Rutherford County Schools

382 West Main Street
Forest City, NC 28043


All Rutherford County students will graduate prepared for college and career success.

2021-2023 School Improvement Plan

Spindale Elementary School

Mr. Brandon Hill, Principal

161 North Oak Street
Spindale, NC 28160
Telephone: 828-286-2861 | Fax: 828-287-1026

Section 1: School Profile

Spindale Elementary School is nestled in the heart of Spindale, North Carolina, a small town formerly known as the textile center of Rutherford County. Spindale Elementary is home to the “Spindale Bees”, operating with the central belief that every student has the ability to “Bee” better every day, in every way. The core of the school’s student population resides in the town of Spindale but also includes some surrounding suburban areas.

Spindale Elementary School is a Title I school serving approximately 322 kindergarten through fifth-grade students and 32 NC-PreK students. The average class size is 16 students with an average daily attendance of 95%. The students’ ethnic makeup is comprised of 45% White, 33% Black, 12% Multi-racial, and 10% Hispanic. In the 2021-2022 school year, 70.59% of our students were classified as economically disadvantaged, however, all students received free breakfast and lunch at Spindale Elementary due to the school district’s participation in the Community Eligibility Program (CEP). We are continuing participation in 2021-22. Approximately 100 students receive food backpacks every Friday afternoon in an effort to fulfill their nutritional needs over the weekend.

Among the school’s current K-5 population, approximately 22% of students are served through our Exceptional Children Services. Approximately 4% of the student population qualifies for Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) services, 3% qualify for 504 plans, and 2% receive English Language (EL) services.

Spindale Elementary enjoys a wonderful relationship with the town and communities in and around Spindale. The Spindale Police Department maintains a regular presence at the school in assisting with school arrival and dismissal almost on a daily basis. Officers from both the police and fire departments regularly visit the school and serve as volunteers with our lunch buddy program. Spindale routinely receives school supplies and other assistance from community churches. In addition, several businesses and organizations, from those located on Main Street to those that serve the community as grocery and eating establishments, support the school with both fundraiser opportunities and/or by donating to school initiatives.

As required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the instructional staff at Spindale Elementary consists of highly qualified, fully licensed teachers, teacher assistants, and other support staff. Spindale employs intervention tutors hired through Title I Funds. At Spindale Elementary, 21% of the teachers possess advanced degrees while 52% of the teachers have more than 10 years of teaching experience (30% have 4-10 years of experience and 18% have less than 4 years experience). In terms of academics, ninety minutes of literacy instruction is delivered daily using a combination of entire group instruction focused on grade-level core standards (30 minutes) combined with guided reading groups focusing on students' individual needs (60 minutes). Research-based programs and strategies are utilized, on a daily basis, to deliver direct and targeted literacy and math instruction to small groups of students. Operating under the direction of our Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), assessment data in the areas of academics, behavior and attendance are collected and analyzed regularly in order to implement appropriate supports, including both acceleration and interventions, to allow all students to be successful.

Students are given the opportunity to expand their learning and lives by engaging in new experiences through participation in the following programs offered at Spindale Elementary: Elementary Battle of the Books Team, Robotics Team, Recorder Karate, Scripps National Spelling Bee Program, National Beta Club, AIG Days, Musical Programs, and the Recycling Team. Fifth-grade students are instructed on the importance of respecting others and making wise choices through their participation in both the Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T. - instructed by the Rutherford Co. Sheriff’s Office) and Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E. - instructed by the Spindale Police Department) Programs each year.

Having and maintaining positive relationships between home and school are the key to student success. Spindale’s staff puts forth intentional and diligent efforts to both build and foster successful relationships. We know that communication is key. The staff communicates daily through the use of Class Dojo. In addition, staff employs the use of phone calls, postcards, etc. to ensure they are reaching families regarding the performance of their students. Spindale Elementary also offers several parent involvement activities each school year including both evening and daytime events. In addition, the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) helps to offer support to our stakeholders by offering events for parents and students.

The staff at Spindale Elementary makes very diligent and concerted efforts to foster an environment that supports not only the academic learning of students but also the social and emotional learning of students. Spindale Elementary incorporated a Student Support Center in the 2019-20 school year to help students learn to better self-regulate, help them to have better understandings of any inappropriate actions and behaviors, and help them with accepting responsibility. The school continues to operate a Student Support Center, supported by the Student Support Specialist, and has created a positive impact within the building.

Along with the Student Support Center and Social and Emotional Learning is a strong focus of Spindale Elementary Schools vision, Spindale Elementary was fortunate to be able to purchase and implement Second-Step; a research-based, teacher-informed, and classroom-tested program that promotes the social-emotional development, safety, and well-being of children from Early Learning through Grade 8. Through the implementation of Second-Step, teachers are able to focus 25 minutes a day towards Social and Emotional Learning in all classrooms.

Results from the most recent AdvancED Parent Perception Surveys show that parents are overall satisfied in all five areas (Purpose and Direction, Governance and Leadership, Teaching and Assessing for Learning, Resource and Support Systems, and Using Results for Continuous Improvement), but feel most satisfied with the resources and support systems that are in place.

The 2020 Teacher Working Conditions Survey indicated that while teachers are satisfied with the overall progress and efforts happening at Spindale, the areas that show the most concern for SES are that teachers feel they do not have enough access to a broad range of professional support personnel concerns with addressing and offering replacement behaviors in regards to managing student conduct and lack of sufficient non-instructional time for planning, etc.

Since 2014-2015, Spindale Elementary has met (14-15, 15-16, 17-18, 18-19) or exceeded (16-17) growth and has maintained an overall school performance grade of a C. However, overall student proficiency has not grown as desired. The percentage of students scoring proficient on the 2021 Reading EOG assessment was 35.3%. The percentage of students scoring proficient on the 2021 Math EOG assessment was 25.3%. Finally, on the 5th grade Science EOG assessment, 38.7% of students were proficient.

The overarching objective is to ensure the students of Spindale Elementary are afforded a high-quality education in a safe and caring environment. As such, faculty and staff will continue to pursue thoughtful conversations, planning and dedication by staff, as well as parents and stakeholders, in an effort for continuous improvement on behalf of Spindale students.

Section 2: Beliefs and Mission

Spindale Elementary is implementing, with fidelity, a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) framework that encompasses accountability in the areas of academics, behavior, and attendance for all students. This systematic approach allows the school team to analyze, review and compare student data so that the whole child is considered. Through these multi-tiered systems of support, student and staff expectations have been established to support the beliefs, mission, vision and overall school culture of Spindale Elementary School.

Spindale Elementary School’s vision: By setting and achieving goals, teaching the whole child, and taking strides toward growth for every student, we equip our students with the skills necessary to direct their future. SES staff empowers all students academically, socially, and emotionally to take charge of their lives and make decisions that contribute to their individual success.

The mission statement for our learning community is: Better, Everyday, in Every Way

The expectations are:

BEE Ready
BEE Respectful
BEE Responsible
BEE Safe

“By Being Ready, Respectful, Responsible, and Safe, Spindale Bees Lead!”

The adoption of these core beliefs and principles came about through numerous discussions among the staff and parents, teacher grade-level meetings, School Improvement Team Meetings, Total School Support Team Meetings, Core Leadership Team Meetings, Local Advisory Board meetings, parent involvement nights, and parent/teacher conferences. Stakeholders determined that the school no longer would serve as a Leader In Me School, but would instead, restructure from within and develop new policies and procedures, based on the MTSS Framework for Behavior, that supported efforts to bring about intentional consistency and structure throughout the building.

Staff members communicate Spindale’s mission and underlying principles, on a daily basis, by using a common language with students, parents, and one another. New school-wide expectations are taught and modeled daily throughout the school. Students are reminded of the school’s beliefs and mission through daily morning announcements, bi-weekly guidance lessons, teacher expectations, student work products, and visuals in classrooms/hallways throughout the school. Parents continue to be informed of the mission through their participation on boards and councils, parent-teacher conferences, parent involvement activities, and communications including but not limited to memos, newsletters, parent handbooks, school messenger weekly phone calls and postings on the school website, ClassDojo, and Facebook page.

The school’s leadership team understands the importance of regularly evaluating and assessing the school’s implementation of our beliefs and mission. Through staff and grade-level meetings, parent conferences, Local Advisory Council, ongoing feedback from staff members, School Improvement Team members, and administrators, the alignment of the school’s programs has been evaluated to reflect the new set of core concepts and understandings. Office discipline referrals, Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment data, mClass data, NC Check-Ins benchmark data, and End-Of-Grade assessment data are also regularly analyzed to assess progress on the school’s mission and student success. Finally, results from student, parent, and staff surveys, along with feedback from student recognitions and celebrations, are regularly compiled and discussed to evaluate the effective alignment of ALL programs to the school’s vision, mission, and beliefs.

Section 3: Desired Outcomes and Results

In terms of student learning, 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. This broad vision aligns to local, state, and federal priorities in that a strong foundation is absolutely essential if we expect our students to be college and career-ready upon exiting high school. At Spindale Elementary, the staff utilizes the Read to Achieve initiative, mClass results, and EOG results in striving to attain the desired outcomes of student growth.

Through careful analysis and discussion of numerous data sources during grade-level meetings, School Improvement, MTSS, work sessions, and professional development activities, teachers and administrators identify specifically what students need to know and accomplish. In addition, a Total School Support (TSS) team has been added that meets monthly to focus on overall student and school success. This team not only addresses academic issues but also considers the impact of behaviors and attendance on student performance. Spindale faculty and staff want students to be able to read for understanding, think creatively, strategize, problem-solve effectively, and collaborate successfully. Ultimately the goal is to instill a passion for lifelong learning in the children at Spindale so that they continue to ask questions, seek answers, wonder, and explore. Through the use of H.I.V.E. time (Housing InterVention and Enrichment), small group reading instruction has and will continue to be incorporated based on ability levels, as well as leveled intervention time for math so that individual learning needs are met. These leveled groups coupled with grade-level instruction through the use of the district-provided Benchmark Advance, Canvas, and Eureka Math, help ensure that all students will become successful in all academic areas, thus helping them to show vast improvement on their EOG's, mClass, and MAP scores.

The vision we have for Spindale students stems specifically from the trends we discovered in mClass and EOG test data, report cards, discipline reports, surveys, and student composition data (socioeconomic, ethnicity, and students with disabilities). Upon careful examination of the data sources, we identified the following patterns about the learning needs of students: developmental deficiencies in reading, language, and math upon entering school; a high number of chronic tardiness and absences; large number of discipline referrals with highest infractions for defiance and lack of respect for others.

SES staff believes that Spindale students will grow and be successful learners by setting goals, creating priorities, respecting others, working together effectively, and finding balance in their lives. Spindale staff will prepare students to be successful through rigorous academic work and career preparation. The school will provide a safe and nurturing environment that will enable students to become globally competitive.

Section 4: Analysis of Organizational and Instructional Effectiveness

The staff, students, and parents have worked to establish a framework focused on student success at Spindale Elementary. Based on testing data and stakeholder input, staff will continue to strive for academic excellence and success. The culmination of all EOG scores (80% - proficiency, 20% - growth) is used to calculate a school's performance grade. The four years previous to the Covid-19 pandemic, where this has been calculated, SES has maintained an overall school performance grade of C with 62/C (2016), 66/C (2017), 59/C (2018) and 61/C (2019) . In accordance with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the decision made by the NC Department of Public Instruction, school report card grades were not calculated or assigned for the 2019-2020 or the 2020-2021 school year. This consistency shows that we are maintaining endeavors and efforts, however, Spindale needs to increase both overall proficiency and growth for all students. Continued efforts have been driven by several aspects focused on the district’s four transformational strategies.

Engage every student in rigorous, personalized learning focused on college and career success:

A school-wide focus on reading, math, and science instruction has guided our efforts in teaching over the last 2 years. Through the implementation of differentiated instruction, we have been fortunate to hire 5-6 part-time tutors each year who work specifically with students on their individual levels through the MTSS framework. Benchmark Advance and the district-developed Math and Science Instructional frameworks will be used to guide whole group instruction. Grade levels meet at least once each week to plan for small group instruction through the MTSS model. Staff members also have 1-2 in-service days per year to use for long-range planning. While the school did experience a growth composite of 1.00 for the 2018-19 school year(the last year it has been calculated due to the Covid-19 pandemic), which met the expected amount of growth, Spindale’s goal is to continue to grow in reading, math, and science through the implementation of the strategies listed above. The goal moving forward for this academic cycle is to see EOG proficiency levels increase to 65% in Reading, 65% in Math, and 85% in Science by the end of the 2021-2023 School Improvement Plan implementation. Building on this, the goal is through the MTSS Framework and intervention implementation, to have 75% of students identified as TIER 1 (Performing at 41% and Above) for the End of Year assessment for 2023 at the end of the School Improvement Plan cycle.

Ensure that a comprehensive, integrated system of support fosters students’ social and emotional health:

Spindale Elementary is a school that utilizes the MTSS/PBIS framework structure and integrates it into each and every aspect of the school day. Student and school procedures are guided by Spindale’s MTSS matrix and the use of voice zones. Bee Bucks are awarded to students when they are found practicing appropriate behavior based on the MTSS matrix framework. The MTSS matrix outlines policies, procedures, and appropriate behaviors in all areas of the school building. Students in K-2 collect Bee Bucks which allow them to participate in weekly classroom drawings where winners are announced and given a small reward. Students in grades 3-5 collect Bee Bucks to spend on grade level incentives and rewards. When classrooms model exemplary behavior, they are able to earn Golden Bees to work towards school-wide celebrations held each grading period.

School staff is currently being trained on the social and emotional learning competencies supported by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). Also Spindale is in the process of implementing the SEL Curriculum, Second Step beginning this year. Second Step’s website states that this program “is rooted in Social Emotional Learning that helps transform schools into successful learning environments. Through this program students will learn and develop skills that are needed to be successful students and citizens. Teachers have a dedicated, daily SEL time embedded in their schedule. Behavior consultant Tricia Gladstone will visit SES throughout the school year to help ensure that this program is being implemented to fidelity. Ms. Gladstone, will also offer staff training throughout the year regarding this program and other behavior management strategies.

Another new addition to our schedule for the 2021-23 school year is embedded PLC time. Each Monday the administrative team will facilitate PLC’s with each grade level. The team will alternate each Monday with a different academic focus; reading, math, and behavior. Each week will encourage discussions about what teachers are doing in class, what learning objectives are being met, and how they are being met. During this time the team will also track MTSS interventions and data.

Ensure all students’ equitable access to safe, modern, educational facilities and appropriate learning resources:

Spindale is equipped with safety in mind. Security cameras have been installed at all main entrances, car riders areas, and the bus parking lot. Security doors are placed in the front of the building ensuring that all visitors come in through the office to sign in at the LobbyGuard station.
Spindale is blessed to be a part of a one-to-one district where all students have access to an iPad at all times during the school day. A STEM lab has been established where students use their devices and other materials to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematical learning activities. Through the use of these resources, SES desires to increase students' ability to work with up-to-date technology and be more prepared for an ever changing global economy.

Initiate, sustain, and leverage strong external partnerships that support student learning and school success:

The school often serves as a community center housing opportunities for students to participate in activities such as local Boy Scout and Girl Scout organizations, as well as, local youth sport and dance organizations. As stated earlier, established relationships with many local businesses, churches, and community organizations help support the overall success of students at Spindale Elementary. Support from these partnerships allows the school to provide valuable opportunities for students including Reading Buddies, Lunch Buddies and Mentors, as well as, needed school and clothing supplies. Weekly, community volunteers work to fill backpacks with food for our backpack program. In addition, Spindale is fortunate to receive funds from the local Kiwanis chapter allowing for the purchase of supplies for the STEM lab. The Parent Teacher Organization sponsors the annual Fall Festival. The success of this festival is directly tied to community partners as they make donations for raffle prizes and food contributions. These efforts, along with many others, help support several educational needs and opportunities for Spindale students. In addition to the guided efforts in building community partnerships, we have engaged parents and community members in Community Equity Teams to focus on providing equitable activities and parent engagement events to continue to build the bridge between community, families, and Spindale Elementary School.

School Improvement to ensure all students are given an opportunity to achieve high standards at SES is indeed guided by Rutherford County School’s district’s transformational strategies. Daily, the staff at Spindale works to engage every student in rigorous, personalized learning focused on college and career success. Spindale’s commitment in implementing our MTSS structure with fidelity helps ensure that a comprehensive, integrated system of support fosters students’ social and emotional health. Likewise, Spindale’s commitment to equity and parity drives the school to ensure all students’ equitable access to safe, modern educational facilities and appropriate learning resources. Finally, Spindale’s belief that it takes a village, drives the staff to initiate, sustain, and leverage strong external partnerships that support student learning and school success. Spindale’s action plan for the 2021-2023 plan cycle shows continued commitment to overall school improvement and increased student achievement.

Section 5: Action Plan

Roster of School Improvement Team Members

Schedule of School Improvement Team Meetings

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