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Macks Creek R-V's District Continuous Improvement (DCI) Journey
Macks Creek R-V's District Continuous Improvement (DCI) Journey
Josh Phillips
Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Macks Creek R-V School

District Continuous Improvement (DCI) Journey


Macks Creek School is committed to continuous improvement. It is for this reason we partnered with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to become a High Reliability School.  The following narrative, which was submitted by our trainers to DESE, describes our ongoing "journey" through the DCI process.  We are still committed to this process despite the interruptions caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic.  

Demographics: 

Macks Creek School District R-V is located in the Lake of the Ozarks region in southwest Camden County. The campus is home to approximately 350 students in grades PK-12, served by 63 dedicated faculty and staff. The highly-supportive school community ensures adequate funds are available for students through a $3.84 levy.  The community most recently approved a 2.2 million debt service levy with 75% voter approval to construct a new primary wing.  Graduation rate has been at 100% for the last several years.  The district places a large focus on character building, fostering a family-type feel within the school and community.  One hundred percent of students enjoy free breakfast, lunch, and after-school snack through the USDA’s Community Eligibility Provision and a partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services.

 

In the area of Academic Achievement, students in grades 4 – 8 are exceeding growth expectations in English Language Arts (ELA).  These same students are on-track in regards to growth targets in Mathematics. Sub-Group Achievement is the same story, students are exceeding growth expectations in ELA and are on-track in Math.  In College and Career Readiness (CCR), APR measures indicate students are on-track in preparation to enter the workforce or pursue a college degree. These same students are also on target when it comes to earning advanced or vocational credits.  Additionally, 90.4% of graduates are employed, in the military, or seeking further education six months after graduation (which is on target).       

 

Journey Timeline:

Pre-DCI

Macks Creek participated in the PLC Cohort for three years prior to transitioning to the DCI initiative. As a PLC School the district worked to create a collaborative community of learners, focused on best teaching practices and student learning.

Summer  2019 (Beginning, Commitment and  Focus)

The DCI commitment stemmed from a positive experience through the Missouri PLC Initiative.  They were made aware of the opportunity to continue fine-tuning best practices and were eager to hone in on district-specific needs.  Additionally, they felt the DCI plan was in line with the district’s mission of creating the best learning environment for all students.

The district leadership team(DLT) was formed during this time and  functions as a representative body of the entire PK-12 Faculty and Staff.  The DLT is comprised of grade level and specials teachers from Kindergarten to Agriculture Science, and everything in between.  The DLT meets monthly, with other meetings scheduled as needed. 

The chosen areas of focus are SBIC and DACL.  These were determined through CWIS results and feedback from the building leadership teams.  The district narrowed the scope at a DLT meeting with CST members present.

 

Fall and Winter 2019 (CST Support, Goals and Three Questions):

The district receives professional learning in the areas of DACL and SBIC. In addition, CST members were on-site as needed for individual or small group trainings.  Walk-throughs were conducted after whole group training.  CST members also assisted in district goal-monitoring for both SBIC and DACL.

The Macks Creek School District presented at the November Regional Collaboration Meeting in Springfield.   They addressed the transition to DCI and how much deeper their commitment is now.

Throughout the fall and winter months, the district revisited the three questions as they become an assessment capable district:

1.  Where are we going?

District-wide goals are to implement the Assessment Capable Learner strategies and practices with fidelity.  Initial goals are to: Utilize Assessment Capable Learner language/vocabulary in the classroom (Where am I going? Where am I now? How do I close the gap?), and display daily learning targets where students/teachers can see and refer.  The SBIC Goal is for every teacher (YES, EVERY TEACHER IS ON BOARD!) to observe and be observed and have positive feedback conversations one time per quarter for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.

2.  Where are we now? 

The district is currently in the process of training all teachers so their focus is on the best practices as outlined in DACL practices.  The goals are set and posted in a central location.  They are currently working on goals and celebrating each goal they meet!  After they have a firm foundation, they will look toward setting new goals.

3.  How do we close the gap?

The gap will continue to close as the progression of implementing DACL practices into the classroom are monitored.  As goals are met, they are celebrated.  New goals will then be developed to ensure specific focuses on implementation are met.  The use of the CWIS and SAPP results will assist in determining growth.  There will be continued support through the DLT and CST members to continue to progress toward becoming a fully-implemented DACL district. 

 

Winter and Spring 2020 (Continued Support):

The district leaders are excited about this framework and know they will need to identify a process for monitoring the implementation including annual goals and outcomes.  Fidelity will also be monitored closely for evidence of performance. Artifacts, such as district leadership team agendas and minutes, will be kept.  The use of data, along with walkthroughs, will be conducted with the purpose of implementation of district wide practices.

They will accomplish this by administering the CWIS again in the spring, giving the SAPP at least three times this year and the use of technology to increase the quality of coaching to improve instruction. They will continue to be supported by the CST consultants with training and coaching.

 

 

Summary:

The district leaders feel the DCI initiative provides a roadmap to accountability.  They feel this framework is a valuable resource for the district so they can be intentional about professional growth.  Through this work, staff is provided professional development opportunities that best meet the needs of the district. 

 

Quotes from Staff:

“I appreciate that all presenters have made us all feel very comfortable.  Whether a new teacher or a veteran, they have treated us all respectfully.”

“I love that all instruction is given a little at a time with specific examples. After the first training, I started using learning targets.  At the next, I refined my learning targets and implemented success criteria.  Each training is like that . . . the pace is good, with many layers of support.”

“I appreciate how you (our DCI Consultants) have always included ways to benefit the classroom. You really brought us into Assessment Capable Learner practices by using real examples from other schools.”

“I love how the DCI model is useful.  It is not a bunch of theories that look good on paper.  It is something I want to implement in my classroom.”

“I have enjoyed observing students make connections with the daily lesson, learning target, diagnostic assessment, and personal goals.”

“I really like the focus on learning targets. I think this has helped our students to take more ownership of their learning. They know the end goal and we are able to assist them in meeting the goal.”

“I love learning about goal setting and that primary students are capable.”

“Assessment Capable Learning increases the level of expectation for both students and teachers.”

“Focusing on Assessment Capable Learners helps me to accept my shortcomings as a teacher. I can visualize where I am going but can forgive myself for not being there yet.”

“I have enjoyed being challenged to create more goal setting and critical thinking lessons to promote better success for my students.”

“School Based Implementation Coaching (SBIC) has helped with the ‘family’ feel of our school. Having another teacher come and give positive, helpful feedback will always be beneficial!”

“I love how peer coaching allows me to see different teaching strategies I can implement in my own classroom.  I love how my peers build me up!”