Dixon School District, MT - PD 360 Case Study


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Find out how this small, rural school district in Montana has been able to decrease discipline problems while increasing student achievement.
PD 360 gives them the resources to provide differentiated professional development in areas like classroom management, math skills, or disciplining.
Observation 360 gives Prinicpal Mark Faroni the ability to give effective classroom observations and prescribe professional learning video segments to his teachers.

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Dixon School District, MT - PD 360 Case Study

  1. 1. PD 360 Case Study Small, Rural Montana District Improves Classroom Observations and Student Discipline “PD 360 and Observation 360 are great products. PD 360 is always accessible, and our teachers are delighted to use it at their own leisure and convenience. Observation 360 easily supports classroom improvement and is a trigger for better communication between administrators and teachers.” Mark Faroni Principal, Dixon Elementary School, Montana Profile Journalist David Lamb wrote that in every true Montanan there is something that says, ‘I am a last holdout.’ Settled in the late 1800s by railroad workers, ranchers, and homesteaders, the community of Dixon thrived. But it nearly vanished when the railroad branch eventually closed, weather patterns changed, droughts occurred, and the economy crashed. The tenacious ones who stayed to continue building were true Montanans, the last holdouts. Located in a western corner of the Flathead Indian Reser- vation, along the Flathead River, Dixon today is a close-knit community of 210 residents. Regardless of its small size, the Dixon School District strives to provide its eight teach- ers with comprehensive training and its seventy PreK-8 students with educational opportunities. Focus Like all school systems, Dixon is challenged to improve teacher effectiveness and student readiness. The top dis- trict focuses are as follows: : • Classroom management • Professional learning • Math proficiency • Students at risk • Student attendance The following factors have impacted Dixon’s high number of students at risk: • 95% of students are from a culture of poverty and eligible for a free or reduced price lunch program. • 60-65% of students are Native Americans. • 25% of students have 1 or 2 parents incarcerated at any given time. Solutions Dixon Elementary School Principal Mark Faroni is an innovative, concerned administrator who truly cares about boosting teacher skills and student achievement. His accomplishments as principal have included increased reading proficiency, improved student discipline, and
  2. 2. the addition of School Improvement Network’s Educator Effectiveness System (EES) into Dixon’s teacher development. Mr. Faroni is a strong advocate of PD 360 and Observation 360, components of School Improvement Network’s EES with unique, specific answers to Dixon focuses. The district acquired PD 360 in 2010, included Observation 360 in 2012, and added Common Core 360 in 2013, to be implemented during the 2013-14 school year. Classroom Management PD 360 empowers teachers with techniques to better manage students and create environments that promote participation. Teachers who are proactive in classroom management typically have students who achieve proficiency at higher levels with more positive attitudes about school. Professional Learning Mr. Faroni believes that high-quality, consistent, and reliable teacher training should meet a diversity of abilities and adapt to evolving needs. With more than 3,000 videos on 125 topics from 120 experts, PD 360 ensures that teachers of every experience level can find individualized support to improve classroom strategies. Math Skills PD 360 programs such as Classroom Instruction That Works, Teaching Strategies, Teaching Mathematics to In- crease Achievement, and Teaching with Math Tasks enable teachers to be competent and confident in their ability to effectively teach mathematics using techniques that suc- cessfully reach students. Students At Risk Because students have a variety of backgrounds, skills, strengths, and learning styles, Dixon teachers need differentiated instruction techniques to reach everyone, including students at risk. PD 360 programs such as Working with Students from a Culture of Poverty, Equity and Innovation, and Differentiated Instruction for All Students illustrate lesson plan strategies that make certain every student has an equal opportunity to learns. Student Attendance Consistent attendance is vital to student learning and has been a large concern in Dixon. PD 360 topics such as inclusion and differentiated instruction are excellent sources for teachers to better understand how to create an atmosphere of belonging and succeeding. Implementation and Driving Usage Dixon is currently using PD 360 and Observation 360 to meet professional needs in a variety of ways: Bi-Weekly Staff Meetings Teachers are often assigned to watch specific PD 360 programs prior to the twice-weekly staff meetings. This provides opportunities for discussions about implementation while encouraging common language and comprehension. Student Discipline Many teachers face student discipline issues such as violence, behavioral disorder, bullying, and extreme defiance. By incorporating PD 360 programs such as Positive Discipline, Dixon has had a dramatic drop in discipline problems. Last year’s reported 130 detentions have been reduced this year to only three. A recent independent study has shown that educators using PD 360 tools have far fewer discipline issues. www.schoolimprovement.com | 801-572-1153 33.2% 7.4% Higher Engagement Schools Low Engagement Schools 351% advantage in gains for higher engagement schools (p.001) 4.5 times the engagement
  3. 3. “We have had strong improvement in student discipline. This is an important step toward student achievement and is a result of including PD 360 in our teacher training.” Mark Faroni Principal Dixon Elementary School, Montana Professional Growth Plans A personal Professional Growth Plan is developed by each Dixon teacher to identify areas for growth-action plans that include PD 360 implementation, and progress- reporting procedures. Classroom Observations Because Mr. Faroni considers observations essential to teacher development, he visits each classroom weekly and uses Observation 360 to provide feedback with PD 360 links relevant to the varied needs of each teacher’s situation. “Observation 360 is about time and convenience. The ability to have instant communication between teacher and administrator enhances and streamlines the evaluation process significantly.” Mark Faroni Principal, Dixon Elementary School, Montana Benefits A small district in an out-of-the-way location, Dixon has successfully integrated up-to-date, progressive teacher training that has significant advantages. Capacity and Accessibility PD 360 can be accessed anytime and anywhere. The ability to log on at home as well as at work encourages Dixon teachers to take charge of their own learning by viewing program segments as often as needed. Online Interactive Learning Communities PD 360 interactive learning communities allow Dixon teachers to communicate with teachers around the country as they suggest implementation ideas, participate in discussion forums, upload lesson plans, and recommend helpful links. The ability to share with others reduces feelings of classroom isolation, regardless of remote locations. Teacher Enthusiasm Dixon teachers have responded positively to PD 360 as shown by their high usage numbers. A 2011 independent study of PD 360 usage showed that higher number of video minutes viewed per user in schools resulted in more than twelve times the gains in math proficiency and twice the gains in reading proficiency than district averages. Conclusion The strength and tenacity of ‘true Montanan’ settlers carries on in Dixon School District with committed educators who are determined to prepare students for the future with high-quality education. “Educators should identify their district goals, understand the product capabilities, and learn how it could work for them. If it all fits together, then just move forward because PD 360 and Observation 360 are worthwhile resources.” Mark Faroni Principal, Dixon Elementary School, Montana Dixon School District, Montana PD 360 Usage March 2012 – May 2013 Registered Users Collective Programs Viewed Collective Segments Viewed Collective Minutes Viewed Average Minutes Per User 10 207 281 1,987 199 www.schoolimprovement.com | 801-572-1153
  4. 4. About School Improvement Founded in 1991 by teachers, School Improvement Network has spent decades researching and documenting the best practices in education. From this research, School Improvement Network has developed the Educator Effectiveness System. This system delivers a process to improve teacher practice, and gives educators a set of powerful tools to drive the process. Research shows that districts and schools that use the tools in the Educator Effectiveness System produce better teachers and, as a result, experience dramatic increases in student achievement, driving up student test scores by as much as 30 percent in a single year. School Improvement Network works with thousands of schools and districts in every state and around the world and has visited over 3,500 classrooms to document best practices in action. Learn more at www.schoolimprovement.com www.schoolimprovement.com | 801-572-1153