School Improvement

Miller’s Run School

Strategies in Addressing AYP

 

Miller’s Run School is working diligently to address our achievement gaps in Math and Reading in a variety of ways:

1.  A Pre-K to Grade 5 literacy team was established. The team meets weekly and in addition to analyzing New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) scores (both school-wide trends and individual student data) the team is studying more effective ways to deliver reading and writing instruction and improving student scores.

2.  A new special educator was added to the staff to help support students who have Individual Education Plans (IEPs).  As students on IEPs comprise a large percentage of our students who are not meeting AYP, this was a key step.

3.  A new literacy support person was hired in January with local funds to provide one-on-one reading intervention with those whose reading ability is below grade level. She is currently working with 16 students daily.

4.  The district-wide Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment has worked closely with the school leadership and literacy teams since the fall. The focus of this work is to increase student achievement by refining classroom instructional practices. The teams have analyzed data to determine areas in need of improvement.  The analysis of that data has resulted in a school-wide book study to ensure consistent implementation of best practice in literacy instruction.

5.  A School Leadership Team has been established that has cross-representation of all grade levels. The Team is helping to guide instruction and participate in decisions that impact all students.

6.  A literacy consultant from the Vermont Reads Institute has conducted an assessment of literacy practices and instruction in the majority of Pre-K to Grade 4 classrooms. That assessment will be the basis for developing an Action Plan for our continued work in how to address achievement gaps in literacy to ensure that all students attain high levels of learning.

7.  The Math curriculum has been advanced (from 7th to 6th, and from 6th to 5th) to address deficits in algebraic reasoning and fractions, respectively. The teacher works with lower performing students during Ace block (individual student interest time) and after school homework hall.  Data from NECAPs and pre-tests is used to identify students in need of review and pre-teaching. This group has a regular core but other students move in and out of the group based on formative assessments.

8.  Instruction this year includes reviewing test questions from prior NECAP tests and to review past questions where students showed achievement gaps.

9.  Classroom assessments are more on-going and analyzed immediately for correction to instructional plans and student support.

10.  “Tier Two” interventions for students who need extra support have been strengthened this year. An “EST – Education Support Team” process has been implemented. Tier Two interventions include both academic and social and emotional learning support measures.

11.  This school year a consistent discipline policy with clear behavior expectations and consequences was implemented. As of this writing, office referrals have declined by 50%. In general, the climate to support student learning has improved. A recent audit from the State’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) consultant showed that MRS is implementing PBIS with fidelity and making great strides in our endeavors to implement a consistent and positive discipline system.

12.  Weekly newsletters sent home to parents provide expectations and suggestions of study work at home that will reinforce lessons.

13.  To help encourage reading, an Authors Night which was open to parents and the community was held.  Local author David Martin came and shared his latest book with us and encouraged children to read more, and parents read with their children at home. Over 70 people participated.  

14.  Healthy snacks were provided during this year’s NECAP tests.  The scheduling of testing was developed to best optimize students peak performance time. More students on IEPs were enrolled in the alternative assessment program.

15.  To help students on IEPs achieve better academic results, new strategies are being put into place:

a. When we are assessing students, both NECAP and classroom tests are used to identify areas in need of improvement.

b. Once accommodations are identified that will help students to be more successful, all of those accommodations are being implemented in the classroom. 

c. Special education teachers also work with the general educators to see what other needs may come up throughout the year.

d. Two new reading programs that are scientifically research based were also introduced for students on IEPs: The Wilson Reads program and Corrective Reading program.

 

16.  To help bring up test scores of students who are on IEPs, Special Education teachers work with students on approved practice items as well as other materials that will provide similar test taking experiences.  In addition, the same language that is used in the classroom for directions is used with students when we are explaining the NECAP process.

17.  A fourth teacher was added to the middle level for this school year so each middle school teacher could focus on a core subject area: Language Arts, Math, Science or Social Studies. A scheduling change also allowed for teachers to meet at least weekly to develop comprehensive teaching strategies across Grades 5-8.

 18.  All teaching staff have participated in several professional development days devoted to the Common Core, the new State Standards that Vermont schools will be adopting next school year.

Suzanne Masland, Interim Principal