School Improvement Plans
Chief of Secondary Schools Alex Fralin gave us this mid-year update on School Improvement Plans:
“Unlike any other time since we launched the Strategic Framework, our secondary schools are approaching their school improvement plan (SIP) implementation with greater coherence and alignment while measuring progress more frequently.
Our school-based leadership teams have begun tackling issues of race and equity by engaging staff in meaningful dialogue about how to operationalize their equity visions.
Many of our schools identified a SIP strategy focused on improving teacher teams, and we’ve been working intensely with school leaders to ensure teacher teams are being leveraged as a high impact vehicle for meeting the needs of all students, particularly their students of color.”
Nancy Hanks, Chief of Schools - Elementary, relayed to us her excitement about this year’s School Improvement Plans:
“This is the strongest set of school improvement plans that we’ve had over the last 3 years. The plans are focused, they’re targeted and they’re grounded in equity visions that all of the schools created at the start of the year. One common theme around implementation has been around increasing opportunities for students to engage in rigorous tasks, to advance the learning that’s taking place in the classroom. So beyond students just having a great core lesson from their teachers, schools have been really working to make sure that students get an opportunity to take ownership of their learning and to deepen their understanding through more rigorous opportunities for practice.”
Priority Area 2
Interest in THE FIRST PERSONALIZED PATHWAY IS HIGH AMONG 8TH GRADE STUDENTS
More than five hundred Madison 8th grade students applied to be in the health services pathway launching this fall at East, La Follette, Memorial and West high schools. We’re excited to see our students interested in Personalized Pathways, which offers students personalized opportunities to study subjects they’re passionate about and helps them make connections between what they learn in class and the real world.
‘Peers Uplifting Peers’ help lead the work of Mendota Community School
Last July we also highlighted a strong partnership between Mendota Elementary School third grade teacher Debra Minahan and Bilingual Resource Teacher Rosalia Gittens. Theirs was a story of believing in all students, holding them to high expectations and cultivating a positive classroom community, all of which led to major growth over the school year, particularly for their African American students and English Language Learners, two focus groups of their School Improvement Plan.
It was an exciting time at Mendota, as the school was about to begin their first year as a Community School, made possible through a three-year grant from the Madison Community Foundation. The purpose of a Community School is to help students and families who live in the neighborhood access programming and services by bringing many different health and human service providers and other community partners right into the school. When students and their families are fully supported, our students are then ready to excel in the classroom.
Minahan, along with fellow teacher Tia Tanzer, advises the school group Peers Uplifting Peers, or PUPs. The PUPs students played an important role in the direction of their school as a Community School by surveying their neighbors about their needs.
Van Hise students and families build on strengths
In last year’s Annual Report, Principal Peg Keeler and Instructional Resource Teacher Sharel Nelson revealed Van Hise Elementary School's “special sauce,” which helped students achieve extraordinary growth in the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments.
We reported that seventy percent of the school’s African American third through fifth grade students were proficient or advanced and half of third through fifth grade students receiving Special Education services were proficient.
We recently caught up with Principal Keeler and Ms. Nelson to get an update on their students’ progress.
“In the past, we felt that one of our strengths as a school was to hold kids to very high expectations. That continues to be the case. We promote a growth mindset and kids put their best effort toward their goals,” said Principal Keeler. “Our older students are provided a process for reflecting on how they did last time on the MAP assessment. They reflect on areas they feel they need to continue to work on and the goals they set for themselves. They reflect on what parts were difficult and what they can improve upon.”
Nelson discussed the sense of community among Van Hise students and how the Van Hise equity vision encompasses families as partners. “We have a comprehensive family engagement plan. We are working together with our families – all on the same page. The students feel really supported. We’re communicating more efficiently and heading toward the same goals,” Nelson said.
Principal Keeler added, “It’s been a fantastic year, it continues to get stronger.”