Teaching staff will communicate “best practices” being implemented in their classroom during weekly Professional Learning Community (PLC) meetings. Crescent Leadership Academy staff will explore three crucial questions that drive the work of those within a professional learning community:
1. What do we want each student to learn?
2. How will we know when each student has learned it?
3. How will we respond when a student experiences difficulty in learning?
CLA teachers are aware of and respond if students are struggling with concepts or processes. We address this discrepancy by designing strategies to ensure that students receive support, no matter whom their teacher is. In addition to being systematic and school wide, Crescent Leadership Academy’s response to students who experience difficulty is:
To quickly identify students who need additional time and support
Based on intervention rather than remediation. The plan provides students with help as soon as they experience difficulty rather than relying on retention or remedial courses.
Directive. Instead of inviting students to seek additional help, the systematic plan requires students to devote extra time and receive additional assistance until they have mastered the necessary concepts.
The educational team conducts data meetings to improve student achievement. Teachers use this data to improve student learning by differentiation of instruction within the classrooms and to target specific core learning goals. CLA encourages students to assume ownership of their learning, as all of their success depends on their willingness to start. Student course offerings are not just based on assessment, attention is also placed on previous school records and assessments, current credit obtainment, grade level, and current academic performance. This is the initial phase of the student’s Personal Education Plan (PEP) which outlines course offerings from entry to exit for the student. Student PEPs are reviewed and updated on a quarterly basis.
As part of CLA’s focus on results and data-driven decisions as it relates to the curriculum, a variety of formative and summative assessment tools are used to ensure that the students are developing the academic, intellectual, and character skills that are necessary for success in middle and high school, college, and the competitive world beyond. Some of the performance evaluation and assessment instruments to be used will include:
• Diagnostic assessments in intervention programs (SRI/STAR)
• Homework/Quizzes/Daily formative assessment
• Weekly/Quarterly summative assessments
• End of course exams
• Project Based Learning Cycle (1. Research/Writing 2. Collaboration 3. Reflection/Presentation of findings)
• Portfolio Review
We use anecdotal evidence, exit quizzes, skills quizzes, and unit tests in their classroom to determine whether students are meeting achievement goals for the subject area. Quarterly assessments are administered by the teachers and results are transformed into data by the administrative team to use in teacher conversations following each administration of the assessments. This process is designed to help teachers tailor their academic assessments to the state standardized assessments. Quarterly assessments enable us to make our academic institution more relevant during the year. Teachers will be held accountable for producing results inside their classroom. By the time the students take the PARRC, iLEAP, LEAP, ACT and EOC, teachers should be able to predict their scores because they are familiar with their students’ progress.
CLA teachers use a grade book that is organized around common core state standards and GLE’s (Grade Level Expectations). Each portion of a student’s test, for example, is graded and entered into the grade book separately and by standard. This way, teachers can see quickly who has mastered which standard and which student needs additional work in which areas. This also eliminates confusion for parents when the grade in the class is linked more closely to mastery skills. At CLA, student performance on assessments and classroom work is recorded in their academic grade. Homework is provided to students in order to reinforce ideas and concepts that have been introduced during the day.
Additionally, weekly summative and quarterly assessments help teachers and school administrators design extra instructional help to students whose needs go above and beyond the classroom setting. Teachers are available before and after school to work with students on specific skills. Students working on particular skills will be identified from weekly assessments and placed in learning labs that meet their needs.
Teachers must always be aware of their students’ academic performance and are held accountable for student outcomes. The school leader is involved in the analysis of assessment data and is closely supported by the CLA Board of Directors and the CLA administrative team.