WHITE OAK PRIMARY SCHOOL

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

Our PLC Story

White Oak Primary School is a PK-2 campus in White Oak ISD.  We are located in the piney woods of East Texas.  White Oak is a small 3A district in the community of White Oak, Texas. The district has strong community support and is known for pride, tradition, and educational excellence.

Our journey to working as a high performing professional learning community started 10 years ago.  At that time, we found extremely talented teachers, working together, often in isolation. Common planning time was established and built into a master schedule.  During common planning, grade levels met and discussed good ideas, made individual lesson plans, and discussed what they were doing in their classrooms. Teachers were committed to literacy practices and worked with their students to reach expected levels at Tier 1. However, this was often a competition between teachers in a grade level. Our interventions included dyslexia support, Reading Recovery, and literacy groups. The RTI process was driven by the special education department with forms that had to be completed in order for students to get support.  In order to build a shared understanding and a common commitment, we began our transformation to a professional learning community serving all students at high levels by recognizing what was already right with our school.

We created a "Leadership Team" to build leadership capacity within our campus and develop plans for improvement.  Once our leadership team could articulate our mission, needs, and plan for the future, we were ready to begin a change process.  Our leadership team was charged with helping a campus already known and admired for practices in literacy and technology, to understand how we could become better by working together to achieve the goal of higher levels of learning for all students.

At White Oak Primary School today, we have a collective commitment to our mission of serving all kids at high levels. Teachers support students within and across grade levels. Students are seen as “Our Kids” not “ My Kids”   Our campus is committed to a balanced literacy approach to teaching reading, developing the concept of number and numeracy, seamless technology integration, intervening quickly and in the most efficient way possible by using multiple sources of data, extending learning, and proactively teaching classroom and schoolwide behavior expectations.  Our beliefs and practices are all connected to a common goal of teaching all of our kids to think and problem solve. We work as one team with a common commitment to each and every student mastering essential standards in academic subjects as well as behavior. We track the progress of all students in reading and math and ensure that we have systematic processes so that students enter and exit intervention and extension at the earliest possible point in time.

Facilitating a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Reading:

Our reading program has been established for 20 years.  It is a way of thinking (vision)  from which we don’t deviate.  We know what we believe is right and the results we get are true.  Many districts, in our state, have dropped one reading initiative after another looking for a “magic bullet” or “program” to teach young children to read.  We have held on to our belief that balanced literacy and support of our key interventions will always be our direction.  We believe our students deserve it all.

 Our structures, procedures, communication, and interventions support our way of working.  Our reading interventionists serve as “Reading Coaches” and have frequent communication with teachers.  They train all new teachers and provide professional development throughout the year. We continuously improve through in-district training, conferences, and communication.

We have made small changes to our management system that make the work easier to manage in the classrooms, but don’t change the outcome of “our work.”  This week we received a call from a neighboring district asking what program we use to introduce letters/sounds in kindergarten. The response from the kindergarten teachers was incredible.  Their first answer was, “there is no program, we introduce them everywhere.” They went on to describe their way of working and their data: 80% of our kindergarten students know at least 75% of all letters and sounds in October.  Even more impactful, our kindergarten students are reading real books and applying their knowledge of letters, sounds, words, and phrases with meaning. This has been a process and a slow change from having all students working on a single letter for an entire week, whether they knew the letter or not.  The literacy program supports and is supported by interventions. Our classroom teachers teach in collaboration with interventionists. There a constant dialogue and communication with common language between them. They align instruction, monitor progress, and ensure that interventions are translating into improved outcomes and mastery of essential standards.

The campus used the success in reading as guiding practices as all areas of the school were reviewed for continual improvement.

Math:

The math program at White Oak Primary School has evolved over the last 10 years.  Initially, we used a textbook to drive instruction.  Like many schools, we tried various methods.  Each seemed to have gaps and didn’t address number sense and many of our essential knowledge and skills adequately.  Teachers were forced to use different sources to fill in holes in the curriculum.  Recognizing a need for a comprehensive approach to teaching math, we reached out to our Assistant Superintendent for assistance. We asked her to help us find an elementary school “doing great work” in math. It was important to study schools being successful rather than “find” a program”. With this in mind, she reached out to other members of “The High-Performance School Consortium,” in Texas.

Our success in reading had shown that in order to be prescriptive and reach high levels of learning with students we would need the support of an interventionist who could also serve as a coach. We established a math intervention/technology integration teaching position and began the search for best practices.  

We found a school, saw their program, and realized what we needed.  With the support of district administration, the knowledge of the systems we use in reading that work, and the information we learned from other schools we started the change process.  We use a combination of resources and implemented “Number Talks” because they are critical to developing number sense. “Number Talks” consists of classroom conversations that help prepare our students to be mathematically proficient and compute accurately, efficiently, and flexibly. This year we added a “math running record,” similar to running records used for text level reading, as a universal screener.  We adapted a math running record initially developed by Dr. Nicki Newton for our purposes to assess math fluency and mathematical “thinking.” It has helped our teachers understand how our students are processing and thinking and what tools work best for them. We will use three times this school year. The data provides us with important information on how our students are understanding the concept of number and how to structure “Number Talks” to re-visit or re-teach important strategies that our students may have missed.

Interventions

Our data from Kindergarten beginning year screeners and TPRI showed many students with severe fine motor issues and our state has placed an increased focus on dyslexia screening for kindergarten students.  In order to meet this need, we added another level of intervention.  We hired an early interventionist for kindergarten.  She works with our youngest learners experiencing difficulty with fine motor skills (pencil and scissor grip,) spatial awareness, and the basics of letter/sound awareness. This interventionist/coach can address and fix some fine motor issues before bad habits are established and become permanent. She also gives us valuable data to determine if there is an indication that dyslexia screening is needed. This level of support required a change of thinking from intervention to prevention.  If we can support our youngest learners early enough, they may not need intervention later.

Assessment:

Our assessment practices have slowly evolved. We began collecting data through running records on all students twenty years ago.  We have “Reading Profiles” that show a picture of a student’s reading and writing abilities in kindergarten, first and second grade.  Our running records and our Texas Primary Reading Inventory data gives us the information we need to intervene early on a student by student basis.  We now use our data to monitor reading and ensure mastery of our essential knowledge and skills and target interventions. Over the last several years, we have trained in “Backward Design Planning” and the use of formative assessments to drive instruction.  We use monthly data meetings to determine the effectiveness of our Tier 1 practices. Our assessment process includes universal screeners, common assessments, formative assessments, benchmarks, checks for understanding, intervention progress monitoring, and reading and math progress monitoring.

Collaborative Planning:

In 2014, we built “The Four Questions Essential for Learning” in our lesson planning template.  The template now serves as a planning guide and alignment document.  I often describe sitting with teams, when we started our journey, and asking them to articulate what we want students to learn, as “crickets to conversations.” The teams had a broad understanding,  knew of the questions, but could not put what we wanted students to “learn” vs what we were “teaching” into words.  In the beginning, our answers were very simple and many times teachers could not tie to a standard. We were teaching units or topics, not standards.  This has been an evolving process.  Now we have a working template we adjust often and tie to essential standards.  This process has been the most critical and impactful of our change process into a professional learning community. The grade level specific template wraps everything into one user-friendly document. It serves as a lesson plan, alignment document for TEKS, scope and sequence, and idea station for our teachers. Each member of the team has a role in adding to resources and activities. A copy of a template is included in the resources tab of this application. The template does not include “Guided Reading” lesson plans. The plans and notes from guided reading lessons are turned in on a separate form.

Ongoing Professional Development:

In 2012, our superintendent announced our districtwide initiative to transform classroom instruction. In 2013, all administrators in White Oak ISD attended a PLC at Work Institute.  Our district-level administrators committed to the work of a professional learning community. With the support of our district, our campus has made continuous improvement to where we are today. Our district's commitment includes district-wide training from Austin Buffum, Eric Jenson, Angela Maiers, Ken Williams, Dana Laur (Project Based Learning) and a book study on “Every School, Every Team, Every Classroom.” We have also benefited from continuous campus-based training from Paula Rogers. As a campus, we have also had teams attend an “RTI at Work” institute in 2015, and local training on “The Four Questions” with Chris Jakicic, this year. We supported the belief in continuous and embedded professional development by adding in 4 professional learning collaborative days in our district calendar.  We have used the days to train each other in Conscious Discipline, technology tools, Number Talks, Guided Reading, how to establish essential standards, “Backwards Design” planning, and several other topics.

Our district was selected as one of 25 schools in the state for “The Texas High-Performance School Consortium” in 2012.  One of the charges of this consortium was to re-write the learning standards and assessment system in Texas.  The proposal of the consortium was vetoed by the governor.  Since that time, our superintendent has led the charge to have state assessments that inform learning. Our campus feeds into White Oak Intermediate School. Our students perform well above state and local performance standards on the STAAR tests.  However, we strive for students to understand one test does not define them. We truly believe when kids are challenged to think at high levels, problem solve at high levels and have individual needs met in both academics and behavior, the state test will take care of itself.

PLC Practices

In order to establish a guaranteed and viable curriculum for our students, we had to determine our essentials.  Our Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills are split into Readiness, Supporting, and Process standards.  The Readiness Standards are the established “critical standards” for each grade level. We worked, over several years, to determine our essential standards.  

We have established essential standards for reading and writing and reading application (literacy) expectations.  Our essentials are standards that are crucial for each grade level and the grade levels to follow. We monitor mastery of our essentials in grade level meetings (weekly), data review (monthly), and through frequent grading discussions.

 Our expectations for reading involve reading with accuracy, fluency, and comprehension at level 6 by the end of kindergarten, level 10 by mid-year first grade, and level 16 by the end of first grade, and reading a 22-24 by the end of the second-grade year.  Our teachers, interventionists, aides, and administrators understand the reading levels and the skills and processes necessary to read at certain levels. We assess through running records every two weeks for below level readers, every 4 weeks for on level readers, and every 6 weeks for above level readers. Monitoring learning is easily accomplished through small group instruction in reading (Guided Reading) and math (Guided Math,)anecdotal notes, and frequent assessment.

Our established standards in math are crucial (have to knows) for the current grade level and grade levels to follow.  We have built our belief in establishing the concept of number and problem solving into our essential standards for math. We have a common assessment 3 times per nine-week period to monitor our essentials and benchmarks at the end of each nine-week grading period.

Our RTI process is a very dynamic process.  Nothing is off the table for helping kids. Our process involves all of our grade level teachers, interventionists, and leadership team members.  We use multiple sources of data to determine the targeted interventions for individual students.  We monitor progress frequently and then our students move in a dynamic fashion through our tiers. Students can be served in one tier or all tiers, based on their need. Interventions are based on the needs of students, not forms.  It is important and critical to discussions for us to stick to meeting norms, an agenda, and have our data before the meeting starts.  In the meetings, we are “child first.”  We will say, “tell me what you notice about Johnny?” I’m asking teachers to see the child and the way he or she processes and uses strategies, so we might intervene specifically by the student, by the standard, and by the target.  We use their data to support and discuss the picture of the child and why he or she is not learning.  We have moved, through the years, from a form driven method of getting children on the path to special education to a process of identifying why a student is not learning and, as a team, finding solutions.

In 2012, we created a reading level data wall.  The data wall is a visual means for us to cross check the reading level of students, how some are responding to interventions, and make sure all students are progressing.  It helps keep us all accountable for monitoring student progress frequently. We now use a Google version of the wall.  It is used in data meetings, intervention discussions, and RTI.  All stakeholders understand our reading levels. We discuss them frequently to ensure students are performing in the classroom as they are in intervention sessions. It is common to hear interventionists, teachers, instructional aides, and administrators discussing levels, fluency, processes like cross-checking and re-reading, getting words started, and making meaning. A video of a team discussing data from the assessment “wall” is included.

Now, we are establishing common vocabulary with math.  Our interventionists and teachers discuss tools necessary for efficient problem solving, subitizing, friendly numbers, how students found an answer, and great mistakes students learn from.

Our grade level teams meet for common planning weekly.  Our RTI teams, grade level leaders, and leadership team meet monthly.  Our data meetings occur two times during a grading period. We are constantly trying to make meeting times impactful for teachers and students.  

Creating Systems of Intervention and Extensions to Provide Students with Additional Time and Support for Learning

We have systems of interventions in place to serve students in the best way possible for their needs.  At the beginning of the year, our interventionists meet to discuss universal screeners, testing, and information from the previous year.  We carefully pick through the data to determine interventions that would serve our students and their methods of processing information.  For instance, a student experiencing difficulty with one or several reading/writing processes may receive intervention from Reading Recovery, literacy groups, fine motor groups, Kindergarten Early Literacy, Dyslexia groups, ReadLive groups, Hearbuilder, Learning Ally, fine motor, and ESL groups.  We also consider if weight, wiggle seats, movement, alternate seating, positive behavior charts, and other tools would be helpful.  We offer math intervention for students experiencing difficulty in the concept of number and mathematical processing. Our interventionists are charged with communicating with classrooms teachers to make sure students are receiving the right interventions at a good time of day.

This year, our campus is placing more focus on “Question 4” and extensions for learning.  We have access to the technology tools we need for research and extending learning outside the classroom.  We have built “Genius Hour” into our schedules to allow our students to have self-selected topics of interest with which to research and learn.  We are also using SeeSaw to give our students a format to share their learning in real time.

Our methods for intervening well for students is told in the story of one little girl.  This little girl, I’ll call Ann, came to us two years ago.  Her speech/articulation was so unintelligible, you could not understand or hold a conversation with her.  Her mother told us of many behavior issues at previous schools which caused her to be suspended and sent home frequently. She had everything against her, homelessness, drugs in the home, sexual abuse, and low expectations. She had outbursts (screaming, throwing things, hiding under desks)when she was upset.  We made a plan for her, but more importantly, we went “all in” in forming relationships with her. During her first fit, we told her, “you are here now, you are ours, and we love you, and...you aren’t going home!” We never sent her home.  She was used to that. Our interventions and the love and patience of her classroom teacher are what saved her.  We didn’t wait half a semester for speech testing or reading intervention. We started immediately! Ann made slow and consistent progress in her first year. She loved our male assistant principal and her teachers. Her speech teacher bought her clothes, Christmas presents, and sometimes paid bills. Her reading teacher connected with a church group for furniture and needed items.  Our transportation director made sure she had breakfast when he picked her up from a hotel she lived in for a while. She gave me a hug every day and before she left I told her I loved her.  In year two, her only service was speech. She was on level in reading and above level in math. Her speech was greatly improved and we were able to hold conversations. Her mom had to move again at the end of her second-grade year, so we lost her in May.  We know she left us with everything she needs to be successful in school.

We are not a wealthy district, but we offer many options for helping students.  We have several beneficial interventions and our classroom teachers are masters at intervening at Tier 1. They know our students because they take the time to build relationships, assess well, and work with them in small groups.  Our classrooms are not filled with new furniture.  They are filled with flexible seating options purchased through grants, fundraiser funds, and local funds. Some are teacher made. We have options for sitting work, standing work, and for workers on the move. Our students are OUR students. We believe in the power of positive relationships. We have established a committee on our campus called “The Acorn Squad.”  We borrowed the term from the quote, “Mighty Oaks Grow from Little Acorns.” Our mighty oaks of White Oak were once little acorns. Our “Acorn Squad” adopts students, referred by teachers, to give extra care. They make sure they connect daily, show the students they matter, ask about their personal lives, and help them feel safe at school.    In our primary school, we feel it is critical for students to feel safe at school.  We proactively teach classroom and schoolwide expectations through CHAMPs. By teaching our students our expectations for classroom activities, transitions, and all locations in the building, they feel more secure and safe. We promote a positive and supportive campus culture through having our students participate in “Wee Deliver” an encouraging letter-writing campaign, morning announcements, reminders of “You Matter,” and “bucket fillers.”  Our young students are leading our parent conferences this year. They will discuss their goals, things for which they are most proud, teach their parents about reading and math strategies, and discuss things they are working to improve.

Building Teacher Capacity to work as members of high-performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students

We have held on tightly to our commitment to common planning time.  Our teachers have an additional 30 minutes of planning connected to “specials” which gives them per week to commonly plan.  This time allows our teachers to collaboratively plan, discuss issues, respectfully review changes that might be needed in the planning document, and review assessments. We have a small staff.  The commitment includes all!! During common planning time our teachers constantly focus on learning, and how our students are progressing, what can be done better, and what methods might be implemented to increase engagement.

Building teacher capacity is part of the way we work.  We have a leadership team, but all teachers are considered leaders.  Ten years ago, our teachers were in an environment in which they were very comfortable being told what to do in every situation.  They had very little autonomy and made few decisions.  Our teachers make decisions now based on what is best for students. They have the freedom and voice to challenge and often do.  The balance is in knowing what we are tight and loose about. We are very tight on the “whats” and “whys” of our instructions, but there is freedom in the “hows.” It is common to hear discussions regarding an essential standard such as, is it in the best place, is it being assessed the right way, are we intervening the right way, do we want to try another approach. Our planning document gives an outline for many considerations.  It helped us change our conversations from saying this is what we are teaching this week to really analyzing what we want/need students to learn. We also hold each other accountable for this way of working.  I heard a teacher this week say, “no, that is not us, that is not the way we respond, we are here for all kids.”

Our interventionists are leaders.  They train, collaborate, and support.  They are trusted and admired by administration, classroom teachers, and instructional aides. Our administrative goal is for our interventionists/coaches to serve as resources.  The interventionist will never come to administration with a problem unless they have determined if it is a systematic problem or if it is harmful to a student. They do a great deal of behind the scenes work.

One of the reasons we are successful in intervening is in the work of our instructional aides.  Our interventionists help train our instructional aides with the same strategies offered classroom teachers.  The aides are also given the freedom and voice to try things and offer suggestions.  Our instructional aides are part of our “teaching faculty.”  We ensure they are highly trained and treated as professionals.

This school works hard to serve all kids.  We believe in the way we work because our results have shown it works.  Our kids deserve no less. Our school mantra is”WE BELIEVE, WE CAN, BE THE DIFFERENCE!”

 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

In order to establish a guaranteed and viable curriculum for our students, we had to determine our essentials.  Our Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills are split into Readiness, Supporting, and Process standards.  The Readiness Standards are the established “critical standards” for each grade level. We worked, over several years, to determine our essential standards.  

We have established essential standards for reading and writing and reading application (literacy) expectations.  Our essentials are standards that are crucial for each grade level and the grade levels to follow. We monitor mastery of our essentials in grade level meetings (weekly), data review (monthly), and through frequent grading discussions.

 Our expectations for reading involve reading with accuracy, fluency, and comprehension at level 6 by the end of kindergarten, level 10 by mid-year first grade, and level 16 by the end of first grade, and reading a 22-24 by the end of the second-grade year.  Our teachers, interventionists, aides, and administrators understand the reading levels and the skills and processes necessary to read at certain levels. We assess through running records every two weeks for below level readers, every 4 weeks for on level readers, and every 6 weeks for above level readers. Monitoring learning is easily accomplished through small group instruction in reading (Guided Reading) and math (Guided Math,)anecdotal notes, and frequent assessment.

Our established standards in math are crucial (have to knows) for the current grade level and grade levels to follow.  We have built our belief in establishing the concept of number and problem solving into our essential standards for math. We have a common assessment 3 times per nine-week period to monitor our essentials and benchmarks at the end of each nine-week grading period.

Our RTI process is a very dynamic process.  Nothing is off the table for helping kids. Our process involves all of our grade level teachers, interventionists, and leadership team members.  We use multiple sources of data to determine the targeted interventions for individual students.  We monitor progress frequently and then our students move in a dynamic fashion through our tiers. Students can be served in one tier or all tiers, based on their need. Interventions are based on the needs of students, not forms.  It is important and critical to discussions for us to stick to meeting norms, an agenda, and have our data before the meeting starts.  In the meetings, we are “child first.”  We will say, “tell me what you notice about Johnny?” I’m asking teachers to see the child and the way he or she processes and uses strategies, so we might intervene specifically by the student, by the standard, and by the target.  We use their data to support and discuss the picture of the child and why he or she is not learning.  We have moved, through the years, from a form driven method of getting children on the path to special education to a process of identifying why a student is not learning and, as a team, finding solutions.

In 2012, we created a reading level data wall.  The data wall is a visual means for us to cross check the reading level of students, how some are responding to interventions, and make sure all students are progressing.  It helps keep us all accountable for monitoring student progress frequently. We now use a Google version of the wall.  It is used in data meetings, intervention discussions, and RTI.  All stakeholders understand our reading levels. We discuss them frequently to ensure students are performing in the classroom as they are in intervention sessions. It is common to hear interventionists, teachers, instructional aides, and administrators discussing levels, fluency, processes like cross-checking and re-reading, getting words started, and making meaning. A video of a team discussing data from the assessment “wall” is included.

Now, we are establishing common vocabulary with math.  Our interventionists and teachers discuss tools necessary for efficient problem solving, subitizing, friendly numbers, how students found an answer, and great mistakes students learn from.

Our grade level teams meet for common planning weekly.  Our RTI teams, grade level leaders, and leadership team meet monthly.  Our data meetings occur two times during a grading period. We are constantly trying to make meeting times impactful for teachers and students.

 

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

We have systems of interventions in place to serve students in the best way possible for their needs.  At the beginning of the year, our interventionists meet to discuss universal screeners, testing, and information from the previous year.  We carefully pick through the data to determine interventions that would serve our students and their methods of processing information.  For instance, a student experiencing difficulty with one or several reading/writing processes may receive intervention from Reading Recovery, literacy groups, fine motor groups, Kindergarten Early Literacy, Dyslexia groups, ReadLive groups, Hearbuilder, Learning Ally, fine motor, and ESL groups.  We also consider if weight, wiggle seats, movement, alternate seating, positive behavior charts, and other tools would be helpful.  We offer math intervention for students experiencing difficulty in the concept of number and mathematical processing. Our interventionists are charged with communicating with classrooms teachers to make sure students are receiving the right interventions at a good time of day.

This year, our campus is placing more focus on “Question 4” and extensions for learning.  We have access to the technology tools we need for research and extending learning outside the classroom.  We have built “Genius Hour” into our schedules to allow our students to have self-selected topics of interest with which to research and learn.  We are also using SeeSaw to give our students a format to share their learning in real time.

Our methods for intervening well for students is told in the story of one little girl.  This little girl, I’ll call Ann, came to us two years ago.  Her speech/articulation was so unintelligible, you could not understand or hold a conversation with her.  Her mother told us of many behavior issues at previous schools which caused her to be suspended and sent home frequently. She had everything against her, homelessness, drugs in the home, sexual abuse, and low expectations. She had outbursts (screaming, throwing things, hiding under desks)when she was upset.  We made a plan for her, but more importantly, we went “all in” in forming relationships with her. During her first fit, we told her, “you are here now, you are ours, and we love you, and...you aren’t going home!” We never sent her home.  She was used to that. Our interventions and the love and patience of her classroom teacher are what saved her.  We didn’t wait half a semester for speech testing or reading intervention. We started immediately! Ann made slow and consistent progress in her first year. She loved our male assistant principal and her teachers. Her speech teacher bought her clothes, Christmas presents, and sometimes paid bills. Her reading teacher connected with a church group for furniture and needed items.  Our transportation director made sure she had breakfast when he picked her up from a hotel she lived in for a while. She gave me a hug every day and before she left I told her I loved her.  In year two, her only service was speech. She was on level in reading and above level in math. Her speech was greatly improved and we were able to hold conversations. Her mom had to move again at the end of her second-grade year, so we lost her in May.  We know she left us with everything she needs to be successful in school.

We are not a wealthy district, but we offer many options for helping students.  We have several beneficial interventions and our classroom teachers are masters at intervening at Tier 1. They know our students because they take the time to build relationships, assess well, and work with them in small groups.  Our classrooms are not filled with new furniture.  They are filled with flexible seating options purchased through grants, fundraiser funds, and local funds. Some are teacher made. We have options for sitting work, standing work, and for workers on the move. Our students are OUR students. We believe in the power of positive relationships. We have established a committee on our campus called “The Acorn Squad.”  We borrowed the term from the quote, “Mighty Oaks Grow from Little Acorns.” Our mighty oaks of White Oak were once little acorns. Our “Acorn Squad” adopts students, referred by teachers, to give extra care. They make sure they connect daily, show the students they matter, ask about their personal lives, and help them feel safe at school.    In our primary school, we feel it is critical for students to feel safe at school.  We proactively teach classroom and schoolwide expectations through CHAMPs. By teaching our students our expectations for classroom activities, transitions, and all locations in the building, they feel more secure and safe. We promote a positive and supportive campus culture through having our students participate in “Wee Deliver” an encouraging letter-writing campaign, morning announcements, reminders of “You Matter,” and “bucket fillers.”  Our young students are leading our parent conferences this year. They will discuss their goals, things for which they are most proud, teach their parents about reading and math strategies, and discuss things they are working to improve.

 

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

We have held on tightly to our commitment to common planning time.  Our teachers have an additional 30 minutes of planning connected to “specials” which gives them per week to commonly plan.  This time allows our teachers to collaboratively plan, discuss issues, respectfully review changes that might be needed in the planning document, and review assessments. We have a small staff.  The commitment includes all!! During common planning time our teachers constantly focus on learning, and how our students are progressing, what can be done better, and what methods might be implemented to increase engagement.

Building teacher capacity is part of the way we work.  We have a leadership team, but all teachers are considered leaders.  Ten years ago, our teachers were in an environment in which they were very comfortable being told what to do in every situation.  They had very little autonomy and made few decisions.  Our teachers make decisions now based on what is best for students. They have the freedom and voice to challenge and often do.  The balance is in knowing what we are tight and loose about. We are very tight on the “whats” and “whys” of our instructions, but there is freedom in the “hows.” It is common to hear discussions regarding an essential standard such as, is it in the best place, is it being assessed the right way, are we intervening the right way, do we want to try another approach. Our planning document gives an outline for many considerations.  It helped us change our conversations from saying this is what we are teaching this week to really analyzing what we want/need students to learn. We also hold each other accountable for this way of working.  I heard a teacher this week say, “no, that is not us, that is not the way we respond, we are here for all kids.”

Our interventionists are leaders.  They train, collaborate, and support.  They are trusted and admired by the administration, classroom teachers, and instructional aides. Our administrative goal is for our interventionists/coaches to serve as resources.  The interventionist will never come to administration with a problem unless they have determined if it is a systematic problem or if it is harmful to a student. They do a great deal of behind the scenes work.

One of the reasons we are successful in intervening is in the work of our instructional aides.  Our interventionists help train our instructional aides with the same strategies offered classroom teachers.  The aides are also given the freedom and voice to try things and offer suggestions.  Our instructional aides are part of our “teaching faculty.”  We ensure they are highly trained and treated as professionals.

 

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

1.  TPRI data file explanation - The Texas Primary Reading Inventory (TPRI) is given three times per year. We chose this instrument because it offers data about specific skills needed for reading.  We use it when determining and monitoring interventions and measuring progress. The form shows a breakdown of our data from kindergarten, first grade, and second grade during the 2017/2018 school year.  It indicates the number and percentage of students still developing (SD) in certain skills.  The overall goal is for the student to improve from (SD) still developing to developing.  Please notice the decrease in number and percentage of students "Still Developing" at the beginning of the year to the end of the year.

2. Letter-Sound Acquisition file explanation - Our kindergarten reading program has evolved over the last few years.  Letters and sounds are not taught in isolation.  They are integrated and taught in interactive, writing, penmanship, shared writing, read aloud, shared reading, and at Guided Reading.  The attached form shows the improvement of students with "Letter/Sound Acquisition."  At the beginning of the year, 62 of our 114 kindergarten students knew fewer than 75% of the 78 letters and sounds.  In October, only 22 of our kindergarten students knew less the 75% of the letters and sounds.

3.  School Student Achievement Data - We are a feeder school for White Oak Intermediate.  Attached you will find STAAR scores for third grade.

 

 

Power on Texas District - 2010

USDOE Connected Educator Spotlight District - 2012,2013

High-Performance School Consortium - 2013

TCEA Teacher of the Year - 2015 (Emily Richeson)

TCEA District Admin. of the Year - 2013 (Mitzi Neely)

TEA District of Innovation - 2017

 

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