Principal and Superintendent’s Report – May 1, 2014
This month’s report includes some references to the 2014-2015 Continuous Improvement Plan as the preliminary work on that plan has recently been completed. The plan itself will be brought to the board in our regular meeting at the end of May. The process followed this year was a bit different for several reasons. We were updating the previous plan rather than starting from scratch or embarking on many new projects and the timeline was moved up to better match the Consolidated Federal Grant schedule. This year’s CIP planning process was:
- March 31 – April 11: Marissa brought last year’s CIP to regularly scheduled meetings of CES-based committees (writing, math, and PBIS); committees celebrated completed tasks, identified work left to be done, and planned SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) targets for 2014-2015 school year.
- March 31 – April 15: Marissa entered committees’ thoughts into new CIP and fleshed out the ideas by creating progress indicators and action steps.
- April 15 & April 17: Traditional, representative CIP committee met to discuss and amend the draft materials Marissa created. Committee members were largely the same individuals as those who served in this capacity last year.
- April 17 – April 22: Marissa incorporated ideas from the CIP committee and completed the Title I portions of the plan (an evaluation of this year’s programming, a proposal for next year’s programming, and the documenting of explicit connections in the CIP between the CIP and the Title I proposal).
In late March, the WCSU Literacy Steering Committee met to create student achievement non-negotiables in writing. Kelly MacMartin and Marcy Larrabee participated in this work. Marcy will take over as our representative on this committee next year; she is overlapping with Kelly right now to ensure that we have someone knowledgeable of and invested in this important curriculum document as we work to implement it next year.
All six pre- and post-instruction writing prompts have been administered at this point. Three year-end summative prompts will be given in May. We look forward to seeing what kids have held onto and how they have grown throughout the year.
When the Writing Committee met to discuss the CIP, they agreed that they want to continue working on our writing assessment system next year. We have had some significant variation in the style of prompt and the tools used to score prompts throughout the year, and have not been able to draw as many conclusions from the data as we would like. The first order of business in the new CIP is for the committee to create a one page or shorter statement that articulates the purpose of and philosophy behind our writing prompt system.
The Math Committee continues to organize work with the math practices. At the end of the year we will have pre- and post-instruction data regarding students’ knowledge of the practices. We will also have at least one data point assessing student use of the practices (based on teacher observation) for each child.
When the Math Committee met to discuss the CIP, the major focus of conversation was assessment. As you read in the data presentation last month, our local assessments are still being developed. Teachers are hungry for a mathematics assessment that provides information like the F&P does in reading. Accordingly, the new CIP has as a primary target for the development of a quarterly benchmark assessment at each grade level. We are particularly motivated to make this goal happen knowing that we will not have any state test data until the very end of the 2014-2015 school year. Plus, next year being the very first SBAC year, it is unlikely that that data will be particularly informative.
This summer, three teachers will attend a math lab school hosted at U-32 and taught by Mahesh Sharma. This continued consistency in professional development is exciting as it brings more coordinated and effective instruction to students.
- School Climate
On March 20th and 21st, the seven-member PBIS Leadership Team attended a training at which we learned about and began to plan our second level of programming: Targeted Supports. Since that training, we have begun piloting a specific “Tier 2” support called Check-In/Check-Out. Students, families, and staff members have all been excited to try this more individualized yet still fairly systematic approach.
As we worked on new projects at that training, the importance of being intentional about our maintenance of the Universal Supports level or programming became clear to the team. First, the “Tier 1” level is all the support about 80% of students will get and should need; we have to be sure that those 80% are getting great programming! Second, those who need more targeted support still need a general context that is positive, consistent, and where expectations are clear. Finally, coins and celebrations grow stale for students and staff alike rather quickly; it is our responsibility to take the lead in finding strategies to keep things fresh.
In service of our mission to sustain high quality Tier 1 work, a subcommittee has taken on planning incentives for and providing reminders to distribute coins. We have also planned two mandatory all staff meetings. The first was held on April 9th and aimed at providing some theoretical background about the function of behavior to build common language around why students behave the way they do. The second was held on April 30th and focused on creating common understanding of key categories of problem behaviors (where is the line between disruption and disrespect, for example) and reviewing procedures and expectations for filling out office referral forms.
The PBIS Leadership Team found that the new CIP should be highly similar; we just needed to update the tier numbers. Instead of working toward eligibility to attend a Tier 2 training (goal=achieved!), we will work toward eligibility to attend a Tier 3 training. Rather than working toward a high energy, successful roll-out of Universal Supports (Tier 1), we will plan a great roll-out of Targeted Supports (Tier 2).
At our final April meeting, the Washington Central Leadership Team planned for a slightly updated climate survey to be administered in May. As usual, there will be surveys for families, students, and staff members. Students will complete paper surveys. Staff members and families will have both a paper and an online option. The new CIP includes plans for the CIP Committee to reconvene once we have the results to analyze the data and make changes to the plan as needed. We will also work toward the 2013-2014 CIP’s goals for participation: 80% for families, 95% for students and staff.
- NECAP Scores and Special Education Presentation
Per the Board’s request, there will be a special education presentation at the start of the May 1st meeting. The special education staff is excited to provide some background about our numbers, services, and staffing as well as sharing the celebrations and next steps they have found in the NECAP data and in our own local assessments. We are also looking forward to a test that is administered later in the school year as our special education students are often our most vulnerable to summer regression.
We have time in the agenda to touch base on this topic. Given that there was not an opportunity to discuss the PowerPoint presentation in March, Charlotte, Marissa, and Bill decided to hold some time at the May meeting to answer any questions and spend a little time making sure there is common understanding. Marissa is hoping folks can come with any questions as well as a brief description of the one to three trends they found most noteworthy.
The new CIP includes several references to technology, to ensure that staff members are ready to use data analysis and intervention planning tools that we plan to develop. Jill and Marissa are working to hold trainings to bring everyone up to speed on Google Apps. Google tools are a great platform for collaboration, but many staff members have yet to explore them. The trainings aim to break down simple barriers such as: which browser to use; how to find and bookmark sites; how to link one’s Google email to one’s regular U-32 email; and to develop proficiency in using apps like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Sites.
The CIP also includes plans to develop a scope and sequence of basic computer and typing skills for students in grades K-6. This is largely driven by the fact that the spring 2015 SBAC will be administered on computers. We want to be sure that technology proficiency is not a barrier to completing the assessment; in part because we always want our scores to be good, but largely because we want students to feel confident and successful on these and all other assessments.
The packet includes information about the roof bid. Because our current finances make it possible to complete the roof repairs in one summer, we put the project out to bid. You’ll note that the bid spec was to do the roof over sections 2-5. Section 1 was completed last summer and Section 6 is just five years old.
In the next report, Jason and Marissa will provide a preview of the summer projects.