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Quality Teacher & Education Act Impact & Innovation Awards 2013

IMPACT STRATEGY #1
Fairmount has a wide achievement gap reflected in the rates of proficiency between our English Learners and students who are Fluent English Proficient. We are a Pre K-5 Spanish Immersion school with a rigorous expectation that all of our students leave for middle school bi-literate. Our largest area of focus is ensuring that our English Learners have equitable access to the curriculum, which includes the Common Core State Standards for Language Arts, CA Mathematics Standards, and our social studies, science, and Spanish Language Arts curricula. We typically see a decline in proficiency rates in 4th and 5th grades where our instructional program is 50/50 (English/Spanish). To address our achievement gap and better serve our ELs, we restructured 4th and 5th grade instruction last year. All students began moving through a three block daily schedule. One two-hour block consists of English language arts and science, both taught in English. A second two-hour block includes Spanish language arts, math, and social studies, all taught in Spanish by a second teacher. The third block is our extended language development block, a 70 minute block of targeted instruction, in English to ELs and Spanish to SLs. We call this ELD/SLD (Spanish Language Development) and attribute significant growth to this structural change. Our 2012-13 STAR data demonstrated significant growth in both ELA and math. Overall, our ELA rate of proficiency increased by 14.3% and our math proficiency rate increased by 13.2%. We made AYP in all statistically significant subgroups, most notably, our EL subgroup, which jumped 10.8% in ELA and 5.5% in math. Specifically in the 4th and 5th grades, our foci, rates of proficiency increased by 16.8% (4th grade math), 33.5% (5th grade math), 24.6% (4th grade ELA), and 21.8% (5th grade ELA). We exceeded all of the Superintendent’s Targets for 2012-13 with 77.6% of our 4th graders proficient/advanced in ELA and 72.5% in math. We narrowed our achievement gap between ELs and FEP students and achieved proficiency in more than 7 out of every 10 fourth graders. For an “intensive” school that was at once identified as persistently low achieving, our API crossed 800 and grew 61 points, from 758 to 819. Fairmount made the highest API growth of all elementary, middle, and high schools within SFUSD. Although we have a lot of hard work in front of us in closing our achievement gap, we are making significant progress.

IMPACT STRATEGY #2
Addressing the District goal of keeping promises to students and families. Fostering collaboration between teachers at the grade levels and staff across grade levels while constantly improving school to home communication/family engagement have been large focal areas at Fairmount. A strategy that we began and continue to employ is shared facilitation of grade level meetings and structured systematic teacher coaching. We are fortunate to have two literacy specialists and an instructional reform facilitator. Grade levels collaborate after school weekly and we have facilitation divided by members of our literacy team. Our K-2 literacy specialist works with kindergarten and first grade. Our IRF works with grades two and three and our 4/5 literacy specialist works with 4th and 5th grade teachers. As principal, I move between all of the grade levels. In a one month cycle, each grade level has a facilitated meeting every other week (this way our literacy team can facilitate each week – for example, K one week and then 1st the next week) with the expectation that they use the alternating week for short term planning. During the facilitated meetings, teachers and literacy team members collaborate to create an agenda, one that reflects a planning, practice, student work review, reflection cycle. Following each facilitated meeting, teachers are paid extended calendar to spend the next hour planning implementation collaboratively. Thus far, the feedback from our staff, students, and families has been that content feels much more coherent and consistent. Additionally, my observations have been consistently informing me that instruction has dramatically benefitted from this structural change. To foster school to home communication, we held three Back to School Nights (Pre K-1 one night, grades 2-3 the next, and grades 4-5 on a third consecutive
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Quality Teacher & Education Act Impact & Innovation Awards 2013 evening) so that parents could spend 45 minutes with the principal on school-wide goals, data, trends, and expectations. Additionally, they had a full 60 minute block with their child’s teacher. Feedback was consistently that parents enjoyed the longer block in the classroom despite coming on more than one evening. Teachers felt less rushed and were able to have richer conversations with families. Turnout was remarkably high. Weekly, we are holding Principal Chats, Wednesday Morning Assemblies for Families, along with Monday and Friday Student Morning Assemblies. Attendance has been remarkably high for all of these and they are a perfect complement to our bi-weekly Thursday Folder, produced by our Family Liaison in collaboration with staff and families. I have been very pleased with our systems for communication and proud of the work of our Communication Committee, a subset of our SSC, that works on addressing issues of school-wide communication to the community. We have a family concern box in the main office where parents may communicate a concern. Our SSC has a standing agenda item for reviewing and addressing these concerns collaboratively. All in all, we take great pride in the work we are doing to increase the quality of school to home communication. Our rates of attendance at school events has been significantly higher this year and we attribute much of this to our increase in outreach. Along with teacher consistency in collaboration, I am pleased with our trajectory in keeping promises to students and families, a significant SFUSD goal.

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