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    Data Driven Instruction

    Student reading a bookMadrona's Academic Achievement Plan is designed around measurable goals with action steps that lay out how we will achieve these goals. We use our achievement data to revise our plan and change necessary components. It is our goal and mission to ensure that each Madrona student receives an education that will prepare them for college and life and further that students leave their grade level ready for academic success in the next grade level.

    Our plan is designed based on our belief that good schools do a few things very well:

    • Use data to guide all instructional decisions – This is why we assess all students regularly so instruction can be targeted to meet their needs.
    • Use time effectively and efficiently for student learning.
    • Use materials consistently and appropriately across grade levels and from K-8 to support student learning across the whole school.
    • Use high-quality, research-tested, teaching practices across the school.

    four times each year (September, December, February and June) students are evaluated in literacy and math using a benchmark assessment. We use the data from these assessments to look at where we are as a school and set goals, and also to tailor instruction to student needs. Benchmark data is shared with students and families on a regular basis. We actively engage students and families in academic goal setting by sharing where students are in reading and math currently, discussing what we're doing to improve achievement, how each student needs to change, how we will support each student in changing, and how each student's family can support the changes needed for success.

    Teachers meet regularly in grade level teams to discuss individual student progress and intervention strategies to ensure that no student is without significant academic growth throughout the year.

    When students are identified assessment as needing extra support with a literacy or math concept, those students are referred to the "I-Team" otherwise known as the Intervention Team. Led by our math and reading specialists, this group of teachers and instructional assistants meet individually with small groups of students outside of the regular math or literacy time to help them master a specific skill. Three-week sessions of literacy and math are alternated through out the school year. While some students will receive help from the I-Team on a regular basis, most will only attend for a few sessions.

    Organization of the School Year
    The use of time is one of the most important ways we can support student achievement. We structure every day, week, month, and year to ensure that we "make every minute count." This applies to our purposeful daily schedule, the extended time targeted to increase reading and math achievement for all students, intervention built into the day, and summer and spring break intensives. We expect our students to participate all day long and in the extended day programs offered to them.

    Our building protects the academic time in the building every morning for literacy and math instruction with no interruptions allowed. Structured schedules for literacy and math for K-2, 3-4, and 5-8 allows administration, support staff, and instructional coaches to support student learning in classrooms all day, every day.

    We also provide structured opportunities for students to receive instruction targeted to their instructional level in addition to the 90-minute reading class. Opportunities include afternoon intensive period (allows for targeted instruction for intervention, target, and enrichment students using I-Team to pull intervention students for 40 minutes of specific instruction while leaving target and enrichment students with classrooms teachers. Other interventions include extended day for reading and math (1st-8th grades), Team Read, Reading Leaders, cross-grade tutoring, Treehouse, and EXCEL

    Professional Development Focus
    Team and staff meetings focused on academic achievement every week including looking at data, student work, planning, and K-8 curriculum articulation.

    All time together will have an intensive focus on student learning through structured and purposeful analysis of data as whole staff, grade level teams, and individual teachers – How are we doing with respect to our schoolwide targets? How are we doing at each grade level? In each classroom? For each student? Next, what steps will we take to mid-course correct?

    This allows us to plan for and teach every child at his/her instructional level:

    • Target:  Use small flexible groups with appropriately leveled materials within classrooms (guided reading, centers, etc.).

    • Intervention:  Use scaffolding strategies to support lower readers and create a literacy action plan for each student below standard.
    • Enrichment:  Create extension activities for students above grade level.

    Writer's Workshop at Madrona K-8

    Madrona has been the pilot K-8 school for implementing the Columbia University Teachers College Writer's Workshop in all classrooms from kindergarten through eighth grade. We're excited about the transformative effect that we've seen writing have on each student and on the school culture as a whole.

    We want to take this opportunity to tell you about what writing looks like in our classrooms. As you know, writing is one of the most important subjects in school, and it impacts all other subject areas. Its importance continues to grow as standardized tests, colleges, and employers demand writing samples as evidence of one's ability to communicate effectively. All students will grow in dramatic ways as writers this year.

    When you visit our classrooms, you'll notice that we set aside time every day for writing. We refer to our writing time as writing workshop because that's a term published authors use. It makes sense to borrow their term because the children will follow a writing process used by published authors of novels, poems, short stories, essays, and articles.

    In our classrooms, the writing workshop lasts for approximately an hour each day. It begins with a 10-minute writing lesson (which we call a minilesson) in which teachers explicitly teach the skills of good writing. Workshop starts with all writers gathering in a meeting space together for large group direct instruction. Writers are taught a strategy or method that they can use to make their writing stronger, clearer, and more correct. After the minilesson, the students work on their own writing for 40-45 minutes. As the students work, the teachers meet with small groups of writers who share the same instructional needs. Teachers also confer with individual writers. After the students work on their writing, they gather again for a teaching share time. This gives the teachers an opportunity for further instruction and gives our writers an opportunity show each other what they've accomplished.

    You will notice enormous growth in your child's writing this year as we move from one unit to the next during writing workshop. Throughout this first month or so of school, your children will be writing personal narratives, which are true stories from their lives. This unit is meant not only to teach them qualities of good personal narrative writing, but it's also designed to help them develop stamina, focus, structure, detail, a sense of purpose, an appreciation for conventions, and an enthusiasm for writing.

    As the year progresses, your child will learn to write in a variety of genre, including essay, literary essay, short fiction, poetry, and memoir. The year will be divided into month-long units. During each unit, your child will learn more about qualities of good writing and about writing processes. They'll also learn a variety of strategies to draw upon during each stage of the writing process.

    We believe that writing well is a skill that can be taught and learned, and we are committed to teach children to write well-organized, detailed, compelling texts. Good writers must also know the conventions of good writing, which include punctuation, grammar, and strategies for accurate spelling. Much of the instruction on the conventions (or mechanics) will take place during our daily word study time, and your child's growing proficiency with the conventions of writing will transfer into their work during writing workshop. We encourage children to write first draft writing without belaboring each word, which means that this first draft writing will not be perfectly conventional. Over time, it will be very important that children develop better and better habits, so that it becomes second-nature for them to punctuate, paragraph and to spell high-frequency words correctly. Of course, children will edit and correct their drafts before publishing them.

    You may wonder how you can help your child to prosper as a writer this year. The first thing we'd like to remind you of is that for most of us, writing can be frightening. Please encourage your child by helping your child realize that daily life brings with it stories that deserve to be told. When your family hears a noise behind the wall and you use a flashlight to find that the noise comes from a bird who has been living there, remind your child that this would make a great entry in his or her writer's notebook! When you get the chance to see your child's writing, please give your child what every writer needs above all: an interested, appreciative reader. Read the child's writing not as a judge, but as a reader, paying attention to the content. If you do this, you will make your child feel like an author, and you'll make it much more likely that your child will care about writing and will be ready to invest in the hard work required to grow as a writer.

    We will have many celebrations of our writing throughout the year, and we will hang our published pieces of writing in the halls for all to read at the end of each unit.