Creekview Elementary School
- Number of Students: 1,060
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 0.19%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 21%
- Percent of Special Education: 5%
- White: 46.2%
- Black: 3.42%
- Hispanic: 40.7%
- Asian: 5.5%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0.2%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.47%
- Multiracial: 3.51%
- Other: 0%
Sometimes hope is kindled during our most difficult moments, changing difficulties into occasions. The changes that resulted because of COVID and the subsequent Texas recovery legislation have propelled us forward. Continuing to develop the PLC at Work® process following the COVID pandemic initially felt overwhelming as it occurred simultaneously with two additional administrative changes.
In the past 2 years, Creekview experienced a 24% explosion in student population as well as a 136% increase in Emergent Bilinguals (EBs) since the 2019 school year, both of which have subsequently necessitated 35 new staff members, so we’ve dedicated time to rediscover our mission and vision as a reminder of the purpose that drives us all.
A deeper commitment to the collective inquiry process has grown out of the desire to recover academic losses resulting from the pandemic. In 2021, Texas passed HB4545 as an attempt to accelerate learning for those who did not approach standards on STAAR; they were to receive an additional 30 hours of TEKS-aligned instruction in every content area for which they were unsuccessful (up to 3). Additionally, this small group instruction required a ratio no larger than 1-to-3. Teams realized that intervention must be revamped so all grade level teachers shared a common framework: protected intervention time, grouping strategies based upon objectives and a defined data protocol. Thus teachers’ foundational language and understanding allowed them to engage in effective instructional planning cycles.
Further, we deepened and secured our collaborative foundation by selecting teacher leaders from among the new staff to participate in Solution Tree Professional Learning Communities at Work training, thereby positively impacting buy-in and instilling in everyone a hunger to optimize their own professional effectiveness. This also allowed experienced educators the time to refresh and strengthen their knowledge and commitment to the process.
Due to campus growth, each team dedicated time to go “back-to-the-basics” of the process ensuring that all members understand its impact on student learning outcomes. Each team focused on developing new Learning Design Templates and selecting essential standards to ensure that new staff fully understood and implemented targeted and effective teaching strategies with precision. (See Learning Design Templates)
According to principles of Backward Design, the DLTs were then used to create a unit summative and corresponding formative assessments that supported lesson objectives. Lastly, teachers created daily supporting lessons arranged to arrive at the end goal. As formative assessments are completed, campus content specialists led teams through Creekview's Data Analysis Protocol in team Data Digs. (See Data Analysis Protocol Template)
In a post-pandemic educational environment, Creekview’s commitment to collaboration remains rooted in the realization that the only hope of recovering the learning that was lost was to collectively share responsibility for assuring educational equity and a focus on high levels of learning for all. While teams were in various stages of learning, they acknowledged their success was not defined by the strongest teacher, but by the weakest among them; therefore, they banded together to ensure that those who were less familiar with the PLC model of collaboration felt supported through establishing an environment of professional enrichment that was driven by student success. (See Collaborative Planning Cycle)
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
The Professional Learning Community at Creekview understood the crucial role that monitoring learning plays in a child’s educational success. Teachers assessed and analyzed student data through weekly planning meetings and grade level collaboratives. (See Collaboration Calendar) Data was collected from a variety of sources including, though not limited to, common formative assessments, district-created benchmarks, nationally-normed diagnostic/prescriptive assessment software such as Renaissance Star reading and math, reading running records and team-created assessments. Continuous data collection and analysis through the lens of the four essential questions ensured each student’s individual needs were met and growth was demonstrated through a continuous cycle of inquiry.
On a weekly basis grade level teams met to collaborate using data. As teachers analyzed data, successes were celebrated and areas for growth were identified. This allowed for self-reflection and provided an opportunity for teachers to learn from one another, which resulted in the advancement of students. In response to data, teachers re-evaluated and refined teaching practices and created W.I.N. (What I Need) groups. Teacher teams were proficient in documenting RTI instruction and intervention in Frontline. (See Frontline) As a result, student learning goals were preserved as well as data that supported learning outcomes and individualized learning plans. After students met a goal it was then discussed whether additional goals were necessary or if the student was performing on grade level. Teachers engaged in grade level tracking in which students had opportunities to reflect upon and monitor their own achievement goals. (See 5th Grade Math Data Tracking Template)
At the beginning of the academic year,each team created a collective goal for all students centered around a high-leverage objective. This targeted goal provided teams with a focus and each student was monitored throughout the year based upon his/her progress toward such goal. It was also used as a component of each teacher’s T-TESS summative evaluation for professional accountability. (See Scoreboard)
One of the most engaging and beloved practices at Creekview was the “Kid Talk” process to ensure all students are responding to instruction and/or having their social emotional needs met, which according to Maslow, must occur prior to learning. Kid Talks were conducted with campus administration, diagnostician, LSSP, guidance counselor, speech language pathologist, the Specialized Support team and the campus instructional specialists. With such an extravagant display of commitment, “next steps” for students were created with completion dates and assigned to the appropriate lead to maintain accountability for every child. As a result, each child had the constant support of every teacher and campus administration as they navigated what was truly a multi-tiered system of support.
Based upon a campus-wide measurable deficit, math running records were added as a monitoring tool for math-fact fluency as an additional means to measure student outcomes.
At regular intervals, the content specialists led teachers through Data Digs in which they closely examined student performance using a campus created protocol. By adhering to a protocol, it preserved the dignity of teachers while simultaneously providing a platform for candid, transparent conversations focused on student growth and learning.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
According to Oxford, a system is defined as a group of interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. With the addition of more than 35 new staff members over 2 years, it was vital to keep Creekview's mission and vision at the forefront of the work that continued to unite the campus. It served as the foundation for any system that was created. In order to uphold collective commitments, it was necessary to refine the process for identifying individual student needs which meant moving beyond identifying students in need of remediation to identifying specific needs for all students. Out of this realization grew a system: the cycle of targeted instruction based upon objectives, formative assessment, grouping according to student need, whole group/small group instruction, assessment and regrouping, school-home communication about student performance, and requisite Student Intervention Team (SIT) meetings as needed. In this process, the collection of data was not the end goal, but rather the means to an end, which was improved student learning outcomes.
The best part of this journey was that based upon the data analysis protocol (individual class analysis, data meetings, grade level Kid Talks and Instruction Leadership Team meetings), teams moved beyond intervention as remediation and redefined its purpose. Teams had realized on their own that though HB4545 ensured intervention for those who failed to approach standards, it did not take into account the large number of students who experienced extensive COVID losses, but did, in fact, pass STAAR. Therefore Creekview's multi-tiered system of support was driven by teachers who were determined to support all students in learning recovery and acceleration. Thus two protected thirty-minute intervention blocks for each grade level were dedicated in the master schedule so that neither intervention (HB 4545 or RTI) precluded the other. (See Student Support RTI Referral)
The campus Reading, Math, Gifted & Talented, and Academic Specialists co-taught and modeled lessons for grade level teams to strengthen Tier 1 instruction, provide job embedded professional development, and give immediate feedback. Content specialists also supported teams with goal-setting and intervention documentation.
Using the data analysis protocol, teachers flexibly grouped students based on specific deficits every 3-6 weeks. In addition to grade level teachers and specialists, instructional paraprofessionals were allocated to support teams and students of highest need. Mid-year Tier 3 students shifted from working primarily with instructional specialists to working with classroom teachers to gain grade-level content. The instructional leadership team including administrators, diagnostician, speech language pathologist, LSSP, specialized support teachers, and content specialists met weekly to hold case studies on students that were identified by teachers to provide necessary guidance on behavioral or academic next steps. Teachers and administration regularly communicated with parents as their children’s learning needs were discussed in order to maintain positive home-school relationships designed around the child. At Creekview, one often hears that students are “all of ours” which was evident through the systems of intervention.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
Hattie’s Effect Sizeindicated that teacher efficacy had the greatest impact on student learning. Recently, it was updated to reflect that collective teacher efficacy has an even greater impact. Creekview invested in teacher development as the most effective way to grow capacity. Capacity was built through: (1) establishing good systems (2) adopting a growth mindset (3) providing feedback (4) exploring new territory. (See Visible Learning Influences on Student Achievement)
As a collaborative community we recognized that our systems were embedded and non-negotiable. (1) As a result of collective inquiry, teachers gained a solid understanding of the cycle of planning targeted instruction, conducting formative assessments, intervening and evaluating with a standard protocol. A purposefully designed master schedule protected time for team collaboration and planning and each teacher was supported by content specialists to guide students through the RTI process and document their progress. We established a system for team goal setting and gaining feedback from staff to target and align teachers’ specific needs. (See Kinder Goal)
(2) Adopting a growth mindset was difficult during a season when it seemed like there was a fixation on mitigating loss. Nonetheless our growth mindset was evident in the regard we had for our greatest asset - teachers. Content specialists were routinely in classrooms to co-teach and/or model lessons so that teachers could continue refining their craft through job embedded learning opportunities. (See Coaching and Co-Teaching)
(3) Providing feedback was vital. Each teacher observed a colleague’s classroom for 10-15 minutes and left notes of encouragement in common rooms so that all staff could “witness the good” that was occurring across campus. Four content specialists from Creekview Elementary attended the Jim Knight Impact Cycle seminar and had the privilege of hosting them on campus for continual training focused on instructional coaching and feedback. The role of content specialists was restructured to allow 70% of their time dedicated to the coaching cycle in order to improve all Tier I instruction. As a result, the entire school experienced the transforming power of feedback
(4) In order to develop a broader vision of education in general campus administration encouraged teachers to extend their reach by taking risks, which built capacity. Some teachers engaged in grant writing for innovative ideas based upon research conducted by teachers. The research challenges them to incorporate new ideas into their teaching and Creekview has been awarded approximately $10,000 in the past 2 years through such grants. Another example of risk-taking for the purpose of growth was four teachers with principal certification interviewed and were selected to participate in the district Administrative Leadership Cohort, which means that Creekview had the largest representation of any campus in the district. Additionally, teachers have presented at a district level on topics around intermediate math, hands-on science training, teaching music to children, writing and the gifted child, and diagnostic assessments to district diagnosticians. It was apparent capacity was built through fostering leadership skills and engaging in a near-constant learning cycle which positively impacted our collaborative performance.
Achievement Data Files
Additional Achievement Data
Like many schools across the country amidst the COVID storm, Creekview was not immune to the loss of learning. Campus administration, academic specialists and teacher leaders recognized and embraced the challenges inherent in overcoming the effects of school closures, inconsistent engagement in virtual learning, increased duration of absences, and adapting instruction to constantly changing guidelines and parameters. These unprecedented times had been compounded by the complexities of analyzing data as it had become much more difficult to make “apples to apples” comparisons among cohorts even when using similar benchmarks.
Knowing these challenges, students still made measurable growth due to a commitment to academic growth through an actionable goal: the analysis of multiple data sources for the purpose of identifying skill and concept deficiencies and targeting those needs. This process of analysis occurred on individual, grade, school, community, district and state levels to provide multiple lenses from which to identify growth and needs and necessary interventions to reach goals. Grade level and subject-grouped teams refined and trained new staff on data review protocols helping to foster strenuous yet constructive conversations with a clear focus on “by student, by standard” analysis of both formative and summative assessments.
Student growth was measured using the district standard of 50 as the Student Growth Proficiency index. Collective grade level performance was monitored at high growth, high proficiency levels or low growth, low proficiency levels in both math and reading (see Star Ren SGP) while simultaneously identifying teachers who needed support and coaching from content specialists.
According to STAAR projections(See CES STAAR Projection Based on Interim Data 2021-2022)several observations were made:
Third grade participated in tutoring before and after school since they were projected to experience the greatest loss. One must remember those students were first graders when COVID closed schools and students suffered significant academic loss in foundational skills.
Fourth and fifth grade students experienced quicker recovery and were largely projected to meet or exceed pre-COVID performance.
According to our multi-year tracking on the state assessment, data show that Creekview exceeds district performance in the majority of categories though some percentage losses occurred; our collaboration is clearly a mitigating factor. (See Creekview State Assessment ACHIEVEMENT Data 2018-2021)
Since the 2019 school year, Creekview experienced a 136% increase in students classified as LEP. The Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS) monitored the language acquisition process for emergent bilingual students to ensure growth in 4 domains and across 4 levels of acquisition. This year the number of students who have achieved growth in at least proficiency level (23%) experienced significant improvement. The number of re-classified students doubled the prior 2 years, and Creekview is poised with a possible 27% reclassification total based upon the increased number of Advanced Highs in writing and projected STAAR data. (See Emerging Bilinguals Reclassification)
Tracking data these past several years was at times discouraging. We learned, however, that commitment to collaboration through our Professional Learning Community did not guarantee against a loss in academic performance, but rather, it provided focus when our current reality no longer matched our expectation of what the campus could be. Thanks to the PLC at Work® process, we lived the growth cycle that drove us toward excellence in improving student outcomes.
State finalist for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST): Kelli Abueita
District A+ Teacher of the Year: Amy Rauscher
Second place District Spelling Bee Winner
Second place District Science Fair Winner
Second Place District Battle of the Books