State superintendent visits Menomonee Falls schools

April 30, 2013

When it comes to boosting individual learning, the School District is "ahead of the curve," said Sate Superintendent Tony Evers during classroom visits at Riverside Elementary School Tuesday.

Evers visited Riverside and North Middle School to see the district's initiative to improve student learning through the Plan, Do, Study act (PDSA) model in action and how it is applied in classrooms. The PDSA process implemented districtwide is a cyclical evaluation method in which teachers look at a data wall to determine what type of learning plan individual students need. It is used at all grade levels.

Evers said the work being done in Falls fits into a new statewide evaluation system that measures student progress and helps individual students. Falls is ahead of the state, making changes in every department and grade level throughout the district.

Though a teacher's workday is changing, the effects are worth it, said Riverside Elementary Teacher Gail Dryer.

"I make check-in sheets to monitor them on a daily basis, so I can pull in any small group of kids that doesn't quite have the skill yet," Dryer said.

For her, as a teacher, she has found the monitoring process satisfying because she knows that she can reach a greater number of students.

After speaking with three elementary teachers, Evers sat in a first-grade classroom to see firsthand how students use the PDSA model.

Teachers show their students how the class is doing with a graph, allowing students to take personal responsibility for their learning.

In Angela Sardina's first-grade classroom, the goal at the beginning of the year was for every student to be above the "C" range, a feat the first-graders have already achieved. They eagerly showed Evers a chart that displayed dots representing where students fell in the learning categories.

"What do we do when we look at this 'Do' part, (of the PDSA model)?" Sardina asked her class. "The stuff that I'm going to do and the stuff that you're going to do because we're going to work together to meet the goal."

She continued through the PDSA model with her students, going through what each piece means and the data the students use to measure their own progress.

"Who would have guessed this is going on in this classroom?" Evers said to the class.

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