Woodland PreK-4 (Primary and Intermediate) School Report

MEMO

            TO:        Michael Green

            FROM:  Steven Carney

            CC:        School Board Members

            DATE:   11/4/15

            RE:        October Review and HIB Prevention 

Woodland PreK-4 (Primary and Intermediate) School: One School - Two Buildings

A Focus on Learning

The PreK-4 Vision and Mission is as follows:

Our vision is to create a K-4 system that inspires a passion for learning and guarantees that all our students learn and achieve at high levels.

Our mission is to provide a superior education by aligning our actions that model a relentless focus on learning with an unwavering belief that all students can learn and achieve at high levels.

To achieve our vision, we are working to develop and maintain an effective systematic process that ensures every child receives the additional time and support needed to learn at high levels.  The great news is that we are well on our way to building that systematic process.  Last week a small team traveled to Seattle to learn how we might expand our systematic approach to guaranteeing all students learn at "high levels".   We learned about a three Tier approach that research has shown to have massive impact on a school's ability to guarantee student learning at high levels. Structurally, we have the first two of the three Tiers in place.  Tier 1 is what all students receive.  We currently make sure and guarantee that all students are in the core grade level instruction for ELA and Math.  That is, all students have equal access to grade-level standards.  Then, with the assumption that all students don't learn the same way and that all students don't learn at the same speed, we implemented Tier 2 this year.  We call Tier 2 our "extension block."  In order to guarantee that all students have access to additional support to master grade level standards, all students participate in the extension block.  Students that demonstrate that they have already mastered the essential standards have an opportunity to extend their learning.    Lastly, we also know that some students lack prior skills and knowledge.  Some students are missing the universal skills of learning in reading, writing, number sense, English language, attendance, and behavior.  This is where Tier 3 comes into play.  In the coming weeks a core team is working to provide a system for intensive remediation in the universal skills, Tier 3.   In other words, in order to guarantee that all students will learn and achieve at high levels, then all students will get access to the core, all students will get access to the core and more (additional support in the core through extension), and some students will receive the core and more and more (additional support in universal skills, in addition to and not in place of the core and support in the core).  So all students will receive Tier 1 (the core) and Tier 2 (the core and more) and some students will receive all three tiers (the core and more and more).  

In the days and weeks to come, we will share more about the concepts above and ways we are successfully implementing Tier 3.  It's exciting.  In the meantime, it's important to celebrate that we have the Tier 1 and Tier 2 structures fully in place.  Our Monday morning collaborative processes focus on the following four questions.

  • What specifically do we expect all students to learn?
  • How will we know when each student has learned it?
  • How will we respond when students are having difficulty learning?
  • How will we respond when students demonstrate that they have learned?

As we guarantee that all students get access to the core and support in the core, we are working together to establish sound structures and processes to guarantee that the students who need Tier 3 receive it as well.   We have amazing work ahead of us. 

Student Learning Goals

K-By November 16, 100% of Kindergarten students will be able to quantify, recognize, and write numbers zero to ten with 80% or above accuracy.

1st-All students will solve addition and subtraction word problems with 80% accuracy by November 2, 2015

2nd - By Thursday, October 29th 100% of all students will be able to correctly retell a narrative using beginning, middle, and end as measured by completing a graphic organizer with 100% accuracy. 

3rd-By November 6th, all 3rd grade students will tell time to the minute with 80% accuracy

4th -By November 13th all 4th grade students will score a level 3 on standard 4NBT.3 (rounding) on the end of module assessment.

Professional Learning

On October 21st and 22nd, a team of PreK-4 staff went to Seattle to participate in a workshop on Response to Intervention (RTI).  RTI is not a series of implementation steps to cross off on a list, but a way of thinking about how we as educators can ensure each child receives the time and support needed to achieve success. The workshop was developed for school teams who have started RTI but are still refining processes or experiencing challenges. The presenter, Mike Mattos has worked with hundreds of schools throughout North America and was able to help our school make RTI efficient, effective, and equitable. RTI work must be divided between collaborative teacher teams and two school wide teams (a leadership team and an intervention team). Together, the entire school assumes responsibility for the learning of every student.

We learned why bureaucratic, paperwork-heavy, compliance-oriented, test-score-driven approaches fail—and then we learned how to create an RTI model that works. We acquired four essential guiding principles—collective responsibility, concentrated instruction, convergent assessment, and certain access—and experienced a simple process for bringing these principles to life in our school.

  • Drive implementation using the four guiding principles.
  • Create a school leadership team to steer the shift to a culture of collective responsibility.
  • Utilize collaborative teacher teams to define essential learnings.
  • Create a toolbox of effective interventions.
  • Build a school wide intervention team to address complex issues such as motivation, attendance, and behavior.

Events

Family Math Nights

Heidi Rhodes has brilliantly facilitated 2 of 4 Family Math Nights.  The first two were on Oct. 27th and Nov. 3rd.  The next two events are on Nov. 10th and Nov. 27th.  Thank you Heidi for helping our families understand how to support their children learning math.

Oct. 27 - Helping with Math at Home: Ideas for Parents

Helping with Math at Home is designed to help parents understand the importance of playing with math in the home. Participants experience several mathematical games designed to build fluency with numbers. The session also helps parents learn how to help their children when they are stuck on a math problem. The importance of persistence is highlighted. The content of the session is appropriate for parents and teachers of grades 3 through 8, and students of grades 4 - 8.

Nov. 3 - Understanding Addition and Subtraction in the Primary Grades

‚ÄčUnderstanding Addition and Subtraction in the Primary Grades is designed to help parents understand the role of mental arithmetic in developing numerical reasoning. Parents experience the kinds of lessons that help young children learn basic facts in meaningful contexts and through reasoning rather than rote memorization and isolated drill. The Session focuses on ways to help children become fluent with small numbers and emphasizes the importance of such fluency as a foundation for working with larger numbers,. The content of this session is appropriate for teachers and parents of grades K through 3.

Nov. 10 - Understanding Multiplication Across the Grades

Understanding Multiplication Across the Grades is designed to help parents learn about how multiplication can be taught for understanding. Parents experience ways to teach multiplication in important and engaging mathematical contexts such as probability, geometry, and data analysis. Fun and engaging ways to provide practice with basic facts are highlighted. The difference between a focus on rote memorization and a focus on knowing and understanding is highlighted. The content of this session is appropriate for teachers and parents of grades 3 through 8, and students of grades 4-8.

Nov. 17 - Understanding Fractions Across the Grades

Fractions Across the Grades is designed to help parents understand what it means to teach for conceptual understanding and the importance of developing mathematical understandings over time. Parents experience how fractions can be taught in a problem-solving context. The content of this session is appropriate for teachers and parents of grades 3 through 6, and students of grades 4 through 6.

Limo and Lunch

PTSA sponsored a wonderful event for many of our K-4 students! Students who earned $100 or more in pledges for our Walk-a-Thon were rewarded with a limo ride and pizza lunch!  Thank you PTSA.

Veteran’s Day Assembly

Grades 2, 3, and 4 will be hosting a Veteran’s Day Assembly on Tuesday, November 10th to honor all of our Veteran’s.  Each grade will be hosting at individual times in order to accommodate families in their gymnasium.  There will also be a special video presentation from our K-1 students that will be shown during each assembly. 

Grade 2 will host 8:30am – 9:00am

Grade 3 will host 9:15am – 9:45am

Grade 4 will host 10:00am – 10:30am

Harassment, Intimidation, & Bullying Prevention

At Woodland PreK-4, our approach to Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying is proactive and preventative.  We provide a safe and supportive learning environment for all students through the development of a positive school culture.  Using Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports as our framework, we utilize a multi-tiered approach to teaching, modeling, acknowledging and reinforcing the prosocial skills necessary for our students’ success in school and beyond. 

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a framework for establishing the social culture and behavioral supports needed for schools to be effective learning environments for all students.  At Woodland PreK-4, we have clearly defined school wide expectations.  The “Woodland Way” is to be safe, respectful, responsible and a problem solver.  These expectations are clearly defined for each area of the school and explicitly taught, modeled, practiced and positively reinforced on a consistent and ongoing basis. 

In addition to school wide interventions and supports, a school wide PBIS leadership team collects, analyzes and uses behavioral data to define problem behaviors and create goals and action plans to solve school wide behavior issues.  This team seeks to identify patterns and trends in specific environments around the school and creates the systems necessary for the success of all students in these areas.  This same data system (School Wide Information System (SWIS)), also provides behavioral data for individual students.  Our support team uses this data and the Student Risk Screening Scale (SRSS) to identify behavior patterns and motivation of behavior to use in the planning, implementation and monitoring of individual student behavioral support plans. 

At the universal level, all students in all classrooms, we use the concept of “Bucket Filling” to teach students how their actions impact others.  We explicitly teach, model and positively reinforce the kind words and actions students say and do that make a positive impact on other people. Students also learn about the negative impact unkind and disrespectful behavior has on others, referred to as “bucket dipping.”  Students are taught to “use their lid” to protect themselves and others when someone is trying to dip in their bucket.  The bucket metaphor provides developmentally appropriate language and examples to help students learn that their actions, whether positive or negative, have an impact on those around them.  Students learn that as they fill someone else’s bucket, it fills their bucket too.  As part of the school wide social culture we wish to create, we have extended the Bucket Filling concept to our staff and families. 

In addition to our school wide “Woodland Way” expectations and ”Bucket Filling,” students in all classrooms receive lessons and positive reinforcement of social emotional skills using the Second Step curriculum. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) focuses on developing the social-emotional skills of children, enabling them to be socially competent citizens within the school environment and help build and overall positive climate within the school.  These skills are critical to student success in school and beyond.  Second Step is a research based curriculum taught in all classrooms in our school.  It focuses on core social-emotional skills that facilitate bullying prevention, including empathy, emotion management, and social problem solving. 

When done well and right, we can expect that most of our students will respond to school wide prevention of bullying and disrespectful behavior.  We can also expect that some students will need additional support to learn the school wide expectations and social skills we teach.  When a student is not responding to our school wide interventions, our team works closely with the family and student to plan, implement, and monitor effective behavior interventions based on teaching, additional positive adult attention, and explicit positive reinforcement.  Some examples of interventions we use at this level are Check In Check Out (CICO), student jobs, incentive programs, regular school-home communication, and interventions based on student neurodiversity.  Students who require additional support to this second tier, receive a wrap-around approach of support including the family, school support team, and community resources.

While considering all of our preventative and proactive supports in place for our students, we also create the structures and strategies for responding when students make choices that negatively impact others.  Our response to student behavior is based on the concept of restorative practices.  We work really hard to create a community within our school.  When a student does something that harms the community as a whole or an individual student, we facilitate the opportunity for the student to reflect on, and take responsibility for, their actions and determine a plan for how to repair the harm done.  Often times, this becomes a conversation between two students that allows both students to express their perspective of what happened and how it made them feel.  They can then work together to determine how to “make things right” between them.  This process validates students and allows them to learn and practice empathy, problem solving and communication skills while empowering them to fix their mistakes and repair harm done. 

In all we do at Woodland K-4, our greatest successes come from our team approach to prevention and problem solving.  In addition to our school team, parents are our partners in everything we do, from the school wide, universal prevention level, to the individual student support level.  We find that including parents in our team decisions allows us to learn more about the student so we can more accurately determine effective interventions.  Working together, we achieve much more than we could ever hope to accomplish alone. 

Changing school culture and implementing a school wide, systematic approach to prevention and intervention of bullying and disrespectful behavior takes time.  While we feel confident with what we already have in place to address student social skills and behavior, we are continually seeking to learn more and improve our practices.  Our immediate next steps are to continually develop as professionals in the areas of effective teaching practices, restorative justice, positive behavior support and adverse childhood experiences (ACES).  Due to the traumatic experiences faced by a growing number of our students, we aim to become a trauma-sensitive school.  In addition to creating an environment where all students feel safe, welcomed, and supported, our goal is to address trauma’s impact on learning on a schoolwide basis.  Through research, professional development, and team based action planning we are working toward making this vision a reality.