Vision and Mission Statements: A student council needs assessment in the fall of 2019 resulted in the update of our school-wide vision and mission statements. These statements were created through student-led research of the District 75 Mission and Vision statements, the Chancellor's Priorities and through the survey of 177Q stakeholders. Participants who assisted in the development of these statements included diverse student leaders from multiple class ratios and teachers from multiple departments Student council members incorporated Diversity and Opportunities to the original WE CARE mission statement, resulting in the updated statement of WE DO CARE.
Though the needs of our school have evolved during the pandemic, the vision and mission statements of our school continue to be relevant and meaningful to our school, are aligned to the District 75 priorities, and are evident throughout all that we do.
The school vision and mission are shared with the entire school community throughout the school year, beginning with the staff opening meeting and first parent meeting in the fall. The vision and mission are shared with students in their classes, and the student council discusses its significance. The vision and mission and displayed prominently in the school, across all sites, and on our school web page.
The components of WE DO CARE, including student self-advocacy and independence are embedded throughout our school's social-emotional practices.
The development of self-advocacy and independent skills is embedded throughout our students’ school day and communicated to families for generalization into the home and community setting. Classroom teams, the curriculum committee, ILT, administration and all departments throughout our school keep students’ self-advocacy at the forefront of all they do.
Regarding our mission statement, WE DO CARE, the principles are embedded throughout our school’s community, culture and instructional practices. Through our Mindfulness program, an emphasis is placed on the understanding and respect of ourselves and those around us. Our school’s curriculum, social, and enrichment programs empower students with the opportunities to grow and become the best individual they can be while practicing effective communication skills in their preferred method of communication. Self-advocacy is promoted through student participation in student council, participation in IEPs, interest and Level 1 surveys, and instructional activities activities. Our curriculum’s diverse, culturally-responsive and inclusive resources and culminating activities encourage acceptance and respect
Instructional Focus: In the Fall of 2020, the Instructional Leadership Team, comprised of diverse stakeholders from across our school community, developed our instructional focus statement. The team reflected on the previous school year's instructional focus as the foundation in developing the present statement.
In October 2020, the ILT designed an Instructional Focus survey. Over 110 staff members completed the survey and provided their input regarding 177Q's Instructional Focus.
Our Instructional Focus is embedded throughout school-wide practices such as curriculum, instruction, and inquiry cycles.
Through the school-wide curriculum and Instructional Inquiry Cycles, our Instructional Focus is aligned to the District 75 2019-20/2020-21 ELA Goal of implementing high-quality, rigorous and relevant specially designed ELA instruction.
Initially, the ILT was planning to identify math/computation skills as the school's instructional focus. However, after reviewing staff feedback, the team saw that 47% of staff identified reading as a priority area with 65% of staff stating that comprehension should be the instructional focus. As a result, the ILT modified their original plan and aligned the instructional focus to the staff's feedback.
Teacher teams are conducting instructional inquiry cycles which focus on strategies for improving student comprehension across all ratios.
177Q's curriculum focus on student comprehension across all content areas. Students demonstrate their learning via bi-monthly culminating projects that are aligned to the curricular theme.
Digital instructional resources, such as Freckle and iXL were purchased to increase student achievement.
A focus on continuance and meaning beyond the present moment, contextualizing today’s successes and improvements as the legacy of the future
Observations & Feedback: The administrative team provides feedback to staff after classroom visitations and observations. Classroom visitations and observations are reviewed and discussed during weekly administrative cabinet meetings.
Due to this year's truncated observation cycle, the administrative team has developed an observation list and pacing calendar to ensure that all teachers are observed and provided with meaningful feedback in a timely manner.
Advance observation data are reviewed periodically to identify areas of celebration and identify topics for staff development. Additionally observation data will be reviewed at the end of the observation cycle to identify instructional practice strengths and needs. Trends are shared with staff during faculty conferences as they become available.
Ongoing feedback to teachers support the improvement of instructional practices in both remote and in-person settings.
Through classroom visitations, the administration identified teachers in need of support while teaching in the remote setting. Our school's lead teacher and members of the ILT have supported these teachers via intervisitations and peer feedback.
An initial analysis of observation data indicates that our school-wide areas of strength are in components 2a, 3c and 4e, with 100% of teachers scoring as effective or highly effective. Our school's area of need, according to data from completed observations as of April 10, 2021, is component 3d, with 5% of teachers scoring in the "developing range." These data, though preliminary, will be reviewed by our staff development team for strategic PD planning.
School Leadership Team: The SLT meets on a monthly basis to share information and discuss relevant issues to our school community. Various school leaders and stakeholders have presented to the SLT. Topics have included:
School Safety: PPE, bussing protocols
Curriculum and Instruction: CEP goals and progress monitoring, school-wide curriculum, lead teacher role, programming
Learning Models: Cohort A and B scheduling, reopening plan
Special programs: PBIS
School construction and Reso-A projects
Our Student Council president is an active participant who often advocates for student interests.
The SLT is provided with regular updates on school-wide progress towards our CEP Goals. Team members are encouraged to ask questions, provide feedback, and make decisions regarding school improvement.
As a result of the SLT's collaborative practices, various improvements have been made within school community. Examples include:
As a result of the student council president's urging, students participated in a virtual Valentine's Day dance. The president explained to the SLT that some students felt isolated due to the circumstances of the current school year and that a school dance would help students connect with each other.
Through the support of the SLT, funding has been secure for special program throughout the school. For example, PTA funds were allocated to support our PBIS program.
Decisions regarding our school's reopening plan were voted on by the SLT. A phased re-opening plan to return students to full-time instruction was voted on by the SLT and SLT recommendations were embedded into the reopening plan.
Phased Reopening: In December 2020, the DOE announced that students in blended learning were able to return to full-time in-person instruction. This announcement was met with mixed emotions by our school's staff. Though the school community appreciated the importance of having students attend school in-person as much as possible, concerns about safety were a pressing issue. As a result, the administrative team had one-on-one discussions with every classroom team to explore reopening options and address concerns. As a result of these conversations, the administration, with the feedback and support fo the SLT, decided that a phased reopening plan would be best. Classes were placed into one of three "phases," depending on their readiness to return to full time instruction. Teaching assignments were adjusted as needed, taking into consideration each teacher and paraprofessional's experience, strengths, and talents.
All staff members were given the opportunity to share their ideas and concerns regarding our school's reopening process. In January 2021, all members of our in-person staff across all sites were provided with a reopening survey. This 45-question survey gave staff the opportunity to provide detailed feedback to the school's administration regarding the safety and logistics of the return to full in-person instruction from the blended model. Staff were asked to evaluate the school's current environment across multiple domains and to use this information to share their own suggestions for school improvement and safely.
On January 4, 2021, sixteen classes at the main site and all eight classes at our 177@295 site returned to full-time instruction. Since then, all but three classes across all sites have returned to full-time in-person instruction.
As a result of the Phased 1 Reopening feedback survey the school's administration identified areas in need of improvement and support. Specifically, the following actions were taken:
Unnecessary furniture was removed to make space for additional students opting into full-time instruction; furniture from empty rooms was redistributed to make Staff Resource Rooms, an additional Staff Lounge, an additional Physical Therapy Room, and to create additional space for any staff needing to accommodate room capacity. The Floor Plan was adjusted to reflect new room capacity, staff movement, and new room assignments.