Zwink Elementary

  1. PLC Story
  2. PLC Practices
  3. Achievement Data
  4. Awards
  5. Resources

Our PLC journey began long before the doors of Zwink Elementary even opened in August of 2012. We like to joke that we had the culture of our campus before the carpet was even picked out! In the earliest phases of construction on our new school, Principal Jenny McGown worked collaboratively with her guiding coalition to create a set of Core Values that would guide our purpose, mission and vision with unwavering focus. We set out on a great quest to create an exceptional learning community that nurtured greatness in every child, every day. Data projections from our feeder schools predicted that our students would only reach a 71% cumulative passing rate overall on end-of-year state accountability assessments. While we were solid on the WHY of our work, we knew the collective commitment of the PLC culture is what would drive our efforts in assuring all students were learning at high levels. Our mantra, High Expectations… High Support became the driving force behind every action. We dedicated ourselves to the collaborative process and the PLC model.  Through this focused commitment and the relentless belief in every child, we surpassed the projections with 85% overall at the end of our first year.  We had recovered 82% of students that had failed the state assessment in reading the year prior and 77% in math. We also earned distinctions from the State of Texas in Academic Achievement in Mathematics and Top 25% Student Progress.

The summer following our tremendously successful opening year, a team of 26 faculty members attended a district and national PLC Conference. We were so excited about session outcomes that while other schools might have been having dinners on the town, we gathered in our principal’s hotel room and shared learning far into the night. We reflected on how we could grow as a PLC culture and deepen our practice by moving from simply working together to becoming true teams that were completely dependent on each other to serve our students.  From this re-energizing of what the PLC model could truly mean at our campus, the idea to hold our own PLC mini-conference was born. Instead of traditional back to school professional development, faculty that attended the conferences were invited to present an engaging, interactive mini-session that highlighted what they felt were important aspects of the PLC culture.  Each day was greeted with a key-note from our principal, counselor or literacy specialist then teams broke out into sessions of their choosing. Teachers sharing their knowledge and passion for the PLC culture transformed our campus. The mini-PLC conference is still the tradition of opening week at Zwink. With each progressive year, the implementation of the right work of a PLC became clearer. Our continued success is most proudly measured by the elimination of the achievement gap in our fifth grade students, with 100% passing the state accountability measures in both 2014 and 2015. The same students that were predicted to perform far below mastery rose above and beyond expectations. Their success was the culmination of teams being focused on the why and in relentless pursuit of the how.  

At the end of our third year, many of the original members of the leadership team dispersed into additional roles within the district and beyond to help other schools build a culture of learning for all. The new Zwink administration and leadership team hasn’t skipped a beat! They have embraced and championed the PLC culture and are excited to continue the right work in service of High Expectations… High Support for every child, every day.

 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Monitoring student learning occurred weekly in team PLC collaborative meetings. Led by the Four Guiding Questions of the PLC, we addressed monitoring student learning by:

  • Identifying and reaching consensus on essential learning targets
  • Creating common formative assessments
  • Disaggregating data by student and by standard 
  • Creating a comprehensive, timely intervention plan for students not meeting mastery on essential learning
  • Developing extend and enrich opportunities for students that did reach mastery on essential learning targets

Plans for modification and accommodation for accessibility to on-grade level curriculum and assessments by students served with an IEP was drafted weekly as a collaboration between the team and the Special Education co-teachers. Teams used the district curriculum and state standards to determine essential learning targets that were “must knows”. We created common assessments from these focus targets to drive our instructional practices and to ensure all students reach mastery. Standardized assessment measures such as TPRI and DRA2 were used in addition to district benchmark and cumulative summative data to ensure a broad range of data reflected the success of our instructional practices. We disaggregated data by student and by standard and used it to determine which students needed additional engagement on the essential learning targets. Data was always reviewed with celebrations before we explored opportunities for growth. In year 2, we also shared mastery benchmarks and growth measures with students. Students then created their own data tracking binders and spreadsheets to set goals, create actions steps and celebrate when mastery targets were reached. Asking students to monitor their own successes and growth had a powerful effect on student efficacy and motivation.

In addition to weekly PLC tracking of student progress, Zwink created a weekly student case study meeting for students that were having continued difficulty reaching mastery or that were not responding to intervention. These meetings were collaborative in nature, and included administration, the counselor, case manager, teacher teams, and instructional specialists. The committee reviewed a student’s cumulative data, celebrated strengths and identified opportunities for growth. Discussion followed regarding all exhausted efforts to assist the student. Ideas for strategies, suggestions for additional authentic re-engagement opportunities, and instructional best practices were shared to create a customized plan for each child’s success. The committee kept close tabs on students and revisited their progress every three weeks. 

2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.

From our common formative assessments and benchmark data, we created targeted and focused intervention groups that addressed needs by student and by standard. A campus-wide “Power Hour” implementation began to take shape the second semester of our first year. This hour took place during the instructional day and was dedicated to providing students with additional time and support for mastery of essential learning targets. By Zwink’s second year, every team had designated a block of time for students to participate in shared learning for re-engagement, enrichment or extension. We held ourselves mutually accountable for the success of every student across grade levels. Teachers collaborated on who would lead each session based on their instructional strengths and worked together to plan engaging and meaningful learning activities. Students rotated to various teachers and classrooms to gain targeted skills. We continually monitored progress for mastery, so students were moved in and out of intervention as needed. We were far from perfect in our initial implementation, but the journey taught us so much! By year two, campuses across our region visited Zwink to observe our systems of ensuring every student received the intervention or extension. We also grew from the collaboration and creative problem solving discussions with the visiting campuses, and continually reflected on how to improve our implementation of the model. Our success came from the belief that all students can learn at high levels, and that it was our responsibility to take action to get them there. Creating a structure that provided students with additional time and support for learning led our campus to significant gains in student achievement, advanced academic performance, and narrowing the achievement gap. 

3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.

Collaborative time for teams is the priority when designing the master schedule each year.  In addition to common daily common planning times, each grade level team is provided 90 consecutive minutes within the school day each week to collaborate around the essential questions of a PLC. Creating high performing teams came from the understanding that protocols needed to be in place to help keep us on track during the collaborative process. Teachers worked together to create team norms and procedures that would guide their PLC meetings. Teams addressed through role play and discussion how they would notify each other of norms being broken and how to include everyone in discussions and decisions. We also intentionally practiced healthy conflict. Teams created agendas and templates to help keep them focused on the four guiding questions of a PLC. Creating the foundation and framework of productive collaboration helped teams function in a professional manner. In addition to each team having a weekly time designated for the work of a PLC, teacher learning and collaboration was embedded in Zwink’s culture. Instructional specialists hosted Z-60’s twice a month.  These hour long after school professional development sessions were focused on topics in response to campus needs. These were designed to be informal, teacher-led sharing of best practice. Book and article studies, guest speakers and campus based professional development were the focus of faculty meetings instead of sharing information, protocols or campus procedures. Opportunities were ongoing for teachers to work collaboratively to meet the needs of all learners. Teams were given an additional 3 hours during the school day every quarter to identify essential learning targets and create pacing calendars for curriculum implementation. Vertical planning teams met every quarter to align student expectations and share ideas. New faculty members were supported through monthly mentor/ mentee breakfasts that focused on instructional, behavioral and character building strategies. Bilingual teachers collaborated once a quarter to share language acquisition practices across grade levels and content areas. The leadership team met weekly to ensure we were providing targeted support to teachers and students. Technology bridged our collaborative efforts from school to home. Google Drive became a hub of sharing ideas and creating databases of instructional support and materials. Our ability to work together professionally evolved into being completely dependent on team efforts to accomplish our goals. 

Texas STAAR Assessment

2012-2013

Test

District

State

Campus

3rd Reading

86%

81%

85%

3rd Math

78%

70%

77%

4th Reading

80%

72%

86%

4th Writing

73%

70%

74%

4th Math

81%

69%

86%

5th Reading

86%

77%

87%

5th Math

85%

74%

87%

5th Science

81%

73%

77%

 Year One: Met standards in all categories of Student Achievement. Distinctions earned in Top 25% Student Progress and Academic Achievement in Mathematics. Recovered 82% of prior year failures in Reading and 77% in Math. 

 

Texas STAAR Assessment

2013-2014

Test

District

State

Campus

3rd Reading

82%

76%

86%

3rd Math

78%

71%

82%

4th Reading

82%

74%

93%

4th Writing

79%

73%

85%

4th Math

81%

71%

92%

5th Reading

93%

86%

100%

5th Math

96%

88%

100%

5th Science

83%

74%

86%

 Year Two: Met standards in all categories. Distinctions earned in Academic Achievement in Science, Top 25% Student Progress, Top 25% Closing the Achievement Gap, 100% passing in 5th grade Reading and Math gateway assessments. Passing percentages surpassed state level mastery between 10-21 points. Recovered 84% of prior failures in reading and 86% in math.

 

Texas STAAR Assessment

2014-2015*

Test

District

State

Campus

3rd Reading

84%

77%

88%

4th Reading

82%

74%

88%

4th Writing

74%

70%

82%

5th Reading

93%

87%

100%

5th Science

80%

72%

92%

 Year Three: Met standards in all categories. Distinctions earned in Top 25% Student Progress, Top 25% Closing the Achievement Gap, 100% passing in 5th grade Reading gateway assessment. Recovered 59% of prior failures in reading.

*Texas Math Assessments were not measured in 2014-15. No data available.

  • National School of Character, 2015 (5 year distinction)

  • State School of Character, 2015 (3 year distinction)

  • TEA Academic Achievement in Mathematics Distinction, 2013

  • TEA Top 25 Percent Student Progress Distinction, 2013, 2014, 2015

  • TEA Top 25 Percent Closing Performance Gaps 2014, 2015

  • TEA Academic Achievement in Science, 2014

  • No Place for Hate Campus designation, 2013, 2014, 2015

  • Walter Kase Service Recognition Nominee, Janet Watson, 2013

  • Superintendent’s Initiative Award, Joan Evans, 2013

  • Texas Principal’s Visioning Institute Klein ISD Representative, Jenny McGown, 2014-2015

  • Destination Imagination: Project Outreach Service Learning Regional and State Champions, 2015

  • Klein Education Foundation Innovative Grant Recipients, 2013, 2014, 2015

  • District Tier I Model Campus 2013, 2014, 2015

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