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Bayfield Elementary School

Grade Level
Elementary School


The implementation of an equitable, multi-level system of supports may feel like a natural fit for a large, urban community. However, implementation is also valuable in a small district, where limited resources must be used to maximum student benefit. One such example is found in Bayfield School District, where the elementary school receives assistance from high school staff and families are engaged to improve student outcomes.

Ensuring high quality instruction

Bayfield Elementary School’s systemic implementation helps ensure that all of their students receive a high quality education. Principal Melissa Giesregen describes this as a holistic, whole child approach which starts with collaboration among staff, students, and community. One example of systemic implementation at Bayfield Elementary School is “Troller Time,” a dedicated time for all students based on need. Teachers meet every six weeks to analyze data, identify growth, and determine need. Based on this data, supports are provided to students according to their needs. Bayfield district creates additional value for students with their whole staff approach. During Troller Time, for example, available high school staff provide support to elementary students.

In order to provide effective and efficient support, teachers needed time to study and make decisions around data they were collecting. For years, staff chose between two start times (7:30 or 8:00). To create dedicated collaboration time, Bayfield changed their schedule. Now each morning, from 7:45 to 8:20, staff meet to identify unmet student needs through data and brainstorm ways to connect and engage with students and families. They also make decisions about how to enhance the consistency of staff practice. “The schedule change was our key to being able to look at our whole system– to support the whole child,” Giesregen said.

Engaging families through a culturally responsive lens

The educators at Bayfield focus on engaging the families of their students. Because 85 percent of their enrollment is American Indian, each year, one of the school’s parent-teacher conferences and at least one of the family nights are held in the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa community. The school district has a good relationship with the Red Cliff Band and together, they work to continuously improve their school community. The school itself recently examined attendance policies with a culturally responsive lens to make sure they were honoring and respecting their community and families. “We’re always–always!–working on that family engagement piece,” Giesregen said.

Bayfield’s emphasis on partnering with families and the community has resulted in students feeling like they belong at school and given them confidence to meet their goals. “Students feel good about themselves,” said Reading Specialist Angela Botka. “They see their progress and know that we’re here for them.”