Earnesteen Milstead Middle School
- Number of Students: 828
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 91.8%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 34.8%
- Percent of Special Education: 12.1%
- White: 3.4%
- Black: 7.4%
- Hispanic: 88.3%
- Asian: 0.4%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.1%
- Multiracial: 0.4%
- Other: 0%
Although we had been introduced to some of the concepts of Professional Learning Communities, our journey began in July of 2013 when our administrative team and some of our teacher leaders had the opportunity to attend the PLC Institute in San Antonio. During that trip, we developed plans for how we were going to introduce the process to our entire staff. Our district has provided a great deal of support for all of our campuses to embrace PLC’s. Pasadena ISD partnered with Solution Tree to host Hybrid PLC and RTI Institutes for the past three summers. Mike Mattos has spoken to all of the teachers in our district on two occasions and our district leadership has provided a PLC Teacher Leader Collaborative on a yearly basis to help train our teacher leaders on how to facilitate an effective PLC. These opportunities have developed a common understanding of the PLC process and helped to create a culture and commitment to make sure that all of our students are being successful.
As a campus, we made several changes in order to help us implement the PLC Process with fidelity. Our master schedule already allowed a common time for departments to meet. However, we worked with our teacher leaders to ensure that this time was spent focusing on the right work of answering those four essential questions. During collaborative meetings, our teachers work collaboratively to identify the essential standards from the state and district curriculum, gain shared clarity on these standards, develop meaningful common assessments, and review student data to develop effective interventions.
Intervention and enrichment times were added to the master schedule so that all students have a 59 minute intervention/enrichment block every other day. In the past, students that required interventions such as dyslexia instruction or speech were pulled during classroom instruction. Now students receive these interventions as well as academic interventions during this time. Our paraprofessionals’ schedules were modified so that they are assigned to support teachers and students during the intervention times. Some of our teachers and paraprofessionals have been trained in Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) and utilize this intervention with our students. Other examples include a language acquisition class for our English Language Learners that uses Rosetta Stone and focuses on academic vocabulary, social skills for our students with autism, and study skills. There are also enrichment courses that focus on helping our gifted students complete their Texas Performance Standard Project, Book Clubs, and athletics for our students that have already learned the material. High School Spanish is offered to our 6th Grade dual language students that are being successful in their other classes, and students are able to work with our high need special education students. Intervention and Enrichment groups are changed regularly based upon student data.
In order to continue to focus our efforts on meeting the needs of every student, our faculty created a new mission statement. Our new mission statement: “The Mission of Milstead Middle School is to ensure ALL students RISE to high levels of educational achievement by providing a safe, supportive, and challenging environment” illustrates our commitment to ensuring that all of our Phoenix are successful.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
Our district has already developed a district curriculum based upon the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). During our PLC collaborative team meetings, our teachers, campus content specialist, and curriculum coaches work to identify the essential standards for their subject and grade level. These standards are identified based upon their importance to students’ future success both academically and in the workforce. Not only do teachers identify which standards are essential, but they also collaborate to ensure that all standards are being taught to the appropriate level of rigor. Collaborative teams then develop a common assessment to assess how well students learned the essential standards. All teachers are involved in the development of common assessment in order to further their understanding of the essential standards. Common assessment are given frequently to assess student learning. After common assessments are administered to students, teachers identify students that need additional intervention or enrichment based upon student data. Data is reviewed looking at how each student performed according to each standard. Students may also be involved in the process and be required to identify their own strengths and weaknesses. Grades are entered into the grading system using standard-based grading so that parents, teachers, and students understand how well they have mastered each of the standards. During collaborative team time, teachers also identify successful instructional strategies that resulted in positive student results. These strategies can then be used to provide extra time and support for students who were not successful. Students receive intervention during their intervention/enrichment class as well as during classroom instruction. Intervention and enrichment groups are regularly changed based upon student data. After receiving interventions, students are monitored to ensure that they have successfully learned the content.
Some students are also involved in our personalized learning program. Students regularly complete assessments. If they score below an 80%, they complete additional tasks and receive targeted instruction based upon their results. They are then re-assessed until they score above 80% on the assessment.
This continuous cycle of identifying essential standards, developing and administering common assessments, reviewing data to identify students needing additional support or enrichment, and developing effective interventions continues throughout the school year. Campus PLC collaborative teams work to accomplish these tasks. Our district provides campus content specialist and curriculum coaches to support our teachers. These specialists work with our department chairpersons to help facilitate our PLC meetings. They also work throughout the year to build capacity in all of our teachers to develop a deep understanding of the essential standards, effectively assess student mastery of identified learning targets, analyze student data, and utilize effective and research-based instructional strategies.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
All students at Milstead have an hour-long enrichment/intervention period that they attend every other day. During each period, teachers are able to select students to attend specific classes. Selections are based upon student performance on formative assessments as well as their individual needs. These groups are flexible and can be changed quickly based upon student performance and need. In addition to content-oriented academic intervention classes, other classes include social skills for students with autism, dyslexia intervention, personalized learning workshops, speech services, Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI), Rosetta Stone for our English-Language Learners, and academic vocabulary for our English-Language Learners. These intervention periods provide additional time and support for students that are struggling to learn the essential skills so that students are not missing their classroom instruction. Some groups have specific requirements, such as being approved by our Intervention Assistance Team (IAT) or being included in the student’s individualized education plan (IEP). Paraprofessionals are assigned to intervention classes to help provide more individualized and targeted support to students during their intervention periods. If students have demonstrated that they understand the essential standards, enrichment opportunities are provided during this class period. Enrichment classes include Spanish for high school credit for our dual language students, Texas Performance Standards Project (TPSP) Time, personalized learning time, book clubs, athletics, and a Best Buddies Program that allows students to work with our high-need special education students. Our enrichment/intervention period has allowed us to systematically meet the diverse needs of our students.
One of our math teachers, Megan Delahoussaye described her team’s collaborative process as “our team gets together twice a week and one of those time we meet is to go over student data together. This data includes cognitive skill grades, concept unit averages and focus area completion. It can also include where students are within a project (checkpoint completion). After we have analyze the data from the platform, we also talk about what we have covered in class and what small groups we have already pulled. Then, we decide what we are going to re-teach/workshop for the upcoming enrichment class periods (we usually do two at a time). At this time, we decide how to "share" students to make sure they are all getting the help they need within the week. For example, if a student is behind in a checkpoint for their science project, but they are also one focus area behind in math, as a group we may decide to have them attend the science workshop first to complete the checkpoint, and then the second enrichment day they will attend math. If they are incredibly behind on their checkpoint, then maybe they spend both days in science enrichment workshops and they start/continue being pulled for small groups during math class. Since our enrichment groups change each time we have an enrichment period, it is very important for our team to have open communication and for us to be flexible. Although it can be time consuming using live data to create our enrichment groups day by day, it definitely has a positive impact on student achievement and performance because they are getting the assistance needed in a timely manner.”
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
The teachers and staff at Milstead Middle School have received a great deal of professional development to help with the implementation of the PLC Process. The Pasadena Independent School District provided funding to send our leadership team to the PLC Institute in San Antonio six years ago. Since that time, they have worked with Solution Tree to provide a hybrid PLC Institute the past three years and a hybrid RTI Institute the past two school years. As a result of these efforts, many of our teachers have received this professional development directly from Solution Tree. Pasadena ISD has also offered a Teacher Leader PLC Collaborative to help provide our PLC Leaders and Teacher Leaders with additional professional development on how to facilitate an effective PLC Meeting. Teachers and paraprofessionals have also attended professional development for specific interventions, such as LLI and Rosetta Stone.
The master schedule allows for a common planning time for each department and grade level on a daily basis. Collaboration Meetings are held weekly during this common planning time, and many teams meet additional times during the week. Each PLC Collaborative Team has a department chair to lead the meeting. A Campus Content Specialist for English Language Arts/Reading and Campus Coaches for Math and Science are provided to guide our teachers in the development of essential standards and common assessments. They also coach teachers in the use of effective instructional strategies, data analysis, and intervention techniques. Following the administration of common assessments, teachers work with their colleagues and the Campus Content Specialist and Campus Coaches to plan for effective and meaningful interventions. Consistently implementing this cycle has resulted in improved student achievement and improved educational opportunities for our students.
Achievement Data Files
-Received all 6 TEA Distinction Designations (2015-2016, 2017-18)
-Received 3 of the 6 TEA Distinction Designations (2016-2017)