V.W. Miller Intermediate

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

Our Professional Learning Community journey began as our administrative team joined the campus for the 2015-2016 school year. At this time, V. W. Miller was consistently ranking last and second to the last in the district in both math and writing on district assessments and STAAR. The mindset was “this is the best these kids can do.” We all joined the team as new administrators eager to learn, grow, and make a huge difference! We were determined to see all students make progress, despite the demographics. During our first year, we focused on discipline, structure, safety, and procedures. It was imperative that we spend time improving those structures before focusing on the PLC implementation. While we carved out time during the day for intervention, data was not YET routinely used in the student selection process. Nevertheless, the foundation was built!  

 

With the first year complete and structures for safety and discipline in place, we turned our effort toward implementing the PLC process. During the summer of 2016, the administrative team attended the PLC Institute in San Antonio. We learned about the PLC process, answering the four PLC questions, and data-driven intervention and enrichment. In a session at the institute, our administration team heard a quote from Mike Mattos that motivated us to submerge ourselves in the PLC and RTI process.   The quote that will forever stick with our team is “Greatness required the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.” The reality was that V.W. Miller Intermediate was underperforming, consistently scoring at the bottom of the district in math and writing, and certainly not holding ALL students to the highest standards. It was time for a change. It was time to implement the true PLC process, time to use data to not only drive our instruction, but also to lead our intervention and enrichment, and time to hold ALL students to the highest standards. During our second year together as a new administration team, the true PLC process was rolled out to the faculty through the support from instructional coaches and curriculum specialists in each of the four core subjects: math, reading, science, and social studies. In addition to answering each of the four PLC questions, data began to be used to select students for a purposeful and meaningful intervention and enrichment time. To help push our team further, in May 2017, we had a team of administrators and teacher leaders attend the RTI conference in San Diego, California.

During the 2016-2017 school year, which was our first year truly implementing the PLC process, V. W. Miller Intermediate was awarded six out of seven state distinctions. The campus saw value in implementing the PLC process and the fire was lit to keep rolling full steam ahead! A team of teacher-leaders was invited to attend the PLC Institute in San Antonio over the summer of 2017. They returned to the new school year and presented more of what they learned to their PLC teams. Having timely feedback and intervention was the most crucial component they returned with, and this became the focus for improvement during the 2017-18 school year.  

Our selection process for intervention and enrichment time was overhauled to ensure that student needs were being identified and addressed promptly. When our intervention and enrichment sessions had formerly lasted 3 weeks, we became more flexible with our schedule to allow for sessions to follow formative and common assessment schedules.  

To say that implementing the PLC process was successful at V. W. Miller Intermediate is an understatement. Huge gains were made with this implementation. To start at V. W. Miller five years ago, where the mindset was “this is the best they can do,” to seeing us consistently score at the top, proves that no matter what demographics you are faced with, the school can be successful when the correct procedures are in place. In 2019, after our goal of refining the PLC process to ensure that ALL students make progress, V.W. Miller ranked as the following on STAAR:

8th Grade

Subject:

2015 district ranking on STAAR

2019 district ranking on STAAR

Math

9th

1st (3rd yr in a row)

Social Studies

7th

1st

Science

4th

1st

Reading

4th

3rd

 

7th Grade

Subject:

2015 district ranking on STAAR

2019 district ranking on STAAR

Math

10th

2nd  (2nd  yr in a row)

Writing

9th

3rd

Reading

5th

3rd

In 2019, one out of four students were scoring at the Masters level for all subjects in 8th grade. Educators asked us what our secret weapon was, but we had no secret books or weapons. What we had was an amazing PLC process that works!

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

At V.W. Miller Intermediate, we implement a guaranteed and viable curriculum by using the District Scope and Sequences pages, which align with state TEKS to identify which TEKS are Readiness Standards (need to knows) or Supporting Standard (nice to know).  At the beginning of the year we meet as a PLC’s to determine which TEKS are considered readiness or supporting standards.  We ask the following questions:  

  • Is this standard essential for current or future success in this course? 

  • Does this standard support college and/or career readiness? 

  • Has this standard been taught previously?  

  • Is this the first time this standard will be taught? 

  • Will this standard be taught again?  If so, when? 

  • How often will this standard be assessed on State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR)? 

Once determined a Readiness or Supporting Standard, we look at the district scope and sequence, previous STAAR data specific to our school, and previous STAAR data of incoming students to determine the amount of time and level of rigor that will be spent to ensure student mastery.  PLC’s meet two times per week for 50 minutes.  While in PLC’s we answer the four essential questions: 

  1. What do students need to know? 

  1. How will we know they get it? 

  1. What will we do if they don’t get it? 

  1. What will we do if they already know it? 

These four questions guide what we do day in and day out.  Prior to the beginning of each six weeks we start with the end in mind and create common summative assessments to be administered every three weeks, with formative assessments throughout each unit, as needed.  

Within one week of administering a common assessment teachers meet in a PLC to review data where we identify student mastery by standard, by student.  Each PLC then uses the data to formulate strategies to ensure mastery on Readiness Standards, by developing opportunities for intervention and enrichment.  We include students in the data process by having students complete student data sheets the day after each common assessment.  This allows students to identify their strengths and weaknesses and verbalize what they need to work on to reach mastery of any given standard.  Once data is collected and reviewed we work to strengthen understanding of Readiness Standards that are not mastered both in individual classrooms by pulling for small group support and embedding standards into warm-ups, exit tickets, and entrance cards and as a campus by pulling PRIDE Time groups, which is our program for intensive intervention and enrichment.   

Our focus on the continuous cycle of identifying essential standards, backwards planning, reviewing and utilizing data to identify by student mastery by standard in every content and grade-level PLC is essential to student success.  This success is determined not solely on passing a standardized test, but student growth from year to year. 

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

After each common assessment we meet as a PLC within one week of each common assessment to review data by student, by standard.  This data is prepared by each teacher and utilized every three weeks for our PRIDE Time draft, which is a process by which teachers and support staff are utilized to provide intervention or enrichment every three weeks for every student on campus.   PRIDE Time is built into our school day and is 40 minutes long.   PRIDE Time is also used to for students that need to enrich their learning since mastery of the Readiness Standards and often Supporting Standards have occurred.  There are four groups of students who are not allowed in the draft and are placed with a very specific teacher for a very specific purpose.  First, any student that reads at first grade reading level or lower are placed with the most experienced reading teachers to improve their reading skills using Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI).  Second, Level 1 and Level 2, English Language Learners (ELL’s) are placed with our ESL teacher to improve their command of the English language using Rosetta Stone Third, students with dyslexia are placed with the dyslexia teacher and/or other trained dyslexia staff.  Last, behavior RTI students meet with counselors in group counseling.   Once these students have been removed from the draft, it is made available to teams to draft a minimum of 15 students per teacher.  Reading and Math are allowed to draft first and second, then science and history draft third and fourth, depending on the rotation.  Once all core content teams have drafted the remaining students are then selected by elective teachers to work on their respective crafts.  Students drafted by coaching staff are allowed to read or work on an online math program, called Imagine Learning.   

The draft begins Monday morning and runs in four hour increments per team.  The draft is send out in our weekly Falcon Flight Plan.  Every 7th grade student is listed on one tab.  Every 8th grade student is listed on the second tab.  Teachers draft by typing their name next to the 15 students they will meet with for each three week period.  Once a teacher types their name no one else is allowed to override or type over another teacher’s name.  At the end of each draft session, attendance rosters are made using data sorts and printed for each teacher to take attendance every day for that three week period.   

While the PRIDE Time might sound like a separate class period, planning for PRIDE Time occurs during PLC time.  During the data meeting for every common assessment teachers are selected to teach a Readiness Standard that students scored low on.  Generally, the teachers with the best data on a given Readiness Standard are selected to provide intervention for that standard.  This is decided at the data meeting.  During regular PLC’s teachers meet and discuss what will be taught during PRIDE Time using the four questions we discussed earlier.     

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 V.W. Miller Intermediate have received extensive professional development training to aid with the implementation of the PLC process.  In addition, Pasadena Independent School District (PISD) has completely bought into the idea of PLC’s and have heavily invested in ensuring campuses have all the support necessary to make PLC implementation a complete success.  The current V.W. Miller Administration team came together in 2015, which was a couple years after PISD’s initial push for PLC’s.  V.W. Miller Administrators attended as a team the summer of 2015.  Armed with newly learned knowledge we adjusted our master schedule to allow for common planning time for PLC Teams to maximize collaboration time.  That same year we sent all PLC Leaders the Summer Institute in San Antonio as well as the RTI Institute in Austin to build capacity and allow PLC leaders to share with their teams with the hopes we would have a greater “buy-in” and understanding of the PLC  process.  In that time, PISD also offered a Teacher Leader PLC Collaborative and we offered that to other PLC members who had not been trained by the Solution Tree.  In addition, all teacher on campus attended two separate key note sessions with Mike Mattos over the last few years.   

The current master schedule allows for common planning time for each content area and grade-level on a daily basis.  PLC’s are required to meet two times per week, but many teams meet more than two times per week.  To ensure that PLC time is protected and not interfered with any other initiative or program on campus we set-up the schedule to allow 7th grade teams to meet on Mondays and Wednesdays while 8th grade teams meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  That means that ARD meetings, testing training, or any other needed meeting is not allowed during PLC times on those meeting days.    While the PLC Leader (Team Lead) is responsible for the agenda and leading the PLC meeting all members have responsibilities during the PLC.  Math, ELAR, and Science teams have a dedicated Campus Coach to provide guidance and input on the curriculum.  The history team shares a Campus Coach each six weeks.  The Campus Coaches provide teachers guidance in the identification of Readiness and Supporting Standards and feedback on the development of common assessments.  In addition, Campus Coaches help coach teachers on the use of effective instructional strategies, interpretation of testing data, modeling, and real-time in class support.     

2018-2019 Distinction Designations:

  • Academic Achievement in ELA/Reading
  • Academic Achievement in Mathematics
  • Academic Achievement in Science
  • Academic Achievement in Social Studies
  • Top 25 Percent: Comparative Academic Growth
  • Top 25 Percent: Comparative Closing the Gaps
  • Postsecondary Readiness

 

2017-2018 Distinction Designations:

  • Academic Achievement in ELA/Reading
  • Academic Achievement in Mathematics
  • Academic Achievement in Science
  • Academic Achievement in Social Studies
  • Top 25 Percent: Comparative Academic Growth
  • Top 25 Percent: Comparative Closing the Gaps
  • Postsecondary Readiness

 

2016-2017 Distinction Designations:

  • Academic Achievement in English Language Arts/Reading
  • Academic Achievement in Science
  • Academic Achievement in Social Studies
  • Top 25 Percent: Student Progress
  • Top 25 Percent: Closing Performance Gaps
  • Postsecondary Readiness

 

2015-2016 Distinction Designations:

  • Academic Achievement in English Language Arts/Reading
  • Academic Achievement in Mathematics
  • Academic Achievement in Science
  • Academic Achievement in Social Studies
  • Top 25 Percent: Student Progress
  • Top 25 Percent: Closing Performance Gaps
  • Postsecondary Readiness

 

2018-2019 Texas Gold Ribbon School

CHILDREN AT RISK celebrates schools that rise beyond expectations and excel academically. Gold Ribbon Schools are high-poverty, high-performing schools. In order to qualify as a Gold Ribbon School, 75%  or more of a campus’ students must be classified as low-income, and the school must receive an A or B grade in C@R’s annual school rankings. 

 

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