Category I Narrative

  • Submitted by Milford School District

    The annual strategic planning cycle integrates into the annual Consolidated Grant application process. This cycle is driven by a thorough analysis of the DSTP data and district assessment, and other student achievement data. Each school produces an annual strategic plan based on analysis of the prior strategic plan and as required by the district for the annual consolidated grant evaluation report. These analyses include disaggregating all DSTP data by grade and student subgroups (low income, special education, Hispanic, etc.)

    The content of the schools’ strategic plans are aligned to the district three year strategic plan. This content, comprised mainly of improvement initiatives under the district goals and objectives, are designed to address data trends identified by the school committee’s analysis by grade level and student subgroups.

    Milford School District’s process for curriculum development utilizes a continuous improvement process that includes assessments aligned to the state content standards and GLE’s. The student assessment data is analyzed to adjust instruction to meet the student’s needs. The District provides intensive staff development to assure that teachers are able to implement the adopted curriculum using the appropriate instructional approaches. Further, instructional units are designed beginning with essential learning and the big ideas that are the core of the content. These interrelated processes are all viewed as the alignment process.


    The three year DSTP data set for mathematics provided by DoE has been analyzed by the 502 Committee. In particular, the achievement data shows a generally increasing achievement gap for African American students through the grades. This gap is more pronounced for low income and special education students.

    Driven by current test score gains, the three year comparison of scores show increases by grade in low income and special education, at a magnitude greater than shown by all students over three years. LEP student scores at grade 3 decreased by 20 percent.

    Hispanic and African American students showed improvement in their scores at a rate considerably greater than white students, indicating that the achievement gap is closing.

    By grade level, mathematics scores improved over the three year period to a much greater extend at the higher grade levels. The upper grade levels started with lower scores, and therefore, had greater room to grow. Major gains were made at 10th grade by all student subgroups.

    Curriculuar Initiatives


    • Elementary school developed a math steering committee to make data based adjustments to the curriculum and plan staff development
    • District math assessments developed and implemented to use to collect diagnostic data for grouping students, particularly special education, African American and other student subgroups
    • Trailblazers has been aligned to GLE’s/ PI’s
    • Upgraded to second edition of Trailblazers
    • Implemented math facts in a flash to improve computation of low subgroups
    • Math lessons designed using diagnostic data from district assessments, with special focus on special ed., low income, and African American students
    • Extra time programs with instructional approaches and content designed to meet student needs identified during the school day programs

    Middle School

    • To better integrate instructional units, create consistent vocabulary and use similar instructional strategies for similar math skills, science and math teachers received cross training following an analysis of scope and sequence for overlap
    • Math curriculum enhanced by increasing instructional time to 90 minutes per day for all students, with students grouped according to DSTP data, focusing on student subgroups (special education, LEP, African American and other lower performing groups)
    • Students tested for diagnostic data using Star Tests, MAPP testing and district math assessments
    • After school tutorial provided to students based on diagnostic test results and classroom achievement, with mandatory requirements for special education and ESL students
    • Grade level meetings are held with staff to make adjustments to scope and sequence based on district assessment results
    • Continuing to adjust scope and sequence based on emerging State Recommended Curriculum
    • Teachers participated in an assessment cluster to increase the use of various forms of assessment in planning instruction
    • During the current adoption of CMP2, teachers are undergoing additional training
    • Science teachers trained on the effective use of TI-12 calculators
    • Renaissance resources are being introduced through training and implementation, including Accelerated Math and student responders
    • Incorporating the concept of essential knowledge into unit and lesson planning (part of UbD model training)
    • School participation in the school-based teacher leader program as a University of Delaware partner
    • Recently joined the Converging Curriculum Project for special education teachers
    • Our middle school math specialist is providing teacher leadership in organizing all of these initiatives as part of daily classroom protocol
    • Utilizing group planning for uniform implementation of strategies including warm-ups, extended response practice, and other techniques
    • Administrative leaders focus special attention on effective use of student assessments for instructional planning in teacher evaluations

    High School

    • All math teachers participated in district cluster on Six Traits to improve writing in the content areas
    • Implemented an incentive program to motivate students to do their best on the DSTP
    • As part of DSTP preparation leading up to test taking, students practice item types and math reasoning
    • Currently participating in staff development program on differentiated instruction
    • Students who did not meet the standard on the DSTP in grade 8 are required to enroll in Math Academy class
    • Students who scored a 1 on DSTP math receive an additional class (math support)
    • Special education and other “intermediate” level students are utilizing Cognitive Tutor, as software based curriculum on laptop computers
    • Class sizes are reduced for students in lower level math classes (Cognitive Tutor, DSTP math, etc)
    • Milford School District has added an additional math teacher at the high school to reduce class size
    • As with the middle school and elementary schools, teachers are being training and using Renaissance Responders for immediate instructional feedback to make lessons more effective
    • All students (except Honors) are double dosed in math (two math courses scheduled per year)
    • As with the middle school and elementary teachers, high school math teachers participated in the distinct assessment cluster
    • “After the Bell” program provided to students who need extra time for math prior to the DSTP
    • Teachers have participated in the benchmarking initiative a DoE
    • All mathematics teachers utilize district assessments as a diagnostic instrument for effective planning

    Reading / Language Arts / Writing

    The three year DSTP data set for reading / language arts and writing has been analyzed by the 502 Committee. In particular, the achievement data show a generally increasing reading score gap for African American increases through the grade, but shows a substantial decrease at grade 10. The score gap for Hispanic students increases without interruption through grade 10. These gaps are not reflected in the writing scores. In particular, writing scores for Hispanics are equivalent to white students, except the upper grades where they may slightly exceed those of whites. The gap in writing scores ranges from 11 at grade 10 to 19 at grade 7. For low income students, the score gap generally increases from early grades through high school, with a high reading gap of 20 for low incomes students and a high of 22 at grade 10.

    Three year trends in disaggregated writing and reading scores by grade show: large increases in writing scores at grade for all subgroups at grade 3 for writing, but only slight increases for reading; at grade 5 subgroups generally increased by 5 percent in reading and went down in writing by 8 to 10 percent, except for an increase of 10 for grade 10; at grade 8 increases were more substantial in reading with 27 for low income and 22 for African American, while writing only increase 6 for low income and fell 31 for special education; and at grade 10 the three year increase for African American students was 30 in reading and 20 for writing with low income students gaining 13 in both areas.

    Generally, three year increases in reading and writing scores were very good with a few exceptions. Gains in student subgroups allowed all Milford Schools to be rated superior or commendable, with the high school and middle schools coming out of improvement.

    Curricular and Instructional Initiatives


    • Software to assist ESL students in reading has been adopted for grades K – 2
    • Most elementary teachers participated in a Six Trains Writing cluster during 04-05
    • The primary reading program is supplemented by Renaissance programs including Accelerated Reader, English in a Flash, and Fluent Readers. These programs are utilized with student with low DSTP scores, especially low income, special education, Hispanic and African American students
    • District assessments were developed and implemented for reading and writing, including text-based writing prompts (matching DSTP format)
    • All teachers participated in an assessment cluster
    • Four block planning was adopted at the elementary level
    • Teacher leadership is enhanced by the appointment of reading and writing lead teacher
    • Pacing guides were rewritten by groups of teachers in light of new GLE’s
    • Teacher committees are working on rewriting language arts district assessments and are currently reviewing the district primary reading program for adoption of a new program
    • Instructional strategies have been adopted including SOAR, Reading Recovery, as well as other forms of comprehension strategies
    • Reading specialist are employed in each elementary school
    • Teachers participated in the Benchmarking process at DoE

    Middle School

    • Technology based curriculum used to measure fidelity of implementation, primarily Renaissance products
    • Students grouped heterogeneously for all ELA classes
    • All teachers participated in a year long staff development in Six Traits
    • Six Traits writing implemented for two years
    • Read and writing curriculum merged and implemented in a 90 minute daily instructional block
    • Developed and implemented enrichment and strategy classes for ELA to meet all ELA standards (i.e. public speaking for enrichment and reading strategies for struggling readers which includes students in the various subgroups
    • Changed TAM staffing and student grouping; special ed teachers assigned to content departments
    • Year-long staff developing initiative in CRISS
    • Administrators provide or participate in all staff development initiatives
    • Special education, low income, African American and ESL students who are not meeting the standard are provided after school tutoring with transportation
    • Participated in the MAP assessment (as a substitute for district assessments for one year, then dropped MAP)
    • Fluent Reader (Renaissance) implemented with all special education students and reading strategy classes
    • Implement English in a Flash (Renaissance) for ESL students
    • Trained all special education teachers to implement the Read Now program, which is used in summer school, also
    • Adopted the Holt reading series which includes interactive reading instruction
    • UbD staff development implemented with all language arts / reading teachers with Dr. Kae Keister as a consultant leading teachers in the development of essential understandings
    • Restructured ESL classes as push in with grade level ELA classes
    • Reading specialist pushes in all ELA / reading classes at all grade levels

    High School

    • All English teachers trained in Six Traits and Assessment clusters
    • Started on August 18 a staff development initiative focusing on differentiated instruction
    • Initiated STAR testing and district assessments
    • Implemented Accelerated Reader in 1999
    • Intensive staff development that included SSR, CRISS, Renaissance Responders, DEAR and Kyleen Beers inservice
    • Teacher participation in Benchmarking at DoE
    • Implemented reading writing and reading vignettes
    • Implemented the Holt language arts series which includes online essay scoring, adapted reading, audio CD’s, and text based prompts
    • “No Zero” homework policy
    • Weekly writing and reading vignettes
    • Reduced class size by adding an English teacher
    • Developed district assessments scored by Accel Test
    • Created new required classes for student who did not meet the standard (utilizing Read Now and Reading Strategies)
    • Revised district curriculum referred to as the Language Arts Blueprint

    Implemented a DSTP incentive program to motivate high school student to do their best on the DSTP

Last Modified on May 5, 2020