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Grantsburg Elementary School

Grade Level
Elementary School

GRANTSBURG ELEMENTARY is a small, rural grade school–one might ask why they would need to examine their system…after all, they’re small enough to know all students and teachers in their building. But Principal Elizabeth Olson and her staff want to make sure that they continue to deliver the highest quality education services that they can. For them, the best way to do this is to stay focused on their continuous improvement process. “We’ve never been complacent. There’s always something we know that we can improve,” Patricia Bergman, reading specialist, said.

To help them keep track of their progress and stay focused on their goals, the leadership team uses the data inquiry journal from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. “This just really helped us clarify where we were going and how we needed to move forward and act on things,” Olson said.

The leadership team meets weekly and uses data to progress monitor student growth and understanding. Students are able to receive needed supports without delay as they navigate through their learning.

Focus on continuous improvement

Grantsburg’s focus on continuous improvement has very naturally led to a strong universal level of support. The team developed consistent, clear expectations and made sure staff understood the process. The result is a guaranteed curriculum for their learners with a vertically aligned foundational skill scope and sequence. “We’re not relying on incidental learning,” said Billie Rengo, reading interventionist. “We’re explicitly teaching those skills.”

The team has a continual drive to increase the number of students who meet standards. Most recently, the target was oral reading fluency skills for their second grade students. Working collaboratively, they implemented an evidence-based intervention for students who needed support beyond the universal level. After one trimester of work, 15% of students in this group were proficient in oral reading. This number rose sharply by the end of the second trimester to 62%.

Additionally, Principal Olson and her team are working hard to help staff understand what it means to answer the critical Professional Learning Community (PLC) questions. Staff have identified what students need to know and created the common assessments. Now, the team is focusing on what staff will do when students don’t know the subject matter. “We have spent a lot of time and energy on how to utilize our professional learning communities to the fullest,” Olson said.