U. S. Grant High School

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

U.S. Grant High School is focused on creating a school culture that promotes college, career, and citizenship readiness. The mission of U.S. Grant High School is to increase student achievement.

In 2010-11, U.S. Grant High School did not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and was placed on the state needs improvement list for the sixth year in a row. On March 22, 2010 the Oklahoma City Public School Board of Education designated U.S. Grant High School as a Turnaround School and allocated additional funding under a School Improvement Grant. The Professional Learning Communities Model was selected as the vehicle for school improvement. On April 25, 2010, over 50% of the teaching staff was forced out. This resulted in the turnover of 65 teachers.

The culture and media surrounding U.S. Grant High School, the largest school in Oklahoma City Public Schools, has historically been negative. The school has been called a "dropout factory" and "ground zero of education reform in Oklahoma." According to the Oklahoma City Police Department, five of the six known gangs in Oklahoma City reside within U.S. Grant High School boundaries. The school focused on compliance and order, instead of student achievement. At the start of the 2011-12 school year, 204 seniors had not met the state testing requirements for graduation. Administrators, counselors, and teachers analyzed the data on each senior to ensure every student had the maximum opportunities and resources to meet the state requirements. The school focused on student learning and improving the culture simultaneously. During the 2013 - 2014 school year, U.S. Grant became a B+ school - rated 89 of 100.  Of the three schools that received an A or B rating in the Oklahoma City school district, U.S. Grant was the only non-application school to rate so high.  The academic growth raised the bar for all students.  As a result, U.S. Grant has moved from 33 seniors passing all 7 EOI state mandated tests in the 20121- 2012 year to more than half the senior class being Super 7 Seniors (passing all 7 EOIs) in the 2013 - 2014 school year.

Throughout this turnaround process, U.S. Grant High School has made significant progress towrad increasing student achievement.  U.S. Grant High School has created an atmosphere of shared leadership and expertise through job-embedded professional development. As a Professional Learning Community, teams meet a minimum of 90 minutes a week with a focus of collaboration that seeks out best practices, assesses student achievement, improves current methods, and get results. The key attributes influencing the success at U.S. Grant High School during the last 3 years include:

  • Highly dedicated, driven, and caring staff
  • Supportive and dedicated principal with a laser sharp focus on results
  • Structured approach to implementing the Professional Learning Communities Model
  • Daily teacher collaboration during the regular school day
  • Flexible Master Schedule developed and changed as needed to support student and teacher success
  • Development of authentic common formative and summative assessments
  • Use of data to drive instruction
  • Focus on student specific data/achievement
  • Establishment of Freshman Academy that implemented the rules and routines that support a culture of success
  • Creating a culture of success by engaging students in monitoring their own learning that developed students' desire for success inside and outside of the classroom
  • Ongoing Professional Development provided by experts in the field of education

The focus on the four essential questions of a PLC have provided the framework to positively impact students and teachers.

Question 1: What do we want students to learn?

This question focuses teachers on what should be taught, vertical and horizontal alignment, depth of knowledge, and power standards. Teachers ensure students understand what should be mastered, while showing each student how to track his/her own progress. In addition, students and teachers work together to create meaningful Word Walls and Data Walls to allow for strong content connections.

Question 2: How will we know if they have learned?

This question focuses teachers on the creation of valid common formative assessments, summative assessments, and benchmarks with the use of writing in all courses. There is a relentless focus on data. This continuous data analysis reveals curricular issues, student strengths/weaknesses, and drives lesson planning decisions. Students "know their number" and are engaged in their own learning process. In addition, the school conducts quarterly data reviews with State Department of Education members, district level administrators, site level administrators, and department chairs. The findings and action steps are shared with the entire faculty.

Question 3: What will we do if they don't learn?

Question 4: What will we do if they already know it?

Questions three and four provide the enrichment and remediation piece for students. All teachers make a positive impact by creating and implementing differentiated and student centered lessons based on the student specific data. The school utilizes break periods to hold boot camps and intercessions to remediate students quickly. These remediation sessions occur during Fall, Winter, and Spring Break to ensure students have multiple opportunities for success.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

The teams develop Common Assessments based on the appropriate learning objectives and depth of knowledge. The Common Assessment also includes at least one writing prompt and is given a minimum of every two weeks. The teams give the assessment in the same manner and analyze the results. The results are analyzed for effective instructional strategies, curricular needs/improvements, and student level strengths/weaknesses. The results drive the upcoming instruction with a team approach for enrichment and remediation.

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

The teams use the following interventions to provide additional time and support for learning:

  1. Differentiated tiered lessons are created to allow maximum student centered learning in each classroom.
  2. Flexible grouping among the teachers – Students go to different rooms/teachers to focus on weaknesses during the class period.
  3. Enhancement courses have been established focused primarily on individual student needs. This class is in addition to the regular course in the content area. For example, targeted students are placed in both Algebra I and Algebra I Enhancement.
  4. Additional instructional time is provided before and after school.
  5. Intersession opportunities were created during Autumn, Winter, and Spring breaks to remediate and allow students the opportunity for success.
  6. Intense Boot Camp sessions were held prior to each state assessment during the regular school day.
  7. A plan for each senior to meet graduation requirements was created and monitored.

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

Our department chairs and PLC team leaders have been strategically selected based on the individual's collaborative leadership skills not seniority or years of experience. These leaders are coached and participate in training to further develop their facilitation skills. The leaders and administrators participate in the school wide leadership team and monitor the protocols of the department collaborative teams. The protocols include:

  1. Establishment of SMART Goals
  2. Review of SMART Goals
  3. Development and review of norms
  4. Use of agendas and minutes
  5. Focus on the four critical PLC questions in an effective and efficient manner
  6. Effective frequent common assessments that truly measure and monitor learning
  7. Data analysis to the student level
  8. Use of this data to drive instruction
  9. Monitoring for conflicts and barriers that get in the way of student learning

Student Achievement Data

U.S. Grant High School Assessment Pass Rate Comparison Data

Grade: 9

Algebra 1

Year 2009-10 (U.S. Grant/State)

21%/75%

Year 2010-11 (U.S. Grant/State)

30%/79%

Year 2011-12 (U.S. Grant/District)

84%/76%

Year 2012-13 (U.S. Grant/District)

91%/77%

 

Grade: 10

English 10

Biology

Geometry

Year 2009-10 (U.S. Grant/State)

44%/84%

21%/75%

35%/77%

Year 2010-11 (U.S. Grant/State)

52%/86%

36%/79%

36%/78%

Year 2011-12 (U.S. Grant/District)

63%/73%

68%/64%

62%/67%

Year 2012-13 (U.S. Grant/District)

69%/74%

40%/36%

89%/68%

 

Grade: 11

English 11

U.S. History

Algebra 2

Year 2009-10 (U.S. Grant/State)

46%/80%

47%/72%

14%/65%

Year 2010-11 (U.S. Grant/State)

53%/84%

53%/77%

20%/66%

Year 2011-12 (U.S. Grant/District)

70%/78%

58%/59%

33%/53%

Year 2012-13 (U.S. Grant/District)

89%/82%

80%/68%

81%/57%

In three years, U.S. Grant achieved tremendous growth. The team collaboration and data analysis has allowed teachers to peel data down to the individual student level and provide individual remediation and enrichment, thus, focusing on the third and fourth essential PLC questions. The data analysis enabled U.S. Grant to realize the following percentage of increase in four years.

EOI

Increase from 2009-10 to 2012-13

Algebra I

295%

Algebra II

523%

Biology

82%

English II

55%

English III

89%

Geometry

107%

U.S. History

116%

The growth in student assessments directly correlates to the school's Annual Performance Index (API).

U.S. Grant High School API Comparison Data

U.S. Grant API

2009-10 (U.S. Grant/State)

2010-11 (U.S. Grant/State)

2011-12 (U.S. Grant/State)

2012-13 (US Grant / State)

Total API

335/1092

591/1138

NA

NA

Math API

0/1006

0/1055

1059/NA

NA

Reading API

204/1026

422/1059

680/NA

NA

In 2011-12, the state of Oklahoma was given a waiver from the mandates of ESEA and moved to an A-F Report card for schools instead of the previous Adequate Yearly Progress system. Because of the change in evaluation, there is no API information available from the Oklahoma State Department this year.  Nonetheless, every school is given a grade for overall student performance, student growth, whole school performance, and a cumulative grade. The state of Oklahoma bases schools' need for improvement on the letter grades, with priority given to schools scoring an F. U.S. Grant High School earned a cumulative grade of a B+ scoring 89 out of 100 for the 2012-2013 school year.

U.S. Grant was recognized in many newspapers and news videos for their accomplishments.  The following are links to those articles and television news stories:

*Mentioned in the Governor’s State of the State 2014 address as a model school
*Presented the schools use of effective Professional Learning Communities at the State of Oklahoma Principals Academy
*Presented the schools use of effective Professional Learning Communities at the State of Oklahoma Vision 2020 Leadership Conference
*Accepted to present the effect of PLC on U.S. Grant at the National Title I Conference in January 2013

 

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