Pine Tree Primary
- Number of Students: 564
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 76.11%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 17.01%
- Percent of Special Education: 8.25%
- White: 35.05%
- Black: 22.85%
- Hispanic: 35.57%
- Asian: 0.86%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0.17%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.17%
- Multiracial: 5.33%
- Other: 0%
In 2012, Pine Tree ISD began learning about Professional Learning Communities. A group of district and campus stakeholders attended Solution Tree training and brought their learning back to the district to begin implementaion of Professional Learning Communities. At this time, the district focused on understanding the terminology regarding PLC. However, PLC was portrayed as a meeting not a way of being; PLC was a product not a process.
This story explains the journey of Pine Tree Primary and how grades PK and Kindergarten transformed into a campus that reflects not only a Professional Learning Community model but a philosophy as well. It is a true journey of learning by doing, and growing into working as a PLC all day.....everyday!
In 2012, teachers began planning together in small groups rather than in isolation. However, instuction was not equitable among classrooms due to lack of:
- Master Schedule not conducive to teacher collaboration
- Common curriculum
- Alignment of best instruction
- Collective committment
- Focus on learning
- Culture of uncertainty and fear
The reality was a campus with teachers working in groups of three or four in isolation without a common vision. The staff was divided into planning teams based on the master schedule conference time. The result was that the campus had 7 small teams that met weekly. Each team followed the scope and sequence but would change the curriculum outline as they each saw fit. Classroom equity was based on the team of 4 not the team of 24. Even though the campus hadn't become a true PLC, foundations were being set for future growth.
The following year, campus focus shifted towards data. For the first time, teachers were introduced to sharing campus data. The data was viewed but not used to change instructional practices or increase student achievement.
In 2014, with a change in adminstration, Pine Tree Primary began to learn about tracking student reading levels and math scores. The teachers began to manipulate a data wall based on student scores and would discuss how data impacts instruction. During this time, movement in student achievement continued to flatline due to continued collaboration in isolation with a few stakeholders. The teachers implemented practices out of compliance but not belief. The seeds of collaboration and data viewing had been planted. However, the culture had not transformed for these reasons:
- Meetings were managerial
- Data focus was on competition between classrooms
- Common planning was obsolete
- Lack of collective commitment
- Living our shared Mission, Vision, Values and Goals allowed us to our goals aligned with our belief system because we held each other accountable
- Common planning built within the school day
- Student mastery demonstrated through common formative assessments as the guiding force in planning and intervention
- 4 Questions guide instructional practices, interventions and enrichment
- Essential Standards developed and used to design common formative assessments and interventions
- Collective committment to all kids (teachers share students throughout the day based on teacher and student data)
- Celebrating success along the way
- Response to intervention becoming prescriptive and data shared with all stakeholders
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
Pine Tree Primary staff focus on results by:
- Meeting every three weeks for Response to Intervention. Administrators, Counselor, Instructional Coach, Behavior Interventionist, Reading Specialist and Classroom teacher discuss math data, reading data, behavior data and attendance data on every student on campus. We decide if:the current intervention is working and needs to be continued, current intervention is not effective and needs to be changed or interventnion needs to begin. We discuss all kids to ensure growth of all learners.
- Teams of Teachers create data notebooks based on essential standards for ongoing common formative assessments. The data notebooks are used to communicate with parents mastery of essentiatl standards, help students set goals for their own learning, and provide teachers immediate, tangible infortation to guide Tier 2 instruction.
- Stacking student products based on a common formative assessment rubric created by teacher tied to the essential standards during weekly common planning meetings to collaborate on what mastery looks like, what products are close to mastery but need TIER 2 intervention in the classroom for the students to learn standard and which products do not meet majority of criteria for mastery and need intense intervention or reteaching of standards.
- Reviewing Kindergarten Common Benchmark assessment data at the end of each 9 weeks with all staff focusing on essential standards and what we need to address TIER 1 in PreKindergarten and Kindergarten to meet 100% mastery of all students.
- Using IStation,FastForWard, CLI Engage reports to identify trends in student academic growth in order to create individualized education plans and monitor first grade readiness.
- Informal running records based on guided reading lessons are conducted on students 3 times a nine weeks. Teachers collaborate on commonly defined teach points to create shared guided reading groups across the grade level and reading level to provide specific skill support.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
Tier I Intervention: Teachers commonly plan once a week to answer the 4 Essential Questions:
- What are students going to learn? Analyze standard to the depth and rigor based on what the students need to Know, Understand and Do
- How do we know they have learned it? Create common formative assessments and formal assessments for the unit of study and collaborate so that a clear understanding of what mastery looks like is agreed upon
- What are we going to do if they don't know it? Create Tier 1 interventions based on student data and anticipate student misconceptions and how to address proactively. Primary staff also use this question to help guide shared tutorial groups amoung peers. Implement Tier 2 interventions based on data from common formative assessments that focus on specific student learning gaps.
- What are we going to do if they already have learned it? Increasing depth of knowledge for students who have shown mastery by preplanning questions and activities that include highler level thinking and student choice
- Instructional coach identifies classes with higher number of struggling students and creates a co-teach model that incorporates: modeling of lessons, instructional small groups in the classroom alongside the classroom teacher and collaboration with the teacher on best practices using data to impact student growth
- Students with gaps in multiple areas of the 5 components of early literacy as identified through IStation assessment priority reports are pulled out for skill specific instruction
- Students with one specific area of weakness in 5 components of early lieteracy are pulled out one to two times a week for 30 minutes to work on area of need in order to prevent large learning gaps
- Students whose common math benchmark assessment shows large gaps in math skills attend small groups push in or pull out weekly
- Reading Specialist instructs students below grade level who are struggling to apply phonics and reading strategies to read text. She uses a systematic, sequential and research based program that incorporates multiple areas of literacy with ongoing informal assessments.
- Students whose academic struggle is due to processing, language or attention and have shown a flat line in academic performance attend FastForWard
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
- Teams meet weekly to collaborate on common lesson plans addressing the Big 4 and essential standards. During planning meetings common formative assessment based on question 2 are created, data is analyzed, and a plan for instruction is produced.
- Core subject teams meet to discuss curriuclum alignment to the scope and sequence. These smaller teams vet resources and potential lessons before presenting them to the full grade level. The math team developed a series a math strategies based on the data from grade level common assessments that could be integrate in to lesson planning and instruction.
- To increase vertical alignment and cohesiveness, a member of another grade level team rotates weekly to visit common planning sessions. Teachers also have the opportunity to observe each other teach various lessons and provide feedback
- An agenda that all members have access to add items for discussion has been created to the entire year to assist with backwards design
- Common assessments, writing samples, and other student work are analyzed during planning meetings
- Curricululum scope and sequence documents are developed by the whole team not just a few
Paraprofessional Monthly Collaboration Meetings
- Paraprofessional meet to discuss systems and processes that may need to be adjusted to increase student learning time such as teacher coverage, monitoring duties, upcoming event logistics
- Teaching strategies request by the team are taught by teacher experts to increase content expertise
Faculty Learning Data Meeting
- All staff are included in professional development sessions so that anyone could step into the roll as teacher. This has increased the ability of staff to work with all students
- Data is analyzed by all staff to increase the understanding of what improved student learning looks like. This also allows for many different perspectives and ideas to help all students.
- Including everyone helps to cement the culture of our kids and that everyone is a teacher
- Recognized with Highest Kindergarten Readiness Scores in Region 7
- Awarded PreKindergarten Grant
- Sheltered Instruction/ESL Pilot Program through Texas Education Agency
- TEA Academic Achievement in ELA/Reading
- TEA Academic Achievement in Mathematics
- TEA Comparative Academic Growth
- Cristi Parsons, National Distinguished Principal
- Katie Yoder, District Elementary Teacher of the Year