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Crandon Elementary School

Grade Level
Elementary School

AS JULY TURNED TO AUGUST, the leadership team at Crandon Elementary was working on plans for the start of the new school year. “We know so many of our students have had a very difficult time during this time,” Principal Tina Strong said. To make the return transition easier for students, the staff is leaning into their strong system.

Tremendous effort has gone into the creation and maintenance of their system. School Counselor Becca Gerow remembers the beginning of their journey. It went from a few people trying to sustain a system, to using different teams that work well together, she said. “We feel collaboration is definitely one of our strengths,” Gerow said.

Collaboration through core teams

Crandon Elementary has three core teams: the universal systems team that focuses on PBIS implementation, the building leadership team that focuses on effective academic instruction, and a team which focuses on engaging families in authentic ways. Crandon uses cascading teams structures to ensure communication among and between these teams and grade-level professional learning communities. Through this structure, the universal team recognized that the school was over-identifying students for interventions. To address this, Crandon set about improving universal instruction to ensure that all students receive a high-quality learning experience.

The school clearly defined non-negotiable expectations for each content area (behavior, mathematics, and English language arts). The staff identified best practices and used them to create flow charts to provide guidance on next steps if students need additional support in meeting learning targets. This strengthening of their universal instruction led to increased proficiency in mathematics as measured by the Forward Exam.

Integrating social-emotional learning competencies

Crandon’s data was also indicating that a large portion of their students have experienced trauma. The staff, feeling an added responsibility to make sure their students’ needs are met, began integrating social-emotional learning competencies into their instruction and supports.

The collaboration extends beyond school walls too. “We have been getting medical professionals involved,” Gerow said. Counselors or pediatricians join meetings as appropriate.

Going forward, the team is focused on re-establishing a district team for sustained implementation. “We all need to improve and we’re not perfect in every area,” Strong said. “I just want to be here in the fall with all of our students.”