Kildeer Countryside School District 96(KCSD 96) is an elementary school district covering about 20 square miles in southern Lake County, Illinois. KCSD 96 has received 7 U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Awards and is listed in the top 100 public schools in Illinois (Niche, 2019). KCSD 96 is the only district in the nation with all schools recognized as International Professional Learning Community (PLC) model schools. (All Things PLC).
KCSD 96 superintendent Dr. Julie Schmidt has long championed evidence-based practices, and a partnership with ECRA has helped further these goals. Presented here are four case studies that demonstrate the district’s continued commitment to an evidence-based culture.
Kildeer Countryside School District 96 uses an instructional coaching model in all academic areas. This includes full-time release coaches in the area of literacy, math, technology innovation, science, and informational literacy.
Additionally, our traditional ESL model has been fully transitioned to a co-teaching model and our traditional EL Specialists serve as Language Development Coaches (LDCs). LDCs both coteach and coach our staff around best practices for students that are culturally and linguistically diverse. The total sum of all of these coaches is forty that participate in ongoing training with our Teaching and Learning Department. One component of this training and how we evaluate overall coaching effectiveness is through a case study.
For this case study, coaches select two classroom teachers to partner with as a result of data that is indicating low proficiency and/or low growth for the purposes of data analysis to provide differentiation over the course of the better part of a school year.
The data analysis that occurs through the ECRISS portal via ECRA gives us the opportunity to select case studies based on staff that have shown need through data over a period of time. The coaches then use the midyear data to gauge next steps and end of the year data to measure success.
The elementary schools at Kildeer 96 implemented Math Learning Center’s Bridges Math curriculum from kindergarten to fifth grade as a result of needing more consistency across the grade levels in all schools due to inconsistent assessment scores. This adoption brought more consistency and cohesion to not only the curriculum but also to math instruction.
Effect Size of New Grade 2 Math Curriculum
In order to oversee the success of the Bridges Math program, Kildeer 96 used ECRISS to monitor the students’ growth data over the course of the year. During the first year, we saw higher than expected growth at each grade level at the system level. This data can also be aggregated by school, by grade level, and by teacher. Using this data, we could carefully consider where more coaching support is warranted to maintain high proficiency and high growth for all of our students.
Increasing rigor and having high expectations for all learners is ever present on the minds of educators in KCSD96. In 2017-18 we eliminated one of the pathways for math at our two middle schools. This meant that all middle school students would be in an accelerated math course as data indicated our students typically did not meet grade level expectations in the at level/grade level course.
While teachers expressed some anxiety about how successful the students who would have been in the “at level” pathway were going to be in the accelerated classes, the district was able to monitor the students and report out on their growth using the ECRISS portal. We saw expected or higher than expected growth across entire grade levels. Similarly, at a district level, lower achieving students at 6th grade exhibited double the growth of average achieving students, and lower achieving students at 7th grade exhibited almost triple the growth of average and high achieving students. Furthermore, using the ECRISS portal to create a group for the students who would have been in the pathway that was eliminated, we saw that those students exhibited higher than expected growth as a group leading us to believe that exposure to accelerated content had an impact.
The KCSD96 Board of Education is constantly evaluating how to better serve our community. Through a process of careful data analysis and community feedback, moving from a half day to full kindergarten rose to the top of school district priorities. In order to make this come to fruition, we needed to undergo a massive renovation/construction process and personnel increase which is a costly initiative. Data that is synthesized through the ECRISS portal via ECRA allowed us to efficiently report to the Board about the gains in student progress that were made as a result of this decisions.
We were pleased to report to the Board that student proficiency increased as a result of the number of 1st graders that were beginning already proficient. Additionally, the student growth model showed the students growth exceeded expectations in the years directly following the move to a full-day kindergarten model.
ECRA partners with schools to develop an evidence-based framework that supports your efforts in school improvement and measures the return on investment of programs and initiatives.
ECRA Group is an approved IL-Empower professional learning partner. Should you have any questions regarding how ECRA Group can assist your school or district through the IL-Empower network, please email: IL-EMPOWER@ecragroup.com.