Coppell Middle School North
- Number of Students: 948
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 22%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 6%
- Percent of Special Education: 7%
- White: 40%
- Black: 4%
- Hispanic: 14%
- Asian: 38%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0%
- Multiracial: 3%
- Other: 1%
North has always been a high-performing campus overall. Our students are, for the most part, from high socioeconomic backgrounds. However, there were a couple burning questions that we needed to answer. First, some of our smaller or special populations were not being as successful and little was being done to address these needs due to the high overall success rate that overshadowed these areas of need. Second, we were still left wondering if our students were successful because of us or would they be successful despite us? We have truly amazing teachers - absolutely remarkable. But, if we were not being intentional about reflecting on our practice and using data to ensure learning, how could we ever truly answer these two questions?
A "PLC light" model was put into place many years ago with the purpose of addressing the high number of failures each grading period (this was occurring high achievement on state assessments). Administration spent hours in team meetings, each grading period, discussing failures and how could we address the failures moving forward. We found that this structure allowed these discussions to focus on struggling learners, but that there was little focus on results. Additionally, conversations kept centering around all of the characteristics of the struggling students that were believed to be unchangeable - such as lack of support at home. Struggling learners were performing poorly in the classroom, on state assessments, and on other district-created benchmarks and this population was quickly growing in size. This was a new phenomenon for the staff.
The focus of the leadership team, in effort to reach these students, over the previous years had been on learner engagement - which did not bring forth the improvement for which we were striving. Addressing the real problem - why certain student groups were underperforming on our campus - became critical.
We began to implement some significant systems including:
- Prioritizing professional learning monies to send instructional leaders to the PLC at Work institutes. Additionally, staff have attending The Conference on Grading and Assessment, RtI at Work, and RtI Workshops through Solution Tree.
- Beginning a deep dive into research and texts in order to create a campus Assessment Design Process (based on Design in Five - Nicole Vagle).
- Modifying our already-built-in daily intervention time to include additional focus, support structures, and expectations.
- We reorganized our team time to include weekly:
- --> Team business
- --> Professional learning
- --> Data meetings
- --> Team unit planning
- Creating professional learning plans using the Understanding by Design structure.
- Building a structure for various addressing behavior concerns including a campus behavior management plan, academic behavior curriculum, and behavior coaches.
- Creation of campus intervention team to address needs of most struggling learners.
After five years of studying and coming to better understanding what a Professional Learning Community really is, we are confident we are moving in the right direction. We are also continuing to refine our systems and practices as we go. Some areas that we are continuing to build structures to support our growth include re-assessment and grading practices, moving toward preventative interventions, and building a repository of specific interventions tied to individual desired outcomes.
Over the past years, the campus focus has shifted to consistently embody the three big ideas. With our focus now on high levels of learning for ALL students, we began to use our data meeting time to focus on the learning by assessment and beginning to focus on high priority learning standards. To support this endeavor, we purchased software programs to provide both data analysis on our common assessments to aid in our decision making.(Mastery Connect, Dreambox, and Enriching Students were added in addition to iStation and Read 180). We figured out quickly that summative data was not the best data to help guide our daily decisions. The campus learned that we needed to begin focusing on using data to guide instruction and, over the last two years, we have realized a new focus of on prevention. Some things we have implemented include:
- breaking down the standards within content areas to focus on the most important standards (guaranteed, viable curriculum)
- using information from PLC conferences and other texts to support creating intervention plans and designing common assessments
- utilizing the Mastery Connect program to strengthen our ability to use and track common assessment data and mastery of standards
- empowering learners to own their data and use it to set personal learning goals through learners’ personal data analysis and use of data notebooks
- creating a PLC guidebook to ensure that all terminology and expectations are consistent and clear across the entire campus (The guidebook also serves to document our journey and growth.)
- providing interventions during the school day like extended math class, blended math class, intervention time during advisory, “No Zero Lunch” to address missing work, peer tutoring, mandatory tutoring, and academic behavior coaches
- updating our campus grading beliefs and practices for consistency and clarity
- creating small groups to work with the kids to work on positive behaviors
- ensuring that all team time conversations also revolve around the three big ideas and four questions of the PLC model.
Part of being a PLC is modeling the PLC behaviors - even in leadership. Through using UbD to plan our professional learning we have achieved many things defining our own essential standards, determining the evidence of achievement, and pre-designing the learning plan, supports, systems, and interventions needed to accomplish our goals. This ensures that every step we take as leaders is focused on collaboration, learning, and results. Every. Single. Day.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
For several years North’s staff had analyzed and disaggregated state assessment data from the previous year.
- Year one (13-14) - the administration team disaggregated the data and then gave the information to leadership team to set goals.
- Years two and three (14-15 & 15-16) - the data was given to whole staff at back-to-school professional learning and we did data analysis by departments. We learned quickly that solely using this summative-type data was too reactive to make an impact on student achievement. Because this data was only a snapshot of student progress, we began to supplement this information with district and campus level common assessment results, as well as qualitative information we gained from student, parent and staff surveys.
- Years three and four (15-16 & 16-17) - we began to look at better monitoring student learning through the use of common assessment data. Using common assessment data to inform our instructional decisions has impacted our school culture more than anything else.
- Years four and five (16-17 & 17-18) - Over the last two years we have made several progressive steps including a focus on weekly data analysis by teams, students analyzing their own data, implementation and monitoring of team SMART goals, and creation of a campus intervention team that meets weekly.
- Our next steps - deep understanding of learning targets (breaking the standards down to specific knowledge and skills) and continued movement towards using data to prevent failure.
An evolution of “Student Success” meetings that have gone from per grading period, to monthly, to weekly as well as evolving from talking about failures (after they happened) to looking at common assessment data to put interventions and structures into to place to prevent failures.
Another evolution that has occurred is one of addressing patterns, Because of the more frequent and focus team meetings, trends emerged and we began to use the collective inquiry process to research and design both systematic and individualized interventions to address these recurring concerns. Teams are given time for this process as well as time to celebrate their successes and share their struggles.
Two years ago, we started up a campus intervention team. This team meets weekly to determine specific goals, intervention strategies, and regularly monitor progress on the North’s most struggling students.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
- Revised Bell Schedule to allow for “eTime” - intervention and enrichment time during the school day Tuesdays through Fridays
- On Mondays the allotted eTime is used for student-choice clubs. All learners are allowed to choose any club for enrichment. (We intentionally do not use Mondays for any interventions so that ALL learners may have engaging enrichment opportunities.)
- eTime was created to allow 30 minutes of interventions daily for all kids. The level of interventions is determined weekly by teams. Learners attend “open” sessions (student choice) or “closed” sessions which are assign by teachers based on learning targets. Closed sessions can include pre-teach, vocabulary introduction, specific interventions, re-teach, reassessment, etc. Common assessments are used to determine eTime closed sessions.
- No Zero Lunch is for students demonstrate academic behavior concerns by not completing classwork, projects, or assignments or just need the extra time to get it done. Teachers assign students based on coursework.
- Teachers were “freed” of daily before/after school duty so that they were available for a rotating Teacher Tutoring Schedule.
- All teachers also complete common assessments in Mastery Connect for immediate feedback and data tracking
- Weekly data meetings with teams to review assessment data and determine intervention next steps and lesson design next steps
- Reading and math support classes - Tier 3 intervention course that is designed to isolate the specific skills and gaps and address those gaps in a schedule that supports the on-level class learning targets.
- Academic and social behavior rubrics - teachers use rubrics to denote and behavioral struggles. Data from these rubrics are used to implement appropriate behavioral interventions including behavior coaches, small groups, and parent meetings.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
More than 8 years ago, we were able to rebuild our master schedule so that all core teachers have both a conference and a team time. Therefore, core teams are scheduled to meet daily. Electives meet during eTime twice weekly.
For many years, team time was cross curricular, but after reading and hearing about benefits of content-specific team structures from PLC conferences and books, and feedback from teachers, in 16-17 year we were able to team by content for first time. Team time allows all teachers to draw on each others strengths when creating common assessments, planning lesson design, creating differentiation plans, intervention ideas, etc…
Other than meeting weekly for team business, professional learning, data discussions, and planning learning, team time is used for creating and monitoring SMART goals and participating in collective inquiry. Teams report out on their progress and learning from the SMART goal focus three times each school year. Campus administration is also responsible for creating and sharing campus SMART goals and, in turn, giving staff updates on our progress as a campus.
Our campus plans with a Understanding By Design mindset. Our teams also plan using the four critical questions of PLC’s within unit design.
- What is it we want our kids to learn? (standards, understandings, learning targets - knowledge & skills)
- How will we know if each student learned it? (performance tasks, formative assessments, mastery checks)
- How will we respond when some students do not learn it? (intervene by target, by student)
- How can we extend and enrich the learning for students who have demonstrated proficiency? (extension eTime sessions, built-in extensions in daily lessons)
Learning walks are a team process where teachers take “walks” into other teachers classrooms with a specific focus in mind. Teacher teams determine something they want to observe like technology management, engagement, formative assessments, grouping strategies, etc.. and they visit classrooms to get ideas. Then all teachers meet after the learning walks and have a reflective conversation.
Professional learning is lead by everyone, including the kids. For instance - reading teachers shared reading strategies to other content teams so that reading could be emphasized in all areas of teaching and learning. Students led a team time learning session on a new iPad assessment app.
All teachers tutor kids a minimum of two to three times weekly after school. Tutoring is coordinated by teams so there is always content area teachers available to any student that needs tutoring.
Achievement Data Files
Additional Achievement Data
The bulk of our work in designing systems for both data analysis and response to data occured between the 15-16 & 16-17 school year. Thas was recognized by the state of Texas when North received earning distinctions in the following areas for the 16-17 school year:
- Social Studies
- Post-secondary Readiness
- Top 25% Student Progress
- Recently chosen as a School that Transforms Learning by the Texas State Principal's Visioning Institute at N2learning.com
- Starting in 2016/2017 we were chosen by Apple/IBM (only district in country and only middle school in district) to help create a Watson technology app that will track and predict student data points to assist teachers and campuses on enrichments/interventions with students in a timely manner. We are very excited to have been chosen for this project and to pave the way for all educators in the U.S.
- "The Undecideds" STEM team from Coppell Middle School North successfully completed the 2016 Flour Global Engineering Marble Machine first ever Design Challenge (with over 600 entries!) and made Fluor’s list of Top 10 schools, they earned a “Big Check” for Coppell Middle School North to support the STEM program.
- Character.org, a national advocate and leader for the character education movement named Coppell ISD a 2016 Texas District of Character.
- CMS North Science Olympiad competes in their first-ever contest attempt, 15 young scientists placed Fourth Overall and walked away with 9 individual team awards at the 2016 Regional Science Olympiad competition
- Two science olympiad teams even took home First Place honors for “Greener Generations,” as well as the team of for “Triple E.” These teams qualified for STATE competition.
- CMS North is a member of the Texas High Performance Schools consortium.
- Model Middle school for CISD 360 tours highlighting data use to drive our PLC. Toured by other districts statewide
- Learners loaded 6,000 pounds of food onto a transport truck for the "Trick or Treat So Kids Can Eat" canned food drive
- Two years in a row CMSN Youth and Government qualifies for state competition.
- One North artist was chosen to hang their artwork in the Capital Show in Austin in March and her artwork was featured in the Governor's mansion for one year.
- 21 singers were selected to sing in one of three Region XX Middle School Honor Choirs
- Won $7500.00 for the A+ rewards program sponsored by Vista Ridge Mall for three years in a row due to volunteer hours at mall.
- 1 student named Outstanding Delegate at the Junior Youth and Government state conference
- Sweepstakes Trophy at UIL Choir Concert and Sightreading Contest
- Concert Symphonic and Honor Winds bands - 9 superior ratings from Choice Music Events Contest
- 2 students placed 3rd at Dallas Regional Science and Engineering Fair advanced to the Exxon Mobil Texas Science and Engineering Fair
- Honor Winds- Received a “Superior” rating at the Director’s Choice Contest in March, as well as “Outstanding Middle School Band” at the same contest. On April 11th they also received “First Runner Up” and “Superior” ratings at the Directors Choice Contest. On April 25th the Honor Winds received “Outstanding Middle School Band” as well as “Superior” ratings.
- The VoiceNote app team was selected as a Best in State winner in the Verizon Innovative App Challenge!!! This means that they won a grant for $5000 for CMSN and each member of the team receives a verizon tablet!!!
- North Cougar Band Program- Our musicians received 302 first division ratings at the solo contest, and 38 musicians received the Outstanding Soloist Award at the Solo contest.
- North average's around 350 students (out of 950) enroll in our nationally recognized band program every year.