Skip to main content

School District of Crandon

Grade Level

LIKE MANY SCHOOLS, the Crandon Elementary and Middle Schools believe in success for all students. To pursue this goal, they began to consider a culturally responsive multi-level system of support to achieve gains in academics and behavior. They began with separate behavior and academic systems; however, they learned that their separate systems made supporting student success challenging. This is their story.

Laying the Groundwork

From the beginning, Crandon’s leaders recognized the need to cultivate staff support to create a responsive system. It was decided to begin their responsive journey by putting in place behavioral supports, in part because they were identified by DPI as a school with disproportionality concerns. Leaders spent considerable time with staff, listening to their concerns, and sharing information. Crandon’s leadership knew many of the changes needed would be adaptive–the type of change that requires a new way of thinking. As Crandon would discover, this would include changing beliefs about where the locus of learning responsibility rested: with the teachers. It would also shift perceptions of team structure and purpose, and help determine how best to implement a culturally responsive multi-level system of support.

Training for Success

In 2011, once staff commitment was achieved, the Crandon administration provided support–including funding and release time–so that schools could attend tier 1 PBIS trainings. Schools then began to implement and assess PBIS. Soon, a separate team began to address academics, attending the Wisconsin RtI Center Framework Overview and taking the SIR. Since the two groups were essentially discussing supports for all students, district leadership questioned why the two teams were working separately. After careful investigation, the decision was made to bring the two systems together into one.

Creating One System

With district’s administration support, staff began the hard work of combining academic and behavior systems and teams. The different teams were essentially looking at the same student-level data, just at different times and with a different lens. However, the actual work of combining teams and systems proved to be much harder than anticipated. Staff needed to examine core beliefs about how they thought the system should work to best serve students. They needed to also come to a consensus about language, terms, purpose, and procedures. This meant that teams were repurposed and reformed and, in the process, created a new system specifically designed to respond to individual needs of the child as a whole. In the course of one year, this blending of academic and behavior-focused teams created a solid foundation for a culturally responsive multi-level system of support.

Using Data Effectively

By moving to one system that encompasses both behavior and academics, the elementary and middle school teams are now well equipped to access multiple data points–for student achievement and for system implementation. Each building has a list of teams, their members, and their functions, along with how often those teams meet. For example, the universal team at Crandon Elementary is comprised of the principal, grade-level teachers, a paraprofessional, and coaches (academic and behavior). They are responsible for fidelity checks on both behavior and academic classroom implementation, planning for new staff, and general support at the universal level. They also monitor the acknowledgement system used which recognizes positive behavior and positive academic work.

Crandon is moving from a paper-based system to an electronic system for tracking information based on screening data in reading, mathematics, and behavior. Screening data include benchmark assessments, WKCE, PALS, SRI/SMI, grades, attendance, special education status, tier participation, gifted/additional challenge participation, and transfer information.

Initial Student Outcomes

So far the results are promising! Crandon Elementary and Middle Schools are recognized by the Center as Schools of Distinction for Behavior. In reading, they are Schools of Merit. They have seen a decrease in truancy and suspension rates and an increase in reading screening levels.

Next Steps

Although they have made enormous strides, the schools recognize the work must continue. A district team is attending the Wisconsin RtI Center’s Leadership and Coaching professional development. In addition, the district has begun prioritizing the implementation of culturally responsive practices. These practices ensure teachers are thinking positively about what their diverse student population can contribute to a classroom, rather than seeing differences as liabilities. Crandon’s commitment to improving their system has the potential to make a true difference in the lives of the students who learn there.