.     Reading specialist’s   groups have been adjusted based on results, both in terms of which students   she serves and in terms of what skills various groups address.

E.       No evidence has been   collected. Second post-instruction prompt has been administered or will be   soon. Writing conventions checklist/formative assessment protocol is nearly   finalized. Local data analysis tools have not yet been developed; as we adopt   more SU-wide local assessments, priority is given to developing data tools   for those assessments.

F.      All students below grade level work with reading specialist   and/or special educators. Those individuals keep data on how students perform   during their intervention sessions, most often in the form of a written   record that tracks accuracy, fluency, and comprehension.

G.     Mostly; Jill is working with classroom teachers to assess typing   rate and many other basic skills.

H.     Completed document finished on January 9th. Will be shared with   staff and finalized before end of year; at this point priority is to have it   in place at the start of 2015-2016 school year.

  1. Mathematics

At the Friday, February 6th in-service day, K-2 teachers will spend part of their day analyzing student results on our new screening tool that was administered in December. We are looking forward to finding the best possible way to use this data to inform whole class instruction and individual student interventions.

The CES Math Committee has continued their work developing intervention protocols and lesson materials, particularly for students struggling with place value and number concept, this winter. We are looking forward to another round of “show and tell” with the full staff in March and along with that conversations about how best to use this great new resource.

The CIP indicators for January 30th are pasted below. Action steps for mathematics will be updated in the coming weeks.

Blue/italic text = indicator that was not met

Red/underlined text   = indicator that was carried forward from previous benchmark date

(Text in “Did We Make   It?” column will be black/bold if indicator has been met)

By January 30, 2015

  1. Second quarterly assessment administered; results analyzed for   class- and school-wide trends, income/special ed status/gender trends, and   individual student needs (goal is for 80% proficiency)
  2. Evidence of whole (or nearly whole) class re-teaching in areas   indicated by quarterly assessment
  3.   Intervention documentation in place for students with identified   gaps after first quarterly assessment
  4. Fact fluency/number sense trackers in use
  5. As noted in earlier sections, this work is being led by the WCSU   Mathematics Steering Committee. A screening tool was administered in   December. Benchmark assessments to be administered twice each year are   currently in development.
  6. See above.
  7.   Given that the assessments are not yet fully in place, full   completion of this indicator is impossible. That being said, we do have capacity   identify at least some of the students who are performing below grade level   and put purposeful interventions in place. To date, some intervention forms   and lesson resources have been developed, but neither are in widespread use.   There are few math interventions in place other than small group re-teaching   lessons administered by classroom teachers during the regular math block. It   is worth noting that SU-wide PD has been focused on tier one or primary   classroom instruction for the past several years; tier 2 interventions are   not yet something we have a great deal of training with nor are they a point   of emphasis in SU-level work.
  8.   Use continues to be   more consistent in some grades than others, but at least more than half of   our students are experiencing these assessments and instruction that is   informed by assessment results on a regular basis.
  1. School Climate

The PBIS Leadership Team is currently working hard to reflect on our successes and challenges with implementing Tier 1 and Tier 2 supports. It is the time of year when we administer some surveys and other assessment tools and then use our analysis of the information we gather to determine if we plan to attend a training for the next tier (in this case, the third and final layer of supports) in March. We are committed to making a very thoughtful decision given the impending departure of two team members, Marissa and Candace LaCroix.

We are looking forward to welcoming many community members into the school on Town Meeting Day. Teachers are working to collect samples of students’ best work for display in the halls and gym. We will also have a slideshow to display and may be able to offer student-led tours of the building during lunch. This is a great opportunity to show off what our kids do each and every day!

The CIP indicators for January 30th are pasted below. Action steps for school climate will be updated in the coming weeks.

Blue/italic text = indicator that was not met

Red/underlined text   = indicator that was carried forward from previous benchmark date

(Text in “Did We Make   It?” column will be black/bold if indicator has been met)

By January 30, 2015

A.      Behavior and any other relevant PBIS data shared with staff at   the end of each month via memo

B.       Second and possibly third All School Celebration complete and   successful

C.       Evidence of analysis of SWIS data and changes to Tier 1 and/or 2   supports informed by data

D.      Evidence of a second and third successful Tier 1 “Booster”   challenge

  1. SET score equal to or better than 87.5% (the score obtained in   fall 2013)
  2.   Evidence of reflection   on 1-2 co-planning and parent communication systems
  3. Data has been shared a few times each year. While forms are   being used consistently, they are not generating data that can be easily   analyzed for trends in severity of behavior. PBIS team is considering changes   to office referral form and practices in its completion that would provide   more informative data.
  4. Two All School Celebrations have been held to date. Both were   generally well received with the older students showing slightly less   enthusiasm.
  5. Data was used to design booster week in December. Given   generally static numbers of referral by month, location, and type of   behavior, PBIS Leadership Team is currently engaging in thoughtful   conversations about ways to sustain Tier 1 programming given challenges with   keeping celebrations fresh and exciting and keeping students and staff   members invested in the recognition system. Current plan is to administer the   annual assessments (SAS - self-assessment survey and BOQ - Benchmarks of   Quality), share results with entire staff, and plan next steps with entire   staff.
  6. To date, only one booster challenge has taken place. Response   was positive and a decrease in referrals for minor disruptions during class   was found.
  7. SET is no longer in use by state PBIS folks.
  8.   1/20 in-service day   looked at collaboration and meeting effectiveness across school. “Units”   (grades K-3 and grades 4-6) committed to reviewing the purposes and   structures of their lunch time meetings following this day’s work.
  1. Other
  2. Continuous Improvement Planning – Looking Back and Looking Ahead

We are about halfway through the year and thus, at least hopefully, the current CIP. In general, while we may be a bit behind on some deadlines, we are on pace to meet the vast majority of goals and action steps by the end of the year. Some particular successes include the creation and routine use of math fact fluency assessments and an increasingly manageable and effective writing prompt system. It is worth noting that some goals have been suspended or delayed as WCSU curriculum steering committees have undertaken similar work and it makes more sense to follow those groups’ leads, even if we must wait a bit.

Looking ahead, we will begin creating the new CIP in the coming weeks. There are some significant changes to state requirements for these plans, so we will once again begin our work with an SU-wide kick-off meeting. A group of Washington Central Leadership Team and Curriculum Council members are working to put together a training that includes using school boards’ student learning outcomes to inform priorities for goals and action steps. We are very excited about having a clear end in mind as we embark upon this planning and are looking forward to using the CIP process to spread the word about those student learning outcome documents. For continuity, Marissa hopes to assemble a team with many familiar faces and that includes school staff members who will be in a good position to lead the work next year.

 

Principal's Report January 2015

E-mail Print PDF

Principal and Superintendent’s Report – January 15, 2015

Link to the current Continuous Improvement Plan: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1h9mfTofFfdiiUqc6OkdIMZ-GArTWzqpSkTXc3Xinl3o/edit?usp=sharing

  1. Literacy

We are in the midst of the winter reading benchmark window. Students in grades 1-3 will be assessed using the Fountas & Pinnell benchmark system. Reading of students in grades 4-6 will be measured using a new assessment system, the DRA-2 (Developmental Reading Assessment -2nd Edition). As noted in last month’s report, this assessment provides more accurate and actionable information for students who are reading at high levels in 4th through 8th grades. It will also provide for more consistency and thus a smoother transition as students move from elementary to middle school. As always, we are very much looking forward to celebrating the great progress our students have made so far this year!

We have a number of in-service days coming up. On Monday, January 19th, teachers will meet in grade- or subject-alike teams for the morning; they will have their contract-mandated half day of grading time in the afternoon. This will be the third time these teams have met this school year. We are thrilled to be able to have more time for colleagues to connect across the SU this year. On Tuesday, January 20th, we will have a building-based day during which we begin training for the new state assessment, the SBAC. We will also use some time on January 20th to take stock of our progress toward our CIP goals with an eye toward possible priorities for the 2015-2016 school year. Finally, on February 6th, teachers from across the SU will reconvene to analyze reading assessment data together. This will include further training on the DRA-2 for upper elementary teachers.

There are no new CIP indicators since those from November 25, 2014. The next round of indicators is for February 9, 2015. They are pasted below for your reference.

By February 9, 2015

  1. Winter F&P administered; results analyzed for class- and   school-wide trends, income/special ed status/gender trends, and individual   student needs
  2. Evidence of whole (or nearly whole) class re-teaching in areas   indicated by Fall F&P
  3. Evidence of whole (or nearly whole) class re-teaching in areas   indicated by first post-instruction writing prompt and writing conventions   formative assessment tracking tool
  4. Intervention documentation in place for students identified as   below grade level on Fall F&P
  5. December computer/typing skills assessment complete
  6.   Finalized K-6   computer/typing skills scope and sequence (by 1/5/15 as stated in goal)
  1. Mathematics

Classroom teachers spent the first Fun Fitness Friday meeting to discuss cognitive rigor and levels of proficiency in mathematics. We were fortunate to have Ellen Dorsey, WCSU Math Coach, join us for most of the afternoon. We discussed several examples of student tasks from across grade levels with an eye toward the ways to support students in reaching the deepest level of proficiency: application and communication. It was a great opportunity for colleagues to consider where students are coming from and where they are headed. We also had a great moment of celebrating when the sixth grade math teacher remarked that there are no “finger counters” in his class this year. He thanked the fifth grade teacher. She then turned and thanked the fourth grade teacher. This continued all the way down to kindergarten. Anecdotes like this hint at just how much knowledge and skill our teachers have gained in teaching mathematics in the past few years.

The in-service time we have in the coming weeks includes two opportunities for work in mathematics. First, it is expected that many of the WCSU grade-alike teams will spend time discussing priorities and strategies and mathematics. Second, as we begin prepping for the SBAC, teachers will become familiar with the types of tasks students will be asked to complete on this rigorous, computer-based assessment.

There are no new CIP indicators since those shared in November. The next set of benchmarks is due January 30th and appears below for your reference.

By January 30, 2015

  1. Second quarterly assessment administered; results analyzed for   class- and school-wide trends, income/special ed status/gender trends, and   individual student needs (goal is for 80% proficiency)
  2. Evidence of whole (or nearly whole) class re-teaching in areas   indicated by quarterly assessment
  3. Intervention documentation in place for students with identified   gaps after first quarterly assessment
  4.   Fact fluency/number   sense trackers in use
  1. School Climate

Fun Fitness Friday is up and running. We had a great first week on January 9th. Relatively reasonable temperatures and a full, if thin, covering snow meant that all groups were able to engage in their standard activities. As noted in the mathematics section, classroom teachers stayed behind to do some professional development in mathematics. This week, classroom teachers will head out and allied arts teachers will have the opportunity to collaborate and calibrate on report cards.

In the coming weeks, we will work with our point person from VTPBiS to take stock of our school-wide programming using some of their assessment and survey tools. Results of these assessments will guide us in determining whether we are ready to attend an intensive (tier three) supports training in March. We are also looking forward to an upcoming meeting with this person to spend some time reflecting on our targeted, or tier two, supports. Our small size means that a level of support that is only slightly individualized and often delivered to groups of students together is tricky – we don’t always have even two students with similar needs. We are excited for the opportunity to use this resource to gather ideas from schools similar to ours.

There are no new CIP indicators since those shared in November. The next set of benchmarks is due January 30th and appears below for your reference.

By January 30, 2015

  1. Behavior and any other relevant PBIS data shared with staff at   the end of each month via memo
  2. Second and possibly third All School Celebration complete and   successful
  3. Evidence of analysis of SWIS data and changes to Tier 1 and/or 2   supports informed by data
  4. Evidence of a second and third successful Tier 1 “Booster”   challenge
  5. SET score equal to or better than 87.5% (the score obtained in   fall 2013)
  6.   Evidence of reflection   on 1-2 co-planning and parent communication systems
  1. Other
  2. Supervision and Evaluation Update

The midyear evaluation for teachers in their first or second year in the SU is due January 15th. We are on track to have all observations, meetings, and write-ups completed on time for the four teachers in this evaluation cycle.

The next key deadline is the completion of a formal observation and the associated meetings for experienced teachers in a summative cycle. We have three teachers in this cycle and are on track to meet this deadline in all cases.

The Blue Ribbon committee met for a full day on December 16th to discuss revisions to the supervision and evaluation system. As shared in September, last year this committee guided the SU in selecting a new evaluation tool, the 2013 Danielson Rubric. Their work this school year is focused on designing a process – meetings, observations, written documents produced by both teachers and supervisors, etc. – that will most effectively leverage this new tool and lead to continuous teacher growth.

  1. Principal’s Message for Town Report

We’ve have had another great year filled with memorable special events, tremendous student growth, and significant progress toward curricular goals. We continue to see students thriving academically and socially; in the fall of 2013, our students once again outscored the state by at least 10 percentage points in both mathematics and reading on state exams. At the same time, Calais students also show great creativity in all contexts, but especially in classes like music, art, and social studies. Our work to ensure that all students experience happiness and success across all disciplines and settings would not be possible with the continued support of the Calais community. We are grateful for the volunteer hours, moral support, and, of course, funding that make each day great! On behalf of our students and staff, thank you.

Since the fall of 2012, Washington Central Supervisory Union teachers and administrators have been coming together in diverse, representative curriculum committees to develop our first guaranteed, viable PreK-12 curriculum. We currently have an overarching Curriculum Council and specific steering committees for the following content areas: literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, and social curriculum. Calais Elementary School has representatives on each and every committee, meaning that an impressive percentage of our teachers are participating in these leadership opportunities. The Curriculum Council has established a definition of “curriculum” that will guide the work of each committee: “Curriculum is a standards-based continuum of agreed upon concepts, skills and habits of mind driven by the school community’s values. The curriculum framework includes the instructional practices and assessments that support student learning and the transfer of knowledge and skills to real world settings.” This definition means that the work committees engage in will address the Common Core State Standards, but not be driven by it. While the Common Core State Standards are important in our state and national context, we know from successful international and national models that there are many other things a comprehensive curriculum must include. Our current SU-wide priorities in curriculum work are developing “non-negotiables” for student achievement at each grade level in each content area and building a comprehensive local assessment system that measures a range of depths of knowledge across all content areas and grade levels.

In the spring of 2014, I worked with a committee of two teachers, one parent, and a board member to develop our Continuous Improvement Plan. As was the case in the spring of 2013, this comprehensive plan brings together the many plans we have always written – the Action Plan, Technology Plan, Title I Schoolwide Program Plan, etc. It is worth noting that things look a little different this year as the state transitions from the NECAP to a new assessment system. The full plan is updated regularly and can be found at the following web address: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1h9mfTofFfdiiUqc6OkdIMZ-GArTWzqpSkTXc3Xinl3o/edit?usp=sharing

Literacy

Some key targets in literacy:

  • 90% will meet grade level standard on the June reading assessment; 100% of those who do not achieve grade level benchmark will demonstrate at least one year of growth.
  • Gap in proficiency in reading between students who do and do not qualify for free and reduced-price lunch (FRL) will be 10% or less in June 2015 (gap on fall 2013 NECAP was 16%).
  • 80% will write at grade level as measured by our Common Core rubrics on end-of-year prompts.

Given the current SU priority of enhancing our local assessment system, we are piloting some new reading assessments in the upper grades and working to develop software tools to allow for more thorough and prompt analysis of assessment data in all content areas. These tools will increase the frequency and efficacy of data-informed classroom instruction and intervention lessons.

We are looking forward to celebrating student growth in reading after midyear testing is completed. This fall we were thrilled to see significantly less summer regression; perhaps our first place finish in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge for the state of Vermont supported this progress! In June of 2014, all students met grade level standard or showed at least one year of growth in reading; we expect to equal or better that result this year.

Mathematics

Some key targets in mathematics:

  • Create and consistently use fact fluency/number sense tracker; all students will demonstrate one year of growth on these.
  • 80% will score proficient or better on internal math benchmark assessments.
  • Maintain or reduce gap in proficiency on math benchmark assessments between students who do and do not qualify for free and reduced-price lunch (FRL) in June 2015 (gap on fall 2013 NECAP was 10%).

We have recently completed the first administration of a supervisory union-wide mathematics screening tool. In the coming months we are looking forward to measuring student mastery and growth using this and other school- and SU-based tools.

School Climate

In the spring of 2014 we administered a climate survey for the first time since the fall of 2011. We celebrated significant improvement in parent and staff results, particularly on questions regarding supervision and support of student behavior and staff morale.

Our school climate work continues to focus on our development and maintenance of PBIS (positive behavior interventions and supports). This behavior management system provides a framework for creating a school-wide program that differentiates support to meet the social and emotional needs of each student. In the fall of 2014 we added targeted or Tier 2 supports to the universal programming implemented in the 2013-2014 school year. It has been great to be able to add an extra layer of support for struggling students to our school-wide system of clear expectations, regular recognition of positive behaviors, and swift and consistent responses to problem behaviors. We are on track to achieve our CIP goal of readiness for Tier 3 supports in March of 2015.

 


Page 2 of 20