Hector P. Garcia

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

Changing the Culture: One PLC at a Time

    Our lives at Hector P. Garcia were changed with the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year. It was then that our PLC journey began. Prior to then, Garcia operated with less than ideal standards in place. 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. We now have a systematic process that fosters mutual cooperation, emotional support, and personal growth as teachers and staff work together to achieve what we cannot accomplish alone.

 Our school continues to focus on the 3 big ideas that drive the work of a professional learning community, enabling us to put practices in place. We continue to increase student achievement due to the shift of our focus from teaching to student learning. When you walk into our classes, you will see students engaged in a blended learning environment which fosters ownership, innovation, and reflection. 

We continue to follow our redesigned master schedule that provides a common intervention time by grade level as well as a designated time for uninterrupted collaborative time. Our focus this year was to improve our intervention block by  participating in a book study on Taking Action: A Handbook for RtI at Work by Austin Buffum, Mike Mattos and Janet Malone (2018). We also purchased Global PD from Solution Tree to provide additional support.

Our next step was to advance to the next level of PLC practices by drilling deeper into the PLC processes by:

  • Defining the greatest area of need for students on the team, which will give the PLC a focus for its work, and to provide immediate feedback to inform real-time instruction and improve student learning.  Teachers create an action plan for their current reality and provide and explore new approaches that increase higher levels of student achievement

  • Continuing to coach collaborative teams to improve their teaching practices

  • Monitoring the teams progress

  • Providing feedback on lesson plans, walk-through observations, additional time for teachers to observe their peers, and to encourage risk taking without fear of failure

  • Celebrating the team’s improvement and successes

 

This has pushed us into exploring new approaches that promote higher levels of student learning. A shift in the culture of our campus has continued to develop. We have implemented a new initiative of personalized learning.  It is about putting the child at the center of instruction and taps into their strengths, needs and interests to support student voice and choice.  (Personalized Model) These approaches led to a further commitment by the staff to embrace the professional learning community model and continue the collaboration that has brought such success.

Our revised master schedule now includes an additional hour twice a week for teacher collaboration. This allows teachers to create purposeful lessons that are designed to increase achievement.  ( Math Lesson Plan Template ELAR Lesson Plan TemplateScience Lesson Plan Template)  Thursdays are  reserved for PLC meetings to address:

  • Instructional materials which allow for differentiated path, pace, and performance tasks

  • Instruction which aligns to specific student needs and goals

  • On-going student reflection which promotes ownership of learning

  • Frequent data collection which informs instructional decisions and groupings

Teachers use these action plan templates following district and campus assessments: (HPG Action Plan Template and HPG Sample Action Plan).   Teachers reflect on where the students are struggling and plan for reteaching using best practices. Teachers set new goals for themselves, then students analyze their own data and set personal goals for the next 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. 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.  It has been an amazing transformation for those of us that have been on campus through it all. We have truly built a culture of collaboration and believe 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.

Monitoring Student Learning

In order to monitor student learning on our campus, teachers have deep, collaborative discussions about the key questions below which are associated with learning:  

1. What do we expect each student to learn?

2. How will we know what students are learning? 

3. How can we assist and support student learning? 

4. How can we recognize and celebrate student learning? 

To address what we expect students to learn, we implement a district-provided road map with fidelity. We follow the roadmap to ensure all TEKS are taught and use intervention strategies. Teachers use formative and informative assessments to ensure student mastery. Teachers use this formative data along with benchmark data to determine what TEKS need to be spiraled, retaught, or enriched. Students will have differentiated activities to master TEKS. Among the methods utilized to meet students’ needs are spiraling lessons daily, small group instruction, guided reading, guided math, targeted stations, tutoring, additional pull-out group sessions, peer tutoring, and blended learning opportunities.

Our campus vision for Blended learning is to transform the academic experience by creating an environment that fosters ownership, innovation, and reflection.  https://youtu.be/uaL1D378sEk

Our hybrid model focuses on: 

  1. Station Rotation-after face to face lesson, students rotate through learning stations where at least one of the activities is online/digital.  Teachers work with students in small groups or individually to target learning needs.

  2. In-Class Flip-after a face to face introduction, students watch a video of a lesson during class as one planned activity.  Teachers work with students in small groups or individually to target learning needs.

  3. Flex-students work through a playlist of learning objectives or activities within a lesson, unit, or full course.  Teachers work with students in small groups or individually to target learning needs.

Teachers conference with parents and students to set goals for individualized learning plans according to TEKS mastery. When a student masters an objective or skill, they are provided enrichment opportunities to enhance what they have learned and stretch them further. This year, in order to differentiate lessons, we began using targeted video lessons in the classroom as part of the blended learning model to reinforce and enrich lessons taught in class.

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

Systems of Intervention

Hector P. Garcia has a systematic approach using a response to intervention handbook (2019), which inverts the intervention pyramid allowing students to track their progress and acknowledge their responsibility for learning.

DATA Based Decision Making

In 2019, our campus utilized a personalized learning approach allowing instant diagnostic information and student feedback.  Based on data, the RTI committee determines which is the best Tier to place the students.Through choice boards and product choices, teachers rapidly analyze, review and give feedback to student work, thus allowing them to adjust teaching methods and feedback for each student while improving time efficiency. Due to the flexibility of blended learning, students  learn at their own pace allowing a teacher to facilitate the learning process or give more advanced resources to students who master their TEKS.   

Tier1 = (80%) Prevention Enrichment in core curriculum

Blended learning is a TISD initiative incorporating student ownership, flexible learning environments, innovative instruction and integrated content resources.  These elements give students control over time, place, path, or pace. Informal progress monitoring happens frequently, 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. Tier 1 also includes interventions for behavior using a school wide system approach for expectations and guidance on values, priorities and essential outcomes.

Enrichment

Enrichment hour is embedded daily during Response to Intervention time for Gifted and Talented and high achievers focusing on project based learning, videos are created for HPG school Garcia Elementary Youtube channel.  These videos are designed to  support students’ learning outside of the school day and  inform the community of school happenings.  

Tier 2 = (15%) Supplemental Interventions & Extensions

Classroom teachers document the RTI plan in Skyward for 6-12 week cycles for 90+ minutes a week and track student progress every 3 weeks.  The campus coordinator meets with teachers once a week. During planning meetings we analyze individual students data and intervention strategies.  During PLC’s we discuss group summaries and grouping and how to improve overall progress. Intervention is embedded in Gator time (3 times a week for 1 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.   Daily After School Centers on Education (ACE) allows for academic support and social skills development.

When modifications to behavior are necessary, the counselor meets with the teachers and students to provide guidance on targeted behavior.

Tier 3 = (5%) Intense Remediation and Intervention

Targeted strategic interventions provide individualized, intensive, interventions of 150+ minutes per week for 6-12 week cycles.  Classroom teachers differentiate interventions with fidelity and document progress in Skyward every week. When students aren’t successful with one type (12 weeks) of intervention then educators will implement another type in order for students to be successful.  A systematic approach for behavior remediation is conducted through Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs).

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

Building High Performing Collaborative Teams to Focus Efforts on Improved Student Learning

 
Since starting the PLC journey, we have continued to build teacher capacity as members of high performing collaborative teams.  The Site-Based Decision Making Committee collaborates with their grade level team to collect and share ideas, discuss needs, and disaggregate data with other grade levels and administrators, (PLC Notes).  These committee members are the liaisons that share data and professional development information to the rest of their grade level teams.  Data from formative assessments, both district and state level, is collected by the district and given to the campus to compare with the teachers’ individual class disaggregated data along with teacher action plans to spiral low TEKs (Action Plan Data ).  

Our experience working within our PLC has done an excellent job in creating teacher leaders.  We have refined the PLC experience for our teachers by inviting and collaborating with consultants, teachers from other campuses and various departments within the district. Although, the principal and assistant principal are involved in every PLC, the expectation is that the grade level teams are responsible for facilitating the meeting through discussion, professional development, and collaboration (Teacher PD for PLC).  Professional development is determined by the needs of our teachers and areas that require clarity and resources.  Hector P. Garcia acknowledges the different levels of experience and skill of each teacher and plans professional development accordingly.  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.

One of the many rewards of PLC collaborations 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. Since implementing personalized learning, students have taken ownership of their work.  Like our PLCs, if you were to walk into our classrooms you will see our students presenting, creating and encouraging each other. Daily, teachers encourage positive behavior during hallway transitions, lunch and recess times.  We refer to this as students being CHAMPS in their school. Every morning our administration team is in the hallways greeting our students and teachers as they begin their day. Every six weeks we have what we call CHAMPS day which is a day of celebrating both students and teachers.  Students are recognized for outstanding grades, meeting their Accelerated Reader goals, Wildfacts (Math), Citizenship, Student of the Month, behavior and attendance. SInce attendance continues to be a huge initiative on our campus, teachers and administration work in conjunction with parents to ensure our students are in school.  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 community.

“Learners today, Leaders tomorrow!”

 

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

It is evident that the culture of collaboration has made an amazing difference in the success of our students as demonstrated by the new 2017-2018 state accountability system.  Under this new system, we achieved met standards in all areas with an overall score of 83% which was a B rating. One of only four campuses in our district received this score. Our rating was higher than our overall district rating of a C. Hector P. Garcia also earned distinctions for Academic Growth and Closing the Gaps.   These results led to a further commitment by the staff to embrace the professional learning community model, new district Blended Learning initiative, and the campus RtI focus, all of which have brought the school success.

Below are the 2017-2018 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%

76%

+19

3rd Grade Math

64%

65%

+1

4th Grade Reading

60%

60%

Same

4th Grade Math

63%

73%

+10

4th Grade Writing

49%

53%

+4

5th Grade Reading

65%

68%

 +3

5th Grade Math

77%

88%

+11

5th Grade Science

59%

70%

+11

State Distinction earned - Top 25 percent Comparative Academic Growth 2018

State Distinction earned - Top 25 percent Comparative Closing the Gaps 2018

State Distinction in Science 2015

Met State Standard-2013,2015,2016,2017,2018

Highest growth in 2015 in all domains

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

TISD Principal of the Year Winner: 2018

TISD Elementary True Blue Award Winner: 2016

TISD Food Drive Winner: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

Temple Rotary Club Teacher of the Month Awards: 2018, 201

 Highest Student Attendance Rate in TISD:  2018-2019

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