Instruction and Curriculum Advisory Committee
May 11, 2017, Meeting Minutes
Members Present: Chizuko Shastri, Mary Flesberg, Josh Haag, Cassidy Bjorklund, Teresa Shume, Bill Tomhave, Carol Ladwig, Pam Gibb, Karen Jacowitz, Missy Eidsness, Sadie Anderson and John Wirries.
Guests: Carla Smith, S.G. Reinertsen Elementary principal, Josh St. Louis, S.G. Reinertsen Elementary assistant principal, Robin Grooters, Probstfield Elementary principal, Nancy Wilson, Probstfield Elementary assistant principal, Joelle Hofer, Jump Start lead teacher, Brandon Yoney, Learner Support Services program manager, Jeremy Larson, principal at Horizon Middle School, and Deb Pender, director of alternative education.
1. Approval of April 13, 2017, Minutes
Carol Ladwig moved, Josh Haag seconded, to approve the minutes. Motion carried. The retirement of Mary Flesberg, Moorhead High business teacher, was acknowledged.
2. Probstfield Center for Education Update
Robin Grooters, Probstfield Elementary principal, Nancy Wilson, Probstfield Elementary assistant principal, and Joelle Hofer, Jump Start lead teacher, provided committee members with an update on the Probstfield Elementary and Probstfield Early Learning Center improvement plans. After seeing the data last year some changes were made. Probstfield staff worked with Kari Yates, program manager for literacy and English learners, to change the phonics cycle to a letter a day instead of a letter a week. The literacy interventions were strong this year, with collaboration between general education and special education teachers and use of Minnesota Reading Corps tutors. Professional learning communities (PLCs) meet weekly and spend time on differentiation.
Preliminary data indicates they are on target to meet the goal of having 70 percent of students demonstrating reading proficiency at instructional level C. Preliminary screening data indicates 76 percent of students are proficient with letter sound fluency. The goal is to have 70 percent of kindergarten students demonstrate proficiency by the end of the school year. For math, they are on target to have 90 percent of all students demonstrating a proficiency at an AVMR addition and subtraction (ASC) construct level one.
For behavior, the goal is for students to demonstrate behavior that aligns with the school-wide PBIS mission of respect, responsibility and safety. 85 percent of kindergarten students have no incident reports. Only 4 percent (19 of 494) of kindergarten students are in the red zone on the Response to Intervention behavior model. They are still working on how to support those in the top so they move down to the yellow zone.
For 21st century skills, the goal is that staff will monitor and increase student achievement through team collaboration and communication with an emphasis on critical thinking (data mining, goal setting, action planning). It was noted PLCs meet weekly, school-wide data dig was done with administration, and students have differentiated learning opportunities.
More than 200 students are enrolled in Jump Start preschool. Staff has worked on vertical alignment with kindergarten and did a book study to helped with using data to align. United Way has provided grant dollars to support Jump Start. The Pathways grant from the state added another paraprofessional. Jump Start is a fee-based program. A small number of students pay the full fee, others receive scholarships through Pathways, and there is a sliding fee based on income levels. Early Intervention Services has eight spots in each classroom of 18 students. This model has typically developing students in classrooms with students who are receiving speech or physical therapy/occupational therapy support. All classrooms also have some English learners. There were three classrooms three years ago, and there will be seven classrooms in the fall.
Picture naming is the literacy goal for preschool students. The goal is for Jump Start students to meet or exceed 40 percent proficiency for three-year-old students and 75 percent proficiency for four-year-old students in picture naming by spring 2017. By winter 2017, 18 percent of three-year-olds and 48 percent of four-year-olds were proficient. Spring data isn’t available yet for either literacy or math. They are using Minnesota Reading Corps to provide extra help for students, TASCII (precursor for PBIS), and High Scope curriculum. They look at social skills such as how students are getting along with others, emotions and building relationships. Parent events are held to bring families in to Jump Start. It was noted that Jump Start is one of our best interventions for kindergarten.
3. S.G. Reinertsen Elementary School Update
Carla Smith, Reinertsen Elementary principal, and Josh St. Louis, assistant principal, provided an update to the committee. St. Louis will be Reinertsen principal next year. Overall, the goals are to show growth in math, reading and writing. This is Reinertsen’s first year with a writing goal, and staff members working on writing in their PLCs. For writing, the objective is for 100 percent of students to create authentic writing for an audience. Teachers were very focused on implementing Bridges mathematics curriculum this year. Math and reading objectives are to have 70 percent of students reach AVMR and MCA targets. Data is still coming.
For mathematics, strategies included implementing Bridges curriculum with fidelity and working with math coaches to collect data. A math-focused learning walk was done in January to look for specific targets (number corner up to date and accessible by students, watched/listened to students explain and justify their thinking, observed students working together and listening). Staff by January felt good about where they were with new curriculum, Smith said. Staff gathered data through AVMR and Bridges assessments to track student progress. This will be a focus area next year too. Checkpoints in each unit are great formative assessments to show which students are understanding and which ones need more support.
In reading, teachers are working with students in small groups. Literacy coaches have held coaching sessions with staff to support small group work. The majority of staff are meeting with students in small groups. Next year they want all staff doing it and for those who already do this to be doing it better next year. Staff worked with literacy coaches to collect and analyze data to guide instruction. Data walls for reading text levels have been implemented with fidelity so each student has an individual growth target. Fall, winter and spring data shows how many are hitting designated growth targets and how many are hitting their grade-level target. Students who weren’t making progress at winter had other interventions put into place.
With the first year of the writing goal, they are having students write. They did a writing focused learning walk and some writing specific professional development. Teachers want to give feedback to help students grow as writers. Writing is being displayed in the school.
4. Middle School Co-Teaching and Technology Update
Jeremy Larson, principal at Horizon Middle School, and Brandon Yoney, Learner Support Services program manager, provided an update on two efforts at Horizon. Larson explained that the grades 6-8 one-to-one technology implementation provides a Chromebook for each student to use through grade 8. Approximately 40 spares are available in the media center. Extra technology support was added this year, and there has been a focus on staff development with training every other month for the teachers. In August, there was a Google summit and a summer training was offered. Training was based on what the teachers said they needed because everyone is in different places (based on staff survey). Larson said visits to teacher pages in Haiku went from 114,000 visits last year to 253,000 visits, showing that students are going there for resources. Grade 5 will be added to the one-to-one implementation for 2017-18.
Chromebooks were used for state testing with minimal issues. They did hard wire them so they didn’t have to worry about wireless connectivity or power. Chromebooks were not taken home during state testing. Labs at Horizon likely will be moved to other sites, but a STEM lab will be maintained for Project Lead the Way courses. Larson said the first year of the one-to-one implementation was a good start.
There was discussion about the Chromebooks and whether they are being used as a tool or whether it is truly augmenting learning. Some teachers are doing flipped classrooms. It was noted some students may be more comfortable using their own device for testing. Larson said students/families pay a $40 insurance fee, which goes toward purchasing the device once the student leaves grade 8. However current devices are only two years old so cost would be higher. They are working on a plan for which devices would be sold to this year’s eighth-grade students at the end of the year.
Larson and Yoney explained that there has always been co-teaching at the middle school. It was decided to review the co-teaching model, which is an expensive service delivery model. Two licensed teachers share the instruction, which takes time to develop. This past year changes were made to increase the fidelity of the co-taught model. Special education teachers focused on one area of content and moved between houses to help the teacher own the content area. Common prep time was provided for teachers to plan. In a co-taught setting, no more than one-third of students should be special education, English learners or gifted/talented. There was close monitoring of the balance of students. Monthly professional development and planning time was dedicated to the teachers, who were supported with coaching, feedback and training. Additionally a co-teaching handbook was developed that can be used by teachers who haven’t done co-teaching before.
At the end of the year, the general consensus was the staff involved felt strongly about the effectiveness and progress the school has made. Larson said it will take time to get good data to determine its effectiveness. Some of this will come when students move to the high school and they see if students’ math levels are where they need to be. Moving forward they are increasing the number of co-taught sections and assigning more learner support services staff to co-teaching roles to broaden the scope of the model. Other than students with the most significant needs, students will be taught language arts and math in a general education co-teaching setting. There was further discussion of students having the math skills needed by high school and implementation of the new mathematics curriculum.
5. Red River Area Learning Center Update
Deb Pender, director of alternative education, provided the update to the committee. Red River ALC goals use a report that goes to Minnesota Department of Education and legislature every year that has not been released yet. Red River ALC’s first objective is for seniors to meet graduation requirements. Pender reported 17 students have met all graduation requirements. Three graduated at the end of summer 2016 and 14 (to date) will graduate this school year. There are still students who may make the cutoff. Pender said some of the graduates are part of the early college program.
The second objective is for students to meet a minimum productivity standard of 6.5 credits. Pender said they want students attending, productive and accountable. Data is pending, but tends to average about 3.5 to 4 credits per year. They want to work on transitions to high school and different approaches to accelerate this. The third objective is increasing attendance, and data is pending.
The fourth objective focuses on personalized learning. The advisor-advisee program started a few years ago to have students work on World’s Best Workforce using Naviance. This objective was achieved with all students receiving 60 minutes with a teacher-mentor daily during the 2016-17 school year. Red River ALC has become an active member of MAAP STARS, the Minnesota Association of Alternative Program’s youth component. Students can participate in different events such as advertising and team management. Twenty students competed with other students in the region and four qualified for state.
There was discussion that the new building has made a difference, including improved attendance. The partnership with Adult Basic Education is important, and it was a good move to put the day treatment program with alternative education, Pender said. She said they are looking more at project-based learning and students getting out into the community.
Missy Eidsness, assistant superintendent of learning and accountability, noted that the September meeting will be used to review the draft of the annual report. The building summaries this spring will help create the annual report.