Timber Creek Elementary, TISD
- Number of Students: 602
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 6.52%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 14.44%
- Percent of Special Education: 7.92%
- White: 56.52%
- Black: 3.26%
- Hispanic: 28.42%
- Asian: 8.07%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0.16%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.47%
- Multiracial: 3.1%
- Other: 0%
At Timber Creek, we have reflected on the growth and development of the PLC process following a gradual release model. Our journey began in August of 2015 with intentional teaching and learning about the PLC process with our staff, then shifted to direct implementation, to collaborative ownership, thus resulting in a campus culture that epitomizes the goals and tenets of the Professional Learning Community. In our first year, the administration team established a dedicated and protected collaborative time for grade level and vertical teams to meet weekly during the first hour of the school day. During collaborative work, campus leaders provided support for establishment of norms, collective commitments, shared beliefs, the development of the campus vision and mission, and a structure to support backwards design planning. In addition, the administration team insured a dedicated intervention and extension period that was created as a component of the master schedule for K-5. Leaders from across the district were invited to attend our collaboratives as they considered emulating the model at their own campus.
The following year, campus administration established a Guiding Coalition to refine and support grade level and vertical teams using “Learning By Doing,” a handbook for professional learning communities at work. In order to empower leaders in the Coalition to have the confidence to lead change, we engaged in a book study “The Innovator's Mindset” by George Couros. In this book, the author encourages teachers to be innovative educators in order for students to become innovative learners, understanding that innovation is a mindset and not a skill. This shift in mindset enabled the creation of our campus mission statement, “Challenging all learners to achieve; growing hearts and minds” and the development of a campus common and formative assessment calendar.
During the summer of 2017, campus leadership evaluated the progress of the PLC process within grade level teams. As a result, teaching assignments were changed to increase productivity of the collaborative effort. Validation for these changes was determined through a book study of “Making Teamwork Meaningful” and specifically relating to chapter 1, “Getting the right people in the right places” and chapter 5,
“Improving Collaborative Capacity.” To support the development of the collaborative process with new grade level teams, the Guiding Coalition participated in the “Gallup Strengths Finder Survey,” wherein leaders learned their own strengths and how to maximize the strengths of their team members.
Over the next two years, the PLC process has become infused into daily practice and intentionally focused conversations occur naturally during team collaboration time. As a high performing school, who has sustained a straight A accountability rating, it has become challenging to identify growth goals at the campus level. To stay true to the core beliefs of the PLC process and our Timber Creek mission statement, we have refined our goals to promote all student learning at high levels, through both intervention and extension. New campus vision and goals were established focusing on “100/80/60” meaning the expectation would be 100% of all learners would attain grade level passing “Approaches” standard, 80% would attain the “Meets” passing standard, and 60% would achieve “Masters” level performance. The first action steps to meet those goals was the establishment of flexible grouping of students during intervention and extension time to provide prescribed instruction based on individual student ability and need. Collaborative teams consistently reflected on campus, team, and student goal achievements to create sustainability of academic performance (evidence provided in Achievement Data files and Resource files).
In the spring of 2020, remote learning presented new challenges for our campus. As a result of the culture and practices already established within collaborative times, teams were able to overcome those limitations. Teams maintained their protective collaborative planning time to identify essential learning targets, establish expectations for masters performance, anticipate potential misconceptions for student learning, and provide opportunities for intervention and extension. In addition to planning, collaborative teams met to create common formative assessments and evaluated student performance.
Moving into this year with the challenges of COVID, we have adjusted our goal to focus on individual student growth that ensures high expectations for all student achievement, resulting in 100% of all learners making at least one years growth. In addition to our academic goal this year, we have established a goal to support social emotional learning. Ensuring that 100% of all learners will have a connection to an adult on campus. These goals support Timber Creek’s continued core values “Challenging all learners to achieve; growing hearts and minds.”
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
Collaborative teams are the heart of the PLC process. Timber Creek is a learning community made up of many smaller, high-functioning and interdependent teams. Grade level and content-area teams work together to contribute to the whole. Grade level teams establish norms and protocols specific to each team’s needs at the beginning of the year. These teams incorporate the elements of learning design, essential for student mastery, through collaborative processes.
Monitoring student learning in a timely manner happens at Timber Creek because our master schedule is designed with the PLC process as a top priority. It includes dedicated time for collaborative meetings of all grade levels during the first hour of the day with an assigned day for each team. Specialists in GT, ESL, reading, math and dyslexia are available to participate in collaborative teams by helping them analyze data and supporting ideas for remediation/extension. Other members of the leadership team, including the principal, assistant principal and counselor are available as well during these meetings.Collaborative conversations ultimately drive instructional practice leading to student growth. With the support of all of these staff members, the process of answering all four PLC questions are addressed. Our schedule also includes two intervention blocks per day during which no new instruction takes place. During this time, students receive Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions as well as extension services and specialized support.
At the heart of the PLC process, the collection and analysis of data regarding student learning is essential. At Timber Creek, this collection of data takes many forms. Academic data is collected using a variety of sources including Star Renaissance Reading and Math, Fountas and Pinnell Reading Levels, common formative assessments, summative assessments, and Interim Assessments from TEA. These many pieces of data enable our staff to prioritize and to develop a targeted focus for each student’s learning needs. Data is analyzed, discussed and addressed during both our weekly meetings and during district mastery planning days. Mastery planning days always begin using backward design, making certain that everyone is clear on expectations and what constitutes student demonstration of mastery. In our “PLC room” data walls were created, noting which students were in need of additional support and tracking their progress throughout the year. The data wall has been replaced with digital spreadsheet trackers due to Covid measures.
At Timber Creek, we have a process through which we constantly monitor and adjust our responses to these needs. As student learning needs are determined,targeted action plans are established for students needing help. Each 6 weeks, teams participate in scheduled “Kid Talks’ with our leadership team to collaboratively discuss student performance. When a student is identified as needing Tier 2 or 3 services, further discussion continues at a SIT meeting which also involves the parents.
Our school mission statement includes the words “Challenging all learners to achieve--- growing hearts and minds.” At Timber Creek, we understand how social-emotional factors impact academic progress, so we are mindful of monitoring SEL learning as well. SEL is addressed through programs and practices such as Great Expectations, morning meetings, restorative circles and SNAP Buddies, our mentor program. To give students the opportunity to explore personal interests and connect to others who share a similar interest, Timber Creek created Cougar College, based upon the philosophy of Genius Hour. All students, K-5, choose a Cougar College “course” to take once a week; their choices range from crafts to dancing to cooking.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
Our school day includes two intervention periods throughout the day; during these intervention times, no new instruction occurs, ensuring that no student misses core instruction. During intervention times, many services are offered: tier 2 and tier 3 interventions, GT, ESL, speech, dyslexia and specialized support.
At Timber Creek, we have developed the mindset that all students are “ours.” This has led to a very effective system of flexible grouping within grade levels, a shared commitment that is the framework of our student success. Teachers within the grade level lead the flex groups based upon their teaching strengths. All staff members participate in these flex groups from administrators to teachers to paraprofessionals. Flex grouping is truly a campus-wide effort. Students are able to flex through different groups based on their level of mastery of specific focus TEKs. Brief assessments are given throughout the intervention time to determine progress. Groups change frequently based upon mastery. This system has been very effective in accelerating student progress.
At the beginning of every school year, we sit down as a campus and discuss our new goals for the year. We look at the previous years’ data and we make a collective commitment to achieve the attainable goal by the end of the school year. To monitor our student learning in a timely manner we use programs such as Star360 to help set goals and track progress for our students. Students take a beginning of the year assessment and set goals based on their Star360 data. As a campus this year, we will be using our Star360 to show at least one years worth of student individual growth. Students took the beginning of the year STAR360 assessment in the Fall, the middle of the year assessment in Winter and will take the end of year assessment in the Spring. Teachers also set personal SMART goals for the year through TTESS. Goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time based, and support the campus goal. Another important part of the goal setting process is celebrating the good. We are able to do this during our staff meetings where we share good things and during kid talks when we are specific with our data.
Because our mission is to grow hearts and minds, we focus on the whole child. When students are struggling academically, we try to figure out the reason behind the struggle. Sometimes that reason is a behavior. We will work with the student on a specific behavioral goal to help them become more successful in the classroom. We also have a PASS program which helps students who need more support with behavior. The PASS teachers assist the students within the classroom setting, working with the classroom teacher as a team.
Our Special Education Program is another way we provide interventions to our students. Students are given appropriate goals to strive toward to help close the learning gaps. The classroom teacher, special education teacher, and student work collaboratively toward these goals.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
Teachers set goals every year with their appraiser. Members of the leadership team are encouraged to have a leadership goal to grow as a leader and to support our collaborative teams. Goals are chosen by the teacher in areas in which they want to improve. Teachers meet mid year with their appraiser to address the goals and share documentation for the goals. Teachers who continue to grow can better support their students.
Our specials teachers (Art, Music and Physical Education) are a collaborative team within our campus and with other educators in our district. A specials teacher is part of our leadership team to be able to contribute ideas and volunteer to support. Once again, our mission is to build the whole child and we believe music, art, and physical education is part of growing the whole child.
Vertical team meetings play an important role in building teacher capacity. Each year, specialists have led all content teachers in learning how curriculum expectations develop from one grade level to the next. Teachers have focused on the language of the student expectations, noting how the rigor increases vertically. They also studied how expectations were tested. This process has helped teachers develop a better understanding of how to refine teaching practices to better prepare students for the next grade level. In addition, vertical teams work together to plan and lead content curriculum nights. Vertical teaming allows teachers to become more familiar with curriculum and instructional practices at a variety of levels.
Timber Creek has been sending teams to attend PLC conferences since 2018. Teams were made up of staff representing different roles--usually an administrator, instructional specialists, team leaders and classroom teachers. These groups returned to our campus to share the PLC philosophy and practices with the rest of the staff. The sharing of this informative experience placed a valued emphasis on always learning and growing as educators.
Achievement Data Files
Additional Achievement Data
Timber Creek has always been a high achieving campus. When our new principal was chosen to lead the campus in 2015, she placed a new emphasis on PLC practices and processes. Our PLC journey has ensured that we maintain this high standard (100/80/60, as described in the PLC Story) meaning the expectation would be 100% of all learners would obtain grade level passing standards, 80% would exceed passing standards, and 60% would achieve masters level performance, while increasing the percentage of our students who exceed grade level expectations on state assessments. We have taken great pride in maintaining high expectations and not settling with our past accomplishments.
2019-2020 #16 Best Elementary School in Harris County
2020-2021 # 4 Best Elementary School in Harris County
2017-2018 - Title 3 Symposium Conference Presenter - ESL Specialist, Jackie MacPhee, was invited to present during this state conference.
2017-2018 - Title 3 Symposium Conference Presenter - 5th Grade Teacher, Brenda Abrams, was invited to present during this state conference.
2018-2019 - Tomball Education Foundation Grant awarded to the First Grade Team allowing them to incorporate Osmos into their instructional settings
2018-2019 - Tomball ISD Elementary Principal of the Year, Lauren Thompson
2018-2019 - Tomball ISD Paraprofessional of the Year, Karen Smith
2018-2019 - Superintendent’s Shining Star awarded to 2nd grade teacher Bethany McDowell (for her work with Project Based Learning)
2018-2019 - Superintendent’s Shining Star awarded - Kindergarten teacher, Emily Zaleski (for her ability to support the Social-Emotional needs of her learners)
2019-2020 - Great Day Houston - Ashley Homestore Red Apple Award recipient - 5th grade teacher, Charles Barnhouse
2019-2020 - HEB Excellence in Education Texas Semi-Finalist, 5th grade teacher, Charles Barnhouse
2019-2020 - Tomball Chamber of Commerce - Excellence in Education - awarded to 5th grade teacher, Brenda Abrams
2019-2020 - Nominee as a Great Expectations Trainer - Michele McCann, 5th grade teacher
2020-2021 - Presidential Awards for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching - Texas Finalist Kindergarten teacher, Desirae Harcrow. Mrs. Harcrow is one of three math finalists in Texas for their national recognition.
2020-2021 - 5th grade teacher, Shannon Clepper chosen to lead an innovative PBL recycling project for Tomball ISD
2020-2021 - ConnectED Postcast Guest Speaker - Gabby Avellaneda, 5th Grade Virtual Teacher
2015-2016 – Greater North Houston Music Festival - Superior Rating / Trophy at contest
2015-2016 - 11 students selected to Tomball ISD Honor Choir
2016-2017 – Greater North Houston Music Festival - Superior Rating and Best in Class / 2 Trophies at contest
2016-2017 - 12 students selected to Tomball ISD Honor Choir
2017-2018 – Greater North Houston Music Festival - Superior Rating and Best in Class / 2 Trophies at contest
2017-2018 - Tomball ISD Battle of the Books - 3rd place team
2017-2018 – Greater North Houston Music Festival - Superior Rating and Best in Class / 2 Trophies at contest
2017-2018 - 14 students selected to Tomball ISD Honor Choir
2018-2019 - 13 students placed 1st or 2nd in the district UIL Academic Competition
2018-2019 – Greater North Houston Music Festival - Superior Rating and Best in Class / 2 Trophies at contest
2018-2019 - Tomball ISD Battle of the Books - 2nd place team
2018-2019 - Destination Imagination Team - 3rd place finish
2018-2019 - 11 students selected to Tomball ISD Honor Choir
2019-2020 - UIL Academic Competition - 5th grade 2nd place overall and campus 3rd place Elementary Sweepstakes
2019-2020 - Robotics - Innovation Competition - 2nd place
2019-2020 - 14 students selected to Tomball ISD Honor Choir
2020-2021 - First in Math - Texas Team of the Month - Kelly Moore’s 2nd Grade Class
2020-2021 - Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Art Finalist - 2nd grader, Reid Lancaster
2015-2016 - State Academic Achievement Distinction Designation - Science
2016-2017 - State Academic Achievement Distinction Designation - Science
2017-2018 - TEA STAAR Distinction Designation - Comparative Closing the Gaps
2017-2018 - Texas Honor Roll School
2017-2018 - Schools Transforming Learning Distinction by N2 Learning and Principals Institute
2018-2019 - State Academic Achievement Rating, A and Distinction Designation - Comparative Closing the Gaps (100%)
2018-2019 - Texas Honor Roll School