Oakcrest Intermediate School

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

Our PLC journey at Oakcrest began when we opened the campus in August 2015.  Faculty from 15 different campuses came together to embark on the journey, but there were many differing perceptions about PLC’s.  We began with focusing on our shared vision, mission, and core values while creating an Oakcrest Creed which still is recited during our assembly each morning.  We utilized Learning by Doing (2nd ed.) as a self-assessment tool to focus our efforts and engage in the right work.  We focused on what a PLC was and was not while reflecting on our work aligned to the Three Big Ideas of a PLC. The challenges of opening a new campus were evident, as our enrollment soared and three new teachers were hired within the first month.  With an ever-changing master schedule, only some teams were able to have common collaborative planning.  Teams were committed to meeting, but much of the focus was planning what to teach.  Our student performance data was pleasing, but our PLC journey was just beginning. The 2016-17 school year was a much more consistent year as our enrollment held steady and our master schedule ensured that all math, language arts, and science teams had common collaborative planning time during the school day.  We weren’t learning what a PLC was anymore, we began refining our efforts and team members would work in teams even if they weren’t asked to do so.  Our teams began to more fully understand that the work is a process and a journey, not a destination (shifting from compliance to commitment).  Our collaborative teams continued to evolve and the common vocabulary spoken during our weekly collaborative meetings became more about learning over teaching, more about evidence of effectiveness, and more results of student performance.  Our focused efforts and dialogue paid dividends with improvement on state assessments and noteworthy gains in student growth measures.  We began 2017-18 with a streamlined focus on systematic responsive instruction using the Four Guiding Questions of a PLC as our guide.  We utilized documents from All Things PLC and various PLC-related books to shape our own documents to ensure our systems were learning-focused for students at all levels.  Our teams designed learning documents to create clear learning targets, define expected outcomes, dig into essential learning standards, and refine our use of data to guide instructional decisions with Common Assessment Data Analysis Protocols.  While our teams in the past had created goals and planned together, our new documents helped us maximize our collaborative time and truly focused our conversations around student learning.  Our new Team Collaborative Agenda was designed to ensure topics discussed during team collaborative time are aligned to the Four Guiding Questions.  Our summer administrative book study was In Praise of American Educators which cast a powerful vision for the impact we have and the important role we play in the lives of children. We took a team of 8 to the PLC at Work Institute in San Antonio to grow leaders on campus. Our summer administrative book study Amplify Your Impact guided our work throughout the 2018-2019 school year.  We focused on providing clarity, feedback, and support at all levels (administration to teachers, teachers to students, school to home). Desired learning outcomes were clear, the intervention was truly systematic, and the feedback was purposeful across all levels.  Our Guiding Coalition was established to strengthen our PLC process along with teacher-led cadres to transform our faculty meetings into professional learning opportunities.  Our collaborative teams focused on sustaining success across all student populations.  Our commitment to ensuring high levels of learning for all students prevailed as we received 5 academic distinctions and became one of the top performing intermediate schools in the region.  We carried this momentum into 2019-2020.  Common formative and summative assessments were utilized with fidelity to drive systematic intervention and extensions for all our learners.  A student data tracker was created to show student performance and growth by standard.  Tracking every student by standard positively impacted our team collaboratives.  Conversations became laser focused targeting every student toward the “meets and masters grade level” performance across all assessments.  Our collaborative teams created a shared vision through collective responsibility, which included academic goal setting with students and parents.  This new layer of increased student accountability, ownership of learning, and continuous culture of feedback yielded great results on campus and district assessments throughout the year.  Our journey has been very challenging at times, but we are whole-heartedly committed (as our campus motto states) to, “Cultivating Character... Elevating Education.”  

 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

  • Prior to teachers returning to campus from summer, team leaders hold voluntary meetings and begin the work to establish norms and conduct team building activities to build a level of cohesion and learn more about one another both personally and professionally.  Teacher teams assemble their content/grade level student learning priorities to ensure their focus does not waver throughout the year and teachers have success criteria to guide their work. 

  • Each core content team conducts collaborative meetings every week focused on identifying student learning outcomes, designing assessments, analyzing student data and practicing/modeling best practice teaching strategies to name a few.  Content specialists attend all collaborative meetings and serve as a resource for teachers and can help facilitate the meetings.  Special Education teachers and campus administrators are actively involved in each collaborative session to support and advocate for all students while ensuring differentiation of teaching strategies remains an area of focus.    

  • Before the start of each grading period, teachers across all content teams collaborate and begin designing their unit assessments of the high leverage TEKS within the unit and plan student learning standards backwards from the assessment date.  These planning days are built into the school calendar and maximized as they are held for a full day uninterrupted.  Teachers utilize many tools to help them determine their plan of action including District pacing guides, previous years state assessment questions, frequency distribution tables, etc.   

  • Teams collectively focus on a learning design template to provide clarity on:

A.  Analyze/breakdown high leverage standards to determine best practice strategies

B.  Identify possible misconceptions

C.  Determine success criteria and evidence of learning

D.  Formative assessment questions and Checking for Understanding strategies  to monitor progress

E.  Understand the prerequisite skills and key vocabulary. 

F.  Design essential/guiding questions that connect to “I Can” statements  

G. Discuss possible strategies for intervention and extension

  • This work on the design learning template ensures quality initial tier 1 instruction and reduces the number of students requiring intervention through the clarity of the teacher team establishing the standard of learning.  Our goal is to constantly be aligned to the depth and complexity of the standards in the way the students will see the questions presented to them in a state assessment format.  Teams use our campus data tracker to monitor student growth and identify students who are passing backwards to ensure progress for all during initial instruction.  

  • Teams develop “I can” statements which are posted for students and then used by students to track their learning progression through the learning activity.  Students set goals and monitor their own progress on each standard to ensure they can advocate for their own learning.  Lesson closure is part of the learning process where teachers review expected outcomes and highlight successes of the day while students prepare to demonstrate their learning in various ways including but not limited to exit tickets, academic discussion, etc.  Students are provided feedback before they leave the room to ensure students don’t leave with misconceptions or practicing incorrectly.

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

  • Intervention rosters are developed based on multiple data sources including state assessment achievement and growth measures, universal screeners, benchmark data, reading level, etc. 5th and 6th Grade students have a 45 minute period each day we call AI (Accelerated Instruction).  This period allows for students to work with our teaching faculty on specific skill deficits they need in Math and Reading as our primary focus of intervention.  Because 5th Grade Science is also a tested subject area in Texas, we have opportunities for students to engage in Science instruction in the form of laboratory and project based activities to connect their learning to a more hands on experience.  Students who have demonstrated mastery levels year over year in their Math and Reading performance have the opportunity to engage in extension experiences led by our faculty trained in Project Based Learning and critical thinking exercises.  This process has ensured that all students are receiving quality extension and intervention support at all levels.  

  • Special populations are considered when creating intervention schedules to  meet the specific needs of all individual learners including: referencing special education students’ goals and objectives directly from their IEP, and focus efforts toward students in our ESL program who are at a Beginner and/or Intermediate levels of English proficiency for targeted linguistic intervention with ESL specialist.

  • We have incorporated instructional technology in our 6th grade computer lab to support instruction in the classroom.  Teacher schedules are aligned to 6th grade computer lab periods to provide flexibility for pull-out intervention in a small group or 1:1 basis.  Teachers use the identified high leverage standards in the unit and create model videos for students to view as a reference and additional practice activities for students to complete and get feedback via Google Classroom.

  • Oakcrest has come a long way analyzing student data and have continued to refine our practices year after year.  Like most campuses, our starting point was getting teachers to understand how to respond to the data and how data can inform instructional decisions while establishing best practices when using data.  As a result of learning how to use data to form small groups in the classroom for Tier 2 support and how to identify students who need additional support through after school tutorials, we expanded utilizing data to form intervention groups during the school day with targeted teachers focusing on targeted standards.   We wanted to ensure students were flexibly grouped, monitored and exited based on mastery and progress of the identified standard.  Student groups are not expected to stay the same as all students are expected to achieve mastery of the skills identified.   

  • As we have moved to analyzing data at the intervention levels during our accelerated instruction periods, students are expected to demonstrate progress and mastery on the skills they are targeting.  Our teachers conduct data digs after each common assessment to determine mastery of individual TEKS, and if the students in our current interventions are benefiting from the instruction they are receiving.  To support this process, teachers take part in quarterly student data conversations with content specialists, counselor and administration to celebrate successes and identify next steps in the growth process.

3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.

Oakcrest Intermediate School is committed to the PLC process with a culture of collaboration as a foundation for improved student outcomes.  PLC training, implementation, feedback and support are ongoing processes at our campus since we have set out on this PLC journey.  We begin each year reviewing our current practices in an evaluative form and celebrate the successes while identifying areas for growth team by team, member by member.  Each year, our campus identifies areas of focus within our collaboration processes as overarching goals to ensure clarity across the campus while giving the teams a road map for success that includes training, practice space and opportunities, feedback and support from teacher leads, specialists, campus administrators and District-Level support.  Each year has looked very different as proficiency levels change across teams and students needs continue to vary.  Priorities have varied from establishing team norms and teacher roles in year 1 to refining a systematic approach to intervention and extension through creativity in the master schedule in year 4. 

In the 2019-20 school year, we made a commitment to focus on student growth across all content areas, and specifically laser focused on state testing areas.  Achievement levels can sometimes blur an underlying cause for student regression as student’s progress through the grades.  We call this “passing backwards” in our theory.  As we are an Intermediate campus of 5th and 6th graders, we have made it our mission to ensure students are making the necessary progress to better prepare themselves for the academic challenges ahead of them at the Junior High level.  Our goal as an Intermediate campus is for students to be aware of their current achievement levels and set improvement goals with their teachers while taking ownership of their learning in and out of the classroom.  To do this, it was important that a tool was created to offer teachers a birds eye view of their students previous levels of performance which includes state testing data, previous years benchmark data, TELPAS data if applicable, and all District level universal screener data that applies.  Our goal as a school was for 100% of the students at Oakcrest Intermediate School to grow at least one achievement level by the end of the year measured by the state assessment.  Students that have demonstrated mastery year over year were expected to sustain this level of achievement on assessments.    

To obtain this goal, teacher teams were laser focused on student progress kid by kid, rather than overall achievement of their class, class period, sub-group, etc.  This allowed teams the opportunity to discuss individual student progress over achievement and hold crucial conversations to ensure students were not regressing.  Students that historically achieved at the highest percentile range were not allowed to regress using this tool due to their achievement level not being the focus.  Although most of our students meet minimum achievement standards, students that were not meeting their progress goal were identified and intervention began immediately.  

 

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

2016-2017 Distinctions Designations

Academic Achievement in English Language Arts/Reading; Top 25 Percent: Student Progress; Top 25 Percent: Closing Performance Gaps; Postsecondary Readiness

2017-2018 Distinctions Designations

Academic Achievement in English Language Arts/Reading

2018-2019 Accountability Rating: A

2018-2019 Distinction Designations

Academic Achievement in English Language Arts/Reading; Academic Achievement in Mathematics; Top 25 Percent: Comparative Academic Growth; Top 25 Percent: Comparative Closing the Gaps; Postsecondary Readiness

2015-2016 

  • Great Expectations Progressive School (less than 5% of GE Schools earn this status in the first year)

  • TISD Convocation “Most Spirited Secondary Campus” Award

2016-2017

  • Great Expectations Model School (90-100% of the teachers are implementing 100% of the 17 research based classroom practices daily)

  • Spotlighted by the Houston Chronicle for our Great Expectations Program

  • EcoRise Grants awarded for a PBL project totaling $480

  • TISD UIL “Spirit of UIL” Award 

2017-2018

  • Great Expectations Model School (90-100% of the teachers are implementing 100% of the 17 research based classroom practices daily)

  • EcoRise Grants awarded for 2 PBL projects totaling $999.51

  • Dr. Lee Wright, Secondary Principal of the Year for Tomball ISD

  • ConocoPhillips Math Teacher of the Month

  • Showcase Campus for HEB Excellence in Education Award Finalist 

  • Tomball Superintendent Shining Star Teacher Recipient

  • Greater North Houston Music Festival Division 1 Superior Rating Award

  • TISD Chess Tournament Top Scoring Team

  • Texas Math and Science Coaches Association State Qualifier

2018-2019

  • Great Expectations Model School (90-100% of the teachers are implementing 100% of the 17 research based classroom practices daily)

  • ConocoPhillips Math Teacher of the Month

  • District Top Math Performance Awards earned by 5 Oakcrest Teachers

  • Tomball Education Foundation Teaching Grant Recipient

  • 1st in Student Achievement 2018-2019 (Math Teacher)

  • Tomball Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the Month

  • Texas Math and Science Coaches Association State Qualifier

  • Tomball ISD Most Valuable Teacher Award Recipients

  • Tomball ISD Most Valuable Assistant Principal Award

  • Tomball Educational Support Staff Paraprofessional Scholarship Award Recipient

  • Tomball Superintendent Shining Star Counselor and Teacher Recipient

  • Finalist for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics & Science Teaching

  • Student “Mini Library” PBL Project Showcased at Houston City Hall for 1st Annual Houston Student Innovation Showcase 

  • EcoRise produced a video to showcase student sustainability PBL project youtu.be/j6oTrWGjxcE 

  • Teacher Nominated for Life Changer of the Year Award

  • TISD Chess Tournament Top Scoring Team

2019-2020

  • Great Expectations Model School (90-100% of the teachers are implementing 100% of the 17 research based classroom practices daily)

  • Destination Imagination State Finalist Team

  • Best of Show Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Art Contest

  • Greater North Houston Music Festival Division 1 Superior Rating Award

  • Music Across Texas Event-Superior Rating (Orchestra)

  • Math Olympiad Competition, 3 students scored in top 10%

  • Tomball ISD Assistant Principal Super Hero Award

  • Tomball ISD Superintendent’s Fast Pass Award

  • 1st Place TISD Battle of the Books Competition

  • TISD Chess Tournament Top Scoring Team

  • Governor Greg Abbott Teaching SuperStar Award Recipient

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