Pinnacle Elementary is located in northwestern Rutherford County and serves students from Lake Lure, Gilkey, Green Hill, Chimney Rock, and Union Mills. A Title I school serving 252 kindergarten through fifth grade students and eighteen preschool students, Pinnacle Elementary is a rural school located in a country setting. As with many rural communities, high employment and a lack of transportation have motivated people to move into the city or different counties to find employment. The United States Department of Labor data records an unemployment rate of 5.4% in Rutherford County, which is higher than the state average of 4.1%, and also higher than the national average of 3.5%. Therefore, Pinnacle has seen a decrease in student enrollment and an increase in transient students over the past several years.
School Characteristics Pinnacle Elementary is very fortunate to operate in a beautiful facility in the Gilkey Community. It was built in 1999, and consists of 70,000 square feet. The building contains 28 fully furnished classrooms, a media center (with a collection of 10,000 books and an iPad mini cart), a mini-lab, music room, art room, gymnasium and cafeteria. Pinnacle contains a K-5 book room containing extensive collections of leveled readers, math and reading manipulatives, games, as well as a parent resource room.
Pinnacle Elementary is a “late school” in the Rutherford County Schools district with the instructional day beginning at 8:30 a.m. and ending at 3:15 p.m. Pinnacle teachers begin their day at 8:00 a.m. each day in order to assist students with homework, provide extra practice, and offer more Accelerated Reader support. Pinnacle teachers, students, and families value this additional thirty minutes as a vital resource to provide student support.
The staff at Pinnacle Elementary is comprised of 19 highly qualified teachers, 1 school counselor, 8 teacher assistants. Of the highly qualified teachers, 4 teachers are National Board Certified, 3 teachers have less than 5 years experience and 16 teachers have 5 or more years of experience. The average class size is 20 students. According to the 2018 North Carolina Teacher Working Conditions Survey, 100% of the teachers feel that Pinnacle is a good place to work. This percentage is higher than both the county average of 93.9% and the state average of 87.6%. As reported by the survey, all teachers at Pinnacle feel that there is an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect in the school.
Literacy instruction is delivered using the state recommended Comprehensive Reading Plan framework. Research-based programs and strategies are utilized daily to deliver direct and targeted literacy instruction to small groups of students. Assessment data is collected and analyzed regularly in order to identify weaknesses and provide instruction that meets the needs of all students Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS).
Pinnacle, along with all schools within Rutherford County Schools, is involved in the 1:1 Going G.L.O.B.A.L. initiative. Students in kindergarten through fifth grade have iPads. The 1:1 initiative increases the learning potential of students because it puts learning resources and materials in the hands of students, teachers, parents, and the community. Therefore, a bridge is built to foster a positive and up-to-date learning environment for the entire community.
Pinnacle strives to foster parent and community involvement. Our Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is one of our greatest assets. They continually raise funds to help bring vital resources into the classroom. Parent and community volunteers in the classroom help to be those extra ears and hands to promote and increase student enrichment. They are also vital in teaching students skills and information that help students better understand their community and the world that surrounds them. In addition, Pre-K has monthly family events to further foster our belief that, with the involvement of parents and community, we can achieve more.
Pinnacle is one of the top performing schools in Rutherford County. Pinnacle has consistently met state growth standards and maintained a school performance grade of B since the school grading system was implemented by North Carolina. Pinnacle attributes successful performance results to vertical and grade level planning, individualized instruction through MTSS, effective use of research-based practices, integrated use of technology, ongoing professional development for educators, and the impact of strong community support. Teachers also utilize instructional technology and instructional coaching staff to ensure continued progress in these areas.
The Community/Parents Pinnacle Elementary continually seeks new ways to reach students as the local conditions change. It is our top priority that we help our students be successful regardless of their situation. According to the 2018 Title 1 Parent Survey, 86.6% of parents feel that the teachers at Pinnacle have high expectations for students. Pinnacle regularly plans parent and family engagement activities and has retained strong parent support over the years. This has resulted in an average of 87% of parents responding to the Title I survey feeling welcome in the school. Parents are invited to many school events through the year and enjoy engaging with school staff. Parents are interested in learning about their children’s daily activities at school and have many resources to connect with the school and staff members, including social media pages on ClassDojo and Facebook. On average, 90% of parents who responded to the Title I survey feel that communication with faculty is answered in a timely manner. All of these factors contribute to an average of 89.9% of parents responding to the Title I survey reporting that they are happy with Pinnacle as their child’s school.
The Students The student population consists of 92% white, 4% black, 4% Hispanic, and 6% multi-racial students. All students receive free meals due to the school district’s participation in the Community Eligibility Program (CEP) which began in 2014. The CEP will be continued at least through the 2019-2020 school year. The CEP provides a nutritious breakfast and lunch for all students. The average percentage of students who attend school daily is 99% of the school population.
In Rutherford County Schools, 17% of the students are currently identified as Exceptional Children. Pinnacle’s current student population identifies slightly less than the county average with 11% identified as Exceptional Children,19% of students qualifying for Academically and Intellectually Gifted services, and less than 1% receiving English as a Second Language services.
In the 2018-2019 school year Pinnacle met growth with a Composite Growth Score of 0.84, and met 100% of participation targets. Our College Ready Composite (level 4 and 5 EOG scores) was 55.7% and Grade Level Proficient composite (level 3, 4 and 5 EOG scores) was 73.3%. Pinnacle consistently performs well on End of Grade (EOG) assessments in reading, math and science. In 2018-2019 reading EOG percentage of students passing was 68%, which is 7.6% above the district average. Despite new EOG tests given statewide for Mathematics, our school achieved a Math EOG proficiency of 73%. Science EOG performance has remained strong. In 2018-2019 the Science EOG percentage of students passing was 86.5%. Pinnacle’s overall School Performance Grade remains a B and the 2018-2019 score of 76.0% is the second highest recorded score since 2014. While we have historically been very successful in helping our students grow and achieve, there is still work to do to continue improving the ways in which we serve our students. We are dedicated to using all of our resources to achieve our goals.
Student Support Pinnacle has been able to sustain academic achievement in all grade levels, and is working to increase the percentage of students reaching grade level status. The ability to increase the percentage at each grade level will be obtained by following the district math curriculum Eureka, dedicating at least thirty minutes of MTSS time to mathematics small group instruction, and providing after school tutoring in mathematics for students who need to improve performance in this area.
Pinnacle continues to sustain growth and increase the percentage of students being on grade level by requiring students who perform well below grade level to receive an hour of small group instruction in mathematics. We hold weekly data meetings to review and analyze data that will indicate if our small group instruction is having the desired effect. We are continuing to use additional online programs that effectively support the district math curriculum, such as “Zearn” and “Happy Numbers.” Pinnacle expects to continue to sustain growth in the areas of math.
According to EOG test results from 2018-2019, reading appears to be our weaker subject area. To address this area of concern, we will continue to follow the Literacy Instructional Framework (LIF) provided by the district and work with instructional coaches to strengthen our teaching strategies in the area of reading. Pinnacle will also continue to implement the 90 minute reading block that is suggested by the state. Pinnacle teachers will attend weekly data meetings to analyze and review reading data and determine which skills need to be addressed during small group and whole group instruction. Teachers will attend any professional development that is offered by the county that supports the use of LIF as it is updated by our district instructional coaching staff.
In addition to academic support, Pinnacle Elementary also works to provide for the social and physical needs of our students. The school counselor coordinates and oversees a Reading Buddies mentoring program. This program serves 1% of Pinnacle’s students during the 2018-2019 school year. Seven percent of Pinnacle’s students receive food backpacks every Friday afternoon in an effort to fulfill their nutritional needs over the weekends, and extra food is sent home for holiday weeks and weekends.
Students are encouraged and supported to fulfill a positive role in school and at home to become successful citizens in a 21st century community. The entire school uses ClassDojo, an online communication application for the classroom. It connects teachers, parents, and students by sharing and accessing photos, videos, and messages throughout the school day. Stakeholders use ClassDojo to work together as a team, share in the classroom experience, and bring big ideas to life in their classrooms and homes. This program provides almost instantaneous feedback so students can better understand their strengths and weaknesses in order to improve social, academic and behavioral skills. Teachers use this program to assist students in their goals, and parents get an inside view of events going on in the classroom.
Pinnacle offers many extracurricular activities to support our diverse population. Some of our learning opportunities include: a Robotics Program, Elementary Book Challenge Team, Academically and Intellectually Gifted Days, Yearbook Staff, Junior Beta Club, Spelling Bee, and tutoring for students in different grade levels. Fifth grade students are instructed on the importance of respecting others and making wise choices through their participation in the Gang Resistance Education And Training (G.R.E.A.T.) program sponsored by the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department.
Beliefs and Mission
VISION: Pinnacle's vision is to develop globally competitive, self-sufficient and productive individuals that contribute to present and future society.
MISSION: Pinnacle Elementary School's mission is to teach our students to be high achievers, to love, respect and be kind to others, so that they may grow with peace of mind as productive members of society.
BELIEFS: *To provide a nurturing, multifaceted educational opportunity for all students. *To provide a safe and nurturing environment so all students can grow and learn. *To enrich the lives of all students.
The adoption of Pinnacle’s core beliefs and principles came about through numerous discussions among the staff and parents over the past couple of months. Pinnacle wanted a vision and mission statement that reflected our school and our community beliefs and principles. Our vision and mission statements were developed through faculty, community, and parent surveys as well as discussions during grade level, SIT, PBIS, and Parent Advisory Council meetings.
Our vision and mission statements are communicated through a variety of means such as our annual Title 1 parent meeting, parent handbook, school website, and school letterhead. The statements are also posted throughout our school. Our vision and mission statements provide direction for decisions made during School Improvement Team meetings, PTO meetings and Parent Advisory Council meetings. Staff members communicate our mission and vision daily by using common language with students, parents, and other staff members. Pinnacle Elementary understands the importance of regularly evaluating and assessing the school’s vision, mission and beliefs. All stakeholder feedback is analyzed to evaluate alignment of school programs to the school’s vision, mission and beliefs.
Desired Outcomes and Results
The school’s broad vision is for all students to demonstrate significant growth and attain grade level proficiency standards by the end of each academic school year. The broad vision aligns to local and state priorities in that a strong foundation is absolutely essential if we expect our students to be college and career ready upon exiting high school. Through careful analysis and discussion of numerous data sources during grade level stakeholder meetings, our teachers, administrators, enrichment teachers and parents identified specifically what we want our students to know and be able to do to be successful at the beginning of each school year as well as when students move on to middle and high school level. We want our students to be able to read for understanding, think critically, problem solve effectively, collaborate on projects, and to use research and technology skills. Our goal for students is to love learning, use skills taught, and to achieve and succeed in a global world.
To address our beliefs and mission to create students on the path to college and career readiness, our school improvement academic goals will focus on accelerating performance for all students. Pinnacle Elementary will engage students in rigorous instruction focused on college and career readiness. Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) data will be used to determine student progress, and a plan will be implemented to address individual and group needs identified through MTSS data. As a part of that plan, targeted instructional time (flex time) will be used to implement strategies to help students meet growth. Specifically, our goals for the 2019-2021 planning cycle center on continued improvement and strong performance in all core subject areas. Pinnacle intends to
*raise grade-level proficiency on the North Carolina End-of-Grade Test of Reading to 76% or higher by June, 2021. *raise grade-level proficiency on the North Carolina End-of-Grade Test of Mathematics to 85% or higher by June, 2021. *and maintain grade-level proficiency on the North Carolina End-of-Grade Test of Science at 90% or higher through June, 2021.
Analysis of Organizational and Instructional Effectiveness
In order to maintain proficiency in reading and math, the staff will continue to follow the Literacy and Math Instructional Framework (LIF and MIF) provided by the district, implement the ninety minute reading block mandated by the state, and analyze data to determine what skills need to be addressed during whole and small group instruction. Four instructional tutors will be placed to assist with the delivery of math and reading instruction. Flex time is used by K-5 to work with students in small groups on math and literacy skills. Flex time in the media center allows the media specialist to use project-based learning. Teachers will continue to collaborate with a district instructional coach, AIG lead teacher, and instructional technology facilitator to enhance student learning.
The district adopted curriculum is rigorous and aligned to state standards. Teachers utilize the Literacy Instructional Framework (LIF) as a guide in planning meaningful literacy instructional activities each day. The following programs/resources are embedded into the district LIF site: Letterland, Comprehension Toolkit, Exemplar texts, FCRR activities, leveled reading texts, DPI Livebinders, and independent learning center activities. Math instruction is guided by the Rutherford County Schools Math Instructional Framework (MIF). Teachers utilize the Eureka Math curriculum, flipcharts, manipulatives, and iPad applications to deliver quality math instruction. Additional technology training for teachers and assistants will be necessary to successfully and effectively continue the 1:1 device initiative and will impact student success rate.
Pinnacle is a Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) school. This incorporates an integrated academic and behavior system to identify students who struggle and provide targeted tiered instruction and interventions to meet the needs of every child. MTSS provides a system to establish individual behavior and academic supports so every child can achieve success.
Reading buddies or mentors will be assigned based on individual student needs. The Backpack Program will provide food for identified students on weekends and holidays. Free breakfast and lunch will be provided for all students. The school guidance counselor will teach classes, meet with individual students, and meets with small groups to promote a healthy school environment.
The school is a well-equipped facility containing safety panels, doors locked at the front entrance, and security cameras throughout the building. All visitors are required to check-in at the front office using the LobbyGuard safety check-in system. Procedures for crises, fire, and tornado evacuations are posted in all areas. Safety training, as directed by both the state and the district, is conducted annually for all personnel. Also, teachers watch SafeSchools videos to be prepared for medical emergencies. The Sheriff Department’s School Resource Officers conduct daily walkthroughs of our elementary school. Fire, tornado, and crisis drills are practiced regularly to help students, teachers, and staff know proper procedures that will help to keep them safe during emergency situations.
A book room containing teacher and student resources, as well as multiple licenses to educational sites, provide teachers with a multitude of resources to supplement the many curricular resources available in each classroom. As noted earlier, classrooms in kindergarten through fifth grade are equipped with iPads for each student. Each classroom is equipped with a Promethean board and document camera. Classrooms also have webcams, and each classroom has an Apple TV. Using all of the resources available, Pinnacle Elementary correlates the needs of our school with the local school district and the state to maintain a safe, healthy, and modern educational environment for each student and staff member.