ELMA SCHOOL DISTRICT
2011/12 SCHOOL YEAR
While all of the current teachers in the Elma School District meet the requirements of “Highly Qualified Teacher”, the continued improvement of our program depends on more; namely a strategic plan to make sure our teaching and support staff is moving in the same direction.
For the past four years the Elma School District has been following a system-wide approach to improving student achievement. This process has involved all staff working together, focusing on aligning our curriculum grade to grade, implementing regular assessments which identify student needs, and designing specific interventions relative to these needs.
The vehicle for our process has been our Summer Institutes which have taken place every August for the past three years. During these Institutes certificated and classified staffs have worked in K-12 teams for our seven major curriculum areas (Math, Reading, Writing, Science, Social Studies, Arts, Health/P.E.). All seven teams have followed the same process which has involved: forming group norms; identifying essential standards which flow from grade to grade; deciding on assessments based on these standards; and developing interventions for student needs as demonstrated by the assessments.
The intent is to continue this process within future Summer Institutes as we refine progress already made. Our goal is to strengthen our program and to create connections in standards, assessments, and interventions from kindergarten through grade 12 in all curriculum areas. As a result of our district-wide approach, individual schools have developed the following plans relative to their students’ needs.
The elementary school has narrowed down essential standards addressed in reading and math at all grade levels. They have implemented specific assessments for reading which all students take at specific intervals in the year. Teachers meet in grade level teams during late start days to focus on these assessments, make decisions on specific interventions for particular students, and re-examine results of previous interventions. Future goals for the elementary include mirroring this process with math. This new focus on specific learnings, assessments and interventions has required a change of schedule for the staff, and intentional instruction on the part of both teachers and para-educators on determined learnings.
The middle school is also putting assessments into place which are directly related to specific learning targets. Similar to the elementary, the middle school staff meets in teams on late start days to analyze student assessments in order to determine specific needs and solutions. Another initiative for the school involves building on positive relationships, a crucial need for middle school students. This has been supported for the past four years by the Navigation 101 Program, which encourages student-led conferences and parent involvement. As a result of this commitment, for the last two years 98% of middle school parents participated in conferences, up from the 8% noted in previous years. Also, during the past year the school has developed their version of a Core/Flex Program, which provides additional support for students in math and reading.
Last year the entire high school staff studied the Core/Flex Program, which is used in some neighboring schools. After refining the program to meet the needs of Elma High School, the staff implemented the program this past September. This program, like the one at the middle school, zeroes in on student needs in particular subject areas, and provides extra instruction for those students; the intent being to increase chances for student success. All staff is involved in the program which takes place three days a week. The entire year-long process has strengthened the highs school’s focus on the particular needs of kids.
Our alternative school, which typically includes around 50 students, has also narrowed down the essential standards in curriculum areas. They have narrowed their focus on student involvement by implementing student-led conferences and regular student-teacher conferences which deal with recent progress, future goals, and ways to reach those goals.
We anticipate that the continued focus on standards, assessment and interventions will increase student involvement in their own learning, leading to higher chances for success. While we don’t subscribe to ‘teach to the test’, we do aim to make the targets clear for students in lessons and upcoming assessments. Our commitment to a system-wide approach will provide students with a more consistent sequence of learnings which we believe will ultimately result in observable achievement growth as measured by state assessments.
III. STATE ASSESSMENT RESULTS
2010 – 11 MSP Results
End of Course Exams
Year 1 58.6
Year 2 83.8
2008 – 09 WASL Results
Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)
According to No Child Left Behind, all schools have certain academic benchmarks that have to be improved upon at regular intervals. In grades 3-5 we met 76.2% of the categories, in grades 6-8 we met 85.7%, in grade 10 we met 68.8%. Overall this does not meet the improvement required by No Child Left Behind, and is typified as Step 2 in Improvement. For more information on this, consult “AYP” on the OSPI website.