Creekside Park Junior High

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

2016-2017

The Creekside Park Junior High PLC story began with our opening for the 2016-2017 school year. At the time, we were the smallest junior high school within our district with 587 students enrolled. Such a small size allowed for us to get to know our students academically but being so small also presented some planning challenges. For instance, we were a smaller staff, so multiple teachers taught multiple courses within their content areas. This presented an issue where teachers were not able to have traditional common planning that allowed for PLC time. To alleviate this, whole departments were off together to provide a way for teachers to meet with their grade level groups all at once. We began making preparations when our staff grew the following year to move to a more formal PLC model.

2017-2018

The 2017-2018 school year brought a new principal with a strong PLC vision for a culture of true collaboration. Also, we grew as both a staff and student body by 11%, with our special populations of Special Education, English Language Learners, students with dyslexia and our students classified as Economically Disadvantaged also grew. This increase provided an opportunity for us to double down on our PLC model to ensure we continued to reach students of all abilities and all learning modalities. To start, common planning was guaranteed for core classes. Additionally, grade level specific PLC meetings were held on a rotation basis within our intervention periods. Department Chairs were selected and trained to assist in overseeing the planning process in a way that was standardized across campus These methods aimed to reach our new campus goal of “achieving excellence together” where we collaborated together from initial inquiry to daily practice.

2018-2019

The 2018-2019 school year saw another increase in our student population and teachers who were introduced to the culture of PLC’s at our school. This centered on PLC meetings that were centered around targeted planning and data analysis, cornerstones of the culture of collaboration began the year prior. PLC agendas were required to drive discussion around the four PLC questions. Moreover, a campus wide focus on backwards design began. Further, we continued common planning time for our core content, the involvement of Department Chairs and selected core areas began rolling out Designing Learning Templates (DLT’s) that were used to drive instruction through formal analysis of specific Texas Education Knowledge Standards (TEKS) in one core content area that data showed was in need of the most intervention.

2019-2020

The 2019-2020 school year only allowed for on campus instruction until March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before going virtual, our campus made huge strides in our PLC process. We began using DLT’s in all core subjects after piloting within selected courses.  To test the performance on these TEKS, we also began schoolwide checkpoints given after instruction on specific TEKS took place. All teachers analyzed the data from these checkpoints within their PLC to determine what reteaching needed to be done within specific classes and for specific students. By using these checkpoints as thresholds for moving on and showing knowledge mastery, teachers were able to complete the backwards design process and use the PLC model at CPJH to not just monitor but improve student performance. Also, teachers also began to hold each other accountable by presenting and posting individual and group data outside of classrooms to provide full transparency both of opportunities for growth and successes, as they occurred.

2020-2021

This school year continues our journey in our PLC process. Our student body continues to grow, including our special populations. Because this an opportunity for growth, we have created a schoolwide focus on these special populations, including a renewed focus on our dyslexic students and those students learning virtually. Moreover, we have added a new position of an Academic Specialist to assist in our data analysis. This individual has a statistical analysis and content specialist background to help deepen our knowledge of data’s role in the planning and assessment process. Finally, we have focused, as a staff, on traits of essential teaching and learning, guided by our new campus principal and the instructional strategies of John Hattie. We have used Hattie’s research to analyze ourselves and our departments to identify further opportunities for growth that will drive the work of our departments as we move through this school year.

We recognize that the PLC process is not linear, but cyclical. We will continue to cycle through our successes and opportunities for change and growth each year to progress on our journey together. It is a journey we believe is at the heart of our school’s success, and how we will truly achieve excellence together.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Student learning begins with a curriculum that is planned with the student in mind. Our district does not have a standardized curriculum. Instead, trust is placed on the campus content specialists to ensure that our planning delivers a viable curriculum that is challenging, engaging and delivered well. Thus, we believe we have built an effective PLC model that provides effective collaboration and results-focused communication across instructional teams. To create this model, we have focused on establishing a collaborative culture grounded in collective problem solving that is based on three foundational elements of monitoring student learning: collective inquiry, data collection and response to data throughout the planning process. This foundational approach to monitoring student learning begins with opportunities for collaboration and collective inquiry. To do so, all CPJH core content classes have common planning periods that allow for weekly meetings in our “Cube.” Our PLC teams not only include our teachers, but our Assistant Principals assigned to that content area, our building Principal and our Academic Specialist on campus. Together, we brainstorm, and problem solve ensuring we all bring resources, as well as using what we call Designing Learning Templates (DLT’s) to drive our discussions around student learning and response to such learning. It is part of our norms that these DLT’s are created as a team and that these provide a guide to drive our discussions. We work intentionally, drawing on our myriad of skills to plan in a way that highlights and strengthens our collective capacity and commitment as both educators and colleagues.

This collective inquiry then leads directly into our data collection and response. Within our “Cube,” we have a data wall that is updated weekly by our Academic Specialist on campus. This individual compiles, analyzes and presents on all data both on formal and teacher made tests, including checkpoints core content areas complete every seven days. These checkpoints consist of 5-7 questions and are given on those Texas Education Knowledge Standards (TEKS) given by the state, we have identified as necessary for students to show progress on in order to move forward within our units. When analyzing the unique context of our school, we determined that this threshold for TEKS that are considered “met” is for students to not just attain the TEKS but master (scoring above an 85%). All students must meet individual goals of masters set by each core content area to show true understanding and ability to apply the use of our TEKS to all aspects of our core curriculum. With these numbers, our PLC team makes instructional adjustments and creates additional checkpoints to help continue the data story of our students. We feel by doing so, we are making the most effective use of our time in PLC, as well as ensuring through data-driven decision making, we are monitoring student learning weekly, in unique ways, consistently and effectively. And using our results to grow our students, grow ourselves as individuals and grow our team as a collective unit that can intervene and extend our students’ learning.

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

Our intervention program on campus is multi-faceted and focuses on the idea that we must stretch each student by each standard. Additionally, it is grounded in the belief that intervention is a temporary fix and not meant to be a long-term solution. Thus, first and foremost, teachers offer tutoring both before school and after for thirty minutes. To determine those that need tutoring, we use the checkpoints created in our core content that are delivered every seven days. We use these checkpoints to carve out an opportunity to monitor performance and adjust teaching prior to our unit assessments. Through these changes, we provide individual interventions within the classroom. And if entire groups of students don’t show mastery of TEKS (Texas Education Knowledge Standards), we return to the PLC process to create formal spiraling and reteaching opportunities for students. Sometimes, all of this is still not enough, though, for some students. So, teachers create tutoring lists and intervention lists based on such information.    

That leads to what we call PAW period. This is a class that is held daily as the entire campus’ sixth period option. PAW period is the time for direct and indirect intervention for students. Teachers can use it as additional tutoring time, extra time on assignments and more. Further, two days a week are dedicated to math and reading, while another two are dedicated to science and social studies. Additionally, PAW period is used as a time to assist students in learning how to manage their own learning. We work on study skills, as well as a social and emotional learning curriculum meant to enhance their experience in their classes.

 

When it comes to formal enrichment, we also utilize PAW period. Beginning in November, our students that we have identified as needing additional assistance in matriculation testing years, we assign to specific PAW period teachers. These teachers are our highest performing in 8th grade math and reading. They have an entire group that is identified as needing additional support in these subject areas, and they receive four days of formal intervention during PAW period from November through the rest of the school year. The lists for formal instruction are initially provided by our Academic Specialist with the direction of the criteria selected by the building Principal and Assistant Principals. Then, the lists created are also brought to the classroom teachers during formal PLC time to ensure teacher input is included before our lists are considered “complete.” Together, the entire PLC team works to create a structured curriculum for these PAW period classes. The team creates assignments based on the needs of the students, most specifically those TEKS the students are not showing mastery or even meeting standard. Then, the students are given checkpoints analyzed in the same way during PLC time to track movement of skill retention and mastery for our formal intervention students.

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

At Creekside Park, we believe in creating high-performing teams that work to always improve the learning of all students. This is done in a few different ways. It begins with our PLC planning process. To ensure its viability, the curriculum designed and delivered at Creekside Park begins with our getting to know our students and their needs. To do so, we begin with data analysis of the prior year’s performance on a multitude of data points both of our team’s performance and the new students coming into our classrooms. This ensures we are planning first with clarity about what students will learn, and this involves ensuring all within our teams are content specialists. To support this development into specialists, we create leadership opportunities on campus for those that wish to become more skilled in their teaching craft. Such growth begins with our Department Chairs. This group of classroom teachers are trained on coaching, the PLC process and participate in monthly meetings with other leadership on campus to provide support and growth for our teachers and by proxy their students. Further, we build additional leadership through the empowerment of grade level team leads. These individuals are developed into content specialists in their subject area and grade level and assist in running PLC meetings. The team leads also receive specific training on how to support their teams throughout the planning process.

Training also occurs whole group with our staff. Teachers are trained annually on the PLC process, and, as a part of this training, teams have an opportunity to work on building trust and capacity for our PLC model. In these trainings, we work through the four questions our PLC process asks from planning through response/intervention to assess and reassess our teaching methods. Part of this process is the creation of “I wonder” statements guided by our department chairs which are turned into “I can” statements by the teachers for their students. The Department Chairs help teachers reflect on their practice through studies of the TEKS and data to ask what they wonder could happen if they changed certain teaching practices. (For example, I wonder what would happen if we could inspire our 7th graders to read five minutes more a day?) Then, those “I wonders” are turned into ways to make the wonder become a reality through direct and targeted lessons. Once those practices are changed and reflected on lesson plans, teachers help students by providing “I can” statements about what they will complete in class that day. So, by the end of the lesson, what can the students now do that they could not do before. We believe this process prevents the stagnation that can occur when curriculum is not reassessed regularly and changed because of that reassessment. When this high level planning processes occur while combining it with the accountability of individual and whole group data analysis, we believe our teams are able to focus all efforts on improving student learning effectively.

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

We have included a few things to tell our data story. The first is a spreadsheet showing our TELPAS scores for the past three years. TELPAS is a testing program that is used to assess how our English Language Learners (ELL’s) are progressing. The acronym stands for Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System. We have had an increase in ELL’s on campus each year we have been open, and our scores show continued progress in moving these individuals through our program effectively. Further these ELL’s our Special Education students (SPED) with Individualized Education plans and our Economically Disadvantaged (Eco Dis) are listed on the STAAR (State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness) spreadsheet. We focus yearly on growing these sub-populations alongside the performance of our entire school on the STAAR. Additionally, we have included the percentage of students who received masters each year on the STAAR, which is the highest level of performance on this state assessment. We believe this is crucial because we are already a high performing school with high numbers of students who are passing, including those from sub populations, especially compared to the state. Thus, passing is not the threshold by which we hold ourselves accountable. Instead, we use masters because this is the highest level of performance on STAAR. At CPJH, we want to not just move all of our students into passing range but show true mastery of skills and standards for their current grade level.

Finally, we have included our STAAR BOY (Beginning of Year) data from this year. There is no official STAAR data to present from the 2019-2020 school year, as the STAAR state testing was cancelled due to COVID. But we do have Beginning of Year testing done by the Texas Education Agency to show how students would have performed if the STAAR test had been administered on the first day of school. Students were tested on the grade level they had last school year. So sixth graders took fifth grade tests, seventh graders, sixth grade and eighth graders, seventh grade tests. This is meant to show their mastery of skills taught last year, as well as give us some information about how significant the COVID slide was on these students who were out of school for sixth months. We believe this is important and valid data for the purposes of this application because we are planning specialized instruction, tutoring groups and changing our teaching practices because of BOY. Again, these do represent data after students were out of traditional school for a long time period. We believe that they are a great starting place and give us valid information not just of where they were but where they are through the loss of skill and application of such skills due to COVID. Thus, we ask that they be seen as a starting point for this year, which gives us some information of how much we need to grow our students and how they are performing in a post-COVID world.

Finally, we were asked to provide our narrative for the local data usage included. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we did not use state mandated testing data, as the state test in Texas, the STAAR, was cancelled. Thus, we used local data to assess where our students were and what we could do to track their progress and work on their growth in the classroom. ELA and Science classes used a locally devised benchmark that was given across the district. These benchmarks included the Texas Education Knowledge Standards that would have been tested on the STAAR and used previous STAAR released test items. It was our intention to determine how our students were progressing toward STAAR using this assessment.

Our Math and Social Studies departments utilized a test offered by the Texas Education Agency called an Interim Assessment to track their student growth. This test was also made up of STAAR released questions and featured the entirety of Texas Education Knowledge Standards taught for that grade level over the course of the school year. This data was used to create flexible small groupings, create intervention groups and more.

We continue to use these data points this year even through our STAAR test will be offered in May.

Further, since our initial application, we have implemented a new way of tracking data on our campus at the local level. We implemented checkpoints across the board in ELA, as a trial group to determine how data could best drive our PLC instructional process. While we were doing CFA’s previously, we wanted to ensure that we were doing them in a way that was best practice. So we did the following?

  • New checkpoint procedures implemented across ELA as of 10/15 and beyond.
  • Required checkpoints for what we considered and decided upon as “boulder” knowledge standards every 5-7 days either through a formal checkpoint given in class.  
  • ELA teachers were explicitly trained on assessment writing on two occasions both whole group and within grade level specifically on how to create data driven assessments and use the data to drive reteaching informal and formal assessments.
  • Backwards design, as a result of the above training, was fully implemented in all ELA classrooms by 11/1
  • District personnel and Academic Specialist attended two planning days for each ELA grade level to assist in data usage and assessment planning.
  • Weekly data meetings held with all individual ELA grade levels beginning 10/1

What we saw was wonderful progress. Please see the attached file labeled ELA Checkpoint Data Progress that shows the growth toward our goals due to the implementation and tracking of data in this targeted way. The ELA groups targeted for data accountability are seeing universal progress toward our masters goals. ELA is our first targeted group, and all three grade levels show a positive trend line toward our masters goals and are on track to both meet or succeed.

While more data is needed, it is our hypothesis, that there is a statistical correlation and possible causal relationship between our data intervention and accountability implemented as interventions within ELA. We will run a full analysis at the close of this school year. As we turn toward SS in 8th grade and Math, we hope to see the same amount of progress in the next three months approaching testing, as we’ve seen among the ELA groups over the past three months. We are really excited about making this process of using checkpoints a campus-wide approach to enrich our data accountability that is already in place. 

2017:

  • TMSCA 3rd Place Calculator Team
  • Doerre Math Contest Mathematics Team 5th Place
  • Tomball Invitational Music, Superior
  • Tomball Book Tournament 1st Place
  • TEA School Report Card, Met Standard (highest level available from TEA)
  • TEA Distinctions:
    • ELA/Reading
    • Top 25% of Schools for Student Progress
    • Post-secondary Readiness

2018:

  • Young Sheldon STEM Initiative Grant
  • East Area Lego League 3rd Place Robot Performance
  • Sweepstakes for Academic League 3rd Place
  • Tomball Invitational Music, Superior
  • Greater North Houston Music Festival, Superior
  • TEA School Report Card, Met Standard (highest level available from TEA)
  • TEA Distinctions:
    • ELA/Reading
    • Social Studies
    • Comparative Academic Growth
    • Post-secondary Readiness
    • Science

2019:

  • Young Sheldon STEM Initiative Grant
  • Robot Games 1st Place
  • Gearnotics Robot Design Aware
  • Gearnotics Innovation Project Aware
  • Tomball ISD Battle of the Books 2019
  • UIL Writing, 2nd Place
  • UIL 6th Grade Oral Reading, 1st Place
  • UIL 6th Grade Calculator, 2nd Place
  • UIL 8th Grade Number Sense, 1st Place
  • UIL 8th Grade, Graphs and Carts, 1st Place
  • UIL 8th Grade, Science 1st place
  • UIL Sweepstakes, 3rd place overall
  • District Teacher of the Year
  • District Secondary Principal of the Year
  • Astros Math Teacher of the Year
  • TEA School Report Card, A
  • TEA Distinctions:
    • ELA/Reading
    • Post-secondary readiness
    • Closing the Gaps

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