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Spring 2023 Capstone Abstract Archive

Katie Adams

Based on historical KPREP/ KSA data for a local school system, I identified the need to improve tier 1 instruction. Years of research by both John Hattie and Robert Marzano, identifies specific strategies and practices that have proven to most influence student achievement. In an effort to increase tier 1 instruction across the school system, I knew that these strategies and practices needed to be our focus. I assembled a team for the district, engaged in team training, trained numerous colleagues, and engaged staff in a book study. Specifically, I learned how to use Plan-Do-Study-Act (Jim Shipley & Associates) with students as a method of continuous improvement in the classroom, and then trained teachers in that, trained teachers in how to use Marzano’s top 10 high-yield strategies and accompanying supporting activities in their instruction, and led a book study around how to provide clarity for learning in the classroom. Some schools in my district are further along in this training sequence. One elementary school has gone through all training steps, and is now in the refinement phase. This school moved from an “average” star rating to a “green” star rating in the 2021-22 school year. As an administrator at this elementary school, I’ve heard more intentional discussion in PLCs around mastery, success criteria, high-yield strategies appropriate to the standard, what the data tells us and what comes next, etc. I’ve heard  teachers in the classroom break down the standard with kids, discuss exemplars, give students voice and choice about the learning activities, talk about data with students, etc. Teachers from this school have shared that they have never been so intentional about providing a learning direction for kids through goal-setting, using exemplars and success criteria to provide clarity, and giving students ownership of their learning.

These results indicate that the schools in our district should continue with these steps in implementing high-impact practices so that they can move more students proficiency in their tier 1 instruction.

Kelli Adams

As a learning community at the candidate's school, there was a need to increase professional development opportunities, as well as have those PD opportunities ,or new ideas, support the Kentucky Schools Report Card data that showed the area of student learning needed in reading. The three data points that were used in the beginning of the Capstone project were the 2021 K-Prep schoolwide reading data, the 2022 KSA (formerly known as K-Prep) schoolwide reading data (both are student based) and the 2022 Impact Survey data (teacher based). The Capstone concludes with qualitative and quantitative growth for the candidate, the candidate's students, and the candidate's colleagues.

Cassey Baker

Based on reading data, an elementary school identified a need to improve school-wide reading instruction. To attempt to increase reading scores, the GRREC Ed Candidate implemented research-based strategies such as LETRS and Orton Gillingham within Wonders 2023 curriculum to strengthen reading strategies within the school. After 1 school year of implementation, 2nd grade reading scores met their projected growth by 115.7%. These results indicate that the elementary school should continue implementing the evidence based strategies, and determine additional strategies that may further increase reading scores consistently over the long term. 

Tina Baker

Based on data from MAP scores and a teacher survey of possible reasons for math deficits, a high school math department determined to focus on engagement and evidence based math strategies to address pre and post-covid learning gaps. To work on closing Math gaps, the GRREC Ed Candidate implemented a variety of evidenced based strategies and blended learning models, while incorporating differentiated instruction based on student learning styles, to promote student engagement. After 18 weeks of implementation, there were 33% growth in students meeting grade level, 60% decrease of students 1 grade level behind, 57% decrease in students 2 grade levels behind, 67% decrease in students 3 grade levels behind, 11% decrease of students 4 grade levels behind, and 50% increase of students gaining 3 grade levels of performance. Going forward, the high school will be proactive by continuing to create more Tech PD, add social/emotional learning into the virtual classroom component, and continue to add lessons, evidenced based strategies, and technology resources to a Math Hub in Google Drive that can be used district wide.

Maria Bennett

Based on previous years’ district plans along with teacher feedback, a K-12 school district identified a need to increase its focus on instructional technology. Specifically, there was a need to increase research-based, technology-focused, and job-embedded professional development opportunities to increase the capacity of teachers across the district. This would need to be accomplished through a tiered and differentiated professional development plan. This plan would be supported through the development of a technology network of both operational and instructional professionals, to teach and model the effective use of instructional technology within classrooms. After 20 months of implementation, there were more PD offerings provided around instructional technology than there had ever been in the previous five years. In a district survey, respondents who attended one of the 22-23 PD offerings, reported a 4.08 effective rating and a 3.96 rating on how well the training subsequently enhanced their classroom instruction (on a 5 scale). Additionally, 100% of teachers reported that they would seek guidance from the operational professionals (STCs) of the technology network with 87% reporting that they were “very likely” to seek guidance. While there were mixed reviews across schools around the instructional professionals (DLCs), when surveying respondents who had received training in some format from their DLCs, 84% reported that they would seek guidance from the instructional professional with 53% reporting that they were “very likely” to seek guidance. These results indicate that the school district should continue providing research-based professional development around instructional technology, and should continue to build into the technology network to increase its impact across specific school settings. 

Lisa Bicknell

Based on declining reading MAP scores following the Covid-19 pandemic, an elementary school identified a need to improve tier one instruction using small group guided reading. The school decided to use Jan Richardson’s 'The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading' because the district has purchased these resources for teachers. To attempt to increase students’ performance in reading, the GRREC Ed Candidate provided professional development, modeled lessons, and provided coaching based using the framework developed by Jan Richardson. After a year-long implementation, there were 24.9% more students scoring either Proficient and Distinguished on the Kentucky Summative Assessment in the 2021-2022 school year than the previous year. The number of Novice and Apprentice scores decreased by 14.9% in the area of Reading. These results indicate the school should continue to address the individual needs of students through guided reading groups ,and work on collective teacher efficacy that may further improve reading data.

Kelsey Birdwhistell

Based on student survey data, a rural middle school identified a need to demonstrate STEM related career opportunities to improve their 8th grade students' understanding of available future career paths. To increase student awareness of STEM related opportunities, the GRREC ED candidate and her team implemented STEM-related classroom lessons, provided STEM career fair field trips and events for students, and provided STEM-related professional development for fellow educators. After participating in these events and lessons, the percentage of students who reported having decent or complete understanding of their future STEM career opportunities increased by 52%. Students reported that the career events "gave us a deep dive into specific career options" and helped them to "narrow down" their future options. These results indicate that middle school students should be provided with opportunities for career exploration, as well as explicit instruction as to the careers that are available for them to pursue. Students should also receive instruction regarding the steps they need to take in high school to help them prepare to pursue their chosen career path.

Kecia Blake

Based on recent district and state-wide assessment data, as well as SEL Risk and Resiliency outcomes, a middle school identified a need to improve student motivation, and student social and emotional well-being. In an attempt to increase academic achievement and improve SEL, the GRREC ED Candidate implemented research-based strategies including opportunities to build relationships and increase engagement, school-wide events and recognitions, and learner-centered environments. After 12 months of implementation, the SEL at-risk rate dropped 1.8% and satisfactory resiliency rose 4.2%. Up to 90% of students were attending school dances, and nearly 150 students were recognized for academic and behavior success. Feedback from a parent/guardian survey following a family night event indicated that 92% were pleased with the event and 84% agreed that it was helpful. Based on the results, the middle school should continue implementing the research-based strategies, and determine additional strategies and activities that may further increase student motivation and social emotional well-being.

Amy Bohannon

The purpose of this study and implementation was to understand how to best support students and their families who are assigned nightly math homework. The project included 23 fourth grade students and their families in an affluent Kentucky school during the 2022/2023 school year, and studied the effects of providing online math support in the form of a Google website for students and their parents to reference, to both provide lost homework, and provide support in strategies that were learned during the math daily lesson. Missing assignments were reduced by 66%. MAP scores improved by an average of 5.9% from fall to spring. Feedback from parents was positive.

Heather Bowlds

According to the 2022 Student STEM CS Survey, middle school students expressed an importance in being able to think critically, communicate, collaborate with others, and express creativity. Student survey data supports that our students get opportunities to grow in these areas individual content classes. What the data lacks is support or any information on opportunities in these areas being addressed through a cross-curricular approach. According to the survey, when presenting to primarily middle school educators, 89% of the educators stated that my colleagues and I provided opportunities to apply, practice, or reflect on the learning. This provides evidence that the audience was impacted by what was presented. Based on our problem of practice, the evaluation shows positive results that students are given opportunities to think critically and grow in multiple content areas. One educator stated, “I loved that you were cross-curricular. This was awesome and the kids would love it.” I have enjoyed learning the importance of giving all students the opportunity to think critically, and doing it in a manner that students are unaware they are thinking critically. I have learned that these opportunities are out of the norm of a “typical” classroom lesson. These are the types of lessons all educators should enjoy.

Ashley Brewer

For the last two years, I have researched and worked on reformulating my Kindergarten Sight Word List. Previously, sight words have always been taught by rote memorization. Research and data show that students can decode most sight words. I learned about the science of reading, and spent the last year and a half teaching my students varying science of reading skills, in an effort to teach their sight words by sounds. We utilized The Secret Stories, along with Heggerty Phonics, and Tara West Guided Phonics and Beyond to make my class successful with their sight words. As of current time, (4/23) 84% of my students are on level with our district pacing guide standards for their sight words. 

McKayla Burnett

Melinda Bush

My curriculum capstone projected centered around student and staff growth in the area of writing. When starting my GRREC-ED journey I identified a problem of practice that not only would benefit my students, but me as an educator, as well as my peers. Throughout my two years, I researched writing content and strategies that my peers and I could apply to our content areas, and help our student scaffold writing into their daily life. Once I got started with my journey it became contagious, and I wanted to do and see more from my students. I was amazed at how their confidence grew, so did mine! This experience has been so rewarding in so many ways, it is almost emotional to see what has unfolded. I can not wait to continue my research and implementation and keep spreading the word to my peers.

Ashley Carter

Based on the Kentucky Impact survey results, our classified staff needs help improving their emotional well-being, which can have a positive impact on students. The feedback from the Wellness Rooms created included, “promote conversations that care for others,” “silently reflect on my spiritual journey and promote success with my gratitude for life and religion,” “very beneficial to share with others not only in our school but our district as lots of educators have these needs.” The positive feedback from the artifacts completed with the classified staff that additional resources will be provided for their social and emotional well-being, as well as shared beyond the school. 

Rendi Carter

Based on previous data, middle school students are weaker in the areas of math and science, proven by KSA scores. To address the problem, a stem curriculum has been implemented into the classroom, and across the content areas, with intentions of collaboration among teachers. After completion of our STEAM Career day, student interest was increased by almost 90%, noted by a student survey. Over the course of the STEM implementation, student vocabulary and understanding showed a general increase. As a result of our project, we concluded that student interest in math and science areas were validated through exposure and opportunities to explore various careers. Through imbedding and exposure of this curriculum, we project to see a decrease in novice rates.

Emily Chaffin

Based on school wide i-Ready data, students are achieving below grade level in mathematics. The first grade team at this school specifically noticed a bottle-neck effect where some students are moving out of the “two grade levels below” window and getting stuck in the “one grade level below” area, meaning they are not where they need to be at a given point in the school year. To attempt to address the number of students stuck in the “yellow zone” the GRREC ED Candidate implemented specific goal-setting strategies (including data notebooks, Plan, Do, Study, Act Cycle (PDSA), and daily math chats), and conducted student feedback surveys throughout the school year to gauge students’ perceptions of mathematical performance and abilities while these strategies were being taught and implemented. After 3 surveys (beginning, middle, and end of the school year), the students increased their mathematics diagnostic scores with a median growth of 88% and survey scores increased based on statements from 30% to 143%. Overall, the feedback from the students indicated that they were more confident in their abilities to do math and 96% of the students agreed that “It is okay to make mistakes in math” by the end of the school year. These results indicate that the growth mindset measures were valuable to students, and that while a range of growth happened with their math scores, the confidence to attempt math and persist when challenges arise is a positive outcome of teaching growth mindset to students. This would also indicate that all students at this school, especially in primary, could benefit from having growth mindset lessons taught in their classrooms. 

Courtney Collins

After observing an increase in negative student behaviors post COVID (class disruptions, disrespect, lack of student motivation, student disengagement and lack of social skills), we collected data from the T-M & B Collective Teacher Efficacy Scale, and noticed that behavior is a major problem area in second grade. Our second grade team of teachers saw a need for more student accountability and support regarding their own behavior and learning. A colleague and I, both in the GRREC Ed program, created a Behavior Support Plan for our second grade students. This plan was designed to reward students for positive behaviors through incentives in which they could choose from specific activities based on student interest. This plan also provides SEL/Growth Mindset support for students’ negative behaviors. After implementing the support plan, we have observed an increase in positive behaviors, and a decrease in negative. 

Kelsey Cook

Students at the elementary school are not able to obtain the recommended 150 minutes of instructional physical activity a week during the school day. In order to combat this need, the GRREC ED candidate created and implemented a thirty minute morning activity time before the school day started in order to provide more opportunities for students to have more instructional physical activity. The program was focused around providing students more opportunities to grow in their physical/sport skills, health education and  sportsmanship in a safe and engaging environment with the needed equipment and instruction. After 7 weeks of implementation, student pedometer data that was tracked showed students had an average of 1,832 more steps when attending the morning move program, versus going to their homerooms before school started. Teachers and students that were interviewed after the completion of the said students were able to focus more in the classroom, learn and practice activity skills, engage positively with other students, and improved student morale. These results indicate the elementary school should continue and increase the number of occurrences for students to have physical activity instruction and participation that would further increase the array of positive outcomes encompassing each student’s physical, social, emotional and cognitive domains. 

Elizabeth Cook

Based on a disconnect between our curriculum map, vertical communication, and actual instructional practices, my overall problem of practice is vertical alignment. Connected to vertical alignment, is the need for better communication with my fellow K-8 music educators, and more collaboration with our ideas or teaching materials. To help close the gaps in our vertical alignment, my colleagues and I met to determine our music element root definitions, and specify further clarifications needed in our vertical progression charts, connected to our curriculum. I have since developed a music hub suitable for students in Kindergarten through eighth grade. This site will be accessible for anyone with the link, which allows all members involved in each student’s education to use this resource. The music hub gives unlimited access to the students’ classroom materials, and more links associated with their work, so they can continue their learning outside the classroom. Editing and visual access allows my colleagues, and me, to use the same or similar sites and activities to align our practices. Early results from student usage has shown great promise. Students were able to easily navigate the site, further their understanding, and build upon that knowledge base as the links led them to more music-related materials. More edits and changes will be necessary to make some areas of the site more student-friendly before using this music hub for all of our classes in the coming school year. This site will be an ever-changing, learning platform as it will continue to be updated to best serve our needs.

Emily Coomes

Returning from the Pandemic, an elementary school became an even higher need school than before. 92% of students entered the 2021-2022 school year needing math interventions in place. Tier 2 needs were 55% of students, and 37% of students needing tier 3 interventions. Because of this, my emphasis for this capstone is increasing math achievement by implementing iReady as an intervention based program. I will measure success through iReady diagnostic and percentage of students identified as ready for tier 1 instruction. After 2 years of implementation, an elementary school has increased their tier 1 math students from 46% to 53%. The collection and analysis of data shows evidence that my involvement in this project positively impacted the problem of practice. The ultimate goal was to increase students identified as tier 1 in the subject of mathematics. Based on the data collected and discussed previously, you can see that this was a success. 

Jessica Cotton

Covid had a great impact on our student’s mental and social health. As a school, we needed to find a way to help the students. The Terrace Metrics Survey was very eye opening. We had to hire additional counselors to come in to just talk to those who scored as Priority 1. As we began to discuss and research a solution, Social/Emotional Learning was a common theme. Implementation of Social/Emotional Learning will help reduce the percentage of students at risk in my classroom and in my building. Teachers must understand how to implement SEL successfully in their classrooms. According to the research, teachers need resources and support. Teachers cannot just be given the task and no help in implementing it. I plan to create a Google Slide Presentation explaining what SEL is, and the common results when it is implemented strategically in classrooms. The Google Slide Presentation will include activities that teachers can use in their classrooms, and more specifically activities that target anxiety and depression. 

Neryessa Crisp

At my school, we do not currently have a Social and Emotional Learning Curriculum or resources to help guide us to meet our student’s needs. Upon surveying my colleagues, I determined that not having a resource for teachers to refer to was a problem that could easily be addressed. Therefore, I created a “one-stop shop” using a padlet to promote their social and emotional growth in the classroom. The information contained on my padlet is research based, and/or peer reviewed, to provide educators with the most up to date, authentic, and trustworthy information. Information included in the project consisted of basic information, links specific to our school, PBIS resources, a few videos just for fun, and a link to a free online curriculum. After sharing with my colleagues, 89% of respondents said the information was helpful and useful. 11% of respondents reported that the information was somewhat helpful and useful. Zero respondents said the information was not helpful or useful. Both the principal and guidance counselor were very supportive of my project, and have shared it with district leaders.

Andrew Diedrich

Based on the STEM-CS Student Voice Survey, a high school identified a need to improve student feedback and examplars, due to online learning for an extended amount of time. In an attempt to increase student performance, I implemented research-based strategies such as summative assessment grades, and mastery of the content. I provided the student with different types of feedback such as one-on-on feedback, immediate feedback, and feedback using Google Classroom and Desmos. After ten weeks of implementation, students improved their overall grades in my class on average of seven percentage points, and the student response to feedback doubled because they wanted to understand the content, and know what could be improved or what they did well. These results indicate the high school should continue to promote and implement research based strategies, and provide professional development opportunities on student feedback that may further increase student performance, mastery on content and standards, and engagement in their own learning. 

Sarah Divine

The Capstone Project I prepared was based on Social/Emotional Learning. After collecting data from teachers, parents, and students, the need to address social/emotional learning was evident. Along with the administration team, I worked to implement various activities to incorporate learning. Parents and community members were important stakeholders as well. Based upon the work from the last 1.5 years concerning social/emotional learning, our school has witnessed great improvement and success. We will continue to build upon the Capstone Project, and continue our social/emotional learning platform. 

Jessica Downs

Based on the continuous rise of emotional needs in our students, our school district needs to address the issue of not having convenient access to proper Social-Emotional Learning tools and information. To attempt to increase exposure to Social-Emotional Learning, the GRREC ED Candidates implemented a SEL Google Site that included research-based information, tools, activities, and resources for staff, students, and community members. The SEL Google Site was launched to the district and community in January of 2023, however, data tracking did not begin until March 24th, 2023. Since March, the site has been visited 264 times by students, staff, and community members. These results indicate that our district should continue to implement the evidence-based SEL Google Site to increase support of Social-Emotional Learning in the home and school setting.

Kim Duncan

Based on research and data, an elementary school wanted to increase parent involvement and teach parents some strategies used at school, in order to help students at home. In an attempt to increase parent involvement, the school hosted a family night and included a variety of activities and opportunities for parents to learn strategies for increasing reading skills. Activities were teacher led and research based focusing on concepts such as rhyming, phoneme isolation, red words, and syllabication. Other stations and dinner were also a part of the event. After the family night, 100% of parents stated that they learned something new, and 100% that responded to the survey enjoyed the event. Based on the results, the school plans to host more family events, and will work to improve on this one. The plan is to get each grade level involved in an activity to encourage the intermediate grades for more participation.

Natalie Edge

After completion of triangulation of data, an elementary school identified a need to improve Tier 1 Reading instruction building wide. To attempt to increase the effectiveness of the Tier 1 Reading instruction, the GRREC ED candidate created, and implemented, the Module Matrix for each Reading module. This provided an opportunity for teachers to increase awareness of grade level standards, design formative assessments to check for mastery of these standards, and implement research based strategies in response to individual student needs. After one year of implementation, Reading MAP data showed an increase in proficiency from 46% to 52%, KSA data shows an increase in proficiency from 33% to 37%, and FastBridge data shows that all grade levels decreased the number of students 1 grade level below. The results indicate the elementary school should continue to the use of the Module Matrix, while making adjustments and improvements to further increase mastery in the building.

Emily Emmert

Based on 2022 KSA and MAP data, it was identified as a clear need to increase proficient and distinguished learners in Reading and Mathematics at our middle school. With the goal of student growth in mind, formative and summative data was able to drive individualized learning goals for every 8th grade student. To attempt such as task, the following changes took place in my classroom: pacing guide adjustments, new summative assessments, weekly online formative assessments, content writing opportunities, and ongoing engaging lesson planning. After implementation of the classroom changes in 8th grade, the number of students scoring novice decreased from 38% on KSA (Spring, May 2022) to 28% novice on MAP (Spring, February 2023). More information will be accessible when 2023 KSA data is released, however, these results indicate I should continue the implemented changes in my classroom. Additional improvements have already been discussed in vertical alignment meetings, but we are on the right track for reducing novice numbers, thus, providing a direct correlation for more proficient and distinguished students in upcoming years.

Alice Farley

Based on weaknesses in social skills that my colleagues and I have observed in the classroom as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, and based on The Assessment, Evaluation, and Programming System for Infants and Children, Third edition( AEPS) baseline data, there was a need to research, learn, and implement aspects of tiers 1 and 2 of the research based Pyramid Model to improve students' social emotional intelligence, and therefore create a positive, respectful classroom climate. My goal was to increase social skills related to emotional literacy, anger management, friendship skills, positive transitions, and relationship building. I researched, learned, and implemented the Pyramid Model evidence based strategies with preschool students. I focused on teaching emotional literacy by implementing a feelings faces chart in the classroom. Anger management was addressed through use of a tool called Tucker the Turtle, which teaches children steps to calm and think when they become angry. I created a tool kit, and implemented the strategies from the tool kit, to build friendship skills in my students. I implemented visual cue cards to aid students who struggled with transitions. I implemented a greeting chart, family tree wall, parent survey to discover students' interests, and took more time to talk with students about their interests, in order to develop relationships and rapport. The AEPS baseline data showed that out of 19 students, 9 students were below age range in social emotional skills. Final AEPS data showed that all students made progress. Students’ improved their social emotional intelligence through research based strategies implemented by teachers. These strategies will continue to be implemented in my preschool classroom.

Ryan Fowler

For my Capstone Project, I designed an extension course at my middle school in order to see what impact Physical Education could have on the school and other content areas. This project was based on research from Dr. John Ratey's book "Spark" and how exercise can rewire the brain. I connected my Problem of Practice to research that stated vigorous physical activity can increase academic performance, and help improve a person's cognitive attitudes such as depression, anxiety, and concentration. I created a "Sparking Life" course in which students participated in vigorous aerobic activity for 20 minutes before ever sitting down in their 2nd period course. Through a collaborative school effort, a roster of 2nd period math students along with a control group who did not take the "Sparking Life" course was created. Upon completion of this course, students enrolled show very positive results which included lower anxiety, lower depression, increased focus, and increased academic performance in math. 

Jennifer Fritsch

Based on evidence from students' data from the results of these 2 surveys (Teacher SEL survey & Student Survey through Panorama), there is an obvious need for additional Social Emotional learning resources, for both students and teachers. Approximately 70% of teachers who answered the survey given to them have an interest in additional SEL tools, strategies, and assistance incorporating SEL into their classroom. In addition, 62% of students who completed the survey in the spring of 2022 do not feel like they can regulate their emotions. Over the course of the previous two academic years, our educational district has been ardently directing attention towards social and emotional learning, whilst concurrently evaluating the consequential effect of SEL upon students' cognitive development and psychological well-being. According to the findings of the survey conducted among students during the preceding spring, a substantial 87% of the respondents reported possessing supportive relationships, thereby indicating a marked increase in this aspect. The aforementioned findings revealed that a majority of children perceived the presence of a reliable adult figure within their educational institution, inclusive of individuals beyond the teaching faculty.

Tabitha Giles

Due to high staff turnover and a lack of consistent grading practices, the second grade team determined that there was a need to create common assessments and a standards progression to be used for completing standards based report cards. I meet with curriculum specialist, and another second grade teacher to look at the 'Rooted in Reading' curriculum outline. We determined what standards do not align with second grade standards, and what standards are missing that need to be added to the curriculum guide, and found/made common assessments to assess student mastery of standards. We compared the Rooted in Reading pacing guide and standards overview chart to the Kentucky State Reading and Language Standards for second grade, and made note of standards not aligned with second grade standards.  We created a calendar that maps out the entire year for whole group reading instruction, including standards to be taught in reading (informational/literature) and language.  Common assessments for both, with links to direct access for all teachers.  We will no longer be wasting instruction time teaching standards from the Rooted in Reading program that are not second grade standards.  All 2nd grade reading/language standards are now included and content is aligned with the standards.  Teachers now have one place to find pacing for the year in regards to whole group reading instruction and common assessments.  We have a colored coded progress report map, highlighting each nine weeks standards/content to be marked each nine weeks that align with the reading calendar. All new teachers have access to content/standards to help ensure the instruction provided covers second grade standards.  No longer will keep or administer assessments not needed or aligned with standards.

Jordan Goodman

Based on the data from the middle school STEM survey, my colleagues and I identified a need to increase student exposure to STEM content and careers. In years past, the only way students were exposed to STEM careers was through a career fair, and a walk through our Early College and Career Center. My colleagues and I sat down and tried to devise a plan to introduce the students to STEM careers before their eighth grade year. Our plan to address this deficiency was to implement a variety of lesson plans that allowed students access to STEM based careers and problem solving. My specific contribution, in partnership with a colleague, involved the implementation of My NASA Data: Story Map lessons. Through these lessons, students showed an increase in engagement, collaboration, and communication with their classmates. Later in the year, as my class participated in more STEM projects and Story Map Lessons, I began to see students become more interested in the careers presented, and persevere in the tasks given in a more serious manner. These results encouraged me to continue with presenting students more STEM tasks, and to continue using Story Maps. I also need to prepare students to seek community engagement opportunities that are provided by the District, and the attempt to incorporate STEM based teaching across all content areas in seventh grade, to prepare students for eighth grade.

Jessica Grant

Based on a teacher survey the decrease of family involvement, specifically with reading, is due to not having time (which I cannot control), and parents do not understand phonic strategies to help their children. To help this problem, myself and two other teachers will plan a Family Literacy night.  We will share strategies at this event to help parents understand the strategies and allow them to feel like they can help their children at home with reading. 88% of families that took the survey said that the reading strategies they received were helpful in helping their children at home with reading. 81% of families that took the survey said they would use at least one strategy they were given at home to help their children.  These results show that parents are eager to help and be involved in their children’s learning.  We will continue to create ways that parents can be involved, and learn strategies for furthering to help their children at home. 

Lacey Groves

Over the last two years I have worked with a local curriculum expert to rewrite curriculum for 'Getting Ready 4 Kindergarten'. Getting Ready 4 Kindergarten is an early childhood initiative that brings awareness to readiness skills students must have before they enter into Kindergarten. Getting Ready 4 Kindergarten is a program in our school district that offers two sessions for parents of incoming Kindergarten students the opportunity to come into the school, meet their child's prospective teacher, and engage in interactive hands-on learning experiences where certified Kindergarten and Preschool teachers share innovative ways to use the manipulatives, and resources given away at that time. Each family goes home with tools that their children can use, to prepare and practice these skills. The children come and work with volunteers in the library using these manipulatives before they take them home. At the end of the school year, we have a celebration for the students to showcase all they've learned, and demonstrate to the parents how "Ready" they are for Kindergarten!

Jessica Gschwend

Based on Kentucky Rating, during the 2021-2022 school year only 52% of students enrolled in a local elementary school were deemed Kindergarten Ready, based on Brigance data. During this data analysis, Effective PLC surveys, and teacher needs surveys, it was found that current PLC structure was not aligned with current research on how effective PLC should be administered. Findings also included assessments were not aligned with current standards, as well as, different editions were being conducted, development of relationships amongst staff lacked, and a needed for a common location of materials to be shared. To create a more effective preschool program, a HUB was created to be a resource area for teachers to find forms, assessments, research, and activities to be used within their classroom. An action plan was created to lead to a more effective PLC, and current assessments were modified and distributed, to allow for cohesiveness amongst the Preschool Department. As results for the Brigance over the one year time span showed significant growth, continued data discussions and dissections will be needed to determine further areas of improvement. Based upon post Effectiveness PLC Survey, growth within the PLC occurred with all six components being in place consistently.

Laura Hagedorn

Based on the lack of data and teacher observations of current practices, local middle school science teachers need to collaborate with other content area teachers for cross curricular STEM instruction. To attempt to assist our faculty in developing cross curricular STEM instruction, we began using the 5 E Lesson plan format to promote critical thinking, communication, and collaboration across content areas. Based on a survey conducted at the end of the lesson, 12 out of 15 students stated that they felt that they had to use critical thinking, all students stated that they benefited from collaboration, and one student stated that "the activity they completed felt meaningful and could actually be used in the real-world," when referring to using OCEARCH data. These results indicate that students were engaged in the collaborative lesson, and as educators, we were able to provide a lesson for students to thinking critically, communicate, collaborate with others, and express creativity. Based on our STEM survey needs, this was a successful method in providing students STEM education.

Mollie Hancock

Based on current MAP scores and past KPREP scores, a problem has been identified. Students are achieving below grade level in ELA (Reading and Writing). Also after recent Narrative Writing scores, more than 50% of students in 7th and 8th grade scored a Novice on their On Demand Narrative Writing. To attempt to increase reading and writing scores, I implemented research based literacy strategies such as word wall, see/think/wonder, and one-pagers, to share with teachers in other content areas. After 9 weeks of implementation, Novice/Apprentice MAP scores from Winter 2022 to Spring 2023 went from 40% down to 29%, and Proficient/Distinguished scores improved from 60% to 71%. These results indicate that incorporating literacy strategies into other content areas will help to increase reading comprehension, and therefore, should continue to be incorporated into other areas, and eventually become a school-wide implementation.

Tonya Hadley

Developing support for all students began with finding what students were interested in. It served as a way for me, as a collaborative (Special ed) teacher, to develop relationships and rapport with all students involved in the collaborative math setting, as well as present relevant math content. As a special education teacher in 3 collaborative math classes, I became concerned that only 14.9% of interviewed middle school students strongly agreed that they would choose a career that uses mathematics, and only 13% strongly agreed that they could handle most subjects, but could not do a good job with mathematics courses. A career interest inventory was given to all students that is normally given to only students with disabilities. A daily math journal was implemented that caused student and teacher reflection, and encouraged student in depth discussion about math. The development of small group centers has probably been the greatest accomplishment. After a school year of implementation, feedback from journal questions at the end of the school year showed that 20/25 8th graders perceived that they did better in math than in previous school years. These results indicate that the middle school should continue implementing the evidence based strategies, and determine additional strategies that may further increase student interest and confidence in math. Small group, hands on math opportunities need to be included.

Chastity Hellinger

Based on formative and summative assessments, running records, and observations over the past two years, as well as conversations with teachers throughout the district, it was determined that more students have been progressing to the intermediate grades with significant phonics gaps, and therefore, are unable to decode and comprehend what they are reading. To attempt to improve decoding skills and reduce phonics gaps, the GRREC ED candidate implemented explicit instruction in phonics, and phonemic awareness. After 17 months of phonics and small group instruction in reading, reading comprehension was evident upon comparison of Mastery Connect and FastBridge data. Growth was also evident in students applying strategies when decoding words. These results indicate the elementary school should continue implementing explicit phonics instruction in intermediate grades, and determine additional strategies that may further improve phonics and reading comprehension consistently over the long term. Training for intermediate teachers in the Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) would benefit students and teachers.

Marka Herndon

Based on observations of current middle school practices, a need was identified that teachers need to collaborate with other content areas which will allow cross curricular STEM instruction. To attempt to bring cross curricular STEM instruction to the faculty, the 5 E lesson plan format was used to implement discipline integration and engaging practices. During the STEM Capstone Project, by implementing the 5E lesson plan, I was able to implement discipline integration and engaging practices. Students exhibited great collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. Based on a student survey, 80% of students stated that they felt they had to think critically in a real world situation, and one student stated "it was cool using the OCEARCH data to do math we were already going to do.". These results indicate that the middle school should continue to implement using the 5E lesson plans to collaborate with other content areas, which will improve dicipline integration, engaging practices, and STEM instruction. 

Jeremiah Hinson

Because 94.1% of a local middle school’s teaching staff believe a tech-ready qualifier should be included in the school's 6th-grade curriculum, and 50-90% of assignments here are digital, this school has a need to ensure their students are tech-ready for middle school, and beyond. An effort was made toward this goal by a GRREC ED Candidate through the implementation of research-based strategies related to cooperative learning, routine practice of accredited curriculum, and authentic content, to improve the digital skills of students at this local middle school. After six weeks of tailored instruction, 89% of students improved their typing proficiency, over 60% of students received a digital citizenship certification in the allotted data collection period, and Google Doc content knowledge rose over 20% from pre to post assessment. These results indicate that the call for help from teachers at this local middle school for more tech-ready students can be answered through a curriculum tailored to their needs. 

Stacey Hoskins

Based on observations and data collected in a preschool learning environment, the need for increased and more varied social-emotional learning experiences within the classrooms were noted. To help increase social emotional learning experiences, activities were developed to increase varied peer partners in play situations, to offer a wider range of language and conversation skills, and to provide more support in practicing conversational skills. Feedback from staff showed that students began playing with not only different peers, but also in a wider variety of centers based on the interests of other peers. The results show that continued relationship building and varied play experiences will positively impact the needs of children in their daily play experiences.

Angelia Howard

As the world becomes more technology driven, there are so many programs and tech tools out there; but there is no place to find a resource to look at effective ways to use technology to meet individual needs for struggling learners, and learners with special needs. Also, teachers don’t have the needed skills with new technologies to integrate in their teaching and don’t have the time or resources to try new strategies. During my two years at an elementary school, teachers rigorously attempted to adapt the school-wide curriculum to online materials in order to address the virtual learning needs. During the first year, all teachers received training on how to use Google classroom with the curriculum, however, due to time restraints and the overwhelming need for a professional development to get all teachers able to to teach virtually, special education teachers were only able to be trained in regular classroom tech tools. Our team worked diligently to learn how to use technology to support our students through the curriculum, and did the best we could. However, as some teachers left or retired, it was difficult to support new teachers in using tech tools effectively. It felt hard to manage, and did not seem to be improving student outcomes. Currently, based on my data collected, some teachers are using some tech tools, but many teachers are not using resources to plan lessons. The inconsistent planning and implementation of lessons seems to be a constant barrier. The project to goal was to create "The ToolBox for Struggling Learners" that seeks to identify the conditions for successful use of digital instructional tools in the context of this school system. This project brought instructional tools, along with professional development and support to teachers who volunteered to use the toolbox focused on Special education and accessibility, with a desire to move toward independent and personalized learning. The goal of this project is to increase understanding of which factors play into effective incorporation of instructional tools. Along with this more general understanding of implementation, the study also evaluates strengths and weaknesses of the tools and products. Data was collected throughout the 2022-2023 school year regarding the implementation of the toolbox. It was clear how access to the toolkit can lead to almost immediate changes in usage, as teachers and students found it much easier to engage with the instructional technology when they had access to a variety of tools that could be used throughout the day. Teachers could then provide students with multiple opportunities to work toward their individual needs, and students could then take ownership of their own learning in new ways.

Jessica Howard

My Capstone centers around communication and engagement. During my capstone, I took steps to help improve communication and engagement with our families, and community members. Using data results from our schools Studer survey, it was evident that families felt uniformed and disconnected from their students' school. To address these deficits, I worked with our administration team to implement positive communication postcards. Teachers send home weekly shout outs to students on postcards through the mail. Students have loved it, and parents enjoy the positive communication. I continued to work towards improvement on family engagement by planning a family night event for our students to attend with their families. They rotated through various stations that were linked to different school subject areas, including our Spring Book Fair. Families were encouraged to participate and complete activities together. These efforts have had a positive impact on relationships with the families in our school and our community.

Faith Humphrey

Based on teacher survey data, an elementary school identified a need to improve on parent involvement and information regarding social and emotional learning. To attempt to increase parent social and emotional learning knowledge, the GRREC Ed Candidate implemented research-based content and information related to mindfulness, coping strategies, and technology, for resources to promote family involvement and awareness. After the event and digital resource was provided, families stated that the event was effective in providing them with information to support student learning at home. The survey results indicate the elementary school should continue building upon this event to provide families with additional resources and support in the area of social and emotional learning. The additional information may further increase the parents' support in student learning at home within this specific area.

Emily Hurst

Based on quantitative survey and anecdotal data, teachers in my district are unsure how to effectively implement Structured Literacy, particularly when it comes to syllabication. While initial summer trainings have been provided, there is a lack of continued concept development during the school year; including a cohesive set of resources, coaching, and follow-up. To help alleviate these issues with syllabication, the GRREC Ed candidate created three products – a syllabication infographic showing the step-by-step process, a Structured Literacy basics page, and five slidedeck modules that explain various syllable patterns and how to teach/introduce them. After implementation within the school building, teachers reported the products as being easy to use, and helpful for new teachers in particular. These results indicate that district-wide usage of these products would aid in more effective implementation of syllabication.

Johnathan Jackson

As a whole, a need was identified to decrease the percentage of Novice students across the board at our school. With this in mind, I wanted to do everything in my power to focus on specific needs in 7th grade Math. I was able to establish clear, concise, learning goals with my students, based on any specific need that data showed they had. I was able to implement weekly formative assessments in the same format as KSA, overhaul my RTI plan, and focus more on the R.A.C.E. writing strategy with content-based extended response writings. After these changes, we were able to celebrate many small victories based on data from MAP, as well as CMA semester testing, in comparison to KSA results. The number of students that scored Novice on the 7th Grade KSA was 38%. After implementing these new procedures and strategies, that number shrunk to 27% on MAP, and 26% on our "CMA" tests which, were built to meet KSA standards. Obviously, we don't have new KSA data to compare to, but the indications are there that we are trending in the right direction, and I feel that this is owed to new strategies in my classroom.

Marsha Jackson

After reviewing state reading assessment scores and iReady benchmark data, 90 % of my students are not meeting grade-level reading proficiency. The data indicates our fourth grade team needs to revamp our literacy intervention strategies to align more fully with current research and practices to improve student’s literacy scores, and abilities to apply their knowledge when reading and writing. Based on the iReady Diagnostic results, my focus will be on the vocabulary component of reading. After assessing our needs, extensive research, and hours of training, my 4th grade team and I began the process of revamping and updating our current literacy curriculum. After implementing research-based strategies throughout the year, the overall students’ growth increased in all levels, including mid/above grade level. I have learned as I have joined so many educator communities and participated in professional developments focused on the science for reading that if we “Know Better, (we) Do Better”. We must first learn what current research tells us, and then go and do it to see results. Now that I have done just that, I will share my knowledge with my peers so they can do the same.

Michelle Jarvis

The past year and half I have worked diligently to plan and prepare for my Capstone Project. It required a lot of time and effort to make the project come to life. Finally, after lots of planning, analyzing data and reviewing research, I was able to implement "Get Ready for 1st Grade" night! This night was made to help incoming first grade students and parents be successful in learning first grade skills. Making this eventful night come to life through my GREEC Ed experience, has had nothing but positive outcomes! I can't wait to share it with others in my district. 

Sarah Justis

Based on on STEM survey, a middle school identified a need to improve classroom engagement and teacher access to STEM resources. To attempt to increase engagement and STEM resources, the GRREC ED Candidate implemented research-based tool such as the Engagement Cube, and NASA toolkits, with pre-made lessons and units that work directly with the Engagement Cube. After implementing "The Sun Is A Star" Nasa toolkit, and using the Engagement Cube to guide planning the lessons, student engagement increased by 48%. Feedback from a student survey indicated they "saw value in their education" and "felt they could be successful in Science". These results indicate the middle should continue implementing the Engagement Cube and Nasa toolkits, while continuing to seek additional STEM resources that work with the Engagement Cube, to provide teachers and students multiple engaging STEM lessons and activities.

Ashley Kietzman

Based on observational and quantitative data, an elementary school identified a need to improve reading and math achievement, through increasing student motivation. To attempt to increase student motivation, the GRREC ED Candidate led a goal setting initiative for both MAP testing, and KSA testing, as well as establishing action plans to meet those goals. After two years of implementation, the percentage of students scoring at the 50th percentile on the reading MAP test increased from 67% to 80%. The percentage of students scoring at the 50th percentile on the math MAP test increased from 58% to 80%. These results conclude that the goal setting was effective in increasing student achievement.

Rachel Kiper

Based on assessment data, this high school determined that students who receive special education services were under performing when compared to their peers on science assessments. After looking into instructional differences, it was determined that this population was not benefiting from STEM instruction as often as their peers. To attempt to increase performance on science assessments, the GRREC ED Candidate implemented research-based strategies such as planning instruction using the Engagement Cube and Endeavor resources, in order to provide engaging STEM instruction with hands-on performance assessments. According to the student data, students had averaged a score of 76% on the unit that was taught prior to implementing the Engagement Cube and the Endeavor site. At the end of the unit that was planned using the Engagement Cube and the Endeavor site, students averaged a score of 93%. When given a survey, students expressed that they enjoyed the hands-on lessons, and having a variety of ways to learn and communicate their learning, as the parts of the lesson that helped them the most. It shows that using the Engagement Cube and the Endeavor site allowed students to have more choices in their learning, and gave them more ownership of what they were learning at the same time. These results indicate the high school should continue implementing the evidence based strategies, and planning STEM centered instruction and assessments for students who receive special education services.

Valerie Kitchens

This capstone has been developed over the past year, listening to teachers' needs and understanding areas for student improvement.  By the changing of district universal screener, implementation of a new district wide curriculum, along with reduced RTI staff, we saw a need to help teachers look at data intentionally to find student gaps. Our goal is to help teachers understand and use data to drive student instruction, and appropriately provide RTI services within their classroom. This capstone shows the steps my team took to train teachers on utilizing Fastbridge, looking at data from screeners and progress monitoring, and then using resources within the classroom to teach those gaps.  Resources and training materials were then placed into an MTSS handbook for teachers to access and use as needed. The development and merging of the practices within our building have come together to create an MTSS system that will be used to help drive decisions based on student needs. This capstone shows my journey with incorporating math strategies and practices, along with the impact it has made school wide on our students' math scores from HMH growth screener assessment. 

Patricia Knepper

Based on data collected through a parent survey, an elementary school must address and improve parental involvement in the Social Emotional learning development of their children.  After discussions with students, and a survey sent to parents gauging their knowledge of SEL and a need for information, the candidate utilized a live streaming video already established by the principal of the Elementary school. During this project, the GRREC ED ed candidate attempted to involve parents, utilizing resources that are already in place at the elementary school. In an effort to increase parent involvement in student/s social emotional learning, the GRREC ED Candidate implemented a segment in the weekly live meeting, via Facebook Live, on the school owned Facebook page. The GRREC Ed candidate shared information about the competencies of SEL (From CASEL), and definitions of each, and the candidate also shared activities for many of the competencies, programs from the community presented their services (such as in school therapy sessions and case management), as well as research based information posted for parents to utilize. After sharing this information during the 2022/2023 school year, a survey was presented, and 60% parents who participated felt that the live meetings were beneficial, while 48% of parents noted that the SEL strategies and information were valuable. These results indicate this elementary school should continue implementing the live facebook chats, and offering information regarding social emotional learning. This will continue to improve SEL for students between school and home, while also potentially decreasing the negative stigma associated with mental health. 

Krystle Konecny

Based on IEP compliance review data, along with survey results indicating a need for behavior management strategies, a school district identified a need to improve IEP compliance, and implement high leverage practices relating to behavior management strategies. To attempt to increase compliance, the GRREC ED Candidate implemented an IEP compliance training as a professional development offering to special education teachers who are new to the district or new to the field of special education. In an attempt to test behavior management strategies, the GRREC ED Candidate implemented high leverage practices in her own classroom. After providing the compliance training, compliance increased from 0% to 83%. After implementing high leverage behavior management strategies, student behavior (as defined by showing respect by having appropriate interactions with adults and peers by keeping his hands and materials to himself (no touching others’ belongings, no throwing objects, and staying in designated space)) increased from 73% at the beginning of the school year, to 97% at the end of the school year. Another measure of student behavior (as defined by showing respect by having appropriate interactions with adults and peers by accepting redirection and consequences appropriately (no crying, screaming, saying no, pounding desks)) increased from 79% to 95%. These results indicate the district should continue implementing the IEP compliance training as an introductory course for teachers new to special education, and as a refresher course for seasoned teachers. The results of using high leverage practices also indicate that the interventions used this school year should be continued next year as the student transitions from 4th grade to 5th grade.

Paul Krueger

Based on student behavior and survey data, a district identified a need to improve the culture and climate of their schools, through teaching and monitoring of social emotional competencies. To attempt to increase the teaching of social emotional competency, the GRREC ED Candidate implemented a teacher resource website about the integration of social emotional learning in the classroom. The website was promoted through multiple channels of communication. After 3 months, a teacher survey indicated they “loved the resources” and suggested adding more district-specific resources. These results indicate that the district should continue the use of the website, and expand the social emotional teaching learning opportunities in their district. 

Katisha Lair

Based on student assessment results, and teacher survey data, an elementary school identified a need to develop congruent resources across grade levels to improve student outcomes in math. To attempt to improve student outcomes in math, the GRREC ED Candidate researched and organized quality math resources for math facts, problem solving, and word attack strategies. She also planned, and led, a professional development session for the school staff, and led frequent vertical math team meetings. In feedback from the PD session, 63% of teachers named the UPS✓ as something helpful from the session, while others mentioned having a common word problem strategy and resources that were shared. After the session, all classrooms received resources for the UPS✓ word attack strategy, and it is now used in all math classes in the school. 4th grade multiplication fact fluency rates increased from 21 new fact family gains in the GRREC ED candidate’s homeroom during the 2021-2022 school year, to 87 new fact family gains in the 2022-2023 school year. These results indicate the elementary school should continue implementing the word attack strategy, vertical math team meetings, and fact fluency strategies, to improve student outcomes in math over time. 

Lauren Lamb

My capstone project was one where I addressed a problem at my school where students are not meeting their 60 minutes of physical activity per day and the 150 minutes of physical education per week. To address this problem, I surveyed parents and students about the best way to address this for students. Clearly, students needed to be given opportunities to be active after school, so, I created an After School PE program. I targeted students in the 5th & 6th grades, who get little to no exercise after school. Students stayed after school for 6 weeks every Wednesday and participated in After School PE. Students were given the opportunity to experience new activities, and sports, they might not have before, to pique their interest in lifetime physical activity.  There are numerous physical, mental, and social benefits of meeting the suggested 60 minutes of physical activity per day. During the program, students tracked their physical activity through a tracker they took home, and were able to see if they were meeting the 60 minutes per day. Students increased their 60 minutes a day from only doing it 3 out of 7 days, to 6 out of 7 days. It was such a success at our school, and helped build school community. 

Kasey Luxmore

Due to lack of parent connection, support, and low progress from ESGI data, I felt a huge gap with reading at home and progress being made. I felt there was a need to connect with families, to help them have a better understanding of the importance of reading at home, and using the same language and strategies we use at school. I wanted to find a way to fix this disconnect. In order to address this problem within our kindergarten program, I decided to organize a literacy night for students and families. Ultimately, it fostered into a literacy night for all students K-2. The outreach for the literacy night was an opportunity to design effective instruction for  families, and  implement ways to better assist their child in the reading process. We used current student resources and information from families to help in the planning process through reading assessments (ESGI), as well as a parent survey that was sent home asking families their wants for learning how to help their child at home with reading. Through this process, we were able to inform families, and reflect on what we can do to improve and help young readers grow. 

Mandi Lyonett

Based on the data from the middle school STEM survey, we identified a need to increase student exposure to STEM content and careers. To address this deficit, my colleagues and I implemented a variety of lesson plans that allowed students access to STEM based careers and problem solving. We also gave them opportunities like career fairs, and engagements with speakers, to increase their first hand experiences with people already in STEM career fields. My specific contribution to this effort involved the implementation of My NASA Data: Story Map lessons. Through these lessons, students showed an increased engagement, collaboration, and communication with their classmates. Later in the year, when it was time for students to begin scheduling classes for the upcoming high school years, more students were able to immediately identify a career pathway than in the previous year, and showed increased engagement when touring the Early College and Career Center prior to the scheduling of their courses. These observed results encourage us to continue with the lessons were developed, the community engagement opportunities that were provided, and the incorporation of STEM based teaching across all content areas.

Ryan Maher

The major problem of practice I wanted to address, was to improve communication, as well as be able to provide valuable information to all staff members at a local school. I also wanted to provide valuable information for the staff that would help them within their classes deal with mental health. I decided that I would create a Google Site.

Cindy Matthews

Based on STEM-CS Student Survey, and CERT data, a high school identified a need to improve school-wide mathematical instruction. To attempt to increase abstract mathematical understanding and student engagement, the GRREC ED Candidate implemented research-based strategies such as technology-based graphing investigations, real world connections through NASA data, and cross-curricular activities in the Algebra 2 classroom. After 15 weeks of implementation, the students reaching CERT benchmark scores rose by 7.1% (proficiency at 19) and a class average growth of 2 points (from a 14 to 16). In addition, 62% of students passed the Algebra 2 Fall Semester final exam. With continued implementation at 29 weeks, passing rates for Algebra 2 is expected to be over 94%. Although proficiency in abstract mathematical topics grew slowly, many students grew academically toward apprentice level knowledge. The anticipated passing rate supports the evidence of increased and sustained student engagement. These results indicate that the high school should continue implementing the evidence based strategies, and continue to identify and implement additional strategies that may further increase proficiency in abstract mathematical understanding.

Kathy Maynard

Coming out of the pandemic, students have significant problems with regulating their behavior, which impacts their learning. As a means to address these concerns, my capstone focused on increasing student ownership of learning through self assessment, formative assessment, choice, and teacher decision-making. These steps were implemented during a genetics unit in an 8th grade science class, with a comparison model made in a similar class that did not have the steps to increase student ownership of learning implemented. The results showed that student ownership of learning did improve student behavior in the classroom, as well as improving content knowledge. As a result, I will take steps to improve student ownership of learning through the units for the upcoming school year.

Wendy McClure

Based on our current i-Ready and recent KSA scores, an elementary school wanted to help the staff increase their knowledge of current research, and best instructional practices in literacy. They would like to start with the area of vocabulary, due to benchmark scores showing that as an area of weakness for our students. Based on my personal needs assessment in the area of professionalism, I also want to increase my content knowledge, and seek out the best instructional practices. In an attempt to increase staff knowledge in the area of vocabulary, specifically, the GRREC ED Candidate researched best practices in the area of vocabulary instruction. Then, she created a website of lessons and tools that the staff could take and implement in their classrooms. 88.2% of the staff that responded said that they would use this site as a professional learning tool/resource. The candidate also received lots of positive feedback about specific tools on the site. Next year, the candidate is moving into the role of Intermediate Intervention Teacher for reading and math. This research will allow her to make a huge impact in the students she sees for reading in the area of vocabulary. She would like to add Math resources and tools for teachers to use as she works in the area of Math next year as well.

Sierra McGee

After looking at I-Ready math results, and my student preference survey, I see that students in my fourth-grade class like to be active during math class. Overall, students are not engaged in math class. Finding ways to incorporate engaging activities that have students moving and challenging their brains will lead to higher effort and performance. To increase student academic achievement, I implemented math centers that involved aspects of physical education, to engage students in the current math concepts. After a full year of implementation, students' I-Ready data grew by 43%. Based on the results, I should continue to implement other strategies that involve kinesthetic movement, and share these strategies with other coworkers.

Anne McGill

Based on the analysis of the wellness policy using the 10 Essential Components of Local School Wellness Checklist from the Alliance for Healthier Generations Initiative, the school’s wellness committee knew that the physical activity initiatives and other health initiatives that the school has implemented needed to be documented in the wellness policy. The policy received 9 points out of 20 points on the initial evaluation. A committee was formed to update the policy. The chairperson received professional development focusing on updating a local school wellness policy to be in accordance of KRS 160.345 and current CDC guidelines. The committee worked together to update the policy, present the policy to the school’s SBDM committee to be reviewed during two SBDM meetings, and then it was voted on to become the current wellness policy. The current wellness policy was analyzed using the 10 Essential Components of Local School Wellness Policy Checklist, where it received 15/20 points. After the implementation of the policy, the school’s report card showed a significant decrease in behaviors from the previous years. These results indicate the positive effects of the implementation of the new wellness policy by increasing physical activity minutes for all students at the elementary school. 

Breanna Melton

Based on analysis of data from NWEA MAP, KSA, and MasteryConnect assessments, as well as classroom performance, the fourth grade team at an elementary school needs to address gaps in foundational reading skills of many of our students. Concerns from previous teachers, and the data analyzed, is leading us to believe many of these students missed important foundational skills needed to help them be confident and successful readers. To address the deficits in foundational reading skills, daily phonics instruction was implemented, and an RTI group was formed. After 9 weeks of daily instruction, there were noticeable classroom improvements. However, standardized testing still proved to be difficult. To help keep resources organized, I created an upper elementary phonics webpage.

Stashia Menser

My school had recently purchased 'Secret Stories' as a supplemental phonics program for kindergarten and first grade students. In an attempt to increase the percentage of students meeting the districts expectation of letter sounds and sight words, I chose to implement this program with fidelity, in addition to our current phonics program. Secret Stories provide students with stories of why sounds say what they do. It moves on from letter sounds, to blends, digraphs, endings, etc. I began introducing the stories, posters, sight word cards, and movements in my classroom with hopes of students retaining the information, as opposed to, them hearing me say what each sound says then forgetting soon after. I began teaching phonics that appeals to various senses, instead abstract verbal cues that are easily and quickly forgotten.

Amanda Miller

My capstone was to better students' feelings of being heard in the classroom in the DJJ setting. Teachers need to have more effective assessments tools, and effective ways to use that data. I created a Google Sites of an accumulation of all the artifacts and research I did on different assessment types. My site showcases different formative, summative, quick and/or tech-free assessments, as well as career and educational placement tests. I am sharing it out to all DJJ teachers across the state, so everyone has access to quick assessment types that everyone may not have the time to research themselves. 

Molly Miller

Based on various demographic assessments, a high school identified a need to help freshmen transition from middle school mathematics, to high school mathematics. To attempt to close the mathematics knowledge gap, a GRREC ED Candidate used researched based Number Talks as daily bell ringers to review past content. The Candidate incorporated other research based strategies such as standards alignment, questioning techniques, and reflective practices. After a semester of using the Number Talk bell ringers in the Algebra 1 class, most students showed an increase of written reflection on their weekly worksheets. The reflections used less numerical explanations but more written explanations, such as an increase of vocabulary words, compare and contrast, trial and error, and self-reflection. These results indicate that the high school should continue using the Number Talk bell ringers in Algebra 1 classes, and possibly the rest of the high school mathematics classes, to continue closing the mathematics knowledge gap. 

Rachel Miller

Based on current MAP scores and past KPREP scores for a middle school with grades 6th-8th, a problem has been identified. Students are achieving below grade level in ELA (Reading and Writing). I will be incorporating cross-curricular lessons to help students to increase their scores. These lessons will primarily be between ELA and Art, as art is my content area. I will choose from the John O’Connor engagement strategies. After implementing those in my classroom, I will meet together with the ELA teachers to collaborate and discuss the impact that particular strategy had on our classroom. The MAP scores increased in P/D 11% from Winter to Spring, and the MAP scores decreased in N/A by 11% from Winter to Spring. This means that incorporating Art in the ELA classroom, and Literacy strategies in other content areas, has greatly impacted student achievement. The results from MAP testing in the middle school indicate that should the continuation of the implementation of the cross-curricular lesson accrue, KSA scores should also increase in the areas of reading comprehension and language and mechanics. 

Kaitlyn Morris

An elementary school has reviewed their KSA and Star testing data, and found a gap in students math foundational knowledge as a result of virtual learning, and lack of use with manipulatives. In the project, teachers at the school were presented with a Google Classroom that gave them resources such as instructional activities, websites for teacher and student use, and research on using manipulatives in the CRA model. After completion of the 2022-2023 school year, Star scores were reviewed again and show a growth in 3rd-4th grade in the areas of foundational math skills. Further review of data for K-2nd will be done throughout the coming years. KSA data will release in October 2023 for further impact review. The next steps are to keep growing the Google classroom for the teachers by adding new resources and best practices for them to implement into their classrooms. 

Taylor Morrison

After observing an increase in negative student behaviors post COVID such as class disruptions, disrespect, lack of student motivation, student disengagement, and lack of social skills, we collected data collected from the T-M & B Collective Teacher Efficacy Scale and noticed that behavior is a major problem area in second grade. Our second grade team of teachers saw a need for more student accountability and support, regarding their own behavior and learning.  I joined together with another colleague, also in the GRREC Ed program, to create a behavior support plan for the entire 2nd grade.  The behavior support plan was designed to reward positive behaviors through incentives, in which they could choose from specific activities based on student interest.  The plan also provided ESL/Growth Mindset for students with negative behavior.  After implementing the support plan we saw an increase in positive behavior, student motivation, and a decrease in at risk behavior students.   

Ashley Nalley

This project was driven by the fact that reading scores had remained respectable and proficient at our school for close to a decade, however, after the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting loss of valuable instructional time, we found that students were at an extremely low level of proficiency compared to previous years. The challenges presented by the pandemic also happen to coincide with an effort to increase understanding and proficiency in literacy across the district. The questions could be raised as to what steps could be taken to address any limitations to the system of literacy instruction that was being delivered. What was going well? What can be done better? How can scores not only return to proficiency of 70-80% in reading, but elevate those numbers to reach upwards 90% or higher? To address this issue, research was conducted in multiple areas of literacy best practice. Evidence shows that students who are exposed to higher-than-their-instructional, or independent level texts with high level of teacher support, develop a wider schema for multiple topics, as well as various strategies for reading comprehension. The engagement with different genres, structures, and themes of text enables students more opportunities to connect with familiar texts when encountered independently. Also, research suggests that the direct instruction of reading strategies are beneficial for deepening reading comprehension when also combined with the opportunities to apply across various texts. Direct instruction includes a high level of teacher modeling and support, as well as student interaction and practice. Students are more successful word solvers when they have ample opportunities to read various texts with the intervention of a teacher when they encounter challenging words than when they are simply given more practice without the interventions. Moreover, with scaffolding of literacy instruction, students are supported through the background knowledge, practice of fluent reading, and revisiting of familiar text in order to provide foundational knowledge that will increase success with reading strategies. The more opportunities to engage in small group reading with an effective teacher, kids are more likely to make greater gains in fluency and comprehension of texts. In addition, implementing book clubs in the classroom gives kids the ability to read books of their choice with classmates that they normally wouldn’t be placed with in leveled guided reading. This elevates motivation, in that book clubs are set up so that students can interact with other students about books of their liking and choosing. The parameters for the grouping is not based on reading level, but on similar interests. This leads to some students being motivated to read in order to participate with their friends or others that share particular interests. The differences in reading level expose the lower level students to conversation in a small group setting with higher level thinking, and allow opportunities for higher level students to share their thinking and benefit others from different perspectives and abilities. All in all, the highest level of reading comprehension comes from students being able to apply the reading strategies they have been taught in various texts of various genres, fluently and independently. Successful and motivated Independent reading is the goal. Some data that was collected include BAS ‘21-22: I benchmarked each student in August, and placed them into reading groups based on their instructional reading levels. I met with each group 2-4 times a week. I benchmarked the students again in the middle of December. Ten students moved two reading levels, six moved one level, while two did not move any. I benchmarked again in April and fifteen students moved up at least two reading levels. Reading behavior challenges decreased over the course of the year as student comprehension increased. Yearly Maps scores for my class showed an overall growth of 60% with nine students making gains in the double digits. The implementation of the system 'Fountas & Pinnell', which utilizes the structure of the components of best practices in literacy instruction, has had a positive impact on the intermediate classroom. In conclusion, I have become a better educator through my participation in GRREC ED, in that this project enabled me to research my literacy instruction, and the evidence that supports it. Because I am better equipped to answer the why, what, and how of my literacy block, I am able to deliver, scaffold, and assess reading instruction in a more intentional, and therefore beneficial, way. I feel more competent and confident in my abilities to deliver powerful reading instruction in a manner that can ensure student success. My goal was to become an expert in my area of literacy, and while I am nowhere near an expert, I do feel like I am growing in my field, and developing as an educator. I am passionate about being a lifelong learner, and imparting that same sense of wonder and accomplishment to my students. Moreover, this experience has reminded me that there is always room for growth, and that continuing my education, the willingness to be flexible, and the desire to develop professionally helps me feel more fulfilled, and enjoy what I get to do everyday. This project, along with the implementation of F&P in our district, is making the most of my time with students, by enabling me to create learning opportunities that are planned, executed, and reflected on with intentionality in a structure that ensures the main areas of literacy are integrated.

Maria Neal

Based on ACT results, On Demand results, and student writing samples, a high school identified a need to improve student writing skills. To attempt to increase student writing skills, we implemented research-based strategies such as mentor sentence writing, and fast, clear feedback into our junior English classes. After months of implementation, student work samples showed an improvement in their writing skills, based on the implementation of mentor sentence strategies. Student’s reported the ease and effectiveness of their own writing when they were given mentor sentences to follow. Furthermore, English 2022 ACT scores averaged 18.45. This puts the schools average at meeting benchmark for College and Career Readiness. We are currently eagerly awaiting On Demand scores to come out Fall 2023 to see the impact that was made there. These results indicate the use of mentor sentence strategies needing to continue being implemented across the English classes, to further increase student writing capabilities over the years. 

Sarah Nevitt

Progress monitoring data for three 5th grade resource reading students at a local elementary school, shows they are not making adequate progress in the area of reading fluency when compared to their grade level peers receiving resources in the area of reading fluency. In order to seek to improve the fluency levels for these three specific students, I began to use the Wilson Reading and Spelling program with these students in a small group setting as their specially designed instruction in the resource room. I implemented this program four days each week for 45 minutes each day, and on the fifth day I would use that for my progress monitoring. After 15 weeks of data collection and implementation of the Wilson Reading and Spelling program, my students' reading fluency improved. One student reached 25% in reading fluency. While my data collection did reveal that the Wislon reading and spelling program produced an increase in reading fluency, more research is needed to determine if this can be sustained over a longer period of time.

Jamie Oates

Based on data from the last KPrep assessment before the pandemic, compared to the 2021-2022 school year KPrep assessment, an elementary school dropped 31% in math scores. Furthermore, data from the fall iReady Math diagnostic assessment from the 2022-2023 school year revealed that 93% of students grades K-5 were one or more grade levels behind in math. The school identified a need to improve math performance. Research shows that Professional Learning Communities are the number one predictor of student improvement. The school had a new head principal, a new math curriculum, and 1st year math teachers in both 4th & 5th grade content areas. The school needed leadership roles to re-establish PLCs that had not met post-covid. After one year of meeting twice a month in Math PLCs, and sharing researched based strategies, the students scores improved greatly, decreasing to only having 13% of students scoring below their grade level on the iReady Math spring diagnostic, a gain of 80% of students showing growth. These results indicate the elementary school should continue implementing evidence based strategies ,and determine additional strategies through PLCs, that may further increase math achievement.

Matthew Oates

Based on survey results and testing data, a high school identified a need to improve student test scores and teacher proficiency, in a non-traditional setting. To attempt to increase test scores, the GRREC ED Candidate implemented research-based strategies such as digital tools, and common assessment. After 1 semester s of implementation, failure rates had decreased, and teachers were also were utilizing common assessments and a shared Google Drive. Feedback from a student survey indicated they "are more engaged and less distracted" during the class period. Based on the results, the high school should continue implementing the research-based strategies and tools, and determine additional strategies that may further increase test scores over the long term.

Olivia Owen

Based on NTI attendance and parent-teacher conference attendance data, our elementary school lacked a well-rounded system for communicating with families and, therefore, parental involvement at our school was low. To ensure better communication and increase parental involvement, we implemented more ways of communicating information to our families such as, DOJO, a new section in the newsletter highlighting special areas classes, and videos introducing the staff at our school. We also created a toolbox for families to have resources, to better understand what goes on in school and be able to support their student from home. After implementing these things, NTI attendance increased in every grade level and, at our most recent conferences, we had the highest attendance of parents come than we’ve had in 3 years. Parents also responded on a survey that the information we are sending home is getting easier to understand. These results indicate that when parents have the information to be involved in school and understand the information, they are more likely to be involved, which can contribute to student success at school. 

Kathy Palmiter

Based on data from previous years reading data, family needs survey, and NTI attendance, an elementary school identified a need to improve home-to-school communication. To attempt to decrease the learning gap, increase NTI and parent/teacher conference attendance, and parent/guardian engagement, the GRREC ED Candidate, along with a collaborative group, created and implemented a research-based digital toolbox. The toolbox, created on google slides and published as web page, contained links and information necessary families could access for support. After 1 year of implementation, the elementary school saw an increase by 40% in NTI attendance, an increase in parent/teacher conference attendance by 42%, and increase of 57% in 5th grade students reading on or above grade level based on iREADY data. These results indicate the school should continue to implement the guardian toolbox, and increase parent/guardian participation, and the direct correlation between parent/guardian engagement and student academic success in elementary schools.

Lauren Patmore

Based on the 2022-2023 KSA results, the GRREC ed candidate, and their instructional coach mentor, identified a need for students to increase proficiency with technology to be comfortable taking assessments on a computer. The Google proficiency data and technology survey showed a weakness of teacher self-efficacy, which must improve before increasing student proficiency. The candidate focused on increasing teacher proficiency through 1on1 sessions, to help teachers implement technology strategies in their classroom, weekly technology tips at faculty meetings, and PLC presentations of technology professional development. The data collected showed 100% of teachers surveyed feel more comfortable with technology, and 100% of the faculty attested to using four or more instructional technology tools with their students this school year. The faculty at the elementary school increased from the lowest total of Google Certified Educators in the district, to the highest.

Amanda Patterson

Based on qualitative date, an elementary school identified a need to improve student and family knowledge of STEAM activities, in school and at home. To increase knowledge with what STEAM activities and learning is, I planned and implemented a Family STEAM Night at my school that utilized school, district, and community resources, to bring meaningful and worthwhile activities to students and families. These learning opportunities modeled the simple activities that families can use at home to promote a STEM learning mentality. Families that attended the Family STEAM Night gave feedback on the activities from the event. The following is the embedded data from parent exit tickets and parent surveys: The greatest conclusion drawn from our Family STEAM Night is that families are eager to engage their children with meaningful learning at home. We found that families were excited to learn how they could provide these simple activities at home to promote learning and critical thinking. This Family Night was such a success, and I have shared it with two other schools that used the exact station and learning ideas for their family night. These results clearly indicate that our school should continue implementing STEAM activities throughout our regular classrooms, as well as our specials classes. The results also indicate that we should continue to host family events to include parents in the learning of STEAM learning. These other two schools would not have hosted such an event without having seen the success of ours, and having the resources we shared with them to host such an event. Next steps include planning our next Family STEAM Night. I'm leaning towards utilizing sustainability goals with "Survivor" themed stations that I have access through from STEAM in the Park Expeditions in Education that I am a member with.

Karie Peake

Based on the social and emotional needs of our students that are continuing to rise, the elementary school community will benefit from having easy access to social and emotional learning tools. To attempt to increase Social and Emotional Learning exposure, the GRREC ED candidates implemented an SEL Google site that included researched based information, tools, activities, and resources for staff, students, and community members to access. The Google site was launched in January 2023, however, data tracking of the SEL Google site did not begin until March 24th, 2023. From March 24th to April 20th, 2023, the site had been visited 264 times by staff, students, and community members. These results indicate that the school district should continue implementing the evidence-based SEL Google Site to increase support of student, staff, and community mental health awareness. 

Kathy Placier

Winter Literacy Night: Reading is SNOW Much Fun! Spanish speaking parents need more support to understand ways to help their children become literate in English. This literacy night provided the EL community with more literacy resources that could have a positive impact on our EL students reading growth. EL Literacy Nights have been proven to help families feel connected to the school, especially when the event includes take away resources to help Hispanic students be more successful at reading. The literacy nights help to promote a culture of literacy within the community, to build connections between the school and families, provided valuable resources and information for families, fostered a sense of belonging, and increase literacy skills in ELs.

Stephanie Pleskach

Given the data showing the academic achievement gaps between English Learners and their English-proficient peers, and the lack of confidence the teachers in my school district have indicated they have in their ability to work with English Learners, there is a need for a teacher-friendly website to be built, that will bring together researched best practices and strategies into one central location. A Google Site was created that brought together these best practices and strategies, along with additional resources for teachers of English Learners. These resources included a glossary of commonly used terms, demographics of our school’s EL population, information on providing accommodations, and researched classroom strategies. After site publication, teachers have indicated that they are excited about the site, and all the information that has been provided. A post-survey shows that teachers feel the research gathered in this site has allowed them to feel more confident working with English Learners in their classrooms. As a fluid project, this site will be continually updated with new research and information, to benefit the students and teachers in the middle and high schools.

Amanda Puckett

Based on various data, an elementary school identified a need to improve tier 1 instruction in reading across the building. To attempt to increase the effectiveness of tier 1 instruction, the GRREC ED candidate implemented the Module Matrix, an opportunity for teachers to increase knowledge of the grade level standards, design and incorporate formative assessments directly aligned with those standards, and implement research based strategies and practices to respond to those needs. After one year of implementation, reading MAP data shows an increase of students on grade level from 52% to 58%. KSA data shows the number of novices in reading decreased from 28% to 18%. Many other data points, including teacher surveys, show the Module Matrix has had a positive impact on student achievement in reading within tier 1 instruction. These results indicate the elementary school should continue implementing the Module Matrix, while making improvements and adjustments that will further increase reading mastery in the building. 

Haley Ray

In western Kentucky, less than 5 middle school agriculture programs exist. Many programs have a high school educator balancing both high school and middle school programs daily, not to mention having 5-6 class preps on average. To help with outdated curriculum, and to help ensure that middle school programs are successful, I decided to create a curriculum hub to share with others, to ease their class prep requirements, and to give new teachers an outline of what to include in their introductory agriculture class. I collaborated with other teachers across the state to develop this curriculum hub, and have already shared it with others throughout this journey.

Gretchin Reagan

This project created a STEM curriculum in Preschool, as a way to combat an increase in Math and Science Novice scores on state assessments. After identifying the lack of STEM instruction within our school, and the lack of knowledge about STEM Education from families, a STEM resource Hub was created. This Resource Hub was created for Preschool team members and has STEM lessons, Online Resources, and Standards Checklists. After implementing STEM lessons in Preschool throughout the school year, there was an increase in various Kindergarten readiness Math skills, and 100% of the students met their science assessment benchmarks. STEM lessons were also sent home with students, and included in a preschool family night. With the inclusion of STEM curriculum in Preschool, the school may see an increase in Math and Science skills as students progress through the years.

Catherine Reveal

Based on observations I have made, and with English Language Learner student input, I have recognized a need at my high school to help make new EL student transitions more conducive to better meeting academic, social, and emotional needs. To meet this need, I developed an EL Peer Mentor program, using research-based evidence to develop the program, to help meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of new EL students. In addition, the peer mentors developed leadership skills, and grew in their roles. After implementation, mentees, mentors, teachers, and administration witnessed the benefit that came from the mentoring program. Based on the results, the high school will move forward with the mentor program, and continue to develop to best meet the needs of students.

Toni Reynolds

Current data indicates students are not performing at grade level. By increasing teacher efficacy, student reading test scores will improve. To attempt to improve teacher efficacy, the GREC ED Candidate put back into place Reading PLC’s to coach and instruct teachers on research based reading strategies to implement with students, in an effort to improve reading scores. After a full school year, from August, to the following April, according to iReady, one 3rd grade class increased from 30% on grade level to 47%. Next steps will include to continue to improve on research based reading strategies.

Taylor Ricker

Based on a Temperature Check from the beginning of 2021-2022 school year, our elementary school and instructional coach need to improve their knowledge of each component of our new district reading program. To attempt to increase knowledge, we will attend trainings, share resources, and slowly begin to build an interactive notebook with all important documents. Our teachers comfort level for all of the components increased based on their self reflection from a 2.19 to a 3.81, and our overall school MAP scores in reading improved from 70% of students on grade level to 74% on grade level. These results prove that we should continue to dissect components of the reading curriculum. We will continue to add our resources to our housing document. 

Daphne Riddle

After observing students' behavior in my classroom, students were off task, there was task avoidance, and student motivation was low.  There was a lack of student engagement and motivation after returning to in-person learning.  After much research, I found that there is a direct connection between student motivation, and student engagement. Student choice leads to student engagement, and one strategy to engage students is Genius Hour.  I implemented this strategy into my classroom, with the end result being a showcase of their projects at our family night.  I gave students a survey to reflect on Genius Hour, and 70.5% of the students "strongly agreed" that they would participate in Genius Hour, if given the chance again.  Many stated it was because of 3 three reasons;  1) they got to CHOOSE their topic, 2) they got to CREATE a project, and 3) they got to SHARE with others.

Danielle Roark

Based on the negative changes in self-regulation that I have seen in my preschool classroom, after Covid-19 and the social AEPS (Assessment, Evaluation, and Programming System for Infants and Children) data scores, I need to research and implement strategies to help increase self-regulation in my young learners. By creating strategies to implement into my classroom, I hope to increase student self-regulation in the following areas: attention, peer interaction, and impulse control. I created a curriculum development toolbox, that was a collection of strategies used in my classroom, to increase student self-regulation. This is not a tool that can be copied exactly in other classrooms, but used as a resource for ideas that may be helpful to the individual needs of the classroom and students.  After two years of implementation, my students showed increases in self-regulation in the classroom. The classroom AEPS data showed 84% of my students were below age level in social skills in the fall assessment, compared to 15% below age level in the spring assessment. Teachers, parents, and administrators noticed significant improvement in student attention, peer interaction, and impulse control. These results indicate I should continue to implement these strategies, and continue to research and implement additional strategies, to help my students increase self-regulation. 

Misty Robertson

The iReady data showed a need to address our second graders literacy skills, and prepare them for third grade. I am currently using iReady Reading Diagnostic, Fastbridge Learning, along with small reading groups. I am using research and best practices to improve my class as a whole, and individual literacy scores. There was a need to improve our literacy scores, and my POP focused on helping my students improve their literacy strategies, so that they can become lifelong readers. Throughout my journey, my students did show growth, and I hope that they continue to grow throughout their educational path.

Tori Schneider

State testing data suggests a need for improved reading scores across all content areas in a middle school. Using Accelerated Reader goals and GRREC survey data, the GRREC ED candidates implemented STEAM content related to reading and 3-D printing, to spark student interest in reading outside preferred genres. Multiple incentives were incorporated during the implementation period of three nine weeks that included field trips and a PBIS store. The percentage of students earning Accelerated Reader goals increased from 54% to 63% from the first quarter to the third quarter. All genres except Romance saw an increase in circulation from the first to third quarters. The impact of these strategies will be analyzed upon completion of state testing.

Emily Scott-Meister

Based on the data analysis, a need to address first grade student’s literacy skills and future readiness skills for second grade was identified. My problem of practice is determining which foundational literacy instructional practices and resources will be most effective to use with a small group of below level students (those that are performing one grade level below and aren’t identified as Tier students.) To attempt to increase literacy skills and future readiness skills, I used specific iReady lessons focused on phonological awareness, phonics, and vocabulary. After 12 weeks of implementation in each sub area, phonological awareness, phonics, and vocabulary also increased. These results indicate that continuing the implementation of these evidence based strategies, and any other strategies, should continue, to further increase first grade student’s literacy skills, and future readiness skills. 

Jennifer Settle

Based on the data from Graide Network, the KSA (previously K-PREP), and classroom observations, a fifth-grade classroom identified the need to improve student ability to apply the writing strategies they learned during content lessons, to other writing prompts that are not connected to the curriculum. In an effort to engage students in writing lessons so that they will retain the knowledge, understand how to use that knowledge, and then apply this knowledge to other writing prompts, the fifth-grade classroom started by finding more effective ways to incorporate technology. Writing models were also used, so the students were able to see patterns, and understand what is expected. The curriculum was accessible for all students, so that they felt confident in their ability. After sixteen weeks of implementation, the class’ overall organization score on the Graide Network Benchmark increased from 50% on Benchmark #2, to 75% on Benchmark #3. The results indicate the fifth-grade classroom should continue implementing evidence based strategies, and determine additional strategies that may further increase student writing scores over the long term. 

Joy Shearer

Based on parent and student survey data, a high school needs to be more cognizant of Social Emotional Learning (SEL), and equipped to meet the needs of students/children individually. Communication is key to fostering social emotional learning. To implement SEL, the GRREC-Ed candidate created an SEL toolkit full of resources for students, faculty/staff, and parents/community members. After surveying faculty and staff, an overwhelming majority agreed that they would be willing to incorporate SEL into their classrooms. Feedback from a colleague indicated “I love the resource hub. It’s a great way to have resources at our fingertips instead of having to spend time searching for activities.” Additional feedback came from a parent who had practiced with the “checking-in with your kid” strategies. His response included “Thanks for sharing the “Checking in With Your Kids” resource. Our family recently went through a difficult situation and I used the suggestions to focus on positivity and make it a priority to listen when they want to talk". These results indicate that the high school should continue utilizing the SEL Toolkit, in an effort to meet the needs of all students. The toolkit will be updated with new resources, activities, links, etc. in an effort to look for opportunities to get to know our students, and meet them where they are.

Sarah Shelton

Based on incoming kindergarten assessment data, a plan needs to be created for small group reading instruction to reach each student at his/her individual level. All kindergarten teachers are new to teaching, and have never implemented literacy centers or small guided reading groups. After looking at the research on the importance of small group instruction and the need to support and mentor new teachers to increase the likelihood they will continue to stay in the profession of teaching, I will mentor our new kindergarten teacher, with a huge focus on literacy centers and guided reading instruction. After implementing small literacy centers and guided reading groups (that changed throughout the year based on students’ needs), Fall to Spring MAP data showed a mean RIT growth of 25.6 points. I feel these results show the importance of guided reading, and what it can do for a multi-leveled classroom. The teacher is much more confident in her teaching. I feel as if the support she was given, and the mentoring I did with her, helped ease the transition and allowed her to get instant feedback and support with any questions she had.

Leigh Ann Siewert

Amy Sloan

This project created, modified, and adapted digital citizenship lessons for 2nd graders, as a way to help students begin to learn how to deal with the demands that students now face with media and technology. After identifying the lack of Digital Citizenship instruction within our school, a Digital Citizenship resource hub was created. This resource hub was created for 2nd grade team members, and has links to modified lessons and additional lessons that are already created on various websites. After implementing digital citizenship lessons throughout the school year, there was an increased awareness in students and teachers. Teachers began to use lessons, and started to see the value and importance of the lessons. With the inclusion of digital citizenship lessons in 2nd grade, and other grades, the school, families, and students may see an increase in awareness of needing breaks, setting limits, and how to stay safe while using media and technology. 

Kimberly Snowball

Based on 2022 data regional DoSE survey data, and 2021 data from Ky State Performance Plans/Annual Performance Reports (SPP/APR), students with disabilities (SWD) continue to show a significant gap in academic proficiency. In order to meet the SSIP goals to vet, select, and disseminate evidence-based math instruction, there is a need for a middle math regional support hub of evidence-based practices to support SDI in middle school math, for both special education teachers, and general education teachers working to improve outcomes for students with disabilities. To attempt to disseminate evidence-based middle school math practices, the GRREC Ed candidate implemented the building of a central resource hub 'Inclusion' in the Middle School Math Classroom to support both general education, and special education teachers. As a result, within the first month of implementation, there was a 1,100% increase in engagement with evidence-based math instruction via the Math Inclusion homepage, a 680% increase with the MS Math Supports page, and a 2,200% increase in engagement with the evidence-based Behavior supports page. In subsequent weeks, this pattern of engagement has shown continual growth.

Amanda Spears

This project created a STEM curriculum in Preschool, as a way to combat an increase in Math and Science Novice scores on state assessments. After identifying the lack of STEM instruction within our school, and the lack of knowledge about STEM Education from families, a STEM resource Hub was created. This Resource Hub was created for Preschool team members, and has STEM lessons, Online Resources, and Standards Checklists. After implementing STEM lessons in Preschool throughout the school year, there was an increase in various Kindergarten readiness Math skills, and 100% of the students met their science assessment benchmarks. STEM lessons were also sent home with students, and included in a preschool family night. With the inclusion of STEM curriculum in Preschool, the school may see an increase in Math and Science skills as students progress through the years. 

Sarah Stapp

Based on circulation statistics and standardized reading testing scores, a middle school identified a need to improve the school-wide reading culture. To attempt to increase the school-wide reading culture, the GRREC ED Candidate implemented research-based strategies related to reading, culminating events for project-based learning, and school-wide incentives to encourage students to independently read for pleasure on a more frequent basis. After 2 years of implementation, student checkouts have increased by over 7,000 books (data from 2020-2021 to 2022-2023). Feedback from a student survey indicated that 85.2% of students believe the library to be beneficial. Furthermore, Only 23.7% of the students say their time spent reading for pleasure has decreased as a middle school student. It's also encouraging to see that 48.4% of students have read six or more books this past year. The results indicate that the middle school should continue implementing the evidence based strategies, and determine additional strategies that may further increase the school-wide reading culture consistently over the long term. When the new school is built and the library is more centrally located for all grade levels, the library books and the librarian will be more readily available to everyone at any time, further growing the reading culture.

Abigail Stemmer

Based on academic growth, a teacher identified a need to improve her co-teaching through co-planning. To attempt to increase academic growth, the GRREC ED Candidate implemented research-based strategies, such as building a better relationship, and co-planning by creating, and using a “How to Co-Plan” Guide. This included a step-by-step process, along with tools and research, to use to effectively co-plan. After a full year of implementation, student academic growth did improve. These results indicate the teacher and co-teacher should continue researching and implementing evidence-based strategies, to further increase her academic growth for their students every year. 

Alyssa Stewart

The problem addressed by my project is career based. Pre-assessment data indicated that students had little knowledge of STEM career paths, prior to this project. The problem that is evident within the context of a local middle school, is that students are not being educated about the scope of STEM careers, and the plethora of available pathways under the STEM umbrella. As a result, many students are not choosing STEM classes as part of their high school curriculum. This will put them at a disadvantage in terms of their future STEM course/career availability. If foundational classes and skills are not developed early, advanced classes and opportunities within STEM will not be available for them. For example, if students do not register for basic engineering and design classes, they will not qualify to enroll in more advanced engineering, or electrical classes  until the prerequisite basics have been completed.  Therefore, they are losing valuable time to access FREE STEM opportunities that are provided by our school system. There are approximately 140 students who will be reached by this lesson in Math and ELA classes.  This project will demonstrate integration of STEM in classrooms, by providing students with content related to STEM careers, as well as an exploration of how the engineering design process is a learning process that we use across the curriculum. We will be using a NASA engineering design lesson, which was introduced to us via the endeavor courses. Our intended impact is to consistently expose students to STEM materials, and the related career paths, so that they understand how what they are doing in the classroom relates to a future for them in the real world. Also, to give them exposure to careers that they may not know about, because it is not something anyone they know personally is involved in. The ultimate goal is student mastery of STEM/STEAM career pathway knowledge. Mastery is set at the typical 80% threshold on the post assessment/exit survey.

Bridgett Strode

My capstone project focused on improving conceptual understanding in mathematics for students. Throughout my GRREC ED journey, I used information from assessments and classroom performance to determine my next steps with students. I researched strategies/ideas that I could implement into my classroom that would help students improve their conceptual understanding. Some of these strategies included number talks, promoting productive struggle, fact fluency assessments, and a family math night for students and parents. Implementing these strategies over time yielded wonderful results. However, the most rewarding part for me as an educator, was to watch their love and confidence for math grow. 

Lindsay Thompson

We needed to find a Central Academy in all of our home schools, so students felt safe and cared for.  I did some research to find out what other schools in and out of our area were doing, to prevent this recidivism problem.  What I discovered, is that we needed a more intentional transition process.  Last year, students on our dayside (behavior side) had a rate of 36% recidivism.  We had the same students coming back at least once, if not twice. Our students would come over for 20 or 45 days, which is our procedure, and then they would return to their home school with just an email to their principal. So, in conjunction with our AWARE grant director, and our mental health counselors, I came up with a more detailed and intentional transition plan.   

This process encompasses:

  • Before, during and after meetings with the students.  

  • Meeting with the counselor or designee from their school.  

  • Implementing slow transitions, so students can spend a little time back at their home school before going all in.  

  • Tweaked schedules where there is conflict.

Deborah Tierney

Based on parent surveys, preschool students lack emotional regulation during transitions, undesired tasks, and social situations. Collectively, this needed to be addressed by teachers and parents, working together to bridge the emotional gap due to Covid 19 pandemic. In an attempt to inform parents of strategies we use at school, the teacher made a slide deck explaining strategies that are used in the classroom. Teachers and parents worked together discussing ideas, making individualized social stories, routines, and supporting each other. Parents and teachers were able to see a dramatic increase in the emotional regulation of their preschoolers, due to the collaboration of school and family working together. 

Amanda Toomey

Professional learning choice is vital to the success and empowerment of educators. My capstone project follows my journey providing a professional learning experience that was selected by my peers. This project came as a result of analyzing our school’s Kentucky IMPACT Survey data. This inspired me to create surveys to poll our teachers, to determine which areas they felt were additional training was needed most. As a result, I prepared and presented a professional learning opportunity for my colleagues over their desired learning target. This project concluded with teacher feedback, and an opportunity to present the professional learning again in the Fall of 2023.

Josh Tucker

If a local elementary school can develop an effective transition model, and effectively train staff in evidence-based practices for students with autism, we can scale this model to all students and grades, and will improve student achievement and teacher productivity, as they meet the needs of ALL learners. This elementary school implemented a model where we trained all first grade staff in a tailor-made workshop, where we rolled out the evidence-based practices for students with autism. In addition to this initial training, we met monthly with staff, to review progress of students with autism. We also looked at incorporating social-emotional learning with the implementation of social skills for students that were at-risk, or at some risk according to student self-assessment and teacher rating scales. Upon the implementation of this process, our student behavior data for all grades, but especially the first grade was positively impacted, and we saw a drastic decrease in events that led to student suspensions. We also had glowing reviews of the process from the first grade teachers that were trained, and implemented the training throughout the year. In conclusion, the process went very smoothly, and we had a great deal of success and data that supports the success of the program in our inaugural year. We are now looking forward to scaling this process to the second grade staff, and maintaining the process in our first grade classrooms.

Keri Beth Turner

Based on data from a Writing Needs Survey, 64% of teachers surveyed reported that they did not feel confident in teaching writing. In addition, 100% of those teachers reported needing some type of additional resource in order to be successful in teaching writing. This data helped me, along with the administration at an elementary school, to conclude that a writing pacing guide, along with linked resources, are needed to provide an engaging and differentiated learning environment. This tool would impact student learning in our school. The 'Writing Resource' Google Site would serve as a tool to provide a pacing guide for teachers, and a resource hub to guide planning. The resource includes four units for grade levels K-5 that includes mentor texts, linked resources, curriculum, and other helpful resources for all teachers teaching writing and grammar.

Gabe VanCappellen

Based on State Testing Data and Accelerated Reader Goals, students in a middle school need to improve their Reading Skills . With a goal to increase student interest in reading, the GRREC Ed Candidates implemented strategies related to 3D Printing and STEAM content, as well as a Reading Genre challenge, to spark student interest in reading new content. Students also earned "Hornet Bucks" to spend in our PBIS store, after reading and passing the Accelerated Reader test for books from different genres. Lastly, our school had rewards related to students' meeting their AR Goal (20 points) each nine weeks. Awards included Ice Skating, an in school dance, and attending a minor league baseball game. After 18 weeks of implementation, student data has show a growth of students' earning their 20 AR points per 9 week. In the first 9 weeks 190/350 students earned 20 or more AR Points, during the second 9 weeks 206/350 students earned 20 or more AR points, and during the third 9 weeks 221/353 students earned 20 or more points. During the nine weeks the Reading Genre Challenge has occurred, 110 students have earned Hornet Bucks for successfully reading books outside of their normal genre. The genre challenge was developed during PLC's with administrators to encourage reading during the 3rd weeks, which corresponded with Read Across America. These results show that the strategies implemented at the middle school have increased student interest and participation in Reading for Accelerated Reader points. Library book checkouts have also increased, and students have chosen a books from a variety of content areas. The incentives and rewards for meeting AR goals has benefited students as well. At the conclusion of State Testing, data will be analyzed to see the impact on Reading Scores.

Dilcia Whansiedler

An Elementary school has had a significant increase in English language learners in the past five years, with Spanish being the predominant language. The elementary school provides education to students from kindergarten to grade 5, with a total student body of 681. Among these students, 71 are English Language Learners, with 65 of them speaking Spanish. After analyzing this information, I knew that we needed to make a better effort to support family involvement. We recognized the need to offer support to families, to reinforce academics for their children at home. It is crucial for every student, especially Language Learners, to learn foundational reading skills. Our school's ELL ACCESS data also indicates that many students need help with reading. To help our students make progress in reading, and to encourage family and teacher collaboration, we had the idea of organizing a Family Literacy Night for English Language Learners, to provide EL families with the tools to better support their children at home.

Laura Warner

Based on reading assessment data, an elementary school needs to improve their tier 1 reading instruction. To attempt to improve tier 1 instruction, the GRREC ED Candidate offered teachers guided reading training, model lessons, and coaching visits. After a year of implementation, there were 24.9% more students scoring either Proficient and Distinguished in the 2021-2022 school year than the previous year. The number of Novice and Apprentice scores decreased by 14.9% in the area of Reading. Based on these results, the GRREC ED Candidate will continue to offer guided reading training to new teachers each year, and will offer coaching visits, model lessons, and observations to all teachers as needed, in order to continue to improve state assessment reading scores.

Missy Weick

STEAM education, integrating Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics, transforms learners by fostering creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. It seamlessly combines disciplines, and providing holistic learning experiences, that mirror real-world challenges. Through hands-on experiences and iterative design processes, STEAM education cultivates cognitive development, adaptability, and resilience. Collaborative projects promote teamwork, communication, and empathy, while the integration of arts nurtures self-expression and imagination. STEAM education equips individuals with a comprehensive skill set for careers in STEM, and broader understanding of the world. It lays the foundation for lifelong learning, innovation, and addressing global challenges. In conclusion, STEAM education empowers individuals to become critical thinkers, lifelong learners, and active contributors to society.

Shelby White

My capstone project is centered around my current math curriculum, Eureka Math. The curriculum is not 100% aligned with my Kentucky Math standards. At the school I teach at, there is a need for more students to perform on grade level in mathematics. By taking the lessons in Eureka Math, and aligning them to my standards, I set a goal to increase my students' performance on grade level by 10% from the Fall to the Spring using MAP test scores. In my artifacts, you will see sample classwork, student work, and MAP testing results that show the progress of my goal. 

Amie Greshen Willis

The purpose of the Science Discourse Toolkit is to provide teachers of Science with discourse strategies, and ready-made lessons that utilize discourse. Lessons are organized by the subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Physical Science and General, which includes SEL. By using these lessons, students will increase achievement through effective Classroom Discussion. Research shows that students can make two years of gains with effective discussion, according to the Hattie Effect. Using this tool, you can plan and develop your own lessons with the many discourse strategies presented. As a result of utilizing this tool, my students improved by at least two-three levels in measured discourse, and as reflected on summative assessments in one academic year.

Katie Willis

After collaborating with Kindergarten and First Grade teachers, I realized that students entering into First Grade were struggling with numbers and operations. My colleagues and I started brainstorming ways to help students be better prepared for First Grade. We created a “Ready for First Night”. I prepared for the night by researching ways to help teach students about numbers and operations. I made activities that parents could take home with them after the event. During the “Ready for First Night”, we taught guardians how to help their students at home, so they will be better prepared for First Grade. 

Kathy Wooten

My Capstone Project for GRREC Rank Change attempted to help Social Studies Teachers at my school be more equipped to offer Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in their classes. Teachers reported that they did not feel equipped to add SEL to their classroom routines, but did see the need for Social Emotional Learning, especially during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers reported, and data supported, that students were struggling to overcome adversity, and make meaningful connections during and after COVID-19. I focused on developing and offering a staff personal development opportunity, which gave participants ideas on how to ¨Quickly and Painlessly Add SEL¨ to their classes. All participants in the Personal Development reported that they felt more equipped to offer SEL in their classes. I also developed Class Starters (Bell Ringers) and Exit Activities that focused on SEL, and were Social Studies specific, such as World War II. Finally, I tried to find ways to make these resources, and others, available to teachers through Google Classroom, and a Google Drive Folder, that would allow easy and quick access for teachers and staff. A majority of Social Studies teachers at our school reported that they felt more equipped to offer SEL to their students, and it has helped their students and themselves feel more connected, less student behavior issues and more student engagement in their classrooms.

Amanda Worth

After analyzing the data (NTI attendance, KPREP scores for 2020-2021 & 2021- 2022, iREADY diagnostic scores, fluency benchmark scores, and a family survey), 5th grade students in my homeroom need to improve their overall reading achievement scores. State testing scores from the 2021 and 2022 school years show a significant decline in reading fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary usage from students in my current homeroom. My capstone focuses on the collection of multiple sources of data, analysis, and the implementation of parent involvement, to improve student foundational skills. The classroom-parent connection proved extremely effective for students who regularly practice the tasks at home with a parent or guardian. This connection also provided a great opportunity for parents to participate in student learning, and observe firsthand their student’s growth.

Macey Wright

My goal for my Capstone was to organize my 'Fountas and Pinnell Text Sets' that are apart of the Interactive Read Aloud component of the curriculum, so my students and I can have a more consistent, and intentional layout. Starting with setting goals for each interactive read aloud, then turn and talk questions of the end of each read aloud, and lastly, have a daily write about the reading prompt. Each read aloud has a slideshow on Google Slides that goes in the same order: goals, turn and talks, and writing prompts, that are used daily. Using a more consistent layout, and selecting goals, will lead to highly performance in my classroom and on testing.

Emily Young

Based on PLC minutes/notes, and the PLC Effectiveness Survey results, the candidate's PLC needed to improve its intentional collective learning practices, to become a more effective PLC. To attempt to improve these learning practices, the GRREC ED Candidate guided the PLC through a process to identify priority standards, and then learning skills and concepts. After 5 PLCs, the group felt that intentional collective learning practices was more commonplace and/or systemized, as evidenced by post-survey results.

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