EL MONTE – State test scores at two El Monte City School District campuses have soared by as much as 20 percentage points after educators devised innovative ways to share student performance data and refine lesson plans.
Cherrylee and Wright School administrators attribute the four-year growth in standardized math and English language arts (ELA) scores to Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), which bring teachers together to track the academic and social-emotional progress of students.
The findings of the PLC collaborations feed into school initiatives, such as the Leader in Me program, which empowers students to be their own advocates.
“The PLC process has made me a more efficient and focused teacher,” said Cherrylee fourth-grade teacher Art Arias. “Being able to come together to share and work on a common focus is so valuable. Being able to share data, set goals and reflect has made a difference for all teachers on staff.”
Cherrylee School’s ELA scores climbed 12 percentage points while math climbed 7 percentage points. Wright School has grown nearly 17 percentage points in ELA and 20 in math over the last four years. At the grade level, especially strong growth has occurred in Wright School’s fifth and eighth grades, which generated 27 percentage point and 22 percentage point increases, respectively.
“Wright School’s PLCs center on a fierce commitment to a culture of transparency, strengthening relationships at all levels, and supporting positive academic and social-emotional outcomes for students,” Wright Principal Monica Munoz said. “Being transparent about our status and data affords us the chance to reflect on teaching practices, build our positive relationships with students and with each other as colleagues.”
Cherrylee Principal Doris Tran said that Cherrylee School’s achievement program focuses on small group instruction, better communication and stronger student-teacher bonds.
“Our school mission statement is to ‘Inspire, Empower, LEAD’ and that is what we teach our students because we believe every child has genius and the ability to lead,” Tran said.
Both Cherrylee and Wright schools use PLCs to reflect on instructional practice and set long- and short-term goals. This helps teachers meet the needs of all students. Initiatives such as Leader in Me advance these efforts by training students to be mindful of the goals they set and refine throughout their academic journey.
Superintendent Dr. Maribel Garcia said that the District still has more work to do to improve student performance, but that the systems in place ensure that steady progress will continue.
“Our teachers go above and beyond every single day to ensure that students are achieving their goals, that they are engaged and feel supported,” Garcia said. “Our PLCs and how they impact our academic and emotional programs exemplify El Monte City School District’s devotion to providing students with superb support.”
EMCSD_PLC1: Cherrylee School fourth-grade teacher Lisa Evans gives support to Leader in Me students in third through sixth grades during a brainstorming session in which students create lesson plans they will use to teach students in lower grades the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”
EMCSD_PLC2: Wright School teachers meet to discuss teaching practices during a Professional Learning Community meeting. Data used and examined by this PLC has been used to help improve Wright School’s English language arts and math state test scores over the last four years.