SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT GRANT: TIER I AND TIER II SCHOOL APPLICATION

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1 SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT GRANT: TIER I AND TIER II SCHOOL APPLICATION Section 1003 (g) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act FY 2012 Mail to: Alabama Department of Education Federal Programs 5348 Gordon Persons Building P.O. Box Montgomery, Alabama For technical assistance, contact Marcus Vandiver at: Telephone: (334) Fax: (334) S I G L E A / S c h o o l A p p l i c a t i o n 1

2 SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT GRANT: TIER I AND TIER II SCHOOL APPLICATION Please complete an entire application for each school that is applying for School Improvement Grant funds. If a Local Education Agency (LEA) is submitting applications for multiple schools, the appropriate number of applications should be utilized and LEA information may be duplicated. If a Local Education Agency is submitting applications for multiple schools, the LEA will be required to complete the Budget for Local Education Agencies that shows combined expenditures for all schools. All sections of the LEA/School Application are required to complete the application process. Failure to demonstrate a process or plan, provide recent examples of success, and/or provide required information for the LEA/School Application criteria, may result in a score of inadequate. An LEA/School Application that receives a score of inadequate in one or more sections may be required to revise the application at the request of the reviewing outside reader, if the cause for the request can be substantiated to the SEA. An LEA/School Application that has been scored and ranked within the range of tiered funding, also may be required to revise portions of its application to strengthen the overall SIG program approach at the discretion of the SEA. An LEA/School that does not complete or submit all portions of the application may be disqualified from the competition for receiving SIG funds at the discretion of the SEA. An LEA/School Application that has been scored, but does not rank within the range of tiered funding, will be disqualified from receiving funds and will not be asked to revise portions of its application to strengthen the overall SIG program approach. S I G L E A / S c h o o l A p p l i c a t i o n 2

3 School Improvement Grant (SIG) 1003(g) LEA Information LEA Contact for the School Improvement Grant: Name: Position/Office: Telephone: Local Education Agency (LEA) Name: # Signature: Address: Fax: Assurances The LEA must assure that it will: X Use its School Improvement Grant to implement fully and effectively an intervention in each Tier I and Tier II school that the LEA commits to serve consistent with the final requirements. X Establish annual goals for student achievement on the state s assessments in both reading/language arts and mathematics and measure progress on the leading indicators in Section III of the final requirements in order to monitor each Tier I and Tier II school that it serves with School Improvement funds and establish goals (approved by the SEA) to hold accountable its Tier III schools that receive School Improvement funds. X Include, if it implements a restart model in a Tier I or Tier II school, in its contract or agreement terms and provisions to hold the education management organization accountable for complying with the final requirements. X Report to the SEA the school-level data required under Section III of the final requirements. LEA Chief School Financial Officer Signature Date LEA Superintendent Signature Date Joseph B. Morton State Superintendent of Education Signature Date Please complete an entire application for each school that is applying for School Improvement Grant funds. If a Local Education Agency (LEA) is submitting applications for multiple schools, the appropriate number of applications should be utilized. LEA information may be duplicated for multiple applications. If a Local Education Agency is submitting applications for multiple schools, the LEA will be required to complete the Budget for Local Education Agencies that shows combined expenditures for all schools. S I G L E A / S c h o o l A p p l i c a t i o n 3

4 A. SCHOOLS TO BE SERVED: An LEA must include the following information with respect to the schools it will serve with a School Improvement Grant. Please identify each Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III school the LEA commits to serve and identify the intervention model that will be used in Tier I and Tier II schools. An LEA with nine or more Tier I and/or Tier II schools may not implement the transformation model in more than 50% of those schools. SCHOOL NAME NCES ID# TIER INTERVENTION MODEL School Improvement Activity (TIER III only) I II III Turnaround Restart Closure Transformation Middle School X X S I G L E A / S c h o o l A p p l i c a t i o n 4

5 B. LEA COMMITMENT AND CAPACITY: The LEA must demonstrate the commitment to serve each Tier I, and Tier II school by completing the following information: The SDE will evaluate the capacity to implement a school model, intervention, and/or School Improvement activities in each Tier I and Tier II school by requiring the LEA to: (a) Clearly demonstrate the extent to which the LEA can recruit qualified new staff to effectively implement grant and model requirements and School Turnaround interventions (i.e., ability to recruit and retain personnel; district-level policies regarding movement of personnel). (b) Clearly demonstrate a commitment of the LEA, school board, school staff, and stakeholders to support the implementation of educational reform in the district. (c) Clearly align the School Turnaround process to identified school needs to ensure effective short-term and long-term implementation of the selected intervention model or School Turnaround activities (i.e., equitable teacher practices; instructional practices; ability to provide equitable education to all students; perceptions of school staff, LEA personnel, students, parents, and the community; ability to coordinate improvement efforts; program coherence; district-level policies). (d) Clearly align federal, state, and/or local resources to identified school needs to ensure short-term and long-term support of the selected intervention model or School Turnaround activities (i.e., flexibility and efficiency of technical and professional resources; district-level policies). (e) Provide a clear description of how capacity (time, personnel, resources, etc.) will be implemented to ensure the initial fundamentals of the intervention are effective and efficient (i.e., ability to coordinate turnaround efforts; ability to implement critical change in adequate time; program coherence). (f) Provide a clear description of how the availability of all other necessary resources unique to each intervention model or School Turnaround activity will be implemented to ensure timely transition of protocol (i.e., the requirements of the grant and each of the four models; the availability of external providers, EMOs, Turnaround Specialists, and personnel to service the schools; program coherence; district-level policies). (g) Clearly align the School Turnaround process to identified school needs to ensure timely implementation by the selected external provider. (h) Clearly align the School Turnaround process to identified school needs to ensure timely implementation by the selected external provider. If the LEA is NOT applying to serve each Tier I school, the LEA must explain why it lacks capacity to serve each Tier I school. The SDE will evaluate whether an LEA lacks capacity to implement a school intervention model in each Tier I and Tier II school by requiring the LEA to: (a) Clearly demonstrate the extent to which the LEA cannot recruit qualified new staff to effectively implement grant and model requirements and School Improvement interventions in all of the identified Tier I schools in the district (i.e., ability to recruit and retain personnel, district-level policies regarding movement of personnel, etc.). (b) Clearly demonstrate a lack of commitment by the LEA, school board, school staff, and stakeholders to support the implementation of grant and model requirements and School Improvement interventions in all of the identified Tier I schools in the district. (c) Clearly demonstrate the inability to align the School Improvement process with the identified school needs to ensure effective short-term and long-term implementation of the selected intervention model or School Improvement activities in all of the identified Tier I schools in the district (i.e., equitable teacher practices; instructional practices; ability to provide equitable education to all students; perceptions of school staff, LEA personnel, students, parents, and the community; ability to coordinate improvement efforts; program coherence; district-level policies). (d) Clearly demonstrate the lack of federal, state, and/or local resources to ensure short-term and long-term support of the selected intervention model or School Improvement activities in all of the identified Tier I schools in the district (i.e., flexibility and efficiency of technical and professional resources; district-level policies). S I G L E A / S c h o o l A p p l i c a t i o n 5

6 (e) Clearly demonstrate the lack of capacity (time, personnel, resources, etc.) to ensure the initial fundamentals of the intervention are implemented effectively and efficiently in all of the identified Tier I schools in the district (i.e., ability to coordinate improvement efforts; ability to implement critical change in adequate time; program coherence). (f) Clearly demonstrate the unavailability of other necessary resources unique to each intervention model or School Improvement activity to ensure timely transition of implementation protocol in all of the identified Tier I schools in the district (i.e., the requirements of each of the four models; and the availability of external providers, EMOs, Turnaround Specialists, and personnel to service the schools; program coherence; district-level policies). Failure to demonstrate a process or plan, provide recent examples of success, and/or provide required information for the LEA/School Application criteria, may result in a score of inadequate. S I G L E A / S c h o o l A p p l i c a t i o n 6

7 In a detailed explanation, please indicate the capacity and commitment to use School Improvement Grant funds to provide adequate resources and related support to each Tier I and Tier II school identified in this application to implement fully and effectively the required activities of the school intervention model selected. In addition, if the LEA is NOT applying to serve each Tier I school, the LEA must write a detailed explanation as to why it lacks capacity to serve each Tier I school. The principal goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done (Piaget) Through the incorporation of highly effective staff, high quality professional development, and increased teacher collaboration; The LEA is committed to assist the middle school to fully implement the proposed Alabama Turnaround Model and will ensure the school makes the outlined reforms necessary to increase student achievement. Funds will be used to recruit and retain personnel; provide technical support and materials in all tiers of instruction; to increase student learning time; to broaden curriculum delivery through the use of technology; to provide a systematic structure of collaboration among faculty, staff, and stakeholders; to provide for family and community outreach to increase attendance; to provide discipline supports; and to provide high quality job embedded professional development to support teachers, faculty, and the administration. Each of the needs listed above was identified based on the comprehensive needs assessment completed with this grant. The LEA recognizes the need for high quality staff to implement the reforms and strategies proposed in the grant. Priority will be given to the staffing needs of the middle school. The LEA is committed to proposing a three year contract with the administrator to ensure stability for the staff and commitment to the implementation of the grant. The administrator will be hired based on evidence of school reform that has resulted in increased levels of student achievement. The LEA criteria assessment that supports locally adopted competencies for administrators will also be utilized. Administrator candidates must show a history of systematic change that resulted in high levels of student achievement, team leadership, developing of others, analytical thinking, and conceptual thinking. The new administrator will receive a recruitment incentive at the start of the first year of the grant and will also receive an incentive for the next two years if he/she remains at the school. The incentive for the second two years of the grant will be based on student achievement determined by multiple sources of evidence. A rubric for demonstrating growth will be developed during the first year of implementation with input from all stakeholders. The Superintendent and Director of Secondary Education will make decisions about the rubric based on this input and provide this information to all teachers and administration at the middle school. The LEA is committed to hiring not only highly- qualified teachers but also highly effective teachers. The district will work closely with UAH-AAMU Regional Inservice Center and local teacher education programs to identify exceptional candidates for recruitment through recommendations from principals and university personnel. The district will also utilize the state online application system to identify highly-qualified personnel nationally. All existing staff will be required to reapply for a position and no more than 50 percent will be rehired at the middle school. Movement of employees to other schools will be handled under the following policies: A: Employment, Transfer, or Promotion Authorized by the Superintendent; : Voluntary Transfer; : Involuntary Transfer. District personnel will actively assist the principal and school panel in reviewing applications, screening potential candidates, and participating in the interview process. The interview will include a list of competencies necessary to identify staff that can be successful in a turnaround school. All applicants will have to demonstrate a pattern of effectiveness based on student achievement data and previous teacher evaluations. The interview process will also include a list of LEA competencies that support best practices and ensure the hiring of staff members committed to transforming the school s failure into learning success. A recruitment incentive will be paid to teachers during the first year of grant implementation. During the second and third year of implementation, teachers will be eligible to receive an incentive based on student achievement and performance evaluation related to hiring competencies. An evaluation system will be developed with input from teachers, administrators, and the LEA to establish base line data and determine a reasonable growth and performance scale. To assist the middle school during educational reform, the LEA will build a structure for monitoring and implementation. A cycle of technical assistance will be implemented that involves the collaboration of all stakeholders from the state, local, and school level who will support all the goals identified in the grant. S I G L E A / S c h o o l A p p l i c a t i o n 7

8 Technical assistance and monitoring will be provided through the SDE, and from the LEA through Grant School Improvement Specialist. Technical support will be provided at the school level through the work of a Title I Literacy Coach, ELL Lead teacher, Collaborative Lead teacher, Technology Specialist, Behavior Specialist, and Title I Curriculum Specialist. This support will be provided through job-embedded classroom coaching that is focused on teacher and classroom needs. Federal, state, and local resources will all work together to build capacity at the middle school. A Title I comprehensive budget will be developed that encompasses all of the above support system and allocated Title I funds will be used to maintain and sustain this grant. During the grant implementation, all resources will be coordinated to ensure that goals are met and that reform strategies are sustained as outlined in the Continuous Improvement Plan. In order to meet the desired outcomes, focused collaboration will be necessary. Currently, the LEA has a structure in place that will be utilized to increase collaboration among departments and streamline services. The Accountability Roundtable was established in 2006 to increase communication among individual departments within the LEA. Quarterly meetings are held to discuss issues related to continuous improvement and address persistently low achieving schools. Reform strategy implementation through long term and short term planning involving the grant will take place during these meetings. Secondly, the School Reform Team will be organized in May of 2011, upon grant approval, to analyze current assessment results in order to determine instructional strengths and weaknesses related to the middle school. Members of School Reform Team will include the Superintendent, Directors for the Department of Instruction, Director of Special Education, Federal Programs Coordinator, Staff Development Coordinator, District School Improvement Specialist, Ell Coordinator, Special Education Coordinator, and Parent Involvement Coordinator. The team will meet weekly in May and throughout September to coordinate on-site technical assistance in order to streamline efforts. Bi-monthly meetings will begin after September to provide timely information on the grant implementation progress and a forum for the creation of next steps. School leadership teams will function as a unit that coordinates and support reform efforts within the school. The team shall consist of the Principal (facilitator), Assistant Principal, Grant School Improvement Specialist, Title I Literacy Coach, Title I Curriculum Specialist, Lead Collaborative Teacher, Content Area Teachers from each grade level, the Parent Coordinator, and Behavior Specialist. Leadership team meetings will be held weekly to discuss instructional needs, staff assistance, evaluation of programs and processes, and motivation for staff and students. They will closely monitor the successful implementation of the Continuous Improvement Plan and issues related to student achievement. These meetings will offer a vehicle for school leaders to determine needs related to student achievement and make decisions that will directly influence student learning and classroom instruction. Understanding the needs of the school community through the analysis of current data enables leadership teams to discuss data driven instruction, instructional strategies, progress monitoring methods, observation tools, and lesson pacing. Evidence of grant implementation will be gathered from student data, classroom observations, walk-throughs and grade level data meetings and will be used to determine an administrative focus. The LEA will hire a Grant School Improvement Specialist (SIS) whose primary responsibility will be to support the implementation of change in the building. The Grant School Improvement Specialist will be hired based on documented success in a coaching role. The Grant SIS will work with the administration and leadership team to build capacity. Support will include areas of scheduling, Response to Instruction, data analysis, program implementation, data meetings, walk-throughs, and other leadership supports as necessary. The Grant SIS will work closely with all personnel offering technical assistance at the school level to streamline the services being provided. The Grant SIS will also work with teachers through the coaching cycle to implement strategies outlined in the grant, and serve as a member of the school leadership team to assist in decision making based on current data. Coordination and cooperation between the SDE, LEA, and school personnel will be an expectation to ensure grant implementation. This Grant School Improvement Specialist will serve as a liaison between the State Department and the LEA to organize efforts related to school reform. This will provide a direct line of communication between the State Department, the LEA, the school and all stakeholders. The Grant School Improvement Specialist will also have the responsibility of working in conjunction with the SDE to coordinate the efforts at the middle school. The school Title I Curriculum Specialist will support the Grant School Improvement Specialist in implementing and monitoring the Continuous Improvement processes that are already established. The Grant School Improvement Specialist will be responsible for relaying information on grant implementation weekly to the Superintendent, Directors of Elementary/Secondary Education, and Federal Programs during scheduled School Reform Meetings. Thirty Day Reports will be developed by the school leadership team with input from the Grant SIS to describe academic and behavioral needs. Strategies and action steps will be incorporated that are related to class observations and S I G L E A / S c h o o l A p p l i c a t i o n 8

9 progress monitoring results. The information from these reports will be used to intervene and provide timely support through job-embedded professional development as needed. The Grant School Improvement Specialist will also meet weekly with the school leadership team to monitor progress within the grant and plan for needed changes. In addition to the Grant School Improvement Specialist, the school will develop a leadership team that represents all aspects of learning in the school. The Leadership team meetings will be held weekly to closely monitor the successful implementation of the School Improvement Grant. The leadership team s dedication to collaborate at these meetings will portray their commitment to ensuring that no child is left behind. These meetings will offer a vehicle for school leaders to determine needs related to student achievement and make decisions that directly influence student learning and classroom instruction. Before principals begin conducting leadership meetings, leadership teams will need opportunities to analyze and summarize data. Understanding the needs of the school community through the analysis of current data will enable the leadership team the opportunity to discuss data driven instruction, instructional strategies, progress monitoring methods, observation tools, and lesson pacing. Evidence will be gathered from student data, classroom observations, walkthroughs and data meetings and used to determine the administrative focus. Agendas prepared for each meeting will reflect some of the following: Implementation of the CIP related to grant requirements Student achievement Teacher effectiveness Coaching opportunities Professional development Culture o Discipline o Student and teacher attendance o Parental support o Incentives Next steps Monthly observation schedules Technical support will include a behavior specialist, technology specialist, and technology technician who will be hired with grant funds. The primary responsibility of the behavior specialist will involve behavior management and monitoring at the middle school. The behavior specialist will coordinate, support, and serve as the primary contact for the Comprehensive Behavior Management Plan (Simmons Associates, the Education Company) that will be implemented. As the primary contact, the behavior specialist will collaborate with the assistant principal to develop an attendance and behavior data system along with practices that will enhance the school s capacity to design an environment centered on student learning. The technology specialist will focus on the use of instructional technology within the classroom and provide on-going classroom coaching to facilitate this use. The technology technician will provide technical assistance with computer hardware and software. The Title I Curriculum Specialist and Title I Literacy Coach will coordinate efforts in content reading and math, respectively. They will also collaborate with teachers to provide on-going classroom coaching in these areas. Coaching reports will be completed by all instructional coaches during each coaching session to be shared at leadership team meetings. To further support implementation, the LEA has implemented the Continuous Improvement Process as recommended by the Alabama State Department of Education since A Continuous Improvement Handbook is given to all schools each year that clearly outlines the seven reviews to be followed monthly by each school. Each of the seven reviews will be attended by a member of the LEA Accountability Roundtable who is assigned to support the school. The seven reviews consist of data meetings, walk-throughs, evidence box review, and teacher and student interviews. After each review, feedback and next steps are established to ensure the continued progress of CIP implementation with a concentrated focus on student achievement. This information will be incorporated into the 30-Day Action Plan and shared with the school staff. Feedback on the reviews and the 30-Day Action Plan will be shared by team members during the S I G L E A / S c h o o l A p p l i c a t i o n 9

10 quarterly LEA Accountability Roundtable meetings. This will provide an opportunity for the LEA staff and Grant School Improvement Specialist to plan for longterm and short-term reform strategies and monitor the services being provided by external providers. The LEA recognizes the need for social-emotional and community-oriented services for the diverse population of the middle school. A partnership with the Parent Educator Resource Center (PERC) will be established. The primary goal will be to create and coordinate school-community outreach opportunities to bridge the connection between home and school. This partnership will empower the middle school to support the social-emotional environment of the school by promoting parental involvement in the school and daily learning process. The LEA is committed to supporting the turnaround process for the middle school. Support for change will include but not be limited to granting the principal sufficient operational flexibility to fully implement a comprehensive school reform approach in order to substantially improve student achievement outcomes. The end result would ultimately be an increase in the graduation rate. The LEA supports data driven instruction that includes identifying and implementing instructional programs that are research-based and vertically aligned from one grade to the next as well as aligned with the Alabama Course of Study Standards. The LEA will provide professional development through Solution Tree that will assist the school staff in implementing a four-step model to improve instruction through a standards-based curriculum and evaluation system. This model will give teachers the tools to: (1) Identify curriculum standards by grade and subject, (2) Pre-test and analyze data, (3) Differentiate instruction and support, and (4) Post test and analyze data. The LEA is committed to the continuous use of student data to inform and differentiate instruction in order to meet the academic needs of all students. The LEA will support the process of using interim, formative and summative assessment data to guide instructional decisions at the middle school. At the beginning and end of each grant year, an outside evaluator (Solution Tree) will conduct building level reviews at the middle school. The evaluation process will utilize both internal and external expertise to provide a powerful tool for school improvement. It will be used to help educators at the middle school build shared knowledge regarding the current reality in their school and call attention to accomplishments that warrant celebration. It will identify highleverage next steps for developing the middle school s collective capacity to help all students learn. The service will be initiated with collection and analysis of student achievement data from the school and a perception survey of the administration and staff. On-site visits will be conducted by a Progress Report Facilitation Team where dialogues, artifact reviews, focus groups, and observations are used to assess progress. Progress Reports will be reviewed by Richard DuFour and delivered to the middle school with suggestions for continuous improvement in key areas of need. These reports will provide the opportunity for the middle school to balance their perceptions against a thorough evaluation conducted by outside experts. Research has shown that professional development should be directly related to areas of challenge within a school. These reports will serve as an objective assessment of the school s progress in specific areas integral to school improvement. If educators at the middle school are going to overcome the unique challenges in their school, they will need professional development purposefully designed to address the specific context of the school structures, practices, procedures, and culture. The progress reports will provide educators with the explicit, site-specific information and recommendations critical to purposeful and focused school improvement. Progress reports will be discussed with the middle school educators, LEA personnel, and Grant personnel. The LEA Staff Development Coordinator will collaborate with the school leadership team and the LEA Curriculum team to plan embedded training in the areas identified in the progress report. Professional learning will be provided by Robert Marzano s Research Laboratory through Solution Tree. The LEA Staff Development Coordinator will work with the research laboratory to schedule customized content deliver, interactive activities and research-based strategies to provide teaching/learning interactions for the educators at the middle school. Additional coaching support will be given to the Grant School Improvement Specialist, Title 1 Literacy Coach, Title 1 Curriculum Specialist, and Technology Specialist in each area of training. Professional learning services that will be determined by the results of the progress reports can include some of the following. Analysis of Effective Teaching Through Action Research Formative Assessments and Standards-Based Grading Walkthroughs and Instructional Rounds S I G L E A / S c h o o l A p p l i c a t i o n 10

11 Classroom Management That Works Designing and Teaching Learning Goals and Objectives Teaching Academic Vocabulary The Highly Engaged Classroom Teaching with Interactive White Boards School Leadership Standards Evaluation/Rubric Creation According to Michael Fullan in The New Meaning of Educational Change, the process of educational reform is very complex. He states that it takes three years to turn around a poor performing school to become a better performing school. The LEA recognizes the need for change at the middle school and is fully committed to supporting the processes identified in this grant application to reach the ultimate goal of increased student achievement. HCSBOE, LEA staff, and stakeholders support the operating flexibility of policies and procedures that will be necessary for a principal to fully implement the grant and turn the middle school into a better performing school. S I G L E A / S c h o o l A p p l i c a t i o n 11

12 C-1. DESIGNING AND IMPLEMENTING INTERVENTIONS: The LEA must describe actions it has taken or will take to design and implement the selected model, interventions and/or School Improvement activities for Tier I and Tier II schools consistent with the School Improvement Grant final requirements. The SDE will assess the LEA s commitment to design and implement an appropriate intervention model and School Improvement activities by requiring the LEA to: (a) Clearly identify and prioritize needs through a completed and comprehensive SIG School Needs Assessment. (b) Clearly align the capacity (staff, resources, time, etc.) with the implementation of specific interventions and School Turnaround activities. (c) Clearly align School Turnaround processes with the designed interventions. (d) Clearly align other resources to support the design and implementation efforts of selected interventions. (e) Clearly engage stakeholders (staff, parents, community, etc.) to provide input into the design and implementation process of School Turnaround activities. (f) Provide a clear description of how regular (at least biweekly) data meetings will be scheduled to identify school/teacher/student weaknesses and to adjust plans for supports to address assessed weaknesses. (g) Clearly communicate with potential external provider(s) to plan and develop professional development and support based on assessed needs (at least biweekly). (h) Provide a clear description of how accurate documentation of meetings and communications will be maintained and used in the School Turnaround process. (i) Provide a clear description of how schedules, goals, and timelines will be revised as needed. (j) Provide a clear description of how data/forms will be submitted to the SDE and/or USDE in accordance to established timelines. (k) Provide a clear description of how grant and model requirements will be aligned and implemented with the design and implementation of School Turnaround interventions (see SIG Final Requirements). Failure to demonstrate a process or plan, provide recent examples of success, and/or provide required information for the LEA/School Application criteria, may result in a score of inadequate. S I G L E A / S c h o o l A p p l i c a t i o n 12

13 In a detailed explanation, please describe the actions the LEA has taken or will take to design and implement the selected model, interventions and/or School Improvement activities. A comprehensive needs assessment was conducted for the middle school. The needs assessment data was carefully analyzed for patterns that indicated areas of weakness. The areas of weakness were discussed by members of the grant writing team and additional LEA personnel in an effort to select a relevant reform model, appropriate interventions, and research based school improvement activities. The reform strategies were specifically designed to meet the school s identified needs. Each area of need is listed below along with an explanation of what will be addressed and how it will be accomplished. EVALUATION BY AN OUTSIDE EVALUATOR 1. Ongoing evaluation of school practices and procedures - Solution Tree will conduct building level reviews at the middle school. The evaluation process will utilize both internal and external expertise to provide a powerful tool for school improvement. It will identify high-leverage next steps for developing the middle school s collective capacity to help all students learn. The service will be initiated with collection and analysis of student achievement data from the school and a perception survey of the administration and staff. On-site visits will be conducted by a Progress Report Facilitation Team where dialogues, artifact reviews, focus groups, and observations are used to assess progress. Progress Reports will be reviewed by Richard DuFour and delivered to the middle school with suggestions for continuous improvement in key areas of need. These reports will provide the opportunity for the middle school to balance their perceptions against a thorough evaluation conducted by outside experts. Research has shown that professional development should be directly related to areas of challenge within a school. These reports will serve as an objective assessment of the school s progress in specific areas integral to school improvement. The progress reports will provide educators with the explicit, site-specific information and recommendations critical to purposeful and focused school improvement. READING AND MATH INSTRUCTION 1. Implementation of Standards Based Instruction with emphasis on mastery of Core Instruction All core teachers will align the current curriculum to the ALCOS standards based on assessment data and instructional trends. All core teachers will deliver standards-based instruction daily according to curriculum alignment documents. All math teachers will implement Odyssey Math at least 90 minutes per week through the use of technology in the classroom or computer lab. Professional Development will be provided to ensure program implementation and support of core instruction. Students who need additional assistance in reading strategies and skills will attend Read 180 intervention, in addition to grade level classes, to increase reading proficiency in grade level materials. Students who need additional assistance in math strategies skills will attend Voyager Math Intervention, in addition to grade-level math classes. Members of the school leadership team and the Grant School Improvement Specialist will monitor lesson plans and conduct walk-throughs weekly to ensure that standards-based instruction and intervention is occurring daily that meets the needs of all students in the classroom. Formative assessments will be utilized by all classroom teachers. All Reading/English and Math teachers will meet monthly to develop common formative assessments based on ALCOS standards. All Reading/English and Math teachers will hold regularly scheduled data meetings to analyze data and plan for instructional adjustments. The Grant School Improvement Specialist, Title I Literacy Coach, and Title I Curriculum Specialist will provide coaching support for curriculum alignment, lesson planning, and implementation of instructional strategies based on student strengths and weaknesses identified during data meetings. Each coaching session will have a follow up report to be shared in Leadership Team and School Reform Team Meetings. Appropriate members of the leadership team will attend data meetings and provide support in the development of standards based instruction for all core teachers. TECHNOLOGY 1. Provide support for the implementation of technology in daily planning and instruction based on grade level technology standards According to school technology plans and Impact surveys, very few teachers are utilizing the hardware and software that is available in their classrooms. In order to provide support in this area, a Technology Specialist will be hired. This specialist will work to coach teachers in two ways. First, the Technology Specialist will work with all classroom teachers through the coaching cycle to provide monthly support in utilizing technology resources for planning. The Technology Specialist will coach teachers in how to plan using the resources that are available in the 21 st Century Classrooms. Second, the Technology Specialist will coach teachers at least monthly on utilizing the resources in their classrooms during instruction. Coaching reports, monthly S I G L E A / S c h o o l A p p l i c a t i o n 13

14 training agendas, and sign in sheets will be monitored by the Grant School Improvement Specialist to ensure that coaching is occurring. The Technology Specialist will also keep coaching logs with plans, notes, and feedback related to the coaching cycle. As a teacher completes a coaching cycle, the leadership team in conjunction with the Technology Specialist will decide if further coaching with the teacher is necessary. 2. Increase student engagement through the use of technology In order to raise the number of students meeting/exceeding minimum standards, active engagement has to be increased. In an attempt to narrow the digital divide, netbooks will be purchased for all 6 th and 7 th grade students during the first year of the grant to complete coverage school wide. Netbooks were purchased for 8 th grade students during the school year. The 8 th grade teachers have received classroom implementation training and support during the school year through the district technology team. During the first year of the grant all 6 th and 7 th grade teachers will receive initial training on integrating netbooks into the curriculum and creating virtual classes through Moodle. The netbooks will be used at home and school. The Technology Specialist will coach 6 th, 7 th, and 8 th grade teachers during the three years of the grant in developing virtual classes for students to use at home. Coaching support will also be provided for the integration of netbooks into classroom instruction at least three times per week. All 6 th and 7 th grade teachers will assign two take home assignments per week beginning in October. The Grant School Improvement Specialist, school leadership team, and Technology Specialist will check lesson plans and conduct weekly walk-throughs to monitor implementation of technology instruction. Information from these reviews will be shared with the principal on a weekly basis in order to address any issues that arise. According to system policy, parents of students with netbooks will receive training on policies, procedures, and use of netbooks. All parents will be required to attend the training before the student is issued a netbook for home use. A Technology Technician will be hired to be on site at the school in an effort to support full implementation of the technology initiative at the middle school. The responsibility of the Technology Technician will be hardware maintenance, trouble shooting, and supporting existing technology labs within the school. 3. Teachers will utilize on-line Moodle courses and assessments aligned with the ALCOS to address achievement gaps. Student response systems (Active Expressions) will be used in retrieve results immediately during formative assessments. The data from the formative assessments will be used to modify teaching and address student needs. ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS 1. Determine ELL student s strengths and weaknesses to inform instructional planning The middle school has a high number of English Language Learners. While the data indicates an increase in the number of students scoring proficient, the need for targeted support exists based on the large number in the subgroup. In order to begin planning for targeted support, teachers will review ACCESS for ELL data and identify student s ELP in each language domain. This ACCESS data will be placed in the student s folder. Teachers will then work with the ELL committee to learn about the student s educational background and experience. The knowledge of the student s data and background will then be used to develop the Individual- English Learner Plan (I-ELP). The I-ELP will be included in the appropriate teacher s data notebook and accommodations based on the plan will be evident in lesson plans. Time will be provided for the ELL committee to focus on areas of instructional need. This planning time will be used to assist teachers with recommendations and support for instructional strategies. Additional professional development and coaching support will be provided as necessary by the Lead ELL teacher in the building or members of the ELL committee. 2. Use the WIDA Model Performance Indicators (MPI) as guidance to differentiate instructional tasks and assessments based on student s English language proficiency level Steps will be taken to differentiate instruction for ELL students in all tiers of instruction. Teachers will be required to document the English Proficiency Level and background information as stated in strategy number one. Teachers will then refer to the MPI examples that will assist in determining appropriate tasks for individual ELL students. Teachers will utilize adapted materials and strategies during instruction. Lesson plans should reflect use of the strategies and materials each week. Teachers will also use the rubrics and other assessment tools weekly to assess student progress. Assessment data will be discussed in bi-weekly planning meetings and adjustments to instruction made following the data meeting. 3. Employ the Sheltered Instructional Observation Protocol (SIOP) Model of instruction in all core classes The middle school will utilize this strategy to provide differentiated instruction daily to meet the needs of the ELL students at the school. Teachers will receive three days of training on the principles of the SIOP Instructional Model. Agendas and sign in sheets for the trainings will serve as documentation or completion of the training. Teachers will then work to determine a plan for implementing components of the SIOP lesson throughout the school year. The plan will serve as a S I G L E A / S c h o o l A p p l i c a t i o n 14

15 guide for future lesson planning. Teachers will implement two components of SIOP instruction during the first nine weeks. Lesson plans will indicate the incorporation of these strategies. In classroom coaching and follow up enrichment training will be provided the Federal Programs ELL Coordinator as needed throughout the year for support during this initial implementation. Teachers will be asked to incorporate another new component each nine weeks for the remainder of the school year. This process will continue during the remaining two years of the grant with support from the ELL Lead Teacher and the Federal Programs ELL Coordinator. CULTURE 1. Creation of a staff that includes high quality administrators and teachers - A highly effective school is led by a strong instructional leader who provides an unequivocal direction through consistent monitoring and program implementation while working collaboratively with teachers on issues related to standards, curriculum, instruction and assessments. The selection of this administrator will be the critical building block to make sure that reform strategies are met. At the same time, effective teachers are needed who are highly skilled and able to collaborate with peers to create a culture of learning at the middle school. 2. Implement extended learning time for all students More instructional time is critical in order to move all students to mastery of grade level standards. At the middle school, the extended learning time for students will increase by one hour each day for students. This will allow additional time for core academic instruction and will also allow time for daily intervention and behavior support or acceleration. The new school Leadership Team in collaboration with Central Office will meet to develop a master schedule that will be shared with school staff and teachers prior to the beginning g of school. The schedule will include increased core academic time and a designated intervention time for academics and behavior support. 3. Implement extended collaboration time for teachers All staff will increase the school day by one hour each day to allow time for additional collaboration, planning with team members, and professional development support. All teachers will attend weekly team support meetings and participate in embedded professional development activities designed to support the implementation of strategies and action steps. A structured schedule will be designed to ensure that team planning times are available for all teachers and support staff. The schedule will include time for teacher lesson planning, shared planning with coaches, team meetings, and full staff collaboration. Meeting notes will be kept for each planning session. 4. Implement a research based behavior plan In the needs assessment for the middle school, the number of behavior incidences is high. The need for a consistent plan to manage behavior is clearly illustrated by this data. A Comprehensive Behavior Management Plan will be implemented school wide through Simmons Associates The Education Company. To support full implementation of this program a Behavior Specialist will be hired to work in collaboration with the school assistant principal to manage the program. The building administration, central office staff, and school Leadership Team will attend training focused on the roles and responsibilities of building leadership and program management. All building personnel will attend training on the implementation of the Comprehensive Behavior Management Program. All teachers will implement the program daily and will receive embedded classroom coaching from program consultants during the school year. The Leadership Team will develop a plan to monitor and use discipline data to make adjustments in implementation in classrooms and/or school wide. 5. Partner with the Alabama Parent Education Center (PERC) Creating a culture of collaboration between school and home is essential for successful school reform. The middle school will partner with the Alabama Parent Education Center in order to bridge the gap between school and home more successfully through community outreach. Community based workshops will be provided for families, education personnel, and community members 10 times throughout the year through PERC. Parents and educators will receive support through the development materials presented through electronic media and printed materials throughout the year. PERC will provide technical assistance to the school parent involvement staff in the analysis of existing parent engagement policies and practices and will support the development of next steps for implementation. The school Leadership Team along with additional stakeholders will support all areas of the APEC plan to meet the desired outcomes. ASSESSEMENT Assessment data of varying forms was used to complete the needs assessment and to create the list of strategies and interventions listed above. Each of the individual strategies and interventions was selected based on the needs of the school. In order to provide for long term and short term growth, S I G L E A / S c h o o l A p p l i c a t i o n 15

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