The North Star School
Loudoun County Public Schools
Comprehensive Needs Assessment - Executive Summary
School Improvement Team:
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.
The North Star School is an innovative academic program available to all LCPS high school students. The three pillars of the program are:
1. A smaller high school campus with a maximum capacity of 450 students.
2. Personalized learning with smaller classes with a 10 to 1 student-to-teacher ratio.
3. A flexible “4x4” student class schedule that allows students to focus on 4 classes each semester and lends itself to creative scheduling solutions, credit recovery opportunities, and additional academic support. Students have the ability to complete 8 classes per year.
Students who attend The North Star School remain “concurrently enrolled” at their home schools, enabling them to participate in athletics and extracurricular activities while experiencing the benefits of personalized learning. As one of our students recently said, “This is the future of education!”
The North Star School offers admissions to current LCPS high school students prior to the Fall and Spring semesters. Admissions for Spring 2022 will begin November 15. Interested students and parents should speak to their school counselor.
The North Star School also offers an Individual Student Alternative Education Plan where students, ages 16-18, who qualify through pretesting, work towards a GED. Students are accepted into this program throughout the year with rolling admissions.
The North Star Staff works as a collaborative and unified staff to identify student needs both academically and socially/emotionally and recognize student successes to celebrate growth.
Extended Learning Opportunities
Provide information to describe extended learning opportunities for students, staff, families and community.
Year One Summary:The North Star School offers Parent input/learning night's monthly called the “S.T.A.R. Symposium”. Students have personalized learning plans in their coursework and are offered multiple opportunities to learn about post-secondary education/planning as a priority.
Year Two Summary: Students have personalized learning plans and receive targeted instruction through their coursework and are offered multiple opportunities to learn about post-secondary education/planning as a priority. Students have access to Tier 1 strategies through Learning Lab as well as intervention and remediation during Advisory for support/enhancement of essential skills knowledge. The North Star Staff are provided opportunities for professional growth through Professional Learning, Professional Development, and dedicated work as Collaborative Learning Teams to enhance student learning experiences and successes. The North Star School offers Parent input/learning opportunities monthly called the “S.T.A.R. Symposium”. Parents are provided information on post secondary opportunities, graduation requirements, Social/Emotional wellness, and family involvement in education.
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.
Year One Summary: The school climate and culture have improved significantly as indicated by climate survey data results from students, staff, and parents. Student data indicates that they feel welcome and supported. Additionally, parent data indicate that they are 100% satisfied with communication from the school, which surpasses all school averages. Academically, strengths include targeted instruction and credit recovery support.
Year Two Summary: The North Star School has experienced an increase in family engagement through the STAR Symposium which provides families the opportunity to learn and understand school related offerings and activities. We have experienced a significant increase of Standards of Learning pass rates of 52% yielding an increase in pass rates of 28% from 2020-21 and an increase in Term 1 and Term 2 pass rates including Credit Recovery Plan opportunities. Staff participation in Professional Learning and Collaborative Learning teams has demonstrated a direct correlation to student progress in Term/course pass rates and Standards of Learning pass rates. The dedicated work of Collaborative Learning Teams to identify individual students' needs, essential skills, and to provide targeted instruction, develop targeted remediation plans while incorporating LCPS Profile of a graduate has demonstrated a positive outcome toward the School Improvement Plan Goals and success of our students. Implementation of the S.T.A.R expectation as a PBIS initiative, Equity initiatives, and collaboration of staff with Student Support Teams, Unified Mental Health Team, and School counseling Department has directly correlated to student success and progress with positive attributes and recognition .
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.
Year One Summary: Data indicate that student pass rates are in need of improvement in all core areas and some electives. Additionally, SOL pass rates are in need of significant improvement. Improvements in the areas of family engagement are essential as we have had less than expected respondents to our parent surveys. Data related to our PBIS implementation indicate that we are in need of additional targeted instruction and opportunities to celebrate students for demonstrating Service, Trust, Attitude, and Respect. One area of need that will address both climate and academics is to improve two-way communication from staff to families at the Tier 1 level.
Year Two Summary: The North Star School will continue its work in the areas of attendance rates based on data demonstrating a 2.52 % increase in attendance rates from the previous “in-person” school year. Collaboration of staff, families, and students for continued increase of family and student engagement is a continued need based on data as relative to population of the school community. Increase in activities/participation opportunities for families is a need to enhance a welcoming, supportive, and safe environment. We will continue to increase the percentage of pass rates for courses and Standards of Learning through implementation of personalized learning plans, targeted instruction, implementation of Tier 1 strategies with student participation opportunities in Learning Lab and Intervention/remediation opportunities. The North Star will continue to work on communication with staff, students,and families on student need and success to build relationships and community.
School Improvement Goals
Schools identify at least one goal in Strand 1
Domain 5 - Academic Areas
By June 2024, students will demonstrate a 30% increase in course pass rates as evidenced by fall/spring final grades for Terms 1 and 2 (10% increase per year anticipated) as evidenced by data and pass rates.
Targeted remediation planning for students retaking previously failed SOL's, increased targeted instruction through personalized learning in courses for which students have their first attempt.
Domain 5 - Other Academic Areas
By June 2024, student SOL pass rates will increase in all content area classes by 10% each year as evidenced by data and pass rates.
Continued implementation of Student Support Team (SST) for progress monitoring and assigning supports, increased communication with parents and students regarding student progress, implementation of credit recovery planning as soon as needed.
Domain 5 - Other Academic Areas
By June 2024, staff will participate in enriching and engaging Professional Learning 3 times monthly to enhance instructional methods as evidenced by data and participation rates.
Provide monthly Professional Learning Periods (PLP) for staff with voice and choice as it relates to the targeted topics. Provide bi-weekly direct instruction to Department Leaders in the components of highly functioning CLT's.
School Improvement Goals
Schools identify at least one goal in Strand 2
Domain 8 - Safe and Supportive Environments
By June 2024, Administration will support staff in executing systems to maintain a safe, secure, and supportive learning environment by implementing practices in the school and classrooms weekly.
Through consistent communication from the PBIS team and through direct classroom instruction, all students and staff will be able to articulate appropriate behavior in the context of Service, Trust, Attitude, and Respect. Increased two-way communication with families to address behavioral concerns at the Tier 1 level. Implemnetation of restorative practices/circles to build community and a welcoming environment. The North Star School is also implementing new practices and procedures to address students who are tardy to class or school.
Domain 9 - Family and Community Engagement
By June 2024, TNSS will provide opportunities for school/community involvement to increase family engagement and input from parents by 25% each year.
Through consistent communication by email, phone, and mass notifications. Increasing opportunities for both on campus and virtual participation in school wide events. Considering parents first language in all offerings.
Domain 8 - Safe and Supportive Environments
By June 2024, staff will promote student engagement in the learning process to increase attendance by 10% annually as evidenced by attendance records.
Implementation of personalized learning, identification of essential skills, and targeted planning with UMHT members to support the students' academic, behavioral, and social emotional needs.