U.S. Department of Education2009 No Child Left Behind - Blue ...

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U.S. Department of Education2009 No Child Left Behind - Blue ...

    U.S. Department of Education

    2009 No Child Left Behind - Blue Ribbon Schools Program

    [X ] Elementary [] Middle [] High [] K-12 [] Other Type of School: (Check all that apply)

    [] Charter [X] Title I [] Magnet [] Choice

    Name of Principal: Mr. Raymond Myrtle

    Official School Name: Highland Elementary School

    School Mailing Address:

     Highland Elementary School

     3100 Medway Street

     Silver Spring, MD 20902-2225

    County: Montgomery County State School Code Number*: 774

    Telephone: (301) 929-2040 Fax: (301) 929-2042

    Web site/URL: E-mail:

    I have reviewed the information in this application, including the eligibility requirements on page 2 (Part I -

    Eligibility Certification), and certify that to the best of my knowledge all information is accurate.


    (Principal„s Signature)

    Name of Superintendent*: Dr. Jerry Weast

    District Name: Montgomery County Tel: (301) 279-3383

    I have reviewed the information in this application, including the eligibility requirements on page 2 (Part I -

    Eligibility Certification), and certify that to the best of my knowledge it is accurate.


    (Superintendent„s Signature)

    Name of School Board President/Chairperson: Mrs. Shirley Brandman

    I have reviewed the information in this application, including the eligibility requirements on page 2 (Part I -

    Eligibility Certification), and certify that to the best of my knowledge it is accurate.


    (School Board President„s/Chairperson„s Signature)

    *Private Schools: If the information requested is not applicable, write N/A in the space.

    Original signed cover sheet only should be mailed by expedited mail or a courier mail service (such as USPS Express Mail, FedEx or

    UPS) to Aba Kumi, Director, NCLB-Blue Ribbon Schools Program, Office of Communications and Outreach, US Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave., SW, Room 5E103, Washington, DC 20202-8173.

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    The signatures on the first page of this application certify that each of the statements below concerning the school„s eligibility and compliance with U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) requirements is true and correct.

    1. The school has some configuration that includes one or more of grades K-12. (Schools on the same campus with one principal, even K-12 schools, must apply as an entire school.)

    2. The school has made adequate yearly progress each year for the past two years and has not been identified by the state as “persistently dangerous” within the last two years.

    3. To meet final eligibility, the school must meet the state‟s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirement in the 2008-2009 school year. AYP must be certified by the state and all appeals resolved at least two weeks before the awards ceremony for the school to receive the award.

    4. If the school includes grades 7 or higher, the school must have foreign language as a part of its curriculum and a significant number of students in grades 7 and higher must take the course. 5. The school has been in existence for five full years, that is, from at least September 2003. 6. The nominated school has not received the No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon Schools award in the

    past five years, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, or 2008.

    7. The nominated school or district is not refusing OCR access to information necessary to investigate a civil rights complaint or to conduct a district-wide compliance review.

    8. OCR has not issued a violation letter of findings to the school district concluding that the nominated school or the district as a whole has violated one or more of the civil rights statutes. A violation letter of findings will not be considered outstanding if OCR has accepted a corrective action plan from the district to remedy the violation.

    9. The U.S. Department of Justice does not have a pending suit alleging that the nominated school or the school district as a whole has violated one or more of the civil rights statutes or the Constitution„s equal protection clause.

    10. There are no findings of violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in a U.S. Department of Education monitoring report that apply to the school or school district in question; or if there are such findings, the state or district has corrected, or agreed to correct, the findings. 1000139827.doc 2


    All data are the most recent year available.

    DISTRICT (Questions 1-2 not applicable to private schools)

1. Number of schools in the district: 130 Elementary schools

     38 Middle schools

     0 Junior high schools

     25 High schools

     7 Other

     TOTAL 200

2. District Per Pupil Expenditure: 14122

     Average State Per Pupil Expenditure: 11398

    SCHOOL (To be completed by all schools)

    3. Category that best describes the area where the school is located:

     [ ] Urban or large central city

     [ X ] Suburban school with characteristics typical of an urban area

     [ ] Suburban

     [ ] Small city or town in a rural area

     ] Rural [

    4. 4 Number of years the principal has been in her/his position at this school.

     0 If fewer than three years, how long was the previous principal at this school?

    5. Number of students as of October 1 enrolled at each grade level or its equivalent in applying school only:

    Grade # of Males # of Females Grade Total Grade # of Males # of Females Grade Total

    33 38 71 0 PreK 7

    43 27 70 0 K 8

    35 35 70 0 1 9

    29 41 70 0 2 10

    26 34 60 0 3 11

    26 37 63 0 4 12

    40 26 66 0 5 Other

     0 6


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6. Racial/ethnic composition of the school: 1 % American Indian or Alaska Native

     6 % Asian

     14 % Black or African American

     76 % Hispanic or Latino

     0 % Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander

     3 % White

     0 % Two or more races

     100 % Total

    Only the seven standard categories should be used in reporting the racial/ethnic composition of your school.

    The final Guidance on Maintaining, Collecting, and Reporting Racial and Ethnic data to the U.S. Department

    of Education published in the October 19, 2007 Federal Register provides definitions for each of the seven


    7. Student turnover, or mobility rate, during the past year: 4 %

    This rate is calculated using the grid below. The answer to (6) is the mobility rate.

    Number of students who transferred to (1)

    the school after October 1 until the 10

    end of the year.

    Number of students who transferred (2)

    from the school after October 1 until the 9

    end of the year.

    Total of all transferred students [sum of (3) 19 rows (1) and (2)].

    Total number of students in the school (4) 487 as of October 1.

    Total transferred students in row (3) (5) 0.039 divided by total students in row (4).

    Amount in row (5) multiplied by 100. 3.901 (6)

    8. Limited English proficient students in the school: 61 %

     Total number limited English proficient 287

     Number of languages represented: 11

     Specify languages:

    Bengali, Bermese, Creole, French, German, Hausa, Spanish, Tagalog, Teluga, Thai, Wolof

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9. Students eligible for free/reduced-priced meals: 79 %

     Total number students who qualify: 373

    If this method does not produce an accurate estimate of the percentage of students from low-income families,

    or the school does not participate in the free and reduced-price school meals program, specify a more accurate

    estimate, tell why the school chose it, and explain how it arrived at this estimate. 10. Students receiving special education services: 13 %

     Total Number of Students Served: 61

    Indicate below the number of students with disabilities according to conditions designated in the Individuals

    with Disabilities Education Act. Do not add additional categories.

     0 Autism 0 Orthopedic Impairment

     0 Deafness 12 Other Health Impaired

     0 Deaf-Blindness 12 Specific Learning Disability

     0 Emotional Disturbance 32 Speech or Language Impairment

     0 Hearing Impairment 0 Traumatic Brain Injury

     2 Mental Retardation 0 Visual Impairment Including Blindness

     0 Multiple Disabilities 5 Developmentally Delayed

     Indicate number of full-time and part-time staff members in each of the categories below: 11.

     Number of Staff

     Full-Time Part-Time

     Administrator(s) 2 0

     Classroom teachers 24 0

     Special resource teachers/specialists 20 17

     Paraprofessionals 7 4

     Support staff 9 0

     Total number 62 21

    12. Average school student-classroom teacher ratio, that is, the number of students in the school divided by

    the Full Time Equivalent of classroom teachers, e.g., 22:1 19 :1

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    13. Show the attendance patterns of teachers and students as a percentage. Only middle and high schools need to supply dropout rates. Briefly explain in the Notes section any attendance rates under 95%, teacher turnover rates over 12%, or student dropout rates over 5%.

    2006- 2007-2008 2005-2006 2004-2005 2003-2004 2007

    Daily student attendance 96% 96% 95% 95% 95%

    Daily teacher attendance 93% 94% 93% 94% 94%

    Teacher turnover rate 11% 24% 18% 18% 27%

    Please provide all explanations below.

    Highland has a very young staff, and most of our teacher absences are due to child care leave with & without pay (maternity leave). Highland averages 7 maternity leaves per year. In addition, Highland teachers receive more professional development than any school in the district, so professional leave levels are very high. In 2003-2004, Highland went into corrective action, and staff were encouraged to transfer to another building if they did not support the changes in curriculum and teaching practices that were being introduced. Teacher turnover rates continued to be affected by the subsequent corrective action years (2004-2005 and 2005-2606).

    In 2006-2007, approximately 30% of our student population left Highland due to a boundary change. The number of available staff positions dropped because of this change, and many teachers sought positions in other schools.

14. For schools ending in grade 12 (high schools).

    Show what the students who graduated in Spring 2008 are doing as of the Fall 2008. Graduating class size 0

    Enrolled in a 4-year college or university 0 %

    Enrolled in a community college 0 %

    Enrolled in vocational training 0 %

    Found employment 0 %

    Military service 0 %

    Other (travel, staying home, etc.) 0 %

    Unknown 0 %

    Total 100 %

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    Highland Elementary School (HES) is located in the Montgomery County, Maryland suburb of Silver Spring, just nine miles north of the White House. Highland first opened its doors in 1950, and at that time its neighborhood consisted of small single-family homes and duplexes built to accommodate G.I.s returning from World War II and their young families. Much has changed since then. Most of its homes are now shared housing for families of immigrants who fled civil strife and deprivation overseas and are now seeking new and better lives in the United States. Over 80 percent of students qualify for free and reduced meals. Over 60 percent are being served in the school‟s English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program, and for even more, English is still a second language. Despite these odds, Highland students are excelling on the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) and received Maryland State Assessment Recognition Awards every year since 2005.

    In the 2008-2009 school year, Highland‟s student enrollment reached 470 students in grades pre-kindergarten

    through five. There are twenty-seven classrooms, which include five full-day kindergarten classes, one full-day Head Start class, and two half-day pre-kindergarten classes. The early childhood program demonstrates positive academic results. All but two Head Starters came to kindergarten already reading in autumn 2008. At the end of the 2007-2008 school year, 86 percent of all kindergarten students were reading at a Level 3 or higher, based on the Fountas and Pinnell text gradient. The special education program is a Home School Model with full inclusion. No self-contained special education classrooms exist for our 61 students. Highland is very proud of its innovative English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program. As with special education, the ESOL program is structured for full inclusion. Only students speaking little or no English at all receive pull-out services. 75 percent of Highland students come from Hispanic families, although eleven languages are represented in its student body.

    Highland‟s Mission Statement calls for its students to develop the basic skills and the tools to become lifelong learners in a diverse, multicultural educational environment. This mission focuses on the following principles: • Self discipline and respect for others

    • High expectations for our respective futures

    • Acquisition of the English language

    • Parent and community involvement

    • A positive learning and working environment

    HES partners with the Montgomery County Government Health and Human Services Department to house a Linkages to Learning program that provides wrap-around social and family services in collaboration with the school. As such, Highland goes beyond the traditional role of an elementary school by operating as a community center that features Saturday soccer instruction and a team that competes in the Montgomery County leagues. Housing assistance, mental health counseling, and link-ups to medical providers are all offered on a walk-in basis. Our staff includes a Parent Community Coordinator who is available five days a week to help families negotiate school questions and issues, offers parent outreach regarding knowledge of the school curriculum, provides technology instruction, and offers assistance in coordinating conferences with staff and non-English speaking parents. A Parent Family Involvement Committee, working with a small PTA, organizes events such as Dinners with Dads, Math Nights, English classes, and regular morning meetings for mothers, to strengthen ties with parents who might not otherwise feel comfortable involving themselves in the life of the school.

    As stated, HES is a highly positive environment for learning. The staff implements a national program, Positive Behavior Interventions and Strategies (PBIS), which seeks to reward students for positive behaviors with all-school recognition events and parties. Events such as Holiday Hoopla, March Mathness, Homework Olympics, the MSA Did-Your-Best-on-the-Test Party, and the Last Day Lollapalooza reward those students 1000139827.doc 7

    who have no office referrals or other behavioral infractions. PBIS encourages all students to engage positively with the school environment and introduces a bit of fun to the school‟s climate. Through this

    program, HES decreased it suspension rate from 34 students in 2006-2007, to 12 students in 2007-2008, and in 2008-2009, there are no suspensions to date. HES students work with an Effective Effort Rubric that provides explicit instruction on test-taking skills and working toward maximum capacity. The rubric rewards students who put forth their greatest effort. Explicit instruction is also provided regarding appropriate behavior throughout the school. Students who demonstrate respectful and responsible behavior may receive scrip in the form of “Hawk Bills”, dollar-like imitation money named for the Highland Hawk mascot. These

    may be redeemed for small token rewards such as pencils, pens, and other school supplies at the school store. Students can also redeem their Hawk Bills for classroom privileges such as extra computer time and lunch bunch with their teacher.

    The staff is highly collaborative and meets almost daily at common planning time periods during the school day. Teachers at a grade level work with ESOL teachers and Special Education teachers to plan an instructional program that articulates seamlessly, both horizontally and vertically. Our school district's curriculum is supplemented with customized objectives and enhanced student work designed to make instruction more accessible for students whose native language is not English. Teachers also meet regularly to review student data and plan strategically to accommodate students who may not be mastering objectives, or to identify those who might benefit from more advanced work. The school adopted a set of scientifically-based interventions that are enabling staff to provide focused remediation for students experiencing difficulties, especially in reading.

    In 2004, HES failed to achieve Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for several years and was placed in Corrective Action under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) by the state of Maryland.. The HES

    staff and community are proud of the fact that many of its students are now scoring at the advanced level on the MSA in ever-increasing numbers. We are proud of our positive and very orderly school environment, and the strong ties that are being forged with the community. The entire HES community knows that positive school climate and strong academic programs are the keys to a bright and productive future for its students.

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1. Assessment Results:

    In accordance with federal requirements under NCLB, Maryland introduced the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) in 2003 for Grades 3 and 5, and in 2004 for Grade 4. The MSA assesses the Maryland Content Standards in reading, mathematics, and science. MSA scores not only indicate how well students have mastered those skills specified in the Voluntary State Curriculum (VSC) on an individual school basis, but also show how students performed compared to other students across the state.

    The MSA is administered annually to students in Grades 3-8 in March of every year. It provides educators, parents, and the public valuable information about individual student, school, school system, and state performance on academic goals. The test is criterion-referenced and measures proficiency and advanced proficiency in reading and mathematics. AYP is designed to measure continuous yearly improvement. Maryland established performance targets called Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs) to assess student progress. The AMO is designed to ensure that schools meet the NCLB goal of 100 percent student proficiency in reading and mathematics by the end of the 2014 school year. The 2008 AMOs were 69.1 for mathematics and 71.8 for reading. For 2009, the AMO‟s are 74.2 for math and 76.5 for reading. The MSA is

    composed of multiple choice questions and both brief constructed responses and extended constructed responses (BCR, ECR). Three achievement levels are determined for students: Basic, Proficient, and Advanced. Information regarding the Maryland School Assessment can be found at and

    Initially, HES had difficulty achieving AYP. In 2003, the Limited English Proficiency subgroup scores were only 11.3 percent in mathematics, which did not meet the state target. In that same year, Hispanic, Free and Reduced Meals Students (FARMS), and Limited English Proficiency subgroups failed to achieve AYP in Reading with scores of 30.3 percent, 31.4 percent, and 9.4 percent respectively. By 2004, the school improved its test scores significantly, with the percentage for All Students in Reading reaching 53.9 percent and in Mathematics, 55.5 percent. However, in 2004, the Special Education subgroup missed AYP Mathematics with a score of 15 percent with an AMO of 44.1 percent. As a result, the school was placed in Corrective Action. Since 2005, the school‟s performance improved markedly. Since 2003,

    proficiency rates in Reading increased by 56.9 percent, from 36.9 to 93.8 in 2008. In Mathematics, there was a 51.6 percent increase since 2003, from 42.7 percent to 94.3 percent in 2008. All subgroup scores have increased consistently every year.

    We are particularly proud of our 2008 MSA results. In reading, for example, 92.6 percent of African American students scored Proficient or Advanced, as did 93 percent of Hispanic students. 92.9 percent of students with Limited English Proficiency scored proficient or advanced in Reading, as did 87.1 percent of Special Education students. In Mathematics, the results were very similar, with 92.6 percent of African American students, 93.6 percent of Hispanic students, 87.1 percent of Special Education students, and 92.9 percent of Limited English Proficiency students all scoring Advanced or Proficient.

    Trend data indicates that increasing numbers of students are scoring Advanced in both Mathematics and Reading at all grade levels, as well with 79.6 percent of all students in Grade 5 scoring Advanced in reading and 55.4 percent in Grade 4 scoring Advanced in mathematics. At the same grade level, 73.1 percent of Limited English Proficient students scored Advanced in Reading this year.

    It is clear that the instructional program at HES is increasingly meeting the needs of our students, especially those in the Hispanic, African American, Limited English Proficient, and Special Education subgroups. The use of data as a driving force in planning, instructional delivery, and decisions regarding research-based 1000139827.doc 9

    interventions has been successful. Staff will continue to develop its use of multiple data sources as we strive for continuous improvement for all of our students.

     Using Assessment Results: 2.

    Perhaps no single factor has had a greater impact on the success achieved at HES over the past five years than the systematic use of assessment results. Since being placed under Corrective Action for the 2004-2005 school year, school improvement team members have reviewed and analyzed disaggregated formative and summative data on a regular basis. These assessment data, which are aligned with the Maryland VSC, are used to gauge the proficiency level of individual students and student subgroups, and determine if there are any discrepancies. When discrepancies are identified, team members discuss why students or the specific subgroups are underperforming and identify ways in which to improve instruction. Whereas this was initially a very “top-down” process, it has become one in which teachers have developed ownership for their own

    data. For example, during one particular mathematics unit last year, the fourth grade team leader presented data from her own class, which was below standard. Rather than complaining or offering excuses, she came to the meeting with numerous reflections about what she could have done better as a teacher, such as more re-teaching of concepts in small groups. In addition to her own reflections, the team strategized and implemented a collaborative plan where two staff members adjusted their own schedules to assist the teacher by pulling small groups to support upcoming units of study. It is this level of teacher ownership of student data that has been a critical factor in closing the achievement gap at HES.

    Prior to reviewing these data with the school improvement team, each grade level holds a data dialogue to analyze students results on the formative and summative assessment measures. As the process was refined over the past five years, these data dialogues were expanded to the point where teams now also review and analyze items such as student reading levels and unit assessment data for mathematics. All members of the grade level team (classroom teachers, ESOL teachers, special education teachers, and reading intervention teachers) participate in data dialogues to review and analyze the data and then determine next steps for students. For example, the team may make decisions about differentiated groupings, concepts in need of re-teaching, or implications for accelerated instruction.

    Another layer of data analysis that HES staff implemented over the last two years was the quarterly Reading Intervention data dialogue. Having an extensive reading intervention program for grades K-5, the leadership team created decision trees to determine appropriate intervention programs that best responded to identified student needs. These programs include SOAR to Success, Wilson Reading, Wilson “Fundations”, and a double-dose of guided reading. During these meetings, the reading leadership team, reading intervention teachers, classroom teachers, ESOL teacher, special education teachers, and school administration review, discuss, and analyze student data, such as running record levels, to determine if students are placed in the appropriate intervention, or if they need special interventions at all. This is a collaborative effort which ensures that every child in grades K-5 receives the support they need to become a proficient reader.

3. Communicating Assessment Results:

    Parents, students, and the community are informed about assessment results in a variety of ways at HES. First, all parents are invited to attend our quarterly school improvement meetings. At these meetings, all attendees are privy to disaggregated formative and summative data broken down by grade level. This assessment data includes, but is not limited to, standardized test data such as the MSA and Terra Nova 2, formative and summative data aligned to the VSC, formative and summative unit data aligned with Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) units of study, student reading levels, and school-wide discipline information.

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