FMS Action Plan 2018-2019

  • EWSD Vision Statement

    Growing hearts and minds for a better today and tomorrow: every day, every way, everyone.


    Theory of Action

    When we deepen our commitment to each other and to continuous growth for everyone, then our practices create equitable, authentic, inclusive learning experiences that benefit all students.


    Values and Aspirations


    EWSD is a place where…

    • Each student is an engaged and inspired learner.
    • Each student is challenged by a rigorous, well-balanced, proficiency-based curriculum.
    • Each student has access to personalized learning and opportunities to pursue individual interests and curiosities.
    • Each student is prepared for success in college or further study and for employment in a fulfilling career.
    • Each student cares about and has the knowledge to care for their own health, wellness, and maintains balance.
    • Everyone belongs, has a role, contributes, feels safe, demonstrates gratitude, and is respected.
    • Each individual is recognized and accepted for his/her uniqueness and beliefs, there is value in every voice, and everyone communicates honestly and respectfully
    • Each student is supported by highly qualified and caring educational leaders, educators, and staff.
    • Growth-mindset is fostered throughout the system.
    • Student voice is valued and aspirations are cultivated.
    • Each member is a contributing global citizen who respects the diversity, seeks to understand different perspectives, acknowledges and values differences.


    Broad areas of Focus:

    Equity is our focus. The EWSD Continuous Improvement Plan is organized around the research-based Building Equity Taxonomy provided in Building Equity: Policies and Practices to Empower All Learners (Smith, Frey, Pumpian, & Fisher, 2017, p.5). We will be doing some work with this text as the year unfolds.

    1. Engaged and Inspired Learners
    2. Instructional Excellence
    3. Opportunity to Learn
    4. Social-emotional Engagement
    5. Physical Integration

    Engaged and Inspired Learners:  Engaged and Inspired Learners: Our goal is to have self-directed learners who are actively engaged in their own learning. Our systems and practices are not consistent with regards to proficiency-based learning and personalization resulting in varying degrees of student engagement and self-direction. This is an area of focus that was also supported by the student representatives in our Voices for Education (VFE) community engagement events.


    • We will develop an in-depth knowledge of each of our learners. We will know their strengths, learning styles, and interests.
    • We will provide opportunities for our students’ voices to be heard and opportunities for academic choice.


    Instructional Excellence: Our students perform relatively well on state and local assessments and we have strong teachers and classrooms. However, we have improvement areas that we have identified including tightening up our Tier I instruction and Tier II intervention systems as well as aligning our practices across the schools of our newly unified school district in order to provide students with a coordinated and equitable set of experiences prek-12. This was an area that was included in the recommendations from the EWSD District Management Group (DMG) report as well as the findings represented in the VT state DMG report.


    High Impact Learning Strategies:  We will engage in professional learning related to John Hattie’s research and commit to an intentional focus on specific learning strategies that have been shown to have the greatest impact on student learning.

    Responding to Student Learning:  There will be dedicated intervention blocks school wide that will allow us to immediately address learning challenges.

    Teacher Evaluation and Growth: Staff goals will be tied to the EWSD vision, values, and FMS school goals and action steps, using a SMART goal format.   

    Bridges Math - Implementation: Year 1

    • We will designate staff development time for Implementation Meetings throughout the year.
    • We will participate in ongoing professional development that supports us as we are implementing the Bridges program. These will occur during PLC time, staff meeting time, inservice days, and/or through direct lesson study time with EWSD math coaches and math consultant. TJ Jemison (math consultant) and EWSD coach Nancy Goddette will support us in meeting this goal.

    Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System:  

    We will learn who our students are as readers.  Using the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System (BAS), we will know and understand this assessment in order to determine all students’ independent and instructional reading levels.

    • We will set student, classroom, grade level, and school-wide goals based on this data.
    • We will progress-monitor student learning.
    • Beth Moore (literacy consultant) and EWSD literacy coaches (Hilary Kissel and Kate McCawley) will support us in meeting this goal, through lesson study, assistance with assessing students, analyzing the data, and other additional professional learning opportunities.


    Professional Learning Communities:

    We will strengthen our school-based PLC structures. With the EWSD/FMS  vision as our common purpose, we will work collaboratively with a focus on student learning through collective inquiry and action research. We will meet regularly, share expertise, and work collectively to improve our skills, in order to improve the academic and social-emotional performance of Founders’ students. We will actively engage with colleagues at the building and district level to explore the following questions:

    • What do we want our students to learn?  
    • How will we know when each student has learned it?
    • How will we respond when students experience difficulty learning?
    • How will we respond when they have already learned it?
    • How do we engage in relevant pedagogy and professional development to ensure that we are collectively answering these questions?

    Opportunity to Learn: We have been increasingly concerned with student readiness to learn. EWSD is experiencing an increase in students and families experiencing social-emotional challenges including mental illness, homelessness, food insecurity, refugee backgrounds, limited/interrupted formal education, low literacy/language proficiency levels, and trauma, all of which are contributing to a challenge in terms of student readiness to learn. We also want to look at our current practices to ensure that all students have access to rigorous curriculum and that our systems aren’t designed to unintentionally hinder access based on ability grouping. This was an area that was included in the recommendations from the EWSD District Management Group (DMG) report as well as included in the findings represented in the VT state DMG report.


    CORE Instruction

    • All students will have equal access to core instruction.
    • We will increase our understanding of the impacts tracking/ability grouping and labels have on student achievement and student self-concept, and adjust our practices accordingly.


    Social-emotional Engagement: Our goal is to examine our practices in supporting student social-emotional growth to ensure that we have a proactive rather than reactive approach to meeting student needs. We are renewing our commitment to the social-emotional curriculum including Responsive Classroom, Developmental Design, Positive Behavior Intervention Systems (PBIS), and Restorative Practices in EWSD.


    Adult and Student Relationships:

    • We will develop positive, trusting relationships with our learners and an in-depth knowledge of each of them. We will know and celebrate their strengths, their learning styles, their family dynamics and cultures, and their interests.
    • We will work to ensure each student forms a meaningful connection to at least one adult in our building.
    • We will work together to create a safe, joyful, and inclusive school environment, with the goal of growing a positive adult climate. We will model for students and for each other, a climate of respect, trust, and responsibility and welcome diverse voices and perspectives.

    Intentional Social Skills Instruction:

    • We will intentionally teach Responsive Classroom social-emotional competencies (Cooperation, Assertiveness, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self-Control). Instruction related to these competencies, will be included in daily instruction for all teaching staff. Faculty and staff will determine how these skills will be taught and how to monitor student progress.

    Classroom and School-Wide Behavior Practices:   

    • We will revitalize our work with Responsive Classroom practices and implement them with fidelity school-wide.
    • We will hold daily morning meetings, with all staff members participating, in order to create a sense of community, significance, and belonging for all who enter our school.
    • We will all participate in whole school morning meetings monthly.
    • School leadership will attend conferences - Responsive Classroom for teachers and Responsive Classroom for School Leaders - in order to fully support staff in successfully implementing RC practices as a school. School leadership will practice and model Responsive Classroom guiding principles.
    • We will review and revise, as needed, our school discipline practices and procedures.

    Increase our understanding of the impacts of trauma and develop strategies to foster resilience

    • We will develop a school resilience team and invite consultants in to support us in continuing to  learn strategies that help us foster resilience in our learners.


    Physical Integration: Through participating in the DMG study, Essex Westford was found to have a higher than average number of paraprofessionals in our system. The state report suggests that while Vermont prides itself for being an inclusionary state, many Vermont students are experiencing a model of “geographic inclusion” but not achieving full physical integration of struggling students in our classrooms. We are examining our staffing and exploring models which would ensure that we have the most qualified staff working with our most vulnerable students while finding financial efficiencies. We are also putting a new student assessment data system in place which will strengthen our progress monitoring systems.


    Inclusive Education

    • We will ensure all of our students have the same access to core instruction, by reducing pull-out services for students who are on individual education plans.
    • We will reexamine our decision-making practices when determining IEP supports/services and be consistent with these practices.  
    • We will increase our understanding of inclusionary practices and the impacts on achievement and social-emotional growth.

    Equity in Core Instruction

    • Our schedules will demonstrate consistent core instructional blocks.


    • We will be building on this plan for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 collectively as a staff.