A place to gather, celebrate successes, empower one another, reflect, encourage, invigorate and collaborate describe the atmosphere and happenings at Phantom Lake’s bi-yearly data release days. Fittingly, the theme for Phantom Lake’s most recent data release days was Parisian café, tying into the history of the places for conversation and networking.
Data release days are three-hour blocks for each grade level team, along with the principal, reading facilitator, math facilitator, English language learner facilitator and instructional technology curriculum leader to come together to review data points for their students and determine best supports for each student.
The meeting begins with a prompt to engage the group in thinking about their students in an abstract way. At the Parisian café themed day, the groups looked at Parisian landmarks such as the Louvre, Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe to think of how these icons relate to students and the Phantom Lake community.
Math Facilitator, Laura Gaylord, saw the Arc de Triomphe as the best landmark that represents the students. Similar to the many unique pieces that make up the landmark, Phantom Lake students each bring something distinctive to the classroom. “I think the keystone here at Phantom Lake is the respect and compassion we have for our students,” she said.
Cathy Elder, Phantom Lake’s ITCL, said she connected with the Louvre because of the treasures inside the Louvre. Elder paralleled the treasures in the Louvre to Phantom Lake’s students and said, “I value this collection of treasures from all around the world and the diversity.”
Next the team embeds professional development by reading articles and discussing how they relate to the Phantom Lake community.
Lastly, the group collectively looks at data to determine what supports and interventions are needed for students to be successful in content areas such as reading and math. Social emotional and behavioral supports are also included in the discussion.
Being informed by data is instrumental in finding ways to best support students. Principal Erin King said, “We have these data days and they are focused on math and reading, but we don’t lose sight of the student.”
The group looks at STAR data for math in grades 1-5 and the test for early numeracy in Kindergarten. For literacy they refer to DIBELS, TRC and STAR data, depending on the grade level. They also look at other experiences a student may bring to the classroom.
“It is very important that we think about the whole child and not just one data point from a test given on a certain day,” said Elder. “The data from STAR is a dipstick of information, but coming together and listening to what the teachers and interventionists are observing really helps us best identify what a child might need or confirm that what has been in place is truly working.”
The impact of these days is being seen at the school.
“We certainly have seen a year after year increase in student achievement over the last five years,” said King. “In fact, we have earned the Washington Achievement Award for ‘High Growth’ for four years running and last year earned the School of Distinction award for five continuous years of improvement in both reading and math.”
The school has a variety of strategies they’ve implemented to help students including third grade Lunch Bunch, fourth grade Math Mojo, and a morning math club Jumpstart, as well as working directly with the reading facilitator and English language learner facilitator in small groups.
Phantom Lake also has an Instructional Assistant, Jorgina Kyvik, who is able to provide reading and math support to Kindergarteners. Kyvik’s position is made possible and funded by Bellevue Schools Foundation’s Project Readiness.
Together, during the data release day, staff brainstorm new strategies on how to best support students. New ones being implemented in the coming months are breakfast buddies and students from a private high school coming to help Kindergartners with their math skills.
Following the data release days, staff work directly with their students on implementing new strategies, continuing what’s working and monitor progress on goal setting. Students are gaining ground and accomplishing goals, with the help of Phantom Lake staff.
Liam Marvin, a Kindergartner, made a counting book to help him learn how to count to 100. His parents helped him make dotted lines in the book, but Marvin folded and stapled the book himself. When asked how he learned how to count to 100, Marvin said, “I practiced really well.” Now he looks forward to bringing in 100 items that he will count himself to celebrate 100 days in Kindergarten.
Dreambox, an online program to help with math fluency, is helping first graders to set goals including to complete two or more lessons each week. Addie Carper worked well past the goal and completed six in one week. “There was one with a frog and it was really hard, but I kept going until I figured it out,” she said.
Third grader Rylie Spencer made a personal goal to raise her hand more in class. She’s noticed that she is making more of an effort with this since setting the goal.
The school sees the impact on students of having these data release days and the success of being able to provide the best instruction and support to each student by working collaboratively and empowering one another.
“The benefit to our students is clear,” said King. “Students have an instructional team around them collaborating to provide a stronger learning plan that will increase their proficiency in core academic-areas. It really does take a village.”