Hector P. Garcia

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

Changing the Culture: One PLC at a TIme

  The lives of the faculty and staff at Hector P. Garcia were changed with the beginning of  2013-2014 school year. It was then that our PLC journey began. Prior to this school year, Garcia operated with less than ideal standards in place.  There were noticeable islands instead of communities including divisions between grade levels and teams. A professional learning community was non existent. Obviously missing was a systematic process in which teachers worked together to reach a common goal focused on results. 

Under the leadership of our new principal, Sandra Reyes, we began the implementation of the PLC process.  Mrs. Reyes had attended the PLC Institute at her previous campus and saw the enormous need to implement this at Garcia. She understood the value of incorporating professional learning communities and how they elevated campus achievement. As Richard DuFour stated, “It just makes sense that we would accomplish more working collaboratively than we do working in isolation”. We began by creating the essential building blocks of a shared mission, vision, values, and goals. We would use these to drive decision making and lay the foundation from which a collaborative culture would emerge.

To begin the process we had to redesign a master schedule that would provide a common intervention time by grade level as well as a designated time for uninterrupted collaborative time.  We also revised our Special Education instructional model to include interventions and in-class support.  Data walls were created to track student achievement levels in reading.  Teams were charged with the task of creating SMART goals; goals that were strategic and specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, and time-bound. These goals focused on ensuring that all students learn at a high level, with a focus on results. Four critical questions would guide our goal setting:

  • What do we want each student to learn?
  • How will we know they have learned it?
  • How will we respond when there is difficulty learning?
  • How will we respond when a student gets it?

A shift in the culture of our campus began to emerge.

The state accountability report for 2013-2014 identified us as Improvement Required. Domains I - III demonstrated we had exceeded the target score.  Domain IV showed that we had not met the required target score by 3 points.  This was the first year for this index to be included for Elementary campuses which caused our IR rating.   In order to increase our scores we needed to go back to the critical questions.   PLC discussions were focused on content, common assessments, data analysis, and interventions. PLC teams created a culture which identified common areas of need and addressed them collaboratively.  The results were exciting.  Not only did we exceed the target scores for the 2014-2015 accountability report, we increased our

Domain IV score by 4 points. The campus also received a Distinction from the state for science.    This result led to a further commitment by the staff to embrace the professional learning community model.

In the summer of 2017 the district revised the Elementary master schedule to include an additional hour, two days a week for teacher collaboration.  We have chosen to have team planning on Tuesdays.  This allows teachers to focus on the creation of purposeful lessons that are designed to increase achievement.  ( Math Lesson Plan Template ELAR Lesson Plan Template, Science Lesson Plan Template)  Thursdays are now reserved for PLC meetings.  For the first time, vertical grade level teams are able to meet together and collaborate.  This opportunity has further connected the campus. Special Education and Functional Academic teachers join the discussions, as well as, the teachers responsible for extra activities. The PLCs at HPG are deliberate and structured to improve student learning. Following each common assessment, teachers use an action plan template designed by the HPG leadership team (HPG Action Plan Template and HPG Sample Action Plan).  This document gives them an opportunity to reflect on where the students are still struggling and plan for reteaching using best practices. Teachers set new goals for their classroom and then students analyze their own data and set personal goals for the next assessment.   The teachers dig deeper by reflecting on the way they teach as well as setting goals for themselves. These action plans are presented and goals are shared at the data PLC following the common assessment. 

Today,  the culture at Garcia is one of respect and acceptance where individuals feel supported and valued. It is now second nature for us to work as collaborative teams in order to ensure that all students learn at high levels, within a culture of collaboration, with  a focus on results.  The advantage of teachers collaborating has resulted in a gain in student achievement, stronger problem solving skills, increased confidence among staff, teachers in support of one another, staff and students alike being risk-takers, and other  best practices.   Teacher leaders have emerged and are now a key part of providing professional development on campus and throughout the district.  Their goals and aspirations have served to inspire others to achieve goals they previously thought unattainable.  These accomplishments are celebrated as a family.

The culture of our campus has undergone dramatic changes since we began our PLC journey.

To those of us that have been on campus through it all, it has been an amazing transformation.

We have truly built a culture of collaboration and believe that at  H.P. Garcia, teachers and students go hand and hand as connected, collaborative learners, or we don’t go at all.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Data Driven Planning for Student Success

Each grade level team is provided one hour of vertically aligned collaboration time once a week, in addition to our vertically aligned planning time. Administration is actively involved in all team collaboration meetings. Prior to the PLC, teachers are provided a PLC Agenda in order to come prepared with appropriate data to share with the team and discuss needs and goals. During our collaboration time, we focus on our four critical questions: 

1. What do we want each student to learn?

2. How will we know they have learned it? 

3. How will we respond when there is difficulty learning? 

4. How will we respond when a student gets it? 

 To address what we want students to learn, we use a road map. The district breaks down each grade level State TEKS specificity over the course of the school year and generates a road map. We follow the roadmap to ensure all TEKS are taught and use intervention strategies to spiral low performing TEKS. We also use CHAMPs campus-wide in conjunction with Restorative Discipline as behavior management tools to promote positive student behavior. We place heavy emphasis on behavior management in order to maximize student learning.

 Teachers use formative and informative assessments to ensure student mastery. Teachers write pre-planned high order thinking questions in lesson plans to check for understanding during the lesson. We also use exit tickets at the end of each lesson to determine who needs immediate intervention or who needs enrichment opportunities. Teachers use this formative data along with benchmark data to determine what TEKS need to be spiraled, retaught, or enriched.

 When students have difficulty learning, teachers have a multitude of opportunities to re-teach the low performing TEKS. Spiraling daily, small group, DI (Differentiated Instruction time), guided reading, guided math, centers which are aligned with state TEKS, tutoring, additional pull-out group sessions, and peer tutoring are among the methods utilized to meet students’ needs.

 When a student masters an objective or skill, they are provided enrichment opportunities to enhance what they have learned and stretch them further. Examples of enrichment opportunities are math Exemplars, project based learning opportunities, and opportunities to present to their peers.

 PLC meetings are held in a designated room where a data wall and vertical alignment are posted and available to teachers and staff at any time. Data analysis is the springboard for all PLC meetings. We frequently analyze formative and summative student data, academic, and behavior Tier 3 interventions. In addition, we analyze our performance on benchmarks in comparison to the other schools in our district so we can identify the areas in which we excel and where we need to provide additional support. The data is used to generate action plans for each teacher to address their weakest TEKS. After each benchmark, data action plans are created and presented by the teachers during the next PLC. In the action plans, teachers identify low performing TEKS and set goals with a date for expected mastery. The strategies teachers list in their action plans include but are not limited to spiraling TEKS, whole group, small group pull-out, RtI (Academic and Behavior Response to Intervention), extra pull-out group, guided reading, guided math, after school tutorials, and Saturday school. 

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

Interventions are interspersed throughout K–5 curriculum which are data driven to increase student academic achievement and maximization of social and emotional well-being of the whole child.

 DATA Based Decision Making

It is a collaborative process including monthly visits by the elementary curriculum directors and weekly PLCs amidst the principal, AP, IC’s, student service coordinator and classroom teachers to determine which is the best Tier to place the students based on data from universal screenings (classroom grades, TPRI, DRA, District Benchmark, STAAR Curriculum Based Assessments, Early Reading Skills Assessment, Renaissance Learning Reading and Math & other classroom instruments; e.g. google survey, Socrative, Quizziz, Quizzlet, Poll everywhere, Quizalize, Today’s Meet, Padlet, Google Classroom, Flipgrid, exit tickets, Do Nows). 

 Tier1

All students at Garcia elementary will have rigorous high quality core instructional support including differentiated instruction, small group, and other scientifically research based intervention strategies as approved by the district for students who are struggling to learn the core curriculum.  Frequently informal progress monitoring in order to evaluate if any student in Tier 1 needs to be served as a Tier 2 or Tier 3 student with more intense intervention strategies  (At this level we do not document the RTI intervention in skyward for the individual student/s and a meeting is not needed).

 Tier 2

RTI meetings will be scheduled with the designated campus coordinator, and progress monitoring checks will occur every three weeks.  Targeted strategic interventions will be provided for students who are performing below standards in academic and/or behavior domains.  90+ minutes a week for 6-12 week cycles.  Classroom teachers will document the RTI plan in Skyward, implement interventions with fidelity, and track student progress every 3 weeks.  (We will follow the district calendar for Progress Reports and Report Cards as our dates to check Skyward for progress monitoring.)  The campus coordinator will meet with teachers by grade levels during planning time one time per week-we will also discuss data during PLCs weekly.  During planning meetings we will discuss individual students in depth and discuss intervention strategies and change strategies if not working after 6-12 weeks; during PLC’s we will discuss group summaries and grouping and how to improve overall progress.

 Tier 3

Targeted strategic interventions are provided with more individualized, intensive, targeted interventions.  150+ minutes per week for 6-12 week cycles.  Classroom teachers are responsible for implementing interventions with fidelity and documenting progress in Skyward every week.

Multiple grade levels, such as K-2, 3-5 attend PLCs to communicate, collaborate and interchange ideas.  (e.g.: professional development, best practices, vertical alignment, ideas for action plans).  Educators model goal tracking and have students develop ownership and responsibility of learning by tracking their goals along with collaborating and conferencing with teachers in order to achieve their goals.   Students have a goal folder where they track their progress and are able to sign up for a conference with their teacher.  Instructors incorporate WOW (Within One Week) goals as a class and as individual students.  Goal tracking can consist of working on low TEKS, correcting behaviors and raising expectations.  Staff and students use  reading and math success walls to set goals and targets.  

 Response to Intervention

Response to intervention is embedded in the schedule three times a week for an hour.  Tutoring is twice a week for 45 minutes all year round, guided math and guided reading is done daily for 30 minutes each, certified interventionists and support staff pull out groups to work on interventions daily for ELAR, Math and Science for K-5.  Additionally, we offer Saturday school for two hours for STAAR testing grades 3-5 for reading, math and writing.  Our daily After School Centers on Education (ACE) allows for academic support and social skills development. The Functional Academic and SPED sections engineer life skills lessons three times a week to help students adjust to academic and social demands of society. Extra Specials (twice a week for an hour) concentrates on vocabulary, science, guidance and enrichment.  Our school counselor conducts guidance lessons twice a week to focus on social and emotional well-being skills.  STAAR testing grades rotate students to various teachers to review and reteach low TEKS to prepare students for the STAAR.

 Enrichment

An Enrichment hour is embedded daily during Response to Intervention time for Gifted and Talented as well as high achieving students in order to focus on project based learning, as well as, create videos for the Garcia Elementary Youtube channel. All About Parents videos are designed especially for Garcia Elementary parents to support students’  learning outside of the school day.  There are also student created tutorials, videos of happenings at school, and personalized playlists to encompass the Blended Learning Model. Hector P. Garcia was also the focus of our local news channel, KCEN. Here is the link to the video. Next year we are planning to begin a new program, Advancement Hour, to connect grade levels for scholarly student acquirement (e.g. Student led guided activities where K - 5 enrichment pupils launch student led discussion literacy circles, produce mathematical discourse and interchange of concepts.)

 Behavior Response to Interventions

 Behavior Expectations:

❖     Create a school wide behavior matrix (Behavior Intervention Response Model)

❖     Collaborate on values, priorities and essential outcomes (Best Practices, Champs, TBRI, Restorative Discipline)

❖     Target behavior based on evidence or data (Discipline Referrals Data, Minor Offense Report data)

❖     Generate a Tiered approach to intervention

    Tier 1: Addressing school wide behavior

  • Champs
  • Restorative Discipline (Respect Agreement)
  • Parent contact
  • Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

Tier 1

Faculty or staff members express concerns about a student’s behavior, repeated office referrals,  or absences to Principal, Assistant principal, andor School Counselor.  They then discuss an intervention plan using one or more of the following strategies: effective classroom management, effective instruction/academic supports, explicit instruction of expectations, positive reinforcement systems, restorative discipline techniques, student conference, foundations, CHAMPS, Community and Service Learning Activities, Why Try?, Kelso, Bully Blockers, Second Step, and MAPS.  The results may determine that the student needs to move to a TIer 2 intervention.

 Tier 2: Behavior RtI Process

  • Monthly RtI behavior meetings with K-5 teams
  • Teacher Professional Development on behavior strategies
  • Develop BIPs for students with recurrent behaviors
  • Continue documenting behaviors of concern
  • Conferencing with parents

Tier 2

The Campus RTI Team (Principal, AP, Counselor, Teachers, IC, ACE Coordinator) meets to develop Tier 2 Behavioral Interventions and develop a Behavioral Plan of Action.  Considerations may include: TBSI training, Safe and Civil School intervention materials, individual or small group counseling, referral to Skills Trainer (K-5 only), Mentoring, parent collaboration, Community/Service learning, increased academic supports andor instructional accommodations. The Campus RTI team may also consult with Communities in Schools and or the Foundations team.  The AP (assistant principal) or the counselor will then meet with parents and explain the purpose of Tier 2 Behavioral RTI.  The AP offers parents an opportunities to address student’s behavior through the counseling program and Tier 2 interventions.  The parents give signed permission for participation in counseling interventions.  Tier 2 interventions are documented in skyward and a Behavioral Plan of Action is developed for the student.  The School Counselor monitors student’s progress with the Campus Behavioral RTI Team and updates the Behavioral Plan of Action as needed.  The school Counselor consults with the Coordinator of Student Intervention Services and Counseling director.  The School Counselor reviews student progress with the director of Counseling and Coordinator of Student Interventions.   If the student responds to Tier 2 interventions, the School Counselor meets with RTI Team to evaluate student’s return to Tier 1 and the RTI Team develops a monitoring plan. 

If the student does not respond to Tier 2 interventions, then the student may be placed on Tier 3 interventions.

 Tier 3: Prevalent behavior

  • Possible referral for DAEP (Alternative School)
  • Parent meetings
  • Counseling
  • Possible referral to SPED/Dyslexia Program
  • Referral to Community Agencies

 Tier 3

The Campus RTI team meets with parents to develop a Tier 3 Intervention Plan, that includes a Behavior Intervention Plan. The school counselor meets regularly with the Director of Counseling and Coordinator of Student Intervention Services.  The counselor provides individual counseling and makes any necessary referrals to outside mental health services. At this tier, there is increased parent collaboration, parent education and parent conferences.  Students who do not respond to Tier 3 intervention will be evaluated by The County Resource Coordination Group (TRCG).  TRCG meets again with campus team to consult, adjust interventions and invite outside mental health agencies to consider a referral to the Bell County Community Resource Coordination Group (CRCG).

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

PLC’s

At Hector P. Garcia we ensure that all students learn at a high level, within a culture of collaboration, with a focus on results.

 Building teacher capacity as members of high performing collaborative teams is a major goal for our school.  At our campus, teachers are selected to represent each grade level and various subject areas to form our campus’ Site Based Committee. These committee members are the liasons that share data and professional development information to the rest of their grade level teams. They also collaborate with their respective teams to collect and share ideas, discuss needs, and disaggregate data with other grade levels and administrators.  Data from formative assessments is collected by the district and shared with the campus.  This data is compared with the teachers’ individual class data so that the teacher can develop action plans.  These action plans organize the spiral review of lowTEKs and address new strategies for reteaching concepts.  (Action Plan Data ).  Students are constantly regrouped and reassessed to receive intervention needed to attain mastery of these skills.

 PLC meetings are held once a week for two hours.  Meetings are attended by two grade levels, ( K -1, 2-3, 4-5), ICs, administrators and ,at times, guest Professional Development presenters. The pairing of grade levels allows for vertical alignment discussions that improve student interventions and grade level practices.  The recorder takes notes of each meeting and then sends notes to faculty members at the end of the day.  Though the meetings have focused agendas, there is time within the schedule for discussion and questions (PLC Notes).

 Our experience working within our PLC has dramatically changed how we do business at Hector P.Garcia.  The process has also had a hand in creating teacher leaders.  We have taken ownership of our own teaching and learning.  Although the principal, assistant principal, and IC are all involved in every PLC, the expectation is that the grade level teams are responsible for facilitating the meeting through discussion, professional development, and collaboration.  Professional development is determined by the needs of our teachers and areas that require clarity and resources.  The instructional leaders acknowledge the different levels of experience and skills of each teacher and plan professional development accordingly. Professional development plan We also give every teacher the tools needed to help their grade level and vertical teams become a high performing collaborative staff. Teachers vertically align in order to support each other regardless of grade or content.

 Not only are we responsible for upholding the expectations of our PLC’s, we are encouraged to share our campus professional development and practices at a district level.  As a district, all teachers are given the opportunity to participate in an informational workshop prior to the beginning of the new school year.  It is part of the yearly convocation for our district.  Data and professional development related to our PLC’s are shared at the Excellence in Education Conference.

 One of the many rewards of PLC collaboration is witnessing the growth that former and current students have made from one grade level to the next.  Student growth is not only measured by academic learning, but also in the child’s self worth and building of self esteem.  Like our PLCs, if you were to walk into our classrooms you will see our students presenting, creating and encouraging each other. Every day teachers encourage positive behavior during hallway transitions, lunch and recess times.   Compliments are given and classrooms are rewarded for their positive behaviors.  We refer to this as students being CHAMPS in their school.  Every morning you will see our administration team in the hallways greeting our students and teachers as they begin their day.  Once everyone is settled into their classrooms, they will come on over the intercom and welcome us one more time along with a ‘Morning Corney.’    Every six weeks we have what we call CHAMPS day.  Students are recognized for outstanding grades, attendance, meeting their Accelerated Reader goals, Wildfacts (Math), Citizenship, and Student of the Month.  Parents and community are encouraged to attend these special moments.  Aside from our teachers and staff, we are fortunate to have members of our community serve as mentors for our youth.  As an overall community, it is of utmost importance to every teacher to connect with the citizens that we serve.

 “Learners today, Leaders tomorrow!”

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Our 4th grade STAAR writing results fell from 68% in 2015 to 51% in 2017. As a result of our descending scores we implemented new curriculum and  provided professional development which included Empowering Writers and The Writing  Academy across all grade levels. Our writing focus was changed to include 75% of instruction on revising and editing and 25% on composition. Preliminary results for the 2017-2018 year show our writing scores at 53%, a gain of 4%. 

Below are the 2017-2018 preliminary STAAR results. Growth was demonstrated in all content areas. We contribute this to the PLC processes that are imbedded in our school.

 

 

2017

 

2018

 

+/-

3rd Grade Reading

57%

80%

+23

3rd Grade Math

64%

65%

+1

4th Grade Reading

60%

65%

+5

4th Grade Math

63%

73%

+10

4th Grade Writing

49%

53%

+4

5th Grade Reading

65%

65%

 

5th Grade Math

77%

88%

+11

5th Grade Science

59%

68%

+9

 

State Distinction in Science 2015

Met State Standard-2013,2015,2016,2017

Highest growth in 2015 in all domains

TISD Elementary Teacher of the Year Award Winners: 2014, 2015, 2017 

TISD Elementary True Blue Award Winner: 2016

TISD Food Drive Winner: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

 

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