GUSD's Journey to Success

Fall 2016

Welcome to GUSD's Newsletter

As a way to increase communication and to keep everyone updated in the happenings of our district, we welcome you to our quarterly newsletter! We want this newsletter to be valuable for you so please share your feedback and suggestions to help us improve. In fact if you are interested in writing an article or sharing a success story with PLC's or any Art and Science of Teaching strategies, please share your story.

GUSD has Purchased i-Ready ELA and Math Diagnostic Tests for K-11 and i-Ready Instruction for K-8

Welcome to i-Ready

Gustine Unified School District is very excited to announce that we have purchased the i-Ready System of Diagnostic Tests for Reading and Math for grades K-11. The assessments are ready to go! We will begin slowly by starting with a few classes at each site to ensure that everyone is able to log in and ensure that everything is working properly.

All students in grades K-11 will take an adaptive diagnostic test in reading and math. The results from these assessments will be used formatively to address the needs of our students in order to increase student achievement.

The i-Ready Diagnostic is different from other assessments because it gives you, the teacher, an action plan. The CAASPP results may explain that a student is struggling, but it won’t usually tell you why. The i-Ready reports provide detailed information about individual students and will help you group students for instruction and intervention. For grades K-8 there is an instructional component that is delivered both by the teacher and online. The reports will also provide helpful resources to support your classroom practice.

Why i-Ready?

1. Identifies why students are struggling.

i-Ready Diagnostic adapts to each student, providing easier or harder questions depending on students’ answers to previous questions. By adapting across grades K–12, i-Ready Diagnostic helps teachers understand the root causes behind student challenges.
This is especially beneficial for providing differentiated instruction and for identifying gaps spanning back multiple years, or for determining when in what areas students are ready for further challenge. i-Ready Diagnostic assesses student performance across the key domains in reading and mathematics for grades K–11, providing a valid and reliable measure of student growth with detailed diagnostic results and individualized next steps for instruction.

2. Measures growth across a student’s career.

Because the Diagnostic adapts across grades K–12, i-Ready provides a valid and reliable growth measure from year to year. We will use i-Ready across the district to track yearly student progress and to optimize administrative decision making for long-term performance improvements.

3. Supports data-driven differentiated instruction.

Based on the Diagnostic results, i-Ready automatically provides individualized online and teacher-led instruction targeted to each student’s unique needs. In addition, easy-to-read reports provide teachers with a detailed action plan for individual and group instruction and the tools to deliver that instruction in any style learning environment.

Dr. Phil Warrick PD on October 31st!

On October 31, GUSD will have a district-wide professional development day on Marzano’s Art and Science of Teaching with Dr. Phil Warrick. It will be held at Gustine Middle School from 8:00 am to 2:30 pm. Dr. Warrick will review Design Question (DQ) 1: What will I do to establish and communicate learning goals, track student progress, and celebrate success? He will also be addressing DQ 2: What will I do to help students effectively interact with new knowledge?

A continental breakfast (starting at 7:30 am) and lunch will be provided.

The Four Questions of Professional Learning Communities

As we continue on our Journey to Success, we must continually look to answer the following four questions:


  • 1. What is it we want our students to know?
  • 2. How will we know they are learning?
  • 3. How will we respond when students do not learn?
  • 4. How will we enrich and extend learning for students who are proficient?


The ultimate goal of our Professional Learning Communities is improved student achievement. Our PLCs are made of up teachers and support staff who are committed to student learning and supporting one another. We reflect and learn together, review student work, use data to drive our instruction, plan for student success, and focus on ensuring high levels of learning for ALL students in our schools.

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The Art and Science of Teaching Design Question Review

There are 9 Design Questions (DQs). Dr. Warrick has presented four at the two district-wide professional development days.


DQ 1: What will I do to establish and communicate learning goals, track student progress, and celebrate success?

Action Steps:


  1. Distinguish learning goals from learning activities
  2. Write a rubric or scale for each learning goal
  3. Have students identify their own learning goals
  4. Use formative assessments
  5. Have students track their own progress
  6. Recognize and celebrate growth



DQ 6: What will I do to establish and maintain classroom rules and procedures?

Action Steps:


  1. Organize the classroom for effective learning and interaction
  2. Establish rules and procedures for all aspects of the class



DQ 8: What will I do to establish and maintain effective relationships with students?

Action Steps:


  1. Through actions, let the students know that you care about each of them and the whole group.
  2. Get to know your students.
  3. Greet your students at the door
  4. Personalize the learning experience to bring in interests of the students



DQ 9: What will I do to communicate high expectations for all students?

Action Steps:


  1. Identify your expectation levels for students
  2. Examine your treatment of low expection students
  3. Make sure all students, including low expectation students, receive indications that they are valued and respected.
  4. Ask questions of low expectancy students
  5. When a student answers incorrectly, probe to determine where the student came up with the response.
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Have you attended a Solution Tree PLC Conference yet? See below for additional opportunities!

Did you know that 65 teachers have attended one or more of the Solution Tree PLC, RtI, and English Learner Conferences over the last year? Ask a colleague who has attended to share some of the new learning they gained at the conference with you! If you are interested in attending an upcoming conference, talk to your site administrator.

PLC One day Training in Lemoore (1/24/17 for K-6) or (1/25/17 for 7-12)

Tuesday, Jan. 24th 2017 at 8am to Wednesday, Jan. 25th 2017 at 8am

Lemoore, CA, United States

Lemoore, CA

Lemoore (1 day training)
Tuesday, January 24, 2017 - Elementary (K-6) 8:30am - 3:30pm
Wednesday, January 25, 2017 - Secondary (7-12) 8:30am - 3:30pm

Talk to your site administrator if interested in attending.

Solution Tree PLC Conference Las Vegas

Wednesday, June 7th 2017 at 8am to Friday, June 9th 2017 at 1:30pm

3570 South Las Vegas Boulevard

Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas, Nevada | June 7–9, 2017

Talk to your site administrator if interested in attending.

Solution Tree PLC Institute Minneapolis

Monday, July 24th 2017 at 8am to Wednesday, July 26th 2017 at 1:30pm

1301 2nd Avenue South

Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis, Minnesota | July 24–26, 2017
Talk to your site administrator if interested in attending.

Integrated and Designated ELD

English Learners

Thirty-three percent of the students attending Gustine Unified School District are English Learners. At the elementary levels, 51% of the students are English Learners. How are we supporting students as they move toward proficiency in English?

Designated ELD

All English Learners in the district get at least 30 minutes of designated ELD. During designated ELD the students are groups according to proficiency level and/or language strand.

Integrated ELD

Effective instructional experiences for ELs throughout the day and across the disciplines must:

• be engaging, meaningful and relevant, and intellectually rich and challenging
• be scaffolded to provide strategic support that moves learners toward independence
• build both content knowledge and academic English
• value and build and primary language and culture and other forms of prior knowledge

(Anstrom, and other 2010; August and Shanahan 2006; Francis, and others 2006; Genesee, and others 2006; Short and Fitzsimmons 2007)

EL students must be:

  • engaging in meaningful discussions to develop content knowledge in all classes/courses
  • applying comprehension strategies to understand content


Below is a link to "Academic Conversations" from the Teaching Channel, a great resource for accessing videos and resources on every subject/topic across grade levels.