Making plans and meeting goals
Encampment K-12 School previews improvement plan to CCSD2 Board of Trustees
December 4, 2019
The Carbon County School District No. 2 (CCSD2) Board of Trustees were given a preview of Encampment K-12 School’s new school improvement plan during their Nov. 18 meeting. Held in the music room of the Encampment school building, the update was given by staff members from both the elementary and secondary schools along with Principal Mike Erickson. Erickson began the presentation by reflecting on the goals set by Encampment staff in the previous school year.
“Last year we had two goals in our plan. The first goal was to decrease the number of missing assignments for 7-12 students to 10 percent or less,” said Erickson.
The Encampment principal added that, due to an issue with the program being used by staff, there wasn’t any data over the course of the school year to measure that goal.
“As they met throughout the year and talked as staff, they decided that was not really an effective goal and that they were going to change that. We tried that last year … didn’t work like we wanted to, so we’re going to move on,” Erickson said.
The second goal set by the Encampment K-12 staff had been to create “a more inviting school community and environment.” According to Erickson, surveys had been sent home with students and parents asking them what the school could do differently.
“Positives were that it was overwhelming that they felt that staff were available to help with problems, students were treated fairly,” said Erickson. “One of the concerns is that they thought that we should try and get families more involved in events and that we should do more to recognize good behavior and positive efforts. You’ll see in our improvement plan for this school year, we’ll focus a little bit on that.”
To present the school improvement plan, Erickson gave the floor to teachers Julie Davis and Kegan Willford, representing the elementary and secondary schools, respectively. Willford and Davis informed the Board of Trustees about one of the two goals being to “create an inviting school community that enhances student learning and promotes a positive atmosphere for all students.”
To highlight their approach to the first goal, Willford and Davis discussed new programs such as books and breakfast, which saw attendance of over 100 students and parents. Other new programs included the Tiger Times, a monthly newsletter sent out to parents with school updates and recognition of students and staff members.
“The next thing was the Tiger Pride recognition. We started that this year. They’re little notes and, if we catch one of the students going above and beyond normal behavior, we fill out one of these as a staff member. We write their name on here, what they did that was wonderful, the date and initial it,” said Davis. “We give them the top copy and they put it on their locker and then the yellow copy gets turned into the office. They draw three names out of it every month and then those kids get recognized in the school newsletter and they also get a candy bar.”
Davis added that yet another new program was one called Tiger Pride. According to Davis, Tiger Pride consist of students from kindergarten to 12th grade with approximately 15 students per “pride.” Along with the prides, approximately two or three staff members are assigned to the pods and can include janitorial and kitchen staff along with teachers.
“It’s going to be a way to reach out to all of those kids that don’t necessarily get that support they might need,” Davis said.
The second goal set by Encampment K-12 School staff was “any student identified as basic or below basic from the fall WY-TOPP will demonstrate 10 percent personal growth to the spring WY-TOPP.” This goal was discussed by teachers Kareem Bekka and Leslie McLinskey.
“We definitely played with how to word this goal, but it allows us to finally put in place something that Kareem and I are pretty excited about,” said McLinskey.
McLinskey told the Board of Trustees about sponsored trainings from the Wyoming Department of Education that went over the multi-tiered system of support (MTSS). According to the Wyoming Department of Education website, MTSS is “a multi-step process of providing instruction and support to promote the academic and behavioral success of all children.”
“One of the biggest reasons we wanted to put in place interventions to reach those bubble kids is because it’s very clear that a lot of the support that kids get kindergarten through 6th grade just sort of drops off when they hit 7th grade,” McLinksey said.
She added that, in many cases, “bubble kids” tend to flounder upon entering 7th grade, regardless of whether they are below basic, basic or proficient when they enter middle school.
“So we really wanted to implement some very intentional interventions,” said McLinksey.
Bekka and McLinksey informed the Board of Trustees that their implementation of the MTSS framework took place in the middle of the day, before lunch, and lasted approximately 30 minutes. Along with the two teachers, they also involved other teachers in the school, such as Willford.
“Each teacher, besides Mrs. McLinskey and myself, are going to do an extension activity. The students, each week, will rotate to a different teacher for that week. So, they’ll be with Mr. Willford for this week and then they’ll switch and go to another teacher and he’ll get a new group,” said Bekka.
Bekka added that, while also working on the group rotations, he and McLinskey would work with certain students on an individual basis. Their focus would be on students who were struggling with the standards being covered at that time. Once the student begins to show proficiency in the subject, they will return to the normal group rotation.
McLinksey stated that, even though classes would move on when the majority were proficient on the standard being taught at the time, there would still be approximately 10 to 20 percent of students who required more instruction and additional practice.
“This allows us to have a more focused and intense time with them for only one to two weeks, where we just work on that skill. I have sophomores and juniors in my class right now who need additional practice in how to cite evidence in their writing responses. Either they’re not punctuating correctly or they don’t know how to pick the best evidence,” said McLinskey. “So, this allows me to have a little bit more intensive work with just those kids who haven’t quite made it to proficiency yet.”
McLinksey finished by stating that there was evidence that the interventions worked, citing that in the first two weeks of readings, over 50 percent of students showed growth on STAR reading tests. What the teachers at Encampment K-12 School had to figure out, however, was what would work best for their facility.
“It’s kind of freeing and fun to have this be able to not just be about those goals for the accreditation. You can try some different things to help students in areas of deficiencies and do some enrichment for those who are proficient and can move on,” said Erickson.
Bekka added that it was a useful program for the teachers involved, as well, as it allowed them to expand on areas within their subject.
“It’s an opportunity for them to hit some things that they don’t normally get the chance to during the school year,” said Bekka.
The next meeting of the Carbon County School District No. 2 Board of Trustees will be at 4 p.m. on Dec. 16 at the Central District Office in Saratoga.