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

Harris Elementary School

Dr. Keith Ezell, Principal

3330 US Hwy. 221 South
Forest City, NC 28043
Telephone: 828-248-2354 | Fax: 828-248-2354

Section 1: School Profile

Harris Elementary is located in a rural area of Forest City, North Carolina. We are a Title I school and utilize Title I funds to provide supplemental services and resources to all of our students. We are proud of our highly qualified staff which includes two National Board Certified teachers, nine teachers with Masterís Degrees, and twenty-one teachers with more than ten years of teaching experience.

Most recently, data showed third grade students at Harris performing at 50.0% Reading Proficiency according to NC End of Grade (EOG) information. The current Math Proficiency according to EOG data for Harris is 55.9% of students in 3rd grade, 4th grade shows 47.4%, and 68.3% proficient in 5th grade. The current Science Proficiency according to EOG data for Harris is 71.4% of students in 5th grade scoring a level 3, 4, or 5. Reading data for NC does not include 4th and 5th grade due to a re-norming of proficiency standards at the state level.

At Harris Elementary, we pride ourselves on the community and family atmosphere that is evident throughout our school. We strive to meet the academic, social, and physical needs of all of our students. Our school environment fosters school pride, active, student-centered learning, and strong parent/school/community partnerships. We also strive to ensure student success through the utilization of educational best practice. At Harris, we take pride in our respectful staff and responsible students. Our parents hold us to a high standard that we strive to fulfill. We keep parents involved by offering a variety of activities before, during, and after school throughout the school year. We believe that positive feedback and positive reinforcement help to foster a successful learning community in our school. All Harris Elementary students receive free breakfast and lunch as a result of our districtís participation in the federal Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) program. Approximately twenty percent of our students also participate in the Backpack Program, in a partnership with Floyd's Creek Baptist Church, Kistler's Chapel Methodist Church, Harris Baptist Church and Sulphur Springs Baptist Church. We benefit from multiple community partnerships from the faith-based community, business partners, and civic groups. We also receive school supplies each year from many local churches and individuals. This year, several individual families have contributed funds to offer ice cream to kindergarten students who are in high need. Our Beta Club will again sponsor two canned-food drives during the holidays to provide a Thanksgiving meal in conjunction with a local church, as well as assisting the Salvation Army in the annual Christmas Cheer food drive. Our school has also partnered with several businesses that support us continually through our sponsorship program spear headed by the PTO. Those business include Jackson Heating & Air, Tink's Magical Vacations, Hardin's Drug, Precision Plumbing, Food Lion, The Hair Company, KidSenses Museum, Friendship Nissan, Crash's Custom Graphics, Rutherford County Memorial Cemetery, Chiliís, The Green Hill Store, Well-Jenkins-Wells Meat Market, and Alvin & Danny Buchanan Electric.

Our total population at the end of the 2020-2021 school year was 448 students. Our students consist of 81% Caucasian, 2% African American, 11% Hispanic, <1% Native American, and 6% multi-racial. Approximately 10% are identified through our Exceptional Children's Program and 11% are identified in our Academically or Intellectually Gifted Program. Typically, 65% of the Harris students are considered economically disadvantaged. Meeting the individual needs of such a diverse population can offer challenges at times, however, we believe all students can be successful.

We utilize a positive behavior program to ensure appropriate choices and a respectful learning environment. Common procedures and rules are identified throughout the school using the acronym PAWS (Polite, Accountable, Wise Choices, Safe) to remind students of school-wide expectations. We believe that this consistency and positive reinforcement work very well in our school. In conjunction with the positive behavior system, our school also utilizes a ďcolored clip chartĒ as the universal behavior system. All teachers and special areas have implemented the clip chart system.

Our goal is for all students to be successful at Harris. One way we strive to achieve this goal is by implementing a multi-tiered support system that is known throughout our school as Bulldog time. During this daily block of time, students work in small, leveled groups, targeting individual skills for one hour of uninterrupted instruction. We utilize benchmark testing three times a year to track student growth and differentiate instruction to meet student needs.

At Harris Elementary School, teachers continue to use technology in instruction. Having to offer remote learning as an option to many students during school closures and results of the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers employed technology resources in order to provide instructional support both face-to-face and virtually. Synchronous and asynchronous learning allowed our students the opportunity to stay engaged with their teachers. Past parent survey results indicate that our school provides engaging learning activities for children in a safe learning environment. Our parent data shows that we have a solid base of continuous community support and we do not take this support for granted. Parent communication and involvement is an important component of our school culture.

Section 2: Beliefs and Mission

At Harris Elementary we discuss the mission and vision at grade level meetings and staff meetings. At the beginning faculty meeting, staff members were grouped in order to revisit the current vision and mission statements to ensure that we, as a team, still held the same beliefs. The groups were asked to analyze the existing statements. At the conclusion of the group discussion, the large group discussion ended with the same mission and vision statements. The staff believes that these statements reflect the efforts taken to meet the needs of each individual student while preparing them to be ready for the next level of life. In our case, we desire that they are ready to succeed as they transition to middle school.

Harris Elementary Vision:
Harris Elementary will meet the needs of all learners to enable them to be successful in a global community.

Harris Elementary Mission:
At Harris School we pledge to do "whatever it takes" to provide all students the best education in a positive, safe, and nurturing environment so they will be prepared for success in middle school..

We Believe:
- All students can learn
- All students are held to a high level of expectation and will strive to meet these expectations
- Students have the right to a safe, nurturing and caring environment conducive to learning
- The stakeholders of Harris Elementary should work together to ensure the success of all our students
- Technology can open doors to possibilities otherwise out of reach

Through these beliefs we feel that our BULLDOGS will PAW their way to success in a global community. To evaluate and validate our mission and vision, weekly grade level meetings are held to monitor the data collected on student progress. Also, each grade level focuses on specific standards and unpacks those standards to ensure a common understanding of expectations. By meeting students "where they are" academically, we feel we can support the individual growth of each child. School administration continually observes and works with staff members to encourage rigor during instruction and offers suggestions to improve teaching and learning throughout the building. Data analysis and instructional support are key components in the validation and evaluation of our vision and mission statements.

Section 3: Desired Outcomes and Results

At Harris Elementary, teachers participate in weekly grade level and data meetings to ensure all students achieve success. Parents are invited to numerous events including grade level events, Open House and parent conferences at many of the parent involvement activities. Teachers provide parents with links to learning resources and other tools they can use to assist their children at home. Parent surveys provide parental input into various programs and plans here at Harris. Through these different forms of communication, we've shared, discussed, and refined our school's desired outcomes and results. Input was gathered from many stakeholders to develop the school vision, mission, beliefs, and school improvement plan. Numerous data sources were reviewed, MTSS framework for behavior data, end-of-grade test scores, benchmark assessments, parent surveys, and feedback from parent meetings. These sources are reviewed on a regular basis during the school year.

Our shared desire is for every student to achieve success in all academic areas, including: reading, math, science, social studies and writing. We believe that by attaining success at the local and state levels will prepare students for future success on national level programs and assessments. We also believe that students must learn common expectations for behavior, both in and out of the classroom, using our school's PBIS model.

According to the NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey from 2020, staff are satisfied or highly satisfied with the working conditions at Harris. "Overall, my school is a good place to work and learn" was rated at 94.6%. Again, according to the NC School Report Card data, Harris School earned a grade of "B" with a percentage of 73% overall. Our school staff is committed to continuous improvement as we strive to support the school and district strategies to increase student achievement while supporting the social emotional health of each child. In reviewing the information from the state report card, parent surveys, staff input, and the NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey, the staff consistently tries to determine the opportunities for growth for the overall school.

By problem solving what could be done to address areas of need, the group is able to have input into the procedures and routines of the school. Moreover, the parent communication from surveys and the Local Advisory Committee report positive attitudes and feelings about the students' overall educational experience. One trend that has shown improvement is the area of communication. Teacher/parent communication has increased mainly because of initiatives from staff to inform the parents of progress and upcoming events through weekly reports home, phone calls from the school, and face-to-face meetings. One area that is still "under construction" is the rigor in instruction. While maintaining core instruction, teachers are continually requesting assistance to meet the needs of our higher achievers so that they can continue to grow. They receive support from the instructional coach, administrative team, and peer teachers.

Section 4: Analysis of Organizational and Instructional Effectiveness

Student progress is evident in all areas based on our student performance data from MAP and EOG testing.

Most recently, the 2019 NC School Report Card data showed Harris students achieving an overall achievement score of 70.7% along with a growth score of 82.8%, giving Harris Elementary a grade of "B" with a 73% performance grade. Our school met or exceeded all of the growth targets for the subgroups defined by the state. The current Reading Proficiency according to End of Grade (EOG) data for Harris is 68% of students in 3rd grade, 4th grade or 5th grade scoring level 3, 4, or 5. The current Math Proficiency according to EOG data for Harris is 69.4% of students in 3rd grade, 4th grade or 5th grade scoring 3, 4, or 5. The current Science Proficiency according to EOG data for Harris is 76.8% of students in 5th grade scoring a level 3, 4, or 5. In order to use this data effectively, the School Improvement Team and school staff have decided upon ways to integrate our efforts into the district's four transformational strategies which directly align to our vision and mission.

Strategy 1: Engage every student in rigorous, personalized learning focused on college and career success.
-Maintain highly engaging lessons at all grade levels. Use teacher strengths to support peer weaknesses--peer coaching, mentoring, teaming.
-Focus lessons to fully implement the North Carolina Standard Course of Study.
-A multi-tiered system of support is used at all grade levels in order to meet students where they are academically, and to help them grow from there.
-Having Bulldog Time as our school-wide system for effective grouping, teachers are able to facilitate the multilevel instruction simultaneously.

Strategy 2: Ensure that a comprehensive, integrated system of support fosters studentsí social and emotional health.
-Utilize expertise and materials from guidance counselor to integrate social emotional health lessons into weekly classes.
-Continuing in the 2021-2022 school year, use the student assistance team to problem solve student behavioral concerns as we would academic concerns.
-A multi-tiered system of support is used at all grade levels in order to meet students where they are academically, and to help them grow from there.
-Having Bulldog Time as our school-wide system for effective grouping, teachers are able to facilitate the multilevel instruction simultaneously.

Strategy 3: Ensure all studentsí equitable access to safe, modern educational facilities and appropriate learning resources.
-Maintenance requests are made as necessary to maintain safety and security of the building, as well as technical requests to ensure accessibility.
-Conduct drills to prepare for events of emergency.
-Work with instructional personnel to leverage most effective learning resources.
-Enlist the guidance from instructional coach and technology facilitator for best practices in instruction.

Strategy 4: Initiate, sustain, and leverage strong external partnerships that support student learning and school success.
-Continue relationships with area partners to support programs within the school, such as reading buddies and the back pack program.
-Work with PTO to leverage partnerships for financial support.
-Keep communication lines open to encourage much involvement from parents and community, such as Facebook and messages to parents.
-Seek input from Local Advisory Committee concerning parent perceptions.

Using as many support personnel as possible allows for group size reduction. Students who consistently fall below the expectation for their growth rate are referred to the student assistance team (CARE) for further investigation. That team analyzes data to determine if the need for further evaluation is necessary or if other methods should be used within the group work. Utilizing technology will prepare our students for the future, meet individualized needs, and increase student motivation in academic areas.
Finally, we know that teaching and modeling procedures for behavior, both in and out of the classroom, in a variety of settings creates a safe learning environment in our school. Using our MTSS framework for behavior consistently throughout the school has begun to show a positive impact at Harris Elementary. A school-wide behavior chart is in place for every classroom, along with acknowledgement practices for individual behavior and whole-class behavior. Also, teachers are recognized for initiative to complete various professional development activities and school expectations.

Section 5: Action Plan

Roster of School Improvement Team Members

Schedule of School Improvement Team Meetings

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