Accomplishing our goals of APS 2020: Shaping the Future will help us to satisfy the requirements of the district Unified Improvement Plan adopted by the APS Board of Education in January 2015.
- What does Unified Improvement Planning (UIP) mean?
Unified Improvement Planning was introduced to streamline the improvement planning components of state and federal accountability requirements. The common Unified Improvement Planning (UIP) template and planning processes used represent a shift from planning as an “event” to planning as a critical component of “continuous improvement.” This process reduces the total number of separate plans schools and districts are required to complete with the intent of creating a single plan that has true meaning for its stakeholders.
- What information does UIP provide for schools and school districts?
Based on the Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids (SB212-08), the primary purpose of improvement planning is to align efforts to: Ensure all students exit the K-12 education system ready for postsecondary education, and/or to be successful in the workforce, earning a living wage immediately upon graduation. In addition, the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) requires that improvement planning be focused on ensuring that all students in the state reach proficiency in English language arts/reading and mathematics.
- How does a UIP help schools and school districts?
By engaging in a continuous improvement cycle to manage performance, districts and schools will improve their effectiveness and the outcomes for students. That cycle includes: Focus attention on the right things (performance indicators); Evaluate performance by gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data about performance; Plan improvement strategies based on performance data and root cause analysis; and Implement planned improvement strategies. Then, enter the cycle again multiple times throughout the school year: Evaluate (or monitor) performance (based on interim measures) and implementation of improvement strategies (based on implementation benchmarks) at least quarterly.
- Where can I learn more about Unified Improvement Planning?
You may learn more about Unified Improvement Planning and the UIP process at the Colorado Department of Education website.
From a district perspective, the UIP incorporates data from high-level demographic information to assessment data (such as TCAP, ACCESS, and DRA2 ) and academic data including Graduation, Attendance/Truancy, Credit Accumulation, Discipline, and Dropout rates. APS also used the results of recent school RMC Quality School Reviews, internal school visits, and program evaluations to validate the root causes identified in the UIP.
- What UIP designation does our school district have? What does the designation mean?
APS has been directed by the Colorado Department of Education to develop a Priority Improvement Unified Plan based on our district performance framework rating of Priority Improvement.
- What school and school district data gave us a Priority Improvement designation and plan?
Overall achievement data as well as achievement growth data contributed to our Priority Improvement designation:
- Achievement Data
Proficiency in all academic content areas is substantially below the state average and has not substantially increased over the past four years. More specifically, over the last four years achievement in all areas has increased slightly from 37.4% proficient/advanced to 38.9% proficient/advanced, but remains 22.5% below the state average in reading, 20.4% below the state average in math, 20.2% below the state average in writing.
- Median Growth Percentiles
MGPs are below the 65th percentile across all grades and contents. During the same period median growth percentiles in reading have been between 47 and 55, near or at the adequate growth percentile; median growth percentiles in math have been between 48 and 52, below the adequate growth percentiles ranging between 65 and 99; and median growth percentiles in writing have been between 47 and 52, below the adequate growth percentiles ranging between 57 and 84.
Over the last four years, the median growth percentiles for English Language Learners, Students with Disabilities, and students needing to ‘Catch Up’ have been between 33 and 57. The median growth percentiles for these groups are substantially below the median adequate growth percentiles for these groups.
- Achievement Data
For more information on the data used to determine the Priority Improvement designation for APS, view a district summary of the data on the Colorado Department of Education website. Data for specific schools is also available at the Colorado Deaprtment of Education website. Choose Adams-Arapahoe 28J as the school district and then click on each school to view its UIP data.
Based on our achievement and growth data, the Colorado Department of Education has identified three Root Causes for assigning APS a Priority Improvement designation:
- Root Cause #1: Proficiency and Academic Growth: The Aurora Public Schools lacks consistent implementation of effective standards-driven instructional practices in reading, writing, math, science and social studies. The school district needs to ensure alignment between standards, curricular resources and assessments and fully engage systems that provide differentiated professional learning for teachers and school leaders.
- Root Cause #2: Academic Growth Gaps: The Aurora Public Schools lacks formative assessment systems and response mechanisms that are important to ensure the acceleration of learning for every student. APS needs to develop and implement formative assessment practices and multi-tiered systems of support in a manner that gains advantage from the assets and is responsive to the needs demonstrated by each student.
- Root Cause #3: Dropout/Graduation Rates: The Aurora Public Schools lacks the systems and strategies necessary to engage a plan for graduation and post-secondary success for every student. The school district needs to significantly improve the alignment of our Post-Secondary Workforce Readiness systems to create an aligned, refined and predictable process for PWR planning with every Aurora Public Schools student.
For more information on the root causes, view the APS District Unified Improvement Plan summary.
To address the root causes for our Priority Improvement designation, we have developed five Major Improvement Strategies as part of our District UIP Priority Improvement Plan. We are incorporating these strategies into the APS 2020 Shaping the Future Strategic Plan:
- Major Improvement Strategy #1: Create a strong culture of performance by engaging a system of supervision and support for schools that ensures equitable distribution of resources, provides for effective planning mechanisms, effectively monitors and supports implementation of priority actions, ensures a high level of just-in-time support for teachers, principals and school communities and provides for clear avenues of communication and support between central offices and school sites.
- Major Improvement Strategy #2: Ensure strong alignment between the Colorado Academic Standards, curricular resources/pacing guides, and formative and accountability-level assessments so that teachers and school leaders will confidently and effectively engage these resources to inform and support data-sourced planning and teaching and learning to mastery.
- Major Improvement Strategy #3: Provide high quality, job embedded, differentiated professional learning to teachers and school leaders that is grounded in the Colorado Academic Standards and data-driven teaching and learning cycles and evaluated by the learning outcomes of our students.
- Major Improvement Strategy #4: Through the implementation of Multi-tiered Systems of Support at each school site, ensure the engagement of effective universal, targeted and intensive learning experiences for students currently performing below grade-level expectation and, specifically, for Students with Disabilities, students with Significant Reading Deficiencies, and students at risk for dropping out or not advancing successfully into post-graduate learning and/or work force experiences.
- Major Improvement Strategy #5: Engage parents/guardians and community members in ongoing partnership and collaboration with school and district leaders to ensure that there is effective communication between school and home, that parents are able to understand and participate in the learning process, and that there are opportunities for community involvement in order to accelerate the learning of all students.