Washington Junior High School School Improvement Plan Prepared in Compliance with Indiana Public Law 221

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1 1 Washington Junior High School School Improvement Plan Prepared in Compliance with Indiana Public Law 221 This school improvement plan is submitted on behalf of Washington Junior High School. It was prepared under the leadership of the building principal working in cooperation with the school improvement committee appointed in compliance with Indiana Public Law 221. The plan is structured using the guidelines provided in rules approved by the Indiana State Board of Education. Our main objective is to provide continuous improvement opportunities for our students. This plan is a statement to the community as to how those of us at Washington Junior High School expect to fulfill this commitment in the coming years. I. Introduction A. Narrative Description of the School, Community, and Educational Program Washington Jr. High School completed a major renovation in A second floor was added along with new classrooms on the first floor. All classrooms have ceiling mounted projectors, as well as, teacher and student computers. Students have access to two computer labs and additional computers in the media center. The school is attached to the high school and we share the cafeteria and the band room. Students taking French and Spanish attend classes in high school classrooms, but with only junior high students. We have our own gym and with the renovation, our own media center. The enrollment is approximately 380 students in grades seven and eight. Washington is located in Daviess County in southwestern Indiana. The population is approximately 11,000. Washington Community School Corporation has four elementary schools that feed into Washington Junior High School. North, Lena Dunn, and Griffith are located in the city. Veale is located approximately six miles south of the city limits. Washington Junior High School currently staffs 22 teachers. In addition, there are two special education teachers each paired with a para-professional. Washington Junior High School remains committed to facing the economic challenges that face our community and impact our students. The number of students receiving free or reduced lunches continues to rise. In the school year, 36% of students received free or reduced lunches. During the school year, 55% of our students received assistance. This is a significant 19% increase and 12% higher than the state average of 43%. Since that last PL 221 report several positive changes have occurred and programs have been added. The Student Success Process has been continued and revised to better accommodate our students needs, WJHS has continued to upgrade the successful incentive program to help students manage and take responsibility for their own behavior, teamed classrooms of low ability and special needs students have been added to the English curriculum, and WJHS has seen a major renovation with the addition of thirteen new classrooms and the total separation of the junior high school wing from the senior high school section of the building. The renovation has

2 2 also upgraded and added technology at the disposal of the classroom teacher. The faculty has prepared course descriptions and goals, participated in standards tracking in each subject, held several sessions to discuss and interpret standardized test scores, and instituted Simple Six Writing. Improvements have also been made in the orientation of incoming students. The corporation has developed curriculum maps in language arts and mathematics with social studies and science to follow. In May 2010, the school corporation secured a large mathematics grant from the State of Indiana which provided for whiteboards, clicker systems, mobile Netbook labs, and ICore math software for grades seven and eight. Extensive training was provided for the mathematics teachers regarding the usage of these new purchases throughout the school year. B. Description and location of curriculum. The curriculum of Washington Junior High School is tied to the curriculum of the school corporation. It is based on standards adopted by the Indiana State Board of Education and the National Common Core Standards. Teachers at Washington Junior High School provide enrichment of the curriculum with the assistance of district wide personnel and available technology. Every classroom contains copies of the Indiana Academic State and National Common Core Standards as well as the Junior High curriculum. Copies of the Washington Junior High curriculum are available at the school or at the Central Office at 301 E. South Street, Washington, IN C. Assessments - Used in Addition to ISTEP+ Teachers continually assess student work, projects, and unit tests in order to evaluate student progress. Traditional observations and evaluations are continually utilized, as well. This allows teachers to adjust instruction to meet student needs and enables teachers to have informative contact with parents. Contact is made through progress reports, letters to homes, use of a computerized calling system, and the new Incentive Program. The Student Success Process (SSP) is still being used and is administered on individual Focus Standards. Remediation is provided to those students who do not meet standards on the bi-monthly examinations. Classroom testing by individual teachers monitors growth and improvement of students using leading not lagging data. The Simple Six Writing method has been established across the district to establish a uniform writing assessment. STAR Reading and GRADE+ reading assessments are used with all students to determine student reading levels and the interventions or accelerations that may be needed. While the curriculum mapping for language arts and mathematics has been completed, teachers in all subject areas met during the summer of the school year to examine the new Common Core Standards and the new Literacy Standards. We feel this is a necessary process for teachers to complete to fully understand the standards and how they should be implemented daily.

3 3 Our corporation refined the services and assessments used to determine High Ability eligibility beginning with the school year, with this work being ongoing. Committee members consisting of administrators, guidance counselors, teachers, and parents continue to review and revise documents to assure that we are providing adequate services for our High Ability students. All teachers have been trained in the RTI and work closely with the school social worker in this process. Training and support in this area are planned for the upcoming school year. Beginning with the school year, quarterly Acuity CMA assessments will be taken by our mathematics, language arts, social studies and science departments. The Acuity CMA assessments will be used to determine growth as well as need. The mathematics portion of the ISTEP+ test will continue to be administered online. II. STATEMENT OF MISSION AND VISION Washington Junior High School Vision, Mission Statement The mission of Washington Junior High School is to develop literate, responsible students who are able to demonstrate mastery of the Indiana Academic Standards and are prepared for post-secondary as well as lifelong success. Washington Community Schools will achieve exemplary progress in state assessment results by 2012 and accomplish our six learning goals by Key Student Learning Goals are as follows: 1. 85% read on or above grade level and/or 90% demonstrate growth in reading % in all classes achieve mastery in state academic mastery in state academic standards and/or 90% demonstrate growth % pass ISTEP+ and end-of-course assessments. 4. Maintain student attendance results that meet or exceed state average (97%) % graduate in their cohort % enroll in post-secondary education including military service and vocational/technical training. III. SUMMARY OF DATA DERIVED FROM AN ASSESSMENT OF THE STATUS OF EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING, INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING: A. Data, including graphs from the annual performance reports As the charts show below, for the last five years, Washington Junior High School has performed at or near the Indiana average in language arts and mathematics. The scores for the ISTEP+ show that both 7 th and 8 th grade mathematics scores exceeded the state average. We are encouraged by this, but we feel we can do better. Some contributing factors that may account for this trend are the increase in ESL students and the addition of system wide inclusion. Socio-economic factors also play into student performance on standardized tests.

4 4 Washington Schools 7th Grade Language Arts ISTEP+ Mastery (Fall) (Spring) Spring 2011 State Average WJHS Washington Schools 8th Grade Language Arts ISTEP+ Mastery (Fall) (Spring) Spring 2011 State Average WJHS

5 5 Washington Schools 7th Grade Math ISTEP+ Mastery (Fall) (Spring) Spring 2011 State Average WJHS Washington Schools 8th Grade Math ISTEP+ Mastery (Fall) (Spring) Spring 2011 State Average WJHS B. Data Related to other Performance Indicators other than those included in the annual performance report Students progress is also evaluated through the SSP program. Beginning with the school year, the quarterly Acuity CMA assessments will be used as the data source. These quarterly assessments allow the teacher to determine student strength and weakness in the essential skills. It also allows teachers to make adjustments to instruction in specific areas.

6 6 Teachers continually assess student work, projects and unit tests in order to evaluate student progress. This allows teachers to adjust to student needs and enables teachers to have informative contact with parents. The character of the community served by the Washington Community Schools is changing and reflects several differences from the overall population of the state of Indiana. The minority population of the Washington Community Schools district has increased by 1460% between and Minority students enrolled in the Washington Community Schools have risen from.04% of the population in to 13% of the student population in Most of the minority students are Hispanic and use English as a second language, not being proficient in the use of English. According to data from the 2000 census, Hispanics now make up the largest minority group in the Washington Community School district. Daviess County diverges from the state norm in several pertinent areas, especially age distribution, level of educational attainment and social-economic condition. Daviess County has a higher than average number of households with persons under 18 years of age and persons less than five years of age. Conversely, Daviess County also has a higher percentage of persons over 65 years of age than does the state as a whole. According to data from the 2010 census, 20.1% of the children in Daviess County live below the poverty level. Washington Junior High School records show that 55% of the current students receive free or reduced price lunches and textbook assistance. According to the 2010 census report, the median income of Daviess County is $41,675, which is 91% of Indiana s median household income. According the Census Bureau report 25.6% of the population of Daviess County have an educational attainment level of less than a high school diploma and only 11.6% of the county s population has earned a bachelors degree of higher. Twenty-six percent of the households with children in Daviess County are headed by unmarried adults. The charts below show a comparison of performance on the ISTEP+ between students who qualify for assistance with meals (Free/Reduced) and those students who do not qualify for assistance (Paid). Using the latest information from the school year, the data clearly shows there is a difference in achievement between these two groups. Students who are from homes of poverty and qualify for assistance, consistently score lower than those students who do not qualify for assistance.

7 L/A Percent Passing ISTEP+ Free/Reduced Students Compared to Paid Students Grade 7 Grade 8 Free/Reduced Paid Math Percent Passing ISTEP+ Free/Reduced Students Compared to Paid Students Grade 7 Grade 8 Free/Reduced Paid C. Other information about educational programming and the learning environment As stated previously, the Student Success Process is being used as a way to monitor student progress and concentrate on leading data instead of lagging. SSP provides a strategic approach to classroom instruction, remediation, and enrichment. Data is kept in the form of graphs within the classrooms as well as on the Data Dashboard in the main hallway of the school. IV. CONCLUSIONS ABOUT THE CURRENT EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING DERIVED FROM AN ASSESSMENT OF EDUCATION PROGRAMMING, INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING: A. Information about how the school s curriculum supports the achievement of Indiana Academic Standards

8 8 WJHS s curriculum is based, in part, on the Indiana Academic Standards. It is supplemented with exploratory classes to broaden the scope of student experiential knowledge, with recent revisions of the state standards; WJHS has embarked on a realignment of its curriculum to follow these changes. The following steps have been taken: The alignment of the English/Language Arts curriculum with the Indiana State Standards has been completed and realignment with the National Common Core Standards has begun. The WJHS Language Arts faculty has identified differences within their curriculum and the Common Core Standards are working to align curriculum with established benchmarks. The alignment of the Mathematics curriculum with Indiana State Standards has been completed and realignment with the National Common Core Standards has begun. The WJHS mathematics faculty has identified differences with the Common Core Standards are working to align curriculum with established benchmarks. Social Studies and Science faculties have met as part of a system wide 7-12 curriculum meeting with the goal of vertical integration of the social studies and science curriculums. A realignment of social studies curriculum occurred in the school year with adoption of new textbooks. Social Studies and Science Departments will begin designing formal quarterly maps during the school year, integrating the new Literacy Standards. The SSP program is aligned with state standards and provides frequent feedback on student mastery of the state standards. B. Information about how the schools instructional strategies support the achievement of Indiana Academic Standards The alignment of the curriculum to the standards is the first step in providing instruction that is tailored to those standards. The faculty of Washington Junior High School is aware of the standards and has actively worked to reinforce these standards since their adoption and subsequent revisions. The staff understands the importance of these standards as they relate to the ISTEP testing. Our corporation has developed a long term plan for meeting academic standards. Data Driven Decision Making-Acuity CMA by CTB will be used as quarterly assessments for both language arts and math. The data from these assessments will then be evaluated for trends, item analysis, and then used to develop instruction, remediation, and enrichment materials. Teachers collaborate at least once a week to evaluate their student data and plan upcoming lessons. Improvements and adjustments relating to student instruction are made based on this student data. STAR Reading and GRADE+ Reading Assessments-These items were added during the school year as additional ways to determine students reading levels. This data has been invaluable in creating reading friendly environments for our students. Data shows that 50% of our students do not read at or above grade level. This data is very alarming. Reading remediation classes were implemented during the last school year and will continue to be an important part of our curriculum. High Ability-Our corporation refined the services and assessments used to determine High Ability eligibility beginning with the school year, with this work being ongoing.

9 9 Committee members consisting of administrators, guidance counselors, teachers, and parents continue to review and revise documents to assure that we are providing adequate services for our High Ability students. A new program through the WJHS library will be available during study hall times for those students who need acceleration beginning with the school year. Various topics will be highlighted with guest speakers and many challenging activities offered. Real life connections and accelerated vocabulary will be a focus. RTI- All teachers have been trained in the RTI and work closely with the school social worker in this process. Training and support in this area are planned for the upcoming school year. Reading- All student reading levels will be assessed using Star Reader and Grade +. A part time Literacy Coach will work with teachers to incorporate reading strategies across the curriculum. Other offerings that greatly enhance the curriculum at WJHS are: Fine Arts Classes, Physical Education Classes, French and Spanish Classes, an ESL program, after school tutoring, and academic clubs. C. Assessment of student achievement based on ISTEP+ and other assessment strategies Washington Junior High School is committed to improving the student instruction and achievement. We attempt to pinpoint areas of weakness for students and work at improving their ability to understand and master these skills. Regular classroom assessments, SSP Quarterly Assessments, Quarterly Writing Prompts, and Reading Assessments are all in place to help us serve the needs of our students the best way possible. The data from each of these assessment tools is evaluated and used to determine student instruction, remediation, and enrichment. Beginning with the school year, quarterly Acuity CMA assessments will be administered to all students. ISTEP+ will be administered online. Conclusions that can drawn from the ISTEP+ and the other assessments mentioned are: Monitoring student mastery of the Indiana Academic Standards has made our teachers aware of what is happening. Alignment of the curriculum has brought the State and Common Core Standards into a greater focus and understanding. Using leading data to drive instruction has proven very beneficial. Real time data is invaluable in planning. Gaps remain in the mastery of standards by some student groups There has been increase in ISTEP+ scores as compared to state averages.

10 10 D. Parental Participation in the School WJHS recognizes the benefit to its students of a strong relationship with its parents and community. The school actively promotes and encourages this partnership. The WJHS Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) has a membership of parents which effectively represents the school population. Meetings are held in the evening to promote better attendance and involvement. The principal attends all meetings and a portion of the meeting is devoted to his report on the latest activities and events at WJHS. During this segment of the meeting, future activities and policy changes are discussed to obtain parent input on decisions affecting WJHS students. Teachers also attend the meetings and are available to answer questions and hear parent concerns. The PTO provides support for the students by sponsoring dances, chaperoning field trips, serving as an advisory group, and promoting active parental involvement in the educational process. A Reality Store is conducted in the spring to allow students hands-on experience in dealing with a personal budget. Various members of the business community and parents assist the school with this program. Parents enrolling students at WJHS are requested to complete a Parent Volunteer Form. When completed, these forms are used to develop a classroom speaker roster and a parent volunteer pool. A school webpage has been developed and houses school schedules, important information, and school guidelines and rules. The webpage is available to anyone with Internet access. Our student management system was updated during the summer of The upgrade offers the teachers many options for record keeping and staying in contact with parents. Parents will also be able to log-on and view their student s grades. Field trips and community service projects have been used to promote community awareness. E. Technology as a learning tool With the new renovations completed, WJHS teachers have even more technology for their use. For the first time, the Junior High has their own media center. Computer labs are also available. Each classroom has a ceiling mounted projector, television, and DVD player. Several classrooms contain a SMARTBoard. There is one district technology coordinator and two technicians who are available to work with the teachers on any hardware issues they may have. In 2008, a laptop grant was acquired and many teachers now have their own laptop for school use. Airliners and the SmartDesktop software are available to help students teach using the

11 11 visual modality. SmartDesktop contains hundreds of standards based lesson plans for each curriculum area. A large clipart/photo library is also included. Beginning with the school year, many classrooms will have a whiteboard, clicker systems, and various new software titles to use for instruction. Mobile Netbook labs with 25 Netbooks each, will be available for classroom instruction. These mobile labs open up many possibilities for students to have access to information they have never had before, as well as, having a larger role in their own learning. The Migrant Grant will also afford us the opportunity to purchase additional whiteboards for teacher use in the delivery of instruction and assessments. The Study Island program was purchased during the school year, is used by many WJHS teachers as part of their instructional purposes. A district-wide Technology Team was established in 2008 with members being administrators, technology staff, and teachers from all buildings. The added dialogue regarding technology in our school corporation is becoming invaluable. Learning Connections is a program made available to schools through the Indiana Department of Education. This program will facilitate communication within our school buildings, as well as other schools throughout the state. Teachers can share lesson plans and ask questions of their colleagues. This program will also offer our teachers another way to correspond with our parents. During the summer of 2011, our school corporation offered various training sessions. The trainings consisted of Common Core Standards and Standards Alignment, Integrating Technology, Reading Comprehension, and Vocabulary Strategies. F. Safe and Disciplined Learning Environment WJHS operates under the safe school plan adopted for the Washington Community Schools. Elements of this program as stressed for the school include the following: Access to the school is restricted by locking of doors. Signs direct visitors to the office and staff are alerted to the need to verify the status of non-students in the building without a pass. Administrators are constantly available through electronic means. Teachers at WJHS are prepared to deal with discipline problems using a positive discipline approach G. Professional Development Washington Community Schools is dedicated to conducting high quality professional development opportunities as defined in section 9101 (34) of the ESEA. With PL221, the focus of professional development has shifted to a more organized approach concentrating on our school s initiatives and goals. Poverty Training, Drug Education, Best Practices, Differentiated Instruction, RTI, Writing and Writing Rubrics, ICore Mathematics, Acuity, Data Driven

12 12 Decision Making which includes SSP and Data Dashboard are sessions we have held in the past and areas we will continue to concentrate our professional development efforts. With the change in teacher release days and funding, scheduling of professional development sessions are challenging at best. Faculty meetings, teacher preparation and collaboration times, and release time during the school day are all options. V. STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT OBJECTIVES DERIVED FROM AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CURRENT STATUS OF EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING, INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING: A. Attendance Rate For the past five years, the attendance rate at WJHS has been very close or exceeded the state average. With the high percentage of poverty families, students are unable to obtain transportation to school and aren t always encouraged to attend school. Our attendance rates show that we are an exception to the aforementioned facts. Attendance Rate Comparision WJHS vs. State Average State Average WJHS B. Percentage of students meeting academic standards under the ISTEP+ program WJHS has been below the average in both language arts for the past five years and mathematics for the past years, with 2011 math schools exceeding the state average. Obviously, this presents great concern for our teachers and administrators. The issues of high poverty, high numbers of students with special education needs, and a large number of non-native English speaking students all combine to create an extremely difficult situation in which to provide for all of the students needs. Looking to the future, it is the intent of WJHS to increase the number of students meeting state standards on the ISTEP tests. The staff is, however, aware that this will be a challenging

13 13 task. State standards in the areas assessed by ISTEP have been revised and are now significantly more rigorous. It will, therefore be necessary to reach new levels of effectiveness simply to maintain current levels of performance. WJHS is determined to meet this challenge. C. Graduation Rate Not Applicable VI. SPECIFIC AREAS WHERE IMPROVEMENT IS NEEDED IMMEDIATELY It is obvious, that mathematics and Language Arts mastery needs to improve. In reviewing the data, as mentioned before, it appears that WJHS students differ in mastery of state standards according to subgroups. A concern that continues is the rising level of poverty homes as well as the number of non-native English speaking families within our district. VII. BENCHMARKS FOR PROGRESS Several benchmarks will be used to assess student progress. These benchmarks have been set by the administrators and Board of Education of Washington Community Schools and are as follows: Attendance Rate-96% or above Mastery of mathematics standards-80% or above Mastery of language arts standards-80% or above Students reading at or above grade level-80% or above Students writing at or above grade level-80% Assessments are in place to measure all the benchmarks above. VIII. ACADEMIC HONORS AND CORE 40 Not Applicable IX. PROPOSED INTERVENTIONS BASED ON SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT GOALS The daily student schedule has been reworked to include a reading class for all students. An additional resource teacher has been added, as well as, developmental reading courses for resource students. All student reading levels will be assessed using Star Reader and Grade +. A part time Literacy Coach has been hired and will work with teachers to incorporate reading strategies across the curriculum. School wide and individual classroom Data Dashboards have been created to track student mastery of state standards. Staff will monitor individual student mastery of state standards for use in directing their instruction. Teachers will present mastery evidence to the Principal in System to System Conferences (S2S). Data will include; pretest mastery, re-teaching strategies and post test mastery. The focus will be on collecting and utilizing lead data to drive instruction. X. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Professional development is an important part of school improvement. All professional development will be aligned with our school improvement goals.

14 14 Goals #1 Significantly increase the number of students reading at or above grade level. Staff members will be trained by the corporation Literacy Coach to help them incorporate reading strategies across the curriculum. Reading assessments Opportunities to attend workshops/conferences Best practices in teaching reading across the curriculum Data dashboard to track student progress Goal #2 Increase the number of students mastering standards at or above state average. Training with S.I.N.E. consultant on vocabulary strategies. Training with consultant concerning data collection pertaining to standards mastery and creating classroom data dashboards. Best practices in educational instruction XI. STATUTES AND RULES TO BE WAIVED The school corporation allocated four half days for professional development during the school year. Collaboration time and after school faculty meetings are two additional sources for professional development time. In and continuing with the upcoming school year, due to new state requirements, professional development will be on-going and embedded into the school year. The implementation of the school improvement plan is the responsibility of the administration, faculty, students, and parents of Washington Junior High School. Parents share in this responsibility by making sure their students are cared for and that their child s educational program is being implemented and supported at home. Parents will continue to have input in their students educational program and have avenues to express their concerns. Students, who are the targets of this improvement plan, will strive to meet their educational goals. Teachers are responsible for curriculum delivery and remaining current on best practice strategies and implementing them for maximum student success. The principal will monitor instruction and student progress. He is also the facilitator in ensuring that the goals in this document are carried out. The local school corporation is responsible for providing the school with the necessary funds to administer this plan. The LEA is also responsible for providing the structure and environment necessary for the school to function efficiently. As well, the school corporation will assist in directing additional resources to the school. The Indiana State Education Department will be responsible for instituting rules and regulations that foster school improvement. The state also directs funding to the LEA that is necessary for the school to operate.

15 15 XII. TIME LINE FOR IMPLEMENTATION, REVIEW, AND REVISION OF SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT GOALS Goal 1: By the year 2013, the number of Washington Junior High School students reading at or above grade level will significantly increase. This will be demonstrated by an increase in the number of students reading at or above grade level using the Star Reading Assessment Each class entering Washington Junior High School will show at least a 5 increase in the number of students reading at or above grade level in each of the two years they attend. Improvement Strategies for Goal 1: 1. The staff will be trained by the corporation literacy coach on reading strategies across the curriculum. 2. All students reading levels will be assessed a minimum of two times a year using the Star Reader Assessment. 3. Student reading will also be assessed using the school s SSP program. 4. Silent Sustained Reading will take place for 30 minutes daily. Goal 2: By the year 2012, there will be a significant increase in the number of Washington Junior High School students mastering the state standards at or above the state average Each class entering Washington Junior High School will show at least a 5% increase in the number of students scoring at or above the state average on both the math and language Arts in each of the two years they attend. Improvement Strategies for Goal 2: 1. Strengthen the Student Success Program to ensure mastery of state standards according to weaknesses as determined by quarterly testing of state standards. 2. Student s progress on the mastery of state standards will be monitored through Data collected by teachers and reviewed with the Principal in S2S conferences. 3. Professional development will continue in the use of Simple Six Writing across the curriculum. 4. Create school wide Data Dashboards to track student progress on the mastery of state standards.

16 16 Goal 3: Work towards meeting the diverse needs of all students Continue to develop a program that meets the needs of the high ability students. Silent Sustained Reading (SSR) for all students allows for exploratory reading. Continue to sponsor and develop the very popular Heritage Day which celebrates the cultural diversity of the community. Improvement Strategies for Goal 3: 1. Move beyond the planning stage of identification of high ability students and into the implementation of a data based language arts and math program. 2. Continue to develop a reading program to meet the diverse needs of all students. This will include reading for all. Developmental and enrichment reading. 3. Work on developing individual staff and student goals. 4. Continue to support and strengthen the ELL program. 5. Utilize school assemblies and home room time to raise awareness and to educate students and staff on various diversity issues. These may include; character education, cultural differences and other relevant social issues.

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