Rutherford County Schools

382 West Main Street
Forest City, NC 28043


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

2017-2019 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

School Profile – Spindale Elementary

Spindale Elementary School is a warm and welcoming school. Our school mascot is the "Bee". As a "Leader in Me" school, we operate with the central belief that every student has the ability to “Bee a Leader.” Spindale Elementary is a Title I school serving 406 K-5 students and 36 preschool students. Spindale Elementary is nestled in the heart of Spindale, a town formerly known as the textile center of Rutherford County. The core of the school’s attendance district is in the town of Spindale but it also includes some surrounding suburban area.

The Students

The student population at SES consists of 51% White, 34% Black, 8% Multi-racial, and 7% Hispanic. In 2016-17, 76% of our students were classified as economically disadvantaged, however all students receive free breakfast and lunch at SES due to the school district’s participation in the Community Eligibility Program (CEP). We are continuing participation in 2017-18. Our average student daily attendance is 95%.

Among the school’s current K-5 population, approximately 19% of students are identified as Exceptional Children, while about 4% qualify for AIG services. Nine students (2%) receive ESL services.

Students in grades 3-5 at SES have shown improvement in their end-of-grade assessment scores during the past 5 years, but have leveled off over the past 2 years. The percentage of students scoring proficient on the 2017 Reading EOG assessment was 52.6% (up from 48.8% in 2014, but only slightly up from 52.2% in 2016). The percentage of students scoring proficient on the 2017 Math EOG assessment was 60.9% (up from 51.2% in 2014, but only slightly up from 60.5% in 2016). On the 5th grade Science EOG test, 82.7% of students were proficient (up from 61% in 2014, but slightly down from 83.7% in 2016). We were pleased to have exceeded the expected amount of growth for the 2016-17 school year by earning 2.38 in the EVAAS growth index.

The school counselor and student support services coordinator oversee a Lunch Buddies and Reading Buddies mentoring program that served 28 students during the 2016-17 school year (Lunch Buddies-19; Reading Buddies/mentors-9). Approximately 100 students received food backpacks every Friday afternoon in an effort to fulfill their nutritional needs over the weekends.

Discipline data shows that the number of office referrals declined from the year 15-16 (295) to 16-17 (236). Spindale Elementary is a PBIS school (Positive Behavior Intervention and Support), encouraging students by rewarding positive behaviors. Currently, the Leader in Me Initiative is being taught throughout the school and helps our students by providing guidance on character development and positive decision making.

The Community/Parents

As with many small communities, unemployment rates have risen in recent years and have had a tremendous impact on Spindale families. The 2010 census data for the town listed the median household income at $27,165, which is much lower than the state average of $46,450. The average educational attainment levels of Spindale residents are much lower than both state and national percentages. Recent data shows that the highest level of education attained by 53% of Spindale residents is high school diploma or less, while only 41% of NC residents have the high school diploma as their highest level of education. Currently 45% of our students are being raised in single-parent homes. Spindale Elementary also has a large population of families/students who are transient. During the course of the 2016-17 school year, there were a total of 159 students that either enrolled or withdrew during the school year. This high degree of mobility hinders the students’ ability to master essential concepts and skills.

In the town of Spindale, a high number of residents living in poverty are identified as disabled. According to the most recent census data, the disability rate among the males and females living in Spindale is more than double the North Carolina average.

Results from the recently administered AdvancED Parent Perception Surveys show that our 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 we have in place. We are pleased that our families feel that Spindale Elementary is a safe facility where students are supported by qualified staff members who utilize multiple learning resources to instruct students through clearly defined expectations. The areas of the survey indicating areas to improve on pertained to individualizing instruction to meet student’s learning needs, and sharing responsibility for student learning with all stakeholders.

Over the last two years, the school staff has made a concentrated effort to increase parent attendance in curriculum-related Parent Involvement Activities by expanding our scope of communication with ClassDojo, Facebook, and the school webpage. Even though these efforts have proven to be partially successful in that we have and average of around 50% of our parents to attend grade level parent activities, we still strive to actively involve more of our parents in their children's education.

While the most recent AdvancED and Teacher Working Conditions Surveys have shown that teachers are satisfied with the overall progress and efforts happening in our school, the areas that show concern for SES are that teachers feel they do not have an adequate amount of time available for collaboration, peer coaching, and completing routine paperwork.

School Characteristics

Spindale Elementary is very fortunate to operate in a facility that is bright, spacious, and well-equipped. The building itself is 13 years old and consists of 58,000 square feet. Physical space includes 28 fully furnished classrooms, a media center with a collection of almost 9,000 books, STEM lab, music room, art room, gymnasium, cafeteria, K-2 and 3-5 book rooms containing extensive collections of leveled readers, and a Parent Resource Room.

Spindale Elementary is an early school with the instructional day beginning at 7:30am and ending at 2:15pm. Through a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant awarded to the school in August 2014, approximately 100 students receive expanded learning opportunities every Monday-Thursday in our Future Leaders Program from 2:15-5:15 p.m. The aim of the program is to provide academic support while enhancing students’ physical and social well-being, both of which are necessary for school success. Approximately 100 Spindale students also participated in a six-week Science Camp during the summer of 2017.

The instructional staff at Spindale Elementary consists of highly qualified teachers, and 12 teacher assistants. We also employ 6 intervention tutors hired through Title 1 Funds. At SES, 22% of the teachers possess advanced degrees while 52% of the teachers have more than 10 years of teaching experience (33% have 4-10 years of experience and 15% have less than 4 years experience). The average class size is 21. 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 daily to deliver direct and targeted literacy and math 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 (MTSS).

The entire school staff completed 7 Habits Signature training during the 2014-15 school year. Spindale Elementary is just beginning year four of “The Leader in Me” implementation. Through weekly-themed character education and other initiatives, students are encouraged to utilize pro-social behaviors and acquire leadership skills that will enable them to be successful in future endeavors.

Students are given the opportunity to participate in/perform through the following programs offered at Spindale Elementary: Chess Club, Elementary Battle of the Books Team, Robotics Team, Recorder Karate, Scripps National Spelling Bee Program, AIG H.O.L.E. Days, Musical Programs, Safety Patrol, and Recycling Team. Fifth grade students are instructed on the importance of respecting others and making wise choices through their participation in both the G.R.E.A.T. (instructed by the Rutherford Co. Sheriff’s Office) and D.A.R.E. (instructed by the Spindale Police Department) Programs each year.

Spindale Elementary incorporated an ISS classroom in the 2016-17 school year to help students learn from incorrect behaviors. We are also fortunate to have a day treatment program in our school that serves several of our students with pull-out services helping them learn appropriate social responsibilities.

Through the one-to-one district initiative, all K-4 students have received iPads for daily use (one fully equipped cart per classroom), while all 5th grade students have received Macbooks. Teachers and students also have access to a multitude of online educational and assessment resources.

Section 2: Beliefs and Mission

Beliefs and Mission – Spindale Elementary

Our vision is to create leaders who will engage in positive decision-making and become successful members of society. The staff believes that every student has the potential to be a leader, both academically and socially. In order for our students to overcome obstacles that stand in their way, it is important for them to believe that they possess the ability within themselves to take charge of their lives. The mission statement for our learning community is: Working together to lead and grow. The Spindale Elementary staff fully embraces the 7 Habits principles, outlined below, and utilizes them daily in guiding students to become knowledgeable, responsible, and respectful adults.

Each Habit, along with our meaning of the principle, is listed below:
1. Be Proactive – I’m in charge of myself.
2. Begin With the End in Mind – I have a plan.
3. Put First Things First – Work first then play.
4. Think Win-Win – Everybody can win.
5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood – Listen first, then talk.
6. Synergize – Together is better.
7. Sharpen the Saw – Balance feels best.

The adoption of these core beliefs and principles came about through numerous discussions among the staff, and parents over the last several years, including discussions during grade level, SIT, MTSS, PBIS, 21st CCLC grant team, Local Advisory Board, and PTO board meetings, along with parent involvement nights, and parent/teacher conferences. A common set of beliefs also began to develop after teachers implemented a Leader in Me book study group four years ago, along with arranged visits to schools that have obtained the Lighthouse status (model school obtained by meeting specified criteria) through The Leader in Me program. Discussions continue to happen throughout the school year with parents, staff members, and students to help gain deeper understanding of the beliefs.

Staff members communicate our mission and underlying principles daily by using a common language with students, parents and one another. The 7 Habits principles 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, classroom mission statements, classroom goals and individual data notebooks, 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, along with memos, newsletters, parent handbook, and postings on the school website.

During the last 10 years, the PBIS model has been used as a framework for the school’s discipline policy and student recognitions. We have successfully merged the school’s former PBIS expectations with the newly adopted beliefs centering on the 7 Habits. The central beliefs are similar, but the 7 Habits principles are more explicit and far-reaching. Student, class, and staff recognitions and office discipline referrals are better aligned to the more current set of beliefs.

The school’s leadership team understands the importance of regularly evaluating and assessing the school’s pulse. Through staff and grade level meetings, parent conferences, LAC and PTO Board meetings, and ongoing feedback from staff members, SIT members, and administrators, we have been able to evaluate alignment of the school’s programs to the new set of beliefs. Office discipline referrals, MAP, Reading 3D, and EOG assessment data are also regularly analyzed to assess progress on the school’s mission. Finally, results from student, parent and staff surveys, along with feedback from student recognitions and celebrations, are regularly compiled and discussed to evaluate alignment of ALL programs to the school’s vision, mission and beliefs.

Section 3: Desired Outcomes and Results

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. Through the Read to Achieve initiative, MClass results, EOG and NC Final Exam results shared in the school profile, we hope to continue the pattern of growth that we have seen over the past 4 years.

Through careful analysis and discussion of numerous data sources during grade level meetings, SIT and MTSS team meetings, work sessions, and professional development activities, teachers and administrators identified specifically what we want our students to know and be able to do at the end of fifth grade. We want the students to be able to read for understanding, think creatively, strategize, problem-solve effectively, and collaborate successfully. We also hope that our rising sixth graders will continue to take charge of their learning by utilizing the 7 Habits principles in their lives. Our ultimate goal is to instill a passion for lifelong learning in the children so that they continue to ask questions, seek answers, wonder, and explore. We have and will continue to incorporate small group reading instruction times based on ability levels, as well as leveled intervention time for math and reading so that individual learning needs are met. These leveled groups coupled with grade level instruction through use of the district provided Literacy Instruction Framework and Math Instruction Framework, should help our students to 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 our 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 our students: developmental deficiencies in reading, language and math upon entering school; high number of chronic tardies and absences; large number of discipline referrals with highest infractions for defiance and lack of respect for others.

In living the 7 Habits and utilizing these principles daily, we believe that our students will grow and be successful learners by setting goals, creating priorities, respecting others, working together effectively, and finding balance in their lives.

As our mission statement reflects…

Working together: students will work collaboratively with their peers, teachers, and parents.
Lead: staff will prepare students to be successful through rigorous academic work and career preparation.
Grow: school will provide a safe and nurturing environment that will enable students to become globally competitive.

Section 4: Analysis of Organizational and Instructional Effectiveness

Analysis of Organizational & 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, we are experiencing success in our academic program at SES. The culmination of all EOG scores (80% - proficiency, 20% - growth) is used to calculate a school's performance grade. SES has grown over the last four years from an overall school performance grade of 56 (2014) to 66 (2017). These successes have been evident due to several aspects focused on the three transformational strategies.

Engage students in rigorous 21st century instruction 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 6-7part-time tutors each year who work specifically with students on their individual levels through the MTSS framework. We also use the Literacy/Math/Science Instructional frameworks to guide our whole group instruction. Each grade level meets at least 2 times per month 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 our school did experience a growth composite of 2.38 for the 2016-17 school year, which exceeded the expected amount of growth, our goal is to continue to grow in reading, math, and science through the implementation of the strategies listed above. Our goal is to see our EOG proficiency level increase to 70% in Reading, 76% in Math, and 89% in Science.

Comprehensive system of support responsive to students’ social, emotional, and developmental needs:

Spindale Elementary is a Leader in Me school focused on teaching and modeling The 7 Habits principles. We have woven the 7 Habits into our PBIS structure to make it an integral part of every aspect of the school day. Honeycombs are given to students when they are practicing good behavior based on the seven habits, and yellow and blue bees are given to classrooms when they are modeling exemplary behavior. School wide and classroom celebrations are held each six weeks focusing on students becoming leaders within the school. We also offer reading buddies and mentors for a select group of students, thanks to a group of wonderful volunteers in the community.
We have been fortunate to receive a 21st Century grant that has benefited our students in several different ways. Our Future Leaders program meets after school four days per week serving around 100 of our students helping them to become better leaders through enrichment activities, homework help, and leader lab. We also offer a variety of other programs aimed at educating students on pro-social behaviors that will allow them to be successful in life. Examples of these programs consist of: D.A.R.E, G.R.E.A.T., safety patrol, and various school teams (Chess, Robotics, Book Challenge). We feel that by offering students positive support for their social, emotional, and developmental needs, we will decrease the level of office referrals in the building, thus increasing student achievement.

Equitable access to safe, modern, educational facilities and learning resources:

Our school is equipped with safety in mind. Security cameras have been installed throughout the building. We also have security doors in the front of the building ensuring that all visitors come in through the office to sign in at the Ident-a-kid station.
We are blessed to be a part of a one-to-one district where all students have access to either an ipad, or a MacBook at all times during the school day. We have recently added a STEM lab where students use their devices and other materials to combine reading with STEM learning. Through the resources we are putting into practice and those currently in place, we hope to increase students' ability to work with technology and be more prepared for the 21st Century.

While we acknowledge our strengths, we are also aware of our weaknesses. Our school improvement plan will address these weaknesses in working to improve reading, math, and science EOG scores.

Section 5: Action Plan

Roster of School Improvement Team Members

Schedule of School Improvement Team Meetings

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