Kruse Elementary (2023)

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


This is part two of our PLC Story.  We began the process prior to the pandemic.  We received feedback from the Evidence of Effectiveness Committee and have integrated the feedback and continued to learn and evolve our practices as a result of this feedback.  Our response to this feedback is on the “Additional Documentation” tab, but the feedback caused our story to transform to what it is today.

The mission at Kruse Elementary has always been about students, student academic achievement, and developing the whole child. After attending a PLC at Work conference in San Antonio, Texas in the summer of 2013,  Kruse Elementary began its journey to implement and incorporate PLC processes on campus. It wasn’t until we united as a team (teachers, instructional coaches and administrators) at the district-wide convocation in Pasadena ISD with Mike Mattos (When All Means ALL Keynote) on January 3, 2017 that we truly began to be successful in the process. As we continue to grow and understand how the PLC process works, it is apparent that in order to keep our focus on what we want for our students, we must have a schoolwide systematic structure in place.  Each year, as we review data, we analyze our role and actions to make adjustments in what the adults do in the building to improve student learning and increase the success of ALL students.  

As the campus leadership team continued to attend training through PLC Conferences, RTI at Work Workshops, and district PLC Teacher Leader Collaborative, we made crucial changes to our PLC  processes to best ensure student success.  We determined that the work of our team transcended beyond the typical campus leadership teamwork, and we began to go deeper into the work of guiding student learning on our campus by establishing a Guiding Coalition including administrators, coaches, team leads from every collaborative team and even a few naysayers. First, the Guiding Coalition led a review of our current Mission, Vision, Collective Commitments, and Goals in August 2022.  All faculty had a voice in answering the question, “Why do we exist?”.   Because all stakeholders were engaged in the process, what transpired was a new and collaboratively developed Mission, Vision, Collective Commitment, and Goals (M-V-V-G) that was approved and accepted as the driving force for the campus.  As a result, teams have taken ownership of their roles, assigned responsibilities, and set ambitious and achievable goals for themselves and ALL students.  The conversations taking place on our grade-level collaborative teams have evolved from focusing on teaching to focusing on learning and how we are setting up our students for success by integrating and answering the four critical questions through each unit we teach. We are stepping away from how well we taught the essential standards and running towards how well our students learned them and creating day-to-day formative assessments to best inform our teaching.  In addition, we examine data and group students based on results from Common Formative Assessments to provide additional time and support for students who need that time as well as extend learning for students who mastered the material.  

This team began its newly charged work by not only examining our vision and mission statements but also identifying and creating an action plan and SMART goals to set our students up for success. The Guiding Coalition did this work by empowering faculty engagement through the creation of two Task Force teams; one to determine a plan of action to increase literacy in Kindergarten through second grade and the other focused on building our second through fourth grade Bilingual students’ four language domains: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The revision of our PLC processes, Task Force work, and the focus of our fourth-grade collaborative team on ensuring growth by student, by standard, resulted in student growth from 59-89% from the 2021 to 2022 school year. 

Our Guiding Coalition engaged the faculty in a deeper understanding of the Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals of Kruse Elementary so that we keep these at the forefront of our work with our faculty and collaborative teams. We will review our M-V-V-G one-pager as a faculty throughout the year to determine whether our school is on course to achieve success for all students. We view our foundation as a living, breathing document that is changing as we grow as learners and educators. Our learning community understands that learning is an ongoing process. We all meet in the established data/meeting room, follow a specific agenda, and hold each other accountable by sharing full disclosure of data and agree on research-based strategies that best meet the needs of our students  so our PLC process can continuously grow. Our motto is to inspect what we expect as we have created a culture and standard of continuous improvement.


1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

To be certain that students at Kruse Elementary receive a guaranteed and viable curriculum, we begin with a solid foundation of Tier 1 instruction. We conduct grade level team (GLT) meetings two days per week to discuss  and apply the four PLC questions.  At the beginning of the school year, norms, expectations, and how to resolve conflicts are decided upon by the GLT.  The campus leadership team determines yearly goals for all subject areas that are based on high leverage essential standards for all students.  As each grading period begins,  goals are set by the GLT and are followed up with short term weekly goals.  These goals are reviewed, celebrated and/or revised based on student outcomes.

During weekly GLT meetings, teachers choose only research-based strategies to teach essential standards. We follow district guidelines for our pacing calendar, but flex the calendar to ensure our students' needs are met.  Teachers utilize a backwards design for language arts and math, and each team selects  the essential standards they will focus on for the nine weeks and create common assessments. Teachers pre-determine teaching points, areas of misconception and strategies to best teach the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) in a whole group and/or small group setting. 

In grades 3 and 4, teachers use weekly data heat maps to analyze the learning of all students.  Our teachers have implemented daily exit tickets for all contents in order for them to monitor progress as effectively as possible. Teachers collaborate and compare summative and formative assessment scores, areas of strengths and needs, and students in need of additional time and support are paired with teachers who were most successful in teaching the skill during Planned Intervention and Extension (P.I.E.) time. Every three weeks, teachers in the kindergarten through second grade perform individual running records of each student.   All anecdotal records and formative assessments are used to group students by learning targets. This enables us to fill learning gaps as quickly as possible or extend the learning for students who have mastered concepts and are ready to move forward.  

We consistently and continuously monitor progress of students receiving intervention support (RtI) at all three Tiers.  If an intervention is not effective after three to four weeks, the intervention is adjusted or changed. The intervention team formally meets every 4 to 6 weeks based on the intervention and student to review progress and the intervention services each student receives to determine successes and next steps.


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

Tiers 1 and 2 - Although we frequently discuss formative and summative data, we also discuss students’ strengths and needs, and schedule intervention or extensions time based on student needs. During the nine weeks, we collect, analyze, interpret, plan, and implement data. During intervention meetings and data discussions, we examine the questions: Here’s what? So what? Now what? to determine the best interventions for students and decide as a team who will implement the intervention, for how long, and what specifically the intervention will include. This individualized plan varies from student to student depending upon individual needs. Tier 2 intervention is done during small group teaching or specified 30 minute planned intervention and extension time with teachers.

One example of utilizing data to determine student needs is when we analyzed our fourth grade writing results with our fourth grade team. As a learning community, we look at R. E. A. L. (Readiness, Endurance, Assessment, Leverage) standards  criteria to determine the weight of state testing, and became aware that the rigor of the state test was weighted at approximately 60% editing, with 65% readiness skills and 35% supporting skills. We analyzed each question by student, essential standard, and learning target and determined who was ready for extension and which ones needed targeted intervention. On our campus, we realized we needed to focus more on capitalization and combining sentences as it is a skill that exemplifies both leverage and endurance skills for our students.  We then placed our students into intervention groups with our strong writing teachers to teach our students needing additional time and support. We are very transparent with our data and open about how we, as a team, can improve student learning and we saw tremendous growth in our students' writing with this targeted approach.

Tier 3 - Tier 3 intervention is done by the instructional coaches, certified master-teacher tutors, HB4545 interventionist, or the reading specialist on campus to be certain every opportunity for growth is explored. Because these students lack foundational skills, we use the staff members who have the most success using a variety of strategies to help fill deficits and major gaps in learning. Our Tier 3 Team providers meet every week to look at each Tier 3 students’ schedule for the week to ensure that they receive Tier 3 service during the school day and do not miss core instructional time or special labs or events.  

Extension - Our Gifted and Talented (GT) specialists on campus offer support and strategize collaboratively with our teachers to determine areas of extension for our students who are ready for more rigorous activities. We have also created a Makerspace lab where GT students are able to collaborate with like-minded peers to extend their learning with robotics lessons/activities and learn how to utilize our 3D printer.

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

We are aware of how never ending the PLC process is and make sure to revisit key points with our learning community. We plan vertical alignment professional development (PD) days where all certified staff members (homeroom, elective, intervention teachers, etc.) are able to meet and analyze campus and district expectations. We compare essential and supporting standards by grade level teams (GLT) and plan for teams to meet with the grade above and below to compare notes and expectations with each other. Teachers take advantage of these collaborative opportunities and align scaffolds, strategies, and even provide vertically articulated strategies such as graphic organizers from pre-kindergarten all the way to fourth grade. Elective teachers are included and brainstorm alongside other staff members to see how their time can be utilized to build upon foundational content skills that students are seeing in their classrooms. 

We double down on the “never settle” mindset and make sure we have celebrations along the way, while always pushing ourselves to grow for our students. We prioritize the PLC process and affirm teachers who build high-achieving classrooms to share their knowledge with their peers. As soon as one of our fourth grade teachers held a training on how she collects, analyzes, and utilizes assessment data to drive her instruction and how she provides immediate student feedback, everything changed. Our second grade team has implemented and taught others to use Google slides as a pacing tool so that all students are actively engaged in learning. Multiple GLTs have started to collectively analyze daily exit ticket data to drive planned intervention and extension (PIE) time, deciding who should re-teach a specific standard/skill to the students who were not successful, who will extend the skill for the ones who found success, and who should spiral other skills that are essential to the grade level. 

The learning and growth that we are seeing across our campus has encouraged other schools to come and observe our teachers and their success in improving student achievement. We are seeing a shift from a fixed to a growth mindset and from extrinsic to intrinsic motivation, not only in our teachers, but in our students. Our staff has an open door policy that affirms their hard work, their willingness to collaborate, and pushes them forward in our work to support learning for all. By focusing on building teacher capacity, we are seeing positive gains in student achievement.  It is no accident that our campus has changed and improved our state rating from a C rated to a B rated campus.  At Kruse Elementary, we know the power of continuous improvement. We rely and lean on one another to research and learn best practice as a team. Our campus has transformed from focusing on teaching to focusing on learning. We have seen tremendous growth and truly believe that ALL students can learn at high levels.  


Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

General Information about the 2019-2020 School Year

Local school data for the 2019-2020 school year is indicated in the red font. Data from this school year is based on student achievement from the beginning of the school year until the end of the 3rd grading period. This year’s data is incomplete because of COVID.  Also, because of COVID, there is no district or state data to use for a comparison; however, we included our local midyear assessment data that was completed prior to Spring Break.  Remote learning began at the conclusion of Spring Break. 

Data Trends

On the 3-4 School-Student-Achievement data document, the data in the red font indicates the end of NWEA mid-year state assessment proficiency projections that were completed in January.

3-4 Student Achievement Data: When analyzing the last three school years, all subgroups, with the exception of third-grade bilingual students, have shown consistent growth.  Our data shows our commitment to filling the gap that the pandemic widened. When analyzing this further, our 21-22 third-grade team was completely new to each other and new to the grade level. Also, we transitioned from departmentalized to self-contained classrooms for this school. These changes might have contributed to the small dip in bilingual results. 

PreK-2 Student Achievement Data: With the exception of Kindergarten mathematics which showed constant growth in the past five years, all other grade-level contents were negatively impacted by COVID. Unfortunately, we were not surprised to see a negative trend as most of our kindergarten, first, and second students missed foundational skills when education went virtual during the 19-20 and 20-21 school years. Since that time, we have made sure to update our PLC processes across all grade levels. We have utilized specialized tutoring, revamped our instructional materials, and adjusted our mindset when it comes to what we are teaching, why we are teaching what we are teaching, and how we analyze data to improve instruction.  We revisited how the PLC process can best benefit the instructional practices in PreK. Having said that, we are seeing significant gains since 20-21 and have closed in on district assessment results. 

Campus Accolades:

  • NCAA-Read to the Final Four Top 32 schools in the Houston area bracket. 
  • Excellence in Wellness - Platinum Level; 2020-2021, 2021-2022
  • CREST Counseling Excellence (Counselors Reinforcing Excellence in Students in Texas) - Texas School Counselor Association; 2021, 2022
  • 2019 Chevron Fuel Your School Recipient 
  • 2019 – 2020 PISD Campus Safety Award
  • 2019 -2020  District Bilingual Teacher of the Year
  • 95% - 100 % Staff Membership of Pasadena ISD Education Foundation Cornerstone Club - 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
  • Recipient of more than 25 Donors Choose Funded Projects
  • Recipient of multiple PISD Education Foundation Mini Grants