Cliffside Elementary School is a community school located in rural Rutherford County nestled between the mountain and piedmont regions of North Carolina. Cliffside Elementary School was built by Cone Mills in 1920 at a cost of over one-quarter of a million dollars and was the most modern and up-to-date building in Rutherford County. In 1998 the school building was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Cliffside was once a booming textile industry. However, in the early 2000's Cone Mills, the company that once owned the town of Cliffside finally collapsed. This brought the textile industry to a halt. The school serves the students from Cliffside, Henrietta, Mooresboro, and surrounding communities. Cliffside has a great history and in her many years has served our students well. The excellence that began in 1920 continues today. In a review from GreatSchools.org, one parent states, “Cliffside is an excellent school. The teachers put their hearts and souls into educating students and always go beyond the call of duty to help students in ways that go beyond education.” Cliffside Elementary is a school where staff, students, guardians, parents, and the surrounding communities work collaboratively to create a warm and welcoming environment where all student needs are met.
All of the teachers at Cliffside hold the "highly qualified" teaching status as defined by the state. Six classroom teachers have advanced degrees. Four classroom teachers and two support staff are Nationally Board Certified. Due to its high transient population, Cliffside Elementary School’s enrollment fluctuates between 240-260. At present, Cliffside Elementary has 240 students comprised of which 73% white, 13% Hispanic, 8% African-American, and 6% multi-racial. Cliffside currently has 15% of the enrolled population participating in the Exceptional Children program, 1% of students has a 504 plan, and 6% of students are in our Academically and Intellectually Gifted program. 30% of Cliffside's students participate in the backpack program. Currently Cliffside Elementary School has 9 churches and one local agency (BASICS Ministry) that provides food for our backpack program.
Several teams are in place at Cliffside Elementary to meet the needs of all students. Our Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) team with our Integrated Academic & Behavior Systems (IABS) team, and our School Improvement Team (SIT) have teacher, staff, parent, and administrative representatives that meet on a regular basis to discuss overall school improvement and student success. We also have strong community partnerships with Duke Energy, Turner Construction, and numerous local churches. Each year the school competes in tournaments with Elementary Battle of the Books and Robotics. We also have an active Jr. Beta Club and a Girls Excelling in Math and Science (GEMS) Club. Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) which are computer-based assessments in reading and math, measure student progress and growth for each individual. These assessments give teachers a plan of action so that they can provide each child with interventions or enrichment depending on the need. At the end of the 2018-2019 school year, the proficiency rates, based on MAP assessments, for each grade level are as follows:
In 2016, stakeholders at Cliffside Elementary School had an opportunity to participate in an AdvancED survey which is a rigorous review of the school centered into five domains. The results are as follows:
Purpose and Direction Strongly Agree and Agree with findings: Parents- 87.01%, Students- 91.35%, and Staff- 91.67%
Governance and Leadership Strongly Agree and Agree with findings: Parents- 82.42%, Students- 74.84%, and Staff- 94.54%
Teaching and Learning Strongly Agree and Agree with findings: Parents- 88.42%, Students- 84.44%, and Staff- 92.28%
Resources and Support Systems Strongly Agree and Agree with findings: Parents- 85.61%, Students- 83.87%, and Staff- 89.09%
Using Results for Continuous Improvement Strongly Agree and Agree with findings: Parents- 88.01%, Students- 76.2%, and Staff- 98.57%
Cliffside Elementary School strives to have meaningful learning experiences for all students that will meet the North Carolina Standard Course of Study and give all students the tools necessary for college and career success in a diverse and ever-changing world.
Beliefs and Mission
Cliffside Elementary School's Vision Statement: Cliffside Elementary School: Building a solid foundation for college and career success.
Cliffside Elementary School's Mission Statement: Cliffside Elementary School is a community school dedicated to preparing all students for success in a diverse and ever-changing world.
Cliffside Elementary School's Beliefs: -all students can learn and are entitled to quality instruction. -students develop a foundation for lifelong learning through personal involvement in the learning process and from enthusiasm projected by teachers and other adults -teachers use a variety of rigorous and relevant instructional strategies, approaches, and assessments to be used to actively engage all students in meaningful learning. -a safe and caring environment where everyone has positive relationships and respects themselves and others. -parents, guardians, teachers, staff, administrators, and the community share the responsibility in meeting all needs of our students. -everyone is committed to innovative and continuous improvement.
The faculty, parents and other stakeholders have adopted these beliefs and statements through regular discussions during grade level, School Improvement Team, Multi-Tiered System of Support, Integrated Academic & Behavior Systems, Local Advisory Council, and Parent Teacher Organization meetings. Our staff teaches our beliefs and expectations to students at the beginning of every school year and reminds them throughout the school year. Our faculty explains our beliefs during parent meetings and stresses the importance of positive parent/teacher relationships. Progress toward our mission is discussed in all of the above mentioned meetings. Adjustments and additions are made to our approach based on this process.
Desired Outcomes and Results
The stakeholders of Cliffside Elementary School want our students to be successful now and later in life. We acknowledge that the learning process starts at the elementary level. We must give students a firm educational foundation and effective social skills to be able to graduate high school, be prepared for the workforce and/or college, and have the values to become productive members of society. In order to meet this goal, we frequently monitor student progress. The administration at Cliffside has openly shared EOG, MAP, mClass, discipline and other forms of data with our stakeholders. Discussions have been held during Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), Local Advisory Council (LAC), School Improvement Team (SIT), Mulit-Tier Systmes of Support (MTSS), Integrated Academic & Behavior Systems (IABS) and grade level meetings regarding the growth and needs of our students. Through this process, we have developed goals/desired outcomes and results for the 2019-2020 and the 2020-2021 school years. Throughout the next two years, teachers, staff, support personnel, and administration will monitor core and small group instruction. All assessment data will be used to update, adjust, and change instruction and interventions based upon student progress.
1. Proficiency rates on the NC End of Grade Test of Math will increase to at least 78% during the 2019-2020 school year and at least 80% for the 2020-2021 school year.
The 2018-2019 End-of-Grade results are as follows: Cliffside Elementary School's Math (*Scores were renormed at the end of the 2018-19 school year) 75.7% (1.0% increase from previous year) District 3rd, 4th, & 5th Math- 64.4%
3rd grade Mathematics 77.3% (.5% decrease from previous year) District 3rd Math- 77.6% 4th grade Mathematics 74.5% (3.7% increase from previous year) District 4th Math- 67.2% 5th grade Mathematics 74.4% (1.0% decrease from previous year) District 5th Math- 66.8%
2. Proficiency rates on the NC End of Grade Test of Reading will increase to at least 75% during the 2019-2020 school year and at least 77% for the 2020-2021 school year.
The 2018-2019 End-of-Grade results are as follows: Cliffside Elementary School's Reading 69.1% (8.7% increase from previous year) District 3rd, 4th, 5th grade Reading- 60.4%
3rd grade Reading 54.5% (1.1% decrease from previous year) District 3rd Reading- 61.8% 4th grade Reading 68.6% (1.9% increase from previous year) District 4th grade Reading- 66.0% 5th grade Reading 81.4% (22.4% increase from previous year) District 5th grade Reading- 61.0%
3. Proficiency rates on the NC End of Grade Test of Science will increase to at least 92% by the 2019-2020 school year and at least 95% for the 2020-2021 school year.
The 2018-2019 End-of-Grade results are as follows: Cliffside Elementary School's Science 5th grade Science 88.4% (6.4% increase from previous year) District 5th grade Science- 80.5%
Analysis of Organizational and Instructional Effectiveness
Transformation Strategy 1: Engage every student in rigorous, personalized learning focused on college and career success.
Cliffside Elementary teachers develop rigorous lessons and units aligned with the North Carolina Standard Course of Study utilizing the RCS instructional resources (MIF, LIF, and SIF) on a daily basis. The data points (listed in above sections) drive the decisions during the lesson planning process for whole and small groups (MTSS). One hour a day is dedicated to targeting individual student deficits and teaching to those areas. Grade level teachers divide students into small groups based on data (beginning of year assessments and again after middle of year assessments). All students are progress monitored frequently to determine the effectiveness of the instruction. Enrichment opportunities are provided to our AIG (Academically and Intellectually Gifted) students through AIG Innovation days and classroom lessons. Additional academic opportunities include the county spelling bee, Soil Conservation poster contest, Farm to School art contest, Battle of the Books, fast facts math competition, word whiz competition, robotics teams, and GEMS (Girls Excelling in Math and Science) Club. Our school system has invested time and money to incorporate a one-to-one learning opportunity where all students will be assigned an iPad. Staff development opportunities have been provided to keep teachers up-to-date with the latest technology instructional resources. Students at Cliffside Elementary School engage in rigorous, personalized learning throughout each day to meet individual academic needs.
Transformation Strategy 2: Ensure that a comprehensive, integrated system of support fosters students’ social and emotional health.
Cliffside Elementary’s MTSS team meets monthly and more often if needed to determine any social, emotional and/or developmental needs of individual students. This team determines these needs through discipline and academic data and then utilizes resources such as mentors, social skills classes and the exceptional children's program to address those student needs. Every faculty member is willing to do whatever it takes to help our students. Our custodians, secretaries and food service employees often serve as mentors for students. Community members volunteer to be reading buddies and are paired with students that share similar interests as the volunteer. Churches in our area provide food backpacks for 31% of our families. The school resource officers visit our schools frequently and provide support by reading in the classroom and interacting with the students. Every class has a weekly lesson with our guidance counselor. She tailors her lessons based on the needs of that class. We are also working to imbed social skills into our language arts lesson. Our school has frequent interactions with parents which involve Meet Your Teacher, open house, fall festival, classroom seasonal programs, PTO meetings, field day, and field trips. At Cliffside Elementary School, we are vested in the whole child and not only focus on academics but also the social and emotional health of our students.
Transformation Strategy 3: Ensure all students’ equitable access to safe, modern educational facilities and appropriate learning resources.
Although our building is almost 100 years old, our learning resources are modern and technology driven. We utilize iPads as a teaching resource so that instruction can be enhanced by the latest and the most up-to-date technological applications and practices. Promethean Boards are utilized on a daily basis to enrich instruction, and we recently installed Apple TV’s in each classroom as an instructional resource as well.
Professional development is offered at the district and school level so that all can become familiar with technology instructional strategies and stay up-to-date on the latest best practices.
All entrances remain locked throughout each school day except the front entrance. All guests and visitors must enter here and check in using a computerized identification system. Faculty and staff members use proximity readers for entry. Our stairs are protected by the use of barriers and supervision. Our school’s resource officer conducts walk-throughs to provide safety to our students. Crisis prevention and intervention plans are reviewed annually with staff.
Each grade level and area has representatives on our School Improvement Team. During grade level meetings, the representatives will discuss any needs and bring those thoughts and ideas for overall school improvement back to each month's School Improvement Team meeting. Our timeline for discussions relating to our SIP will be as follows:
Tuesday, July 30, 2019 Preview preliminary district performance metrics from the 2018-2019 school year. Begin School Improvement Planning. Turn in first draft of SMART Goal Statements for our 2019-2021 SIP.
Wednesday, July 31 - Friday, August 19, 2019 Share SMART Goal Statements with certified staff and seek feedback concerning same.
Tuesday, August 20 - August 23, 2019 Review and update Cliffside’s Beliefs and Mission Statements, School Profile, and Meeting dates as needed.
Monday, August 26 - September 20, 2019 Draft Desired Outcomes and Results and Analysis of Organizational and Instructional Effectiveness narratives and share with all certified teachers.
Monday, September 23, 2019 Share proposed School Improvement Plan with all teachers and staff and seek feedback.
Tuesday, September 24, 2019 Discuss any SIP feedback received during our School Improvement Team meeting. Finalize SIP.
Wednesday, September 25, 2019 Have a school-wide vote on our current SIP.
Thursday, September 25, 2019 Make any adjustments to our School Improvement Plan.
Friday, September 27, 2019 Submit Cliffside Elementary School’s School Improvement Plan for district review.
Tuesday, October 8, 2019 Finalize district review of SIP draft and share with all teachers and staff.
Tuesday, October 22, 2019 Get final school-level approval of SIP.
Tuesday, December 10, 2019 Review progress monitoring data, other assessment data, and discuss as relates to our SIP.
Tuesday, January 8, 2020 Review progress monitoring data, other assessment data, and discuss as relates to our SIP.
Tuesday, February 5, 2020 Review winter benchmark data and address needs as relates to our SIP.
Tuesday, March 5, 2020 Review progress monitoring data, other assessment data, and discuss as relates to our SIP.
Tuesday, April 9, 2020 Review progress monitoring data, other assessment data, and discuss as relates to our SIP.
Tuesday, May 7, 2020 Review progress monitoring data, other assessment data, and discuss as relates to our SIP.
Transformation Strategy 4: Initiate, sustain, and leverage strong external partnerships that support student learning and school success.
Cliffside Elementary School is a community school with very strong support of the families in and around our school. At the beginning of each school year, we have several churches and local organizations who donate school and classroom supplies for our students and teachers. Throughout the school year, these same churches and organizations bring collected supplies for any student who may need them. We have one church that organizes and delivers food bags for those students in need. This church serves as the drop-off location for this food because they have other churches partnering with them. Church representatives keep in contact with school personnel about how many food bags are needed each week. The church stores the food, and church representatives pack enough bags each week for the 31% of our enrollment who are a part of the Back Pack Program and then deliver the food bags to our school. While students are at lunch, our custodians deliver the food bags to the classroom so that the bags can be put in student book bags which does not call attention to those students. Our School Nurse, with the help of our custodians, organize a clothes closet for our students. Our community members donate lightly used clothing for our clothes closet. Our PTO has also purchased underwear in all sizes for any student need. We also had a church group and a local organization who supplied wipes and pull-ups for any student in need. Cliffside Elementary School also has community partners who are Reading Buddies with our students. We currently have 5 community members who come in and read with students each week. We are very fortunate at Cliffside Elementary to have the strong support of external partners which supports student learning and school success.