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2023 Executive Summary
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Blue Ridge Middle School

Loudoun County Public Schools

Comprehensive Needs Assessment - Executive Summary

LCPS School Profile

Virginia School Quality Profile

School Improvement Team:

Name

Position

Brion Bell

Principal

Nancy Griffith-Cochran, Matt Bolen

Assistant Principal

Megan Baird, Caroline Milne, Steve Morris

Dean

Eryne Racino, Penny Cohen, Danielle Savastano

Counselor

Karin Nixon

Instructional Facilitator, Technology

Kelly Schober

PTO President

Kristin Kuntz, Allyson White, Michelle Balio, Danylle Seebeck, Brooke Frame, Elizabeth O’Neill, Holly Myers, Jennifer Galang, Lisa Gargiulo, Sara Bolen, Susan Hubbuch, Laurie McDole, Kathy Haggerty, Andrew McClellan, Shauna Cassidy, Jennifer Nicholson, Jackie Robertson

Subject Area Lead Teachers and Team Leaders

Sandra Duke

Librarian

Instructional Overview

Provide descriptive information related to the curriculum, instructional programs, and/or existing interventions to support the academic, behavioral, and/or social emotional needs for all students.

Blue Ridge MS is committed to the success of all students - academically, behaviorally, and socially-emotionally.  Through a variety of structures, including the master schedule, Collaborative Learning teams (CLTs), Interdisciplinary Teams (ITs), Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), Special Education Services and Programs, along with counselor/support services(UMHT), the needs of students are at the heart of all instructional decisions. Partnerships with parents and the community are an integral component of our school climate that also supports student success.

Blue Ridge staff strives to plan, teach, assess, and refine standards-based curriculums to provide all students an authentic, engaging, deeper learning experience.  Lessons are designed with clear, measurable learning targets. General education staff along with their special education counterparts, meet multiple times per week during common planning, which is integrated into the master schedule. CLTs also monitor student progress by analyzing data and ensuring that interventions/extensions are in place to meet the needs of individual students.  Based on data, CLTs create grade-level, content area Focus Files to identify student needs, utilize a multi-tiered system of support/interventions, and monitor student progress.  CLTs reflect and document their work through collaborative conversations around 4 critical questions:  

  1.  What do we want students to learn? (essential standards)
  2.  How will we know if they have learned? (team-developed common assessments)
  3. What will we do if they don’t learn? (systematic interventions)
  4. What will we do if they already know it? (extended learning) 

BRMS teachers employ a variety of programs to assess students’ present levels and monitor growth over time.  For example, BRMS English and Math teachers administer MAP testing three times per year (Fall, Winter, Spring) and Virginia Growth Assessments two times per year (Fall, Winter).  Students and teachers collaborate over these assessment results to create personalized student learning goals.  Math & Reading Labs are in place to support at-risk students and Structured Resource provides access to study skill and organizational development in a small, structured environment. Administration supports staff by ensuring needed resources are available and meeting with CLTs weekly/bi-weekly and through quarterly data chats.

Supporting and enhancing the work of CLTs as they plan instruction with the DuFour Four Crticial PLC questions, our focus is on deeper learning for all students.  Instructional initiatives such as Personalized Learning (PL) and Project Based Learning (PBL) along with integrating best practices for instruction are tools available to support rigorous classroom experiences. Additionally, intentional focus to imbed the 5Cs in the classroom experience builds students collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, and contributions skills. BRMS recognizes the importance of staff expanding their skillset to support student learning and has embedded staff development in the school day as part of the Blue Ridge Professional Learning Center. School administration supports staff professional development by monitoring staff needs through various means (walk-throughs, evaluations, surveys, and meetings with individuals and/or teams) and providing appropriate professional development.

Blue Ridge implements multiple interventions to support the behavioral and social-emotional needs of all students. ITs meet weekly with student academic and behavioral needs being an embedded part of the agenda.  Student Success Plans, which utilize interventions in the BRMS MTSS pyramid of interventions, are created through ITs to provide students additional support. Intervention plans are in place for students when needed. The PBIS team meets weekly to monitor student progress and plan school-wide lessons in which all staff and students participate during daily advisory periods.  Many of these lessons throughout the include Second Step® Middle School, a research-based social-emotional learning program designed to improve students’ social-emotional skills, such as emotion management, impulse control, problem solving, and empathy.  Second Step skills and concepts are designed to help students both in and out of school. These include:

 The counseling department and support personnel (ie...School Psychologist, Social Worker) host multiple student groups while also providing opportunities for students to play an active role in the positive school climate through PEER and School ambassadors. Additionally, the Unified Mental Health Team (UMHT) meets monthly to ensure programs and procedures are in place to support student needs and long-term growth. Finally, students are provided the opportunity to grow beyond the classroom, participating in clubs which are embedded in the school day (many of which are student created and led) and after-school extension opportunities such as drama, running club, ping pong, tennis, indoor soccer tournaments, and STEM challenges.

Parents and the community are actively involved in Blue Ridge Middle School.  Our Parent Teacher Organization routinely supports students and staff in a variety of ways including sponsoring school-wide & grade level events as well as supporting learning through funding teacher grants and student assemblies/programs. Parents are invited to classrooms to participate in activities such as Code Walks, Poetry Cafes, and various PBL events. Additionally, Back-to-School Nights, student award recognition (Character Counts & Cornerstone Awards), and counselor sponsored parent coffees serve as additional opportunities for parents and the community to be partners in learning.

Extended Learning Opportunities

Provide information to describe extended learning opportunities for students, staff, families and community.

Blue Ridge offers many extended learning opportunities for students, staff, families and the community. Extended learning opportunities occur not only during the school day but also through before & after-school programs.

Students and staff routinely engage in character discussions focused on being good global citizens who contribute positively to the world around them. Common Sense Media Education curriculum is the foundation for digital citizenship and lessons developed by the PBIS Team focus on character.

All students at Blue Ridge are involved in a club. Over 50 different clubs, some student created and led, are sponsored by BRMS staff.  Clubs meet each Wednesday, from late October to April, during the school day. Staff and students in clubs share a common interest in learning a new skill (such as sewing a quilt or graphic design), sharing a hobby (card making or Lego), or playing a sport (soccer, flag football, hockey or volleyballl). Guest speakers (either parents or outside community members) support clubs by sharing their expertise with students.

 

Another area of extended learning is physical fitness.  Students may participate in a before-school running club where they train for a 5k race in the local community.  Students also have the opportunity to run in the BRMS Tough Turkey 2 Mile race and/or qualify for the Bulldog Mile.  Additionally, students have the opportunity to take part in an indoor soccer tournament and ping pong tournament.

The theater arts program at Blue Ridge provides extended learning for many students, families, and the community. Our after-school acting workshops provide an opportunity for students to hone their acting abilities and demonstrate new skills in a culminating showcase performance for the community. This fall the cast and crew will present three spooky and hilarious one act plays in “A Spooky Night at Blue Ridge”.  BRMS students are invited to audition for our school play. Cast members tell stories through dialogue, songs and choreographed dance numbers. Parents and community members actively support students’ performances through set design & construction, makeup, costume design & creation, and marketing. Additionally, the drama tech crew is composed of BRMS students.  These students learn new skills and support the drama production through lighting, sound, set design, and backstage production.

Areas of Strength

Summary statements for domains providing evidence of analysis of trend data over a 3-year period and data triangulation to confirm areas of strength. Provide a clear connection between outcomes and contributing factors.

Domain 1:  English Reading

Overall student achievement level as measured by % PASS for English Reading over a 3-year period remains above Division and State proficiency levels.  Contributing factors include the implementation of individual MAP learning goals, school-wide focus on literacy, content vocabulary development, word study, and reading labs (students in identified subgroups increased PASS rates).

Domain 2:  Mathematics

Overall student achievement level as measured by % PASS for Mathematics over a 3-year period remains above Division and State proficiency levels.  Contributing factors include implementation of individual MAP learning goals and math labs (students in identified subgroups increased PASS rates).

Domain 8:  Safe and Supportive Environments

Most students and parents feel that Blue Ridge provides a safe environment where students are challenged to meet their academic potential. Survey data show that all three stakeholder groups (teachers, students, and parents) feel that school staff form strong relationships with students and work to meet individual student needs both academically and socially-emotionally. Specific survey data indicate that 95% of student respondents feel Blue Ridge is safe.  Additionally, 98% of staff respondents indicate that Blue Ridge staff have strong relationships with students and home and 97% of staff respondents indicate that Blue Ridge is driven by student-centered vision, mission and policies.  Finally, 93.8% of parent respondents report Blue Ridge teachers care about how well their child does in school and 98.9% of parent respondents report that the school provides a safe and orderly place for students to learn;  86.6% of parents report satisfaction that students are receiving a quality education; 94% of parents report that they are taken seriously by school staff when concerns are raised.

Areas for Growth

Summary statements for domains providing evidence of analysis of trend data over a 3-year period and data triangulation to confirm areas of concern. Provide a clear connection between outcomes and contributing factors.

Domain 1:  English Reading

Blue Ridge conditional growth data showed that our students made growth gains in reading.  Blue Ridge students demonstrated a conditional growth percentile of 48.6.  Despite these growth gains, some tier 2 and 3 students did not pass the spring SOL reading test.

Domain 2:  Mathematics

Blue Ridge conditional growth data showed that our students made growth gains in math.   Blue Ridge students demonstrated a conditional growth percentile of 54.4 .  Despite these growth gains, some tier 2 and 3 students did not pass the spring SOL math test.

Domain 8:  Safe and Supportive Environments

The majority (95%) of our students and parents feel that Blue Ridge provides a safe and supportive learning environment as indicated in the Areas of Strength above.  In line with LCPS initiatives, BRMS will implement additional programs and processes to further ensure student mental and emotional health.  According to the Unified Mental Health Team (UMHT) Tier 1 Action Plan supporting mental and behavioral health and wellness within a multi-tiered system of support, the following additional actions for Blue Ridge are recommended:  1) Organize and schedule monthly UMHT meetings to include all metal health personnel within the building and BRMS administration to discuss programs and process to support students’ social-emotional wellness; 2) Create and maintain student health and wellness focus file to ensure at-risk students and the interventions in place are actively monitored; and 3) Develop grade-level differentiated curriculum through the PBIS team to support students character development in order to create caring global citizens.

School Improvement Goals

Strand 1

Schools identify at least one goal in Strand 1

Domain 1 - English Language Arts

Outcome Goal:

In Spring 2024, all student sub-groups will achieve Level One or Level Two performance status on the Standards of Learning English assessment.

Process Goal:

Implement an intervention framework to support all students.

Domain 2 - Mathematics

Outcome Goal:

In Spring 2024, all student sub-groups will achieve Level One or Level Two performance status on the Standards of Learning Math assessment.

Process Goal:

Implement an intervention framework to support all students.

School Improvement Goals

Strand 2

Schools identify at least one goal in Strand 2

Domain 8 - Safe and Supportive Environments

Outcome Goal:

Enhance the social emotional skills and mental wellness of students as evidenced by 92% of students responding "Agree" or "Strongly Agree" to questions 15-22 in section C. Relationships Among Students and section D. Social-Emotional Learning on the Virginia School Survey.

Process Goal:

Develop a framework of character and wellness lessons to be delivered through Advisory 4-5X per week.