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TIG will be updating the self-advocacy suite.  Please note the resources may be discontinued after the 2023-2024 academic year.

Sun Prairie School District

Grade Level

The heart of the work

Sun Prairie’s foundational beliefs state that the power is at the universal core level; this is the heart of the work. The leadership team wanted to work on building an integrated service delivery model where most kids’ needs are met at the universal core level.

As of the 2013-2014 school year, Sun Prairie had 7400 students, 7 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, one traditional and one alternative high school. The student body is comprised of 6% Asian, 10% Black, 8% Hispanic, and 70% white. The district had 3% LEP for Spanish, 3% LEP for Hmong, and 1% LEP for other languages. Many students are economically disadvantaged with 29% qualifying for subsidized lunches. Students with disabilities comprise 11% of students.

Through integration, the district intended to: ensure success in learning for all students; prepare every student to be college and career ready; develop a collaborative culture by incorporating professional learning community (PLC) elements with decision-making based on academic and behavioral data; and enable continuous staff improvement, which is linked to educator effectiveness.

The district put the following practices in place to achieve its goals:

– articulated and deployed a continuous improvement planning process;
– established a collaborative culture focused on student achievement at all levels of the organization;
– evaluated and adjusted the comprehensive assessment plan to ensure college and career readiness; and
– customized a data system for staff to easily access data.

One uniform approach

In order to address the continuous improvement plan, the district attended the National Leadership for Social Justice Institute. They implemented and are now formalizing a district-wide model of continuous improvement for both behavior and academics – and streamlined both into one uniform approach.

They also reconfigured the district organization structure. They are in the process of creating one district-wide K-12 reading plan and one K-12 mathematics plan with indicators of progress.

In addition, they are implementing professional learning communities and functioning teams as the vehicle for cycles of inquiry at each building, which are led by the principal. They are formalizing the equity work plan as the place where the work all comes together i.e., teams, data, levels of support, decision rules, and technology. The district is also streamlining to one technology data-management tool for all data input and coordination.

It’s a journey

The district’s plan to sustain an integrated framework is a three-five year journey. Each level of implementation is carefully planned. They are setting up the structures and processes to assure sustainability: professional development, collaboration time, long-range critical data points/goals. Cycles of inquiry are performed every 9 weeks. If areas are not meeting benchmarks, they look at practices and implement reflection at teacher, grade, school, department, and district levels.

Adoption is “in progress.” Implementation milestones include: district-level reorganization that married the work and eliminated silos; adoption of a streamlined continuous improvement cycle throughout the district; meeting action step benchmarks; equity focus; transfer of PBIS systems thinking and components into all areas of achievement; and data summits at each building.

Early successes include a committed and dedicated school board that is humanity and business balanced, data-driven, and cause-oriented. The community and schools are intertwined, inter-invested, and mutually active.

The Leadership for Social Justice experience and the use of social justice/equity as purpose is counted as a success as well. Staff is embracing the integrated comprehensive service approach and cycles of inquiry.

Celebrating successes

The district celebrates its successes and results by hosting small school celebrations with coaches throughout the year, sharing updates with the school board, and facilitating an annual district-wide celebration.