Stults Road Elementary School

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

Since the start of the Professional Learning Community (PLC) movement in 2005, the culture of Stults Road has been embodied by a shared vision and mission. As the Stults Road Community, we are committed to high expectations, appreciation of individuality, and encouragement of lifelong learners who will successfully function in today’s global and culturally diverse society. The intent of the PLC movement has been to develop the empowerment of all teachers. Stults Road’s success is highly dependent upon the responsibility for student success shared by all members of our community. Working together towards a common goal requires alignment with district standards and scope and sequence. Using data to drive the focus of instructional planning, teachers and support staff are able to collaborate and close the achievement gaps across all student groups regardless of their social, cultural, and economic backgrounds. Through the shared efforts of the administrators, teachers and staff on our campus, continuous focus on student success is achieved through clear instructional expectations, shared leadership, and support for each other throughout the process. The PLC culture allows for research‐based instructional strategies to be implemented through job‐embedded collaboration time.

Teachers create goals and strategies based on data analysis to address the needs of all learners. Powerful professional development is used to address student and teacher needs based on a variety of assessment data. This data analysis provides the information necessary for creating high impact educator learning goals. The learning strategies and implementation of professional development allow for the maximization of these learning goals. Through job‐embedded coaching provided by support personnel, the faculty is able to self‐evaluate in order to assess the impact of the professional development. Teachers are able to produce powerful results and reflect on how to continuously improve. The key factors for creating opportunities for all students to achieve come from scientific‐based research as well as our own campus action research. Opportunities for the staff are also created through Title I funding. This allows the faculty to observe, co‐teach, and reflect with one another. Job‐embedded planning days, also funded through Title I, allow for highly effective planning that directly benefits students. Additional resources such as instructional materials and tools such as Saturday School allow further opportunities for student success. Parent Education programs also provide the community a chance to extend their learning.

After a comprehensive evaluation process, Stults Road Elementary has been named by the Texas Commissioner of Education as one of two schools to represent Texas as a recipient of the 2010 National Title 1 Distinguished Award.

This is the highest level of recognition available to a Title 1 school in the United States and is reflective of superior levels of student achievement coupled with innovative programs and practices.

"This award is something that Stults Road Elementary and Richardson ISD can be proud of," said RISD Superintendent Dr. Kay Waggoner. "On behalf of the entire RISD Community, I offer congratulations to the students, staff, parents, partners and community of Stults Road Elementary. In particular, I'd like to recognize the efforts of Principal Darwin Spiller and his Professional Learning Community staff as a driving force behind the school's success."

Stults Road Elementary will be honored at the National Title I Conference in Florida on January 31 and will be featured in the national publication that describes all of the National Title I Award winners.

Stults was selected by the Texas Education Agency as one of six Texas finalists in August. Following that was a comprehensive evaluation process that included a school site visit and a series of interviews, presentations and data analysis.

The Federal Title 1 Program exists to supplement state funding to schools in the U.S. with high percentages of economically disadvantaged students. Stults Road Elementary has been an Exemplary rated school under the state accountability system for three consecutive years and currently has approximately 78 percent of students who are considered economically disadvantaged under Federal guidelines.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Classroom teachers, support teachers and the instructional leadership team monitors student progress on a continuous basis. Informal student/teacher conferences, principal visits to classrooms, and examinations of test results are ways student’s progress is monitored.

Common assessments and student data are recognized as crucial to individual student success. Student data is not viewed as something separate from instruction. It is the tool that drives instruction, acceleration, and remediation for students AND professional learning for adults at Stults Road Elementary. The data answers the four critical questions associated with professional learning communities:

  • What is it we expect our students to learn?
  • How will we know when our students have learned it?
  • How will we respond when our students don’t learn?
  • How will we respond when our students already know it?

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

Collaborative teams review data from the common assessments and identify students who need additional time and support. Stults Road Elementary has created a school-wide systematic approach to address the needs of struggling and benchmark students. Derived from the “Pyramid of Interventions model,” the approach utilizes teachers, counselors, and building and district level support personnel. Teachers create individualized tutoring schedules to meet the needs of all learners. In addition to individualized tutoring, homework clubs, buddy assignments, lunch bunch, parent involvement/communication, conflict mediation, campus support and intervention meetings (CSI) are samples of the many interventions that comprise the pyramid. The master schedule is designed so that during daily intervention times for grades KN-6 support personnel are linked to each grade level. The goal is to create small group learning opportunities so individual attention can be given to all students. The materials used during intervention time are aligned with the core reading program and student assessment results. The master schedule also is designed so that the core reading times are staggered throughout the day to provide additional support from support personnel. Progress monitoring occurs when a common assessment is given and teachers and support personnel develop strategic plans to address the needs of all students. Teachers and support personnel re-teach or review troublesome items from common assessments using explicit “think alouds” to model the accessing of background knowledge and other active reading strategies.

Saturday school occurs throughout the year as well. The instructional specialist collaborates with classroom teachers throughout the week and based on common assessment results create focused intervention lessons for re-teach or review for identified 3rd – 6th grade students in the areas of reading, math, writing and science.

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

In order to provide teams with the time needed to collaborate around critical questions of learning, job-embedded collaboration time is built within the master schedule. Professional Learning Community meetings occur weekly on Mondays in the first semester and Mondays and Tuesdays during the second semester after school during contract time. Each Thursday, after school during faculty meetings, is devoted to vertical and horizontal staff development provided by that of classroom teachers and/or support personnel. All grade levels and support staff have a common planning period to allow for collaboration. Support staff, teacher’s aides and tutors also share common planning periods to ensure time for collaboration. The teachers follow an agenda and create goals and strategies to address struggling and high achieving learners. Support personnel are assigned to each grade level periodically to provide coverage so that teachers are given additional time during the day for collaboration and planning. For over four years, the faculty and staff have conducted numerous book studies with the hopes of gaining more knowledge of best practices. The following books include: A Framework for Understanding Poverty, Getting Started-Reculturing Schools to Become Professional Learning Communities, Whatever it Takes, Strategies that Work, Classroom Management that Works, and On Common Ground.

Stults Road Elementary faculty and staff have a high sense of efficacy regarding their ability to teach all students. Expressions of high efficacy are evident though the halls of Stults Road:

  • “We hold high standards for both staff and students.”
  • “We have high expectations for both students and staff.”
  • We have a tight familial culture with high commitment and dedication; no one wants to let anyone down.”
  • “Together We Can” and “Whatever it Takes” are our mottos.
  • “We are fired up about what we are doing.”
  • “We are professionals who are still learning. All kids can learn. Our staff aligns behaviors with this belief. Every teacher goes above and beyond.”

Student Achievement Data:

Stults Road Elementary School Stults Road Elementary School

Since the implementation of our Professional Learning Communities in 2005:

  • The passing rates in Reading remained in the 95 percentile or above
  • The passing rates in Writing remained in the 96 percentile or above and in 2007/ 2008 100 percent of the students passed
  • The passing rates in Math remained in 91 percentile or above
  • The passing rates in Science remained in the 95 percentile or above starting in 2007
  • In 2010, Reading, Math, Writing, and Science scores are 97 percentile or above

Commended - What does this indicator measure?

This indicator provides the percentages of students in Dallas area school districts achieving scores that meet the Commended level on the TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) test, as set by the State Board of Education. The Commended level has been set at a scale score of 2400 for all tests and grade levels. For the Spring 2006 administration of the TAKS tests, the Commended performance level corresponded to between 85% and 94% of questions answered correctly, depending on the particular test.

Commended - Why is this indicator important?

While it is important to measure how many students are passing the TAKS test, it may be more beneficial to examine how many students are achieving scores above the basic Met Standard level. As of the 2006 TAKS test, the "passing" Standard was between 55% and 78% of questions answered correctly, depending on the particular test. On most tests, the passing Standard was in the 60s. Advocates have questioned whether students who pass the TAKS, but score only slightly above the Standard, can truly be said to have mastered the basic skills expected at each grade level. If school districts aim to increase the numbers of students entering postsecondary educational programs, then measuring the numbers of students scoring at the Commended level on the TAKS is a viable tool for evaluating how well they are preparing their students for further education.

  • 2010 Texas National Title I Distinguished School
  • Ranked 7th in North Texas and 12th in state according to Dallas Morning News
  • Professional development video recorded for Learning Forward
  • National demonstration campus for Professional Learning Communities implementation
  • Texas Business and Education Coalition Honor Roll (TBEC)
  • Texas Education Agency (TEA) Exemplary school
  • TEA Gold Performance Acknowledgement (6 out of 7 areas)
  • Just for Kids Higher Performing School
  • National AVID Trainer
  • TRIBES Trainer
  • 2010 Recipient of Pear Mediation Award
  • Superintendent Medallion Winner
  • Elementary Principal of the Year

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