Hallsville High School
- Number of Students: 1,296
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 30.86%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 1%
- Percent of Special Education: 8.49%
- White: 78.32%
- Black: 7.18%
- Hispanic: 10.49%
- Asian: 0.69%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0.08%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.93%
- Multiracial: 2.31%
- Other: 0%
The Foundation of Our Story
Before you can fully understand the Hallsville High School Professional Learning Community (PLC) story, you really need to know how it all started.
In 2006, Hallsville Independent School District began a school wide improvement journey, which included learning about PLCs. The district began with goal setting and training in school improvement research and strategies. District and campus teams studied and continue to study the work of Rick and Rebecca DuFour, as well as other leaders within the PLC community. Research by Dr. Douglas Reeves and the research by Dr. Bill Daggett were also studied. The components of highly successful schools outlined in Dr. Daggett’s work were studied and incorporated into the districts plans for improvement.
With the support of our district, Hallsville High School sent campus teams to multiple PLC conferences/summits. The district itself hosted two in-district summits with Mike Mattos and Sharon Kramer. Ken Williams presented the District Keynote Address and provided training to our Hallsville High School staff in August 2013 and 2014. Annual training in PLC and PRTI is now included in the district staff development calendar.
The PLC philosophy truly permeates throughout our whole district and we are committed at all levels to being leaders of learners and role models in the tenets of PLCs.
Our PLC Story
Since beginning our journey in 2006, we have seen our high school campus transform. Before, our campus was a group of individuals working towards their own goals, but now teachers make a significant effort to work tightly together to help all of our students find success at the high school level and beyond. This collaborative mindset has shifted our campus from the idea of “my kids” to “our kids”.
During the summer, the district provides time for all campus administration to collaborate concerning our campus needs. We discuss our shared beliefs and district goals, study our data, and make plans together about how we will conduct our "back to school" trainings and professional development throughout the year.
Each year, new staff members are trained in the basics of PLC during the summer so they will have a better understanding of why we do what we do before they begin working in their content teams. We meet with the new staff throughout the year to offer any other guidance or assistance they may need.
During retreat, we revisit our Mission, Vision, Values and Goals as a campus and update both our campus and departmental SMART Goals which guide the work of all of our teams.
We submit our plan for achieving our campus’s SMART Goals to the Deputy Superintendent. This provides district administrators the opportunity to review and discuss plans with principals and provide the support necessary for success.
When developing the master schedule, we make it a priority to first place our common planning times into the school day and then work everything else around that. This collaboration time is one of the most invaluable tools in building a successful PLC. Teachers no longer teach in isolation; they collaborate in regards to everything - curriculum, instruction, assessment, data, and interventions.
As teams begin a new year (whether they are a departmental team, a subject-area team, a data team or a response to intervention team), they create norms and agendas which guide them during their meetings. In common planning each week, our teams use “The Four Big Questions” - that is what we call the questions essential for learning in our district. We also utilize our data management system and Google in various ways to facilitate collaboration and communication among our teams.
What is the most important end result of taking this PLC journey?
We do what is best for all "our" kids.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
At HHS, we develop our own curriculum and assessments based on the standards. Our district provides us with the necessary time and training in order to accomplish these tasks.
The academic team then uses these curriculum documents during their common planning. Teachers discuss the standards, the curriculum, their instructional best practices, how they will assess students, and what remediation or enrichment should then follow.
All of this discussion centers on the four big questions:
What do we expect students to learn?
How will we know if they have learned it?
What will we do if they have not learned it?
What will we do if they already know it?
This guaranteed/viable curriculum and targeted instruction gives us equity among our classrooms and for our students.
In order to monitor our students' learning in a timely manner and to provide the needed feedback to students, our teachers incorporate best practices in the classroom. They use formative and summative assessments to monitor our students' learning. Formative assessments can range anywhere from exit slips to journaling, while common summative assessments are the end of unit tests or projects. From both types of assessments, Tier 1 interventions and enrichment can be developed and utilized.
During the nine weeks, teachers can submit to the administrative team the name of any student whom they feel is having issues with attendance, discipline or academics. This team meets bimonthly and consists of our principal, the assistant principals, counselors, testing coordinator, and interventionists.
Actions resulting from this meeting may include a call to the parents about attendance, a meeting with the principal about discipline issues, teacher conferences or team discussions about which Tier 1 interventions might need to be tried, and student conferences with a counselor to discuss how we can help the students be more successful in the classroom. Counselors set goals with the students and schedule mandatory tutorials and/or lunch bunch if needed.
Our curriculum based assessments (CBAs) occur every nine weeks and are entered into DMAC, our data management system, so that the results can be disaggregated.
The individual subject area teams meet after the results are tabulated to discuss the validity of the tests, common errors that students are making, ways to improve instruction, and how to remediate areas of concern. This data also drives decisions we make to adjust and improve our curriculum.
At the end of the nine weeks, teachers submit a detailed Google form showing what Tier 1 interventions they have used for both their academically challenged students and their Intentional Non-Learners.
Within two weeks of team meetings, the campus administrative team meets over 2-3 days to look at all of our students individually. We look at their data, discuss teacher input, and make Tier 2-4 intervention decisions based on the individual needs of students.
All of this information is recorded on a spreadsheet and information is updated as it becomes available. Each administrative team member is assigned responsibilities in each area of RTI and they communicate with all stakeholders.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
The high school re-designed the campus pyramid of interventions in 2013.
It is comprised of four tiers dealing with both academic and behavioral supports. It ranges from what happens in the classroom to what supports we can provide outside of the classroom, but still within the school day. This summer, we revised and edited it based on our students’ needs.
Two years ago, we implemented a departmental and campus-wide data review process to monitor the progress of each child on a regular basis. Each year we are streamlining this process making it more efficient and beneficial for our students.
The systems that are in place to determine and monitor student interventions are:
- Weekly common planning meetings
- Bimonthly administrative meetings
- Quarterly departmental meetings
- Subject-area data meetings after common assessments and CBAs
- Student intervention teams as needed
- Quarterly administrative data meetings
We have systematic interventions for our students so that they can receive the necessary time and support they need to be successful. All interventions are available to every student based on their identified need. We believe in individualizing these interventions; they are not “one-size fits all”.
Our decisions are based on data and we monitor the students and make timely changes as needed. We have structured learning classes, resource classes, instructional support classes, co-teach classes, PAP classes, AP classes, dual credit classes and a College and Career Readiness class which provide opportunities to meet the TSI standards for college. We ensure all students have a Four Year Plan and a personal graduation plan in preparation for their future.
We have a Behavior Support Program which offers for our students with emotional and behavioral issues support to ensure their success in a general education setting.
Research based interventions include:
- Behavior Inclusive Support Model
- Credit Recovery – E2020, SuperNet, Hallsville Virtual School, ACE
- End of Course Enrichment
- Fast Forward
- Flexible Scheduling
- Grand Central Station
- Initiative Programs
- Lunch Bunch Tutorials
- Read 180
- Research based small group instruction
- Rosetta Stone
- Content Mastery
- Peer Tutors
- Sheltered Instruction (ELLs)
- Student Mentoring Program
- Student Outreach
- Targeted Small Group Tutorials
- Transition program for incoming High School Students
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
As stated earlier, training is provided to both new staff members, as well as current staff each year. Our training needs are determined by our collaboration with our other campuses, the previous end of year needs’ assessments, and our site-based decision making team.
Interdisciplinary collaboration is happening -- HHS teachers have always had conversations with their fellow teachers about their subjects to some extent, but now it is collaborative, focused, timely and based on data.
Between 2007 and 2013, common planning was built into the school day and it has been one of the most invaluable tools in building a successful PLC.
We believe in building capacity among our staff –- We have department heads, lead teachers, and assigned roles for each team member.
The standards, norms, SMART goals, agenda, “Four Big Questions", curriculum, instruction, assessment, data review, and interventions are all part of the common planning process. Are all of our teams there yet? No, but we are continually improving our process because we know it is what is best for our students.
Examples of some of our focused efforts to collaboratively improve student learning:
Lunch Bunch (Intentional Non-Learners)
After students get their lunches, they report to the Lunch Bunch room where their incomplete or missing assignments are sent so they can have extra time and extra support to complete their work.
As our principal says “The consequence for not doing your work is doing your work”.
Grand Central Station (Academically Challenged Students)
Certified teachers in core areas and in special education assist students in these rooms by providing extra support after direct instruction or during an assigned class. Our teachers collaborate with our academic teams so that they know what is taking place in the classrooms. They pre-teach material and vocabulary so students are more confident in their classes. They also assist them on their assignments.
Student Outreach (Intentional Non-Learners)
A paraprofessional along with a team of academic teachers assist students in this room by providing extra support after direct instruction or during an assigned class. Student Outreach teachers work closely with GCS so that they know what is happening in the classrooms. They mainly assist students in completing assignments that they are failing to do on their own.
Prior to the start of a school year, our most at-risk learners are identified by a matrix based on data. If they qualify, they are placed in a specific group of teachers’ classrooms who meet bimonthly to discuss their students’ attendance, behavior and academic success/failures. They also collaborate together to brainstorm ideas about how to help these students be more successful in class, school, and society. The teachers meet with their caseload every other week to set short-term and long-term goals with them and to mentor them.
Our decisions are not based on what is best for us, but what is best for "our" kids.
See the "Resources" tab for our comparison data attachment.
In 2009-10, Exemplary rating
Gold Performance Acknowledgements
Texas Success Initiative (TSI) Math
Commended on Social Studies
In 2010-11, Recognized rating
Gold Performance Acknowledgments
College-Ready Graduates (Class of 2010)
Commended on Social Studies
In 2011-12, no school report cards were issued.
In 2012-13, Met Standard rating
In 2013-14, Met Standard rating
2 Distinction Designations
Science and Social Studies
Hallsville HS has met standards for AYP every year.
Featured in the Solution Tree video series “Pyramid Response to Intervention – The Four Essential Guiding Principles”.
Recognition for our PLC and co-teach models
Hallsville High School – Silver Medalist – US News and World Report
The past two years:
2014 State Champion Academic UIL team
2014 State Semi-finalist in baseball
2014 Regional Finalist in Softball
2014 Regional Finalist in Boys Soccer
2014 Top Ten – Lone Star Cup (academic and athletic achievements)
2015 4th place in UIL Academic State Finals
2015 State Semi Finalist in Softball
2015 Regional Semi Finalist in Baseball
2015 Top Ten – Lone Star Cup
2015 Voted "Best School in East Texas"