Harrington School Level 4 School Plans
The E. J. Harrington Elementary School is the fourth largest of sixteen elementary schools in Lynn with approximately 560 students in grades PreK through 5. The 2010 statistics are from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) website in the PDF file below. Modifications to the Turnaround Plan follow.
Addendum Turnaround Plans for Harrington School
We have prepared our Turnaround Plan modifications as an addendum to our original plan for Harrington. While we know that we ultimately need to have a single plan that can be communicated to stakeholders, we expect to use the Redesign Plan for that purpose. Because of that, we determined it best to keep the modifications in this separate document – and embed the changes we are noting here, on the following pages, and in the Redesign Plan that is being developed.
Modifications to Original Plan:
1. Identify Key Differences Between the Turnaround Plan for Harrington and the Plan for Connery
(a) Teacher experience and capacity
The Harrington School faculty is a more tenured faculty than the faculty at the Connery School. Many teachers currently working at the school were present during the prior, successful turnaround. Therefore at the Harrington School, the specialists (two reading and one math, noted below) work more directly with students rather than building teacher capacity. There is a single Curriculum and Instruction Teacher (CIT) (as opposed to four at Connery) who focuses her attention on teachers who need assistance in those particular areas that have been identified by the building principal through data. The CIT also assists teachers in with Tier II intervention for students. A literacy coach and math coach complete the support to faculty.
An additional ESL teacher (from two to three) was placed at the Harrington to improve support for ELL students through direct intervention as well as to focus classroom instruction on instructional strategies specifically designed to assist ELL students. This facilitates peer modeling in ESL strategies across all classrooms, providing continued professional development in ESL and SEI strategies for Harrington teachers
The district has placed an additional math instructor at the Harrington School who is certified in elementary mathematics. At the present time, this math teacher is the primary instructor in mathematics. Over the three years of redesign, each classroom teacher will first assume responsibility for the provision tier II math intervention while the math teacher provides Tier I instruction. Once trained through a variety of sources including the district math coordinator, classroom teachers will then assume responsibility for both Tier I and Tier II mathematics instruction. The need for content expertise in mathematics increases in grades three, four and five. We have been working on improving the content expertise for all teachers with Mass Insight training and other district training initiatives; however, as a jumpstart to school wide success in mathematics, the district added a highly qualified math specialist to deliver instruction to all students in grades three – five at the Harrington School.
The district has provided a program specialist to assist the principal in duties to include the evaluation of teachers as well as to assist in the monitoring of Turnaround strategies.
(b) literacy instruction
Principal Ruggiero is certified in special education and in reading education. She has a thorough understanding of the staff in her building. She has been on faculty at the school for most of her career. Ms. Ruggiero feels confident that the teachers at Harrington are better poised to use Harcourt Trophies as one source and tool in providing standards-based tier I instruction rather than use the Trophies system as the primary focus for scripted instruction. The district has agreed to support the principal with the understanding that additional work will need to take place on formative assessment to ensure that the standards are being delivered. District leadership will work with the principal to monitor the formative assessment scores to ensure that teachers are equipped with protocols and processes for making educated and more flexible use of Trophies. In contrast, the less tenured staff at Connery will use a more conventional approach to the use of Trophies and the ELA curriculum. The district will monitor both approaches for their effects on student outcomes. Based on information at the district level, both Harrington and Connery Schools need total revamping of their Tier II and Tier III interventions. While the principal notes her reliance on small group instruction, the way in which small group instruction is utilized will be better defined and planned through redesign.
2. Increased Time for Teacher Collaboration
The district has kept apprised of the way common planning time has been used over time at Harrington. During the first turnaround, Harrington School staff became well practiced in the effective use of common planning under the direction of then principal Joanne Roy. Use of data to inform changes and emphases was the hallmark of that work. During the tenure of the last principal, common planning took on a new focus. The principal personally orchestrated the common planning sessions, using the time to deliver theory and ideas about instruction. Reports from faculty indicate that the use of this time fell short because they did not have the opportunity to relate the theory into instructional change that would impact student achievement. Based on this information, and on the fact that the district has moved forward in its use of assessments and more, district leadership will work closely with the redesign team to restructure common planning time for rapid and sustained improvement through the effective implementation of RTI. The superintendent intends to reopen negotiations in order to discuss ways in which to increase collaborative time in a manner that will not be dependent upon non-sustainable funding sources. She also sent a team of central office administrators to the "Increasing Time" conference. These administrators will work with the Redesign Team to investigate more creative ways in which to extend planning time for teachers as well as to expand learning time for at-risk students. It is likely that one approach will be through the use of retired teachers as tutors for students.
The design for common planning time, when it will occur, and the intended outcomes for use of common-planning time is being defined during redesign phase. It is intended that a combination of staggered teacher start time as well as the addition of retired teachers as interventionists and mentors will provide the school with creative ways of increasing collaborative time. Bridge Funding will provide an additional hour per week through the month of January for structured teacher collaborative time resulting in a total of one hour and 40 minutes of CPT per week.
3. Coordinate Approach to Services for Students and Families
The City of Lynn and the Lynn Public Schools uses a coordinated and comprehensive approach to serve the needs of students and families. The approach is two tiered, with the first tier being focused on prevention. Across-the-board dental and vision care with the help of local providers, feeding programs with the help of the state, strengthened school security measures to ensure that students continue to feel safe in their school (as was reported in a June 2010 satisfaction survey we administered), and a new positive behavior management system (Second Step) that we have selected in response to what other student data are showing us, are designed to address the needs of all students and families. New furniture was purchased to give the school the physical change we hoped would instill improved focus. With Early Implementation Grant funding we purchased a number of student/family/school interaction materials such as communication folders, agenda books specifically designed for the elementary aged student and home/school assistance pamphlets in multiple languages. The library media specialist is the point person for family and parent involvement. She will act to coordinate all Tier I efforts at parent involvement. Parent surveys show a non-committal view on the satisfaction they have around involvement at the school. It is our plan to utilize a combination of outreach (Tier I) and intervention (Tier II) for families at the Harrington School.
The Harrington principal has conducted an additional parent survey during September 2010. The results are currently being examined for trends. Thirty five parents are participating in a Parent Support Group with the school social worker. That group will be used as a means to tap parents for "focus" group interviews to obtain additional parent perspectives on family, student and parent needs.
From here, more targeted interventions are part of a second tier, and these interventions unfold through the supports provided by specialized, qualified staff members. The need for this second tier, as reflected in data that those at the school and district level have collected on this school over the past several years on students (including referrals to healthcare providers and behavior referrals), provides the impetus for our placement of a Social Worker who is new to the school as of Sept. 2010. In addition, the district placed one of its adjustment counselors at the Harrington School. This is partially based upon the fact that the June 2010 survey of staff satisfaction showed a strong concern with student behavior and motivation. During the last weeks in October, our DESE liaison will arrange a meeting of ESE student support representatives and district leadership for a discussion/work session centered on student achievement. At the outset of redesign, district and school leadership will explore and employ additional survey instruments to ascertain more information about the needs of their families and students.
Senior district management has conferred with a number of community agencies to bring about support for the school. Based upon a preliminary meeting with the medical director of Lynn Community Health, that agency will begin to provide therapeutic services for children, parents and families at the Harrington School site and is exploring funding for a comprehensive health center located at the school. Data cited by the medical director indicate that many family members living in the Harrington school district have need for these services. The district's Coordinator of Health and Wellness along with the Head Adjustment Counselor will work throughout the redesign phase to better coordinate services and measure the impact of individual interventions/supports. Workforce Investment (WIB) in Salem has agreed to explore job training to be associated with the adult literacy program for those in need of assistance. Mary Sarris, the Executive Director has provided data to show high unemployment in the City of Lynn. Other data from the WIB show many parents employed in jobs with no upward career path.
This level of support in the form of Tier II intervention for parents, students and families does not exist at our other elementary schools. Other elementary schools share adjustment counselors and only one other non Level 4 elementary has a social worker.
4. District Strategies to Support and Monitor Implementation
The district will consider outside expertise in assisting the redesign team with setting reliable benchmarks related to each major initiative. We are investigating a partnership with Learning Points Associates to assist us in developing an overall structure to the basic model of tiered intervention for academics and student support that we have chosen. Immediate performance benchmarks connected to MAGS, student performance outcomes, school culture, and student/parent wellness will be established. As a result of established benchmarks and a data selection and gathering process that is aligned with those benchmarks, a clear function and role for each new staff position will be designed.
RTI, strong ELL strategies of instruction, use of assessments to gauge learning, and accurate content knowledge will form the basis for discussions across school and district instructional leadership to establish common indicators or criteria for practice in the classroom, and on working on student and parent readiness for learning. Once established, district and school leadership will focus conversation, common planning, teacher evaluation, examination of student work and class observation and visitation around finding evidence of the common indicators. Early professional development and redesign team work will focus on identification of the criteria and ways in which to remediate to the lack of evidence. Criteria will include methods for utilizing the new computers and SMARTBOARDS in each class.
5. Plan for Self Sufficiency and Sustainability
Whether or not the district is able to access STG funding for Harrington, our commitment is to preserve the capital resources (technology and specialized materials) that we have recently prioritized to the school for the purpose of facilitating teachers' use of multiple instructional strategies. We are also committed to the on-site training of all four Categories, with SIOP being prioritized. It is currently not feasible to offer school-site Category training at our other elementary schools, so this is targeted support that we are committed to providing over the course of three years for Harrington, regardless of outside funding. We believe this is vital to improvement, given the 51% LEP and 70% first-language-not-English school demographics. (We will use Terra Nova to assess the impact of SIOP training on instruction and vocabulary development.)
As a district, we rely heavily on outside funds to supplement what our local budget cannot provide. In the case of our use of all funding, we are very strategic in our decisions about allocation. We commit to prioritizing Harrington, in addition to Connery Elementary, for all outside funding that relates to key school strategies.
(a/b) Based on the fact that we will continue to prioritize funding to Harrington, we will ensure the following: Year 1, all positions noted in the Turnaround Plan will be funded and given district targeted support. As a result of this, the key outcomes we will expect, and hold the school accountable for, include having 95% of teachers at the school trained in SIOP, and progressing through the other Categories. We expect to see evidence of SIOP strategies being utilized in all classrooms. We expect collaboration around data, and revision of instructional strategies based on students' needs. This will allow us to ensure that we are moving forward in terms of RTI.
Year 2, we expect that 100% of teachers will have completed SIOP, and will be at least part-way through the other Category trainings. Because we will have developed a method for benchmarking progress, we will determine which of the roles, strategies, and resources are most important to increased performance. We will refine these, as necessary, but commit to working to sustain those pieces that prove to have the greatest impact. (We believe we can sustain the positions—Reading Specialists, CITs, etc.—we have added, and it is expected that our other strategies for improvement [focus on RTI, use of Second Step and a two-tiered student support model of prevention and more intensive interventions for students and families, and more] can be brought forward with refinement.) This is our commitment, whether or not we receive the STG funding for this school.
Year 3 will be heavily shaped by the data we collect on the effectiveness of strategies over the course of the first two years of implementation, which we will undertake as planned on our own, whether or not we receive STG funds. This "shaping" of strategies will be due to the fact that we know we need to focus on continual refinement of improvement initiatives, and we might be able to gradually move the school away from a place of requiring some of the supports involved in the initial launch.
(c) The five-year contracts we have put in place for the principal sets the stage for us to be able to have sustained leadership impact at the school. But because we know that life-change events and personal decisions could overpower the nature of the employment contract, we will support broad leadership teams that document and communicate their processes and methods of working together to move the school forward. To sustain the impact of this broad leadership, we will work to build a pipeline of potential future leaders, building this pipeline out of teacher-leaders we have already committed to differentially compensate. This will help with sustainability.
To insure sustainability, at the district level, we know we have to carefully evaluate, over the course of the three years, our systems and beliefs about certain practices. This evaluation can be done based on data we get from the work of Connery and Harrington. As we evaluate, we will get some systems firmly in place (in the contract, and more).
6. Collect Baseline Data
Student, parent, and teacher satisfaction and school culture surveys were distributed in June 2010 and, follow-up parent surveys, in fall 2010. Preliminary analysis has been completed; however, further analysis of this data will be completed as preparation for redesign planning. A student risk behavior survey was conducted in June 2010 for all middle and high school students in Lynn. Feeder school patterns will be established for the middle schools and that particular subset of data will be analyzed to provide further information about student characteristics at the Harrington School. Analysis of various achievement data (MCAS results, trimester assessments, formative assessments, Dibels results, and CBM Maze results) are already embedded in data team work at Harrington School. A school psychologist will be on staff to work with teachers of tier III students to assess performance data to ascertain learning style and to assist teachers in designing instruction to match the identified learning style. The district is engaging the services of an external consultant skilled in data analysis to work alongside district and school teams. For each initiative, a data source will be identified in order to monitor efficient implementation of the redesign. Currently a combination of district and school leaders are working to determine how data collection will continue unfold – for example it could be through walkthroughs, focus group interviews, additional surveys such as APT, time studies, and student work artifacts and formative assessment scores.