Pomeroy Elementary (2023)
- Number of Students: 788
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 91%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 69%
- Percent of Special Education: 10%
- White: 3.79%
- Black: 3.01%
- Hispanic: 92.81%
- Asian: 0%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.13%
- Multiracial: 0.26%
- Other: 0%
Pomeroy Elementary is a PK-4 campus located on the north side of Pasadena, TX, just southeast of Houston. Pasadena is a relatively large district with 36 elementary schools, of which Pomeroy is the largest. Over the past several years our enrollment has held steady between 800 and 900. This year, however we have fallen under 800 for the first time in over a decade.
We began our PLC journey in the summer of 2013 when administrators, campus instructional coaches, and team leaders attended a PLC conference. With a new administrative team that came on board in 2012 this was a perfect opportunity to find a common theme, a common philosophy, a shared vision - along with a way to tie everything together to jumpstart our road to the academic improvement that was needed during that key moment of our school’s transformational journey.
Our large size and the number of teachers on each grade level worked to our advantage as we quickly pivoted from teachers working in isolation to collaborative planning sessions. Teachers were able to partner up with other teachers of either regular education or bilingual education so that no one was left out on an island. Framing all of our planning and conversations around the four critical questions began to change the way we did everything.
Four Critical Questions of Learning:
1 What Do We Want Our Students to Learn?
Teachers planning together gave us a guaranteed and viable curriculum so that we could assure each parent that no matter which teacher their child was assigned, they were certain to learn the same content and receive high quality instructional strategies. We want students to master learning targets that are aligned to the standards that have been brought forth by collaborative team members.
2 How Do We Know if They Have Learned it?
Teachers began to create formative and summative common assessments as a team and then used the evidence of student learning to inform their individual and collective practice. These “Data Talks” helped as we built a shared understanding and commitment to the PLC process. It became a big part of our identity as we gradually moved away from administrators and instructional coaches leading these meetings to the teachers taking the lead and guiding the team through the data and next steps needed.
3 How Do We Respond When They Do Not Learn?
The collaborative teams began to plan for what to do when their students didn’t learn the content and how to extend the learning for those that did. An intervention schedule was created that we affectionately refer to as “PAW Time” (PAW= Panthers At Work) We were having trouble ensuring that the students that needed it the most were able to stay after school so being able to embed this time into our daily schedule had a tremendous impact. Struggling students were placed with a grade level teacher or an instructional coach in order to ensure that each student received the appropriate help in a systematic way. Students were provided effective learning practices for the intense remediation that was needed to get them to mastery.
4 How Do We Respond When They Have Already Learned?
During our “PAW Time” (Panthers At Work) students that demonstrated mastery were able to refine their skills in chess, work on GT projects, and math extension. Students could also work on ELAR or ESL reinforcement activities either independently or under the supervision of a general education teacher.
Implementing the PLC process into our daily routine drastically changed the trajectory of Pomeroy, and more importantly – the academic achievement of the entire student body of Pomeroy almost immediately. The focus on teaching shifted to the complete focus on learning. This mind shift helped transform our culture to one of continuous improvement. Through this, we earned numerous distinctions from the state of Texas over the years including earning all available distinctions in both 2013 and 2019. We were also awarded the Texas “Gold Ribbon Award” by Children at Risk in 2015, 2017, and 2019. This award designates the top performing schools that serve a high concentration of economically disadvantaged students. No longer does anyone buy into the thought of, “Our students are from the north side of Pasadena, so it’s understandable if they don’t perform as well as their peers on the more affluent south side.” We KNOW, without a doubt, that despite their challenges, our students are just a capable as anyone else. And we aim to prove that every single day through our diligent focus on student learning and our collaborative work and schoolwide PLC processes.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
Pasadena ISD provides ongoing systematic assessment opportunities that allows schools across the district to monitor student learning. Each grade level has their own unique assessment tools that facilitate information about student strengths and instructional needs. Assessments include literacy and math inventories, Curriculum Based Assessments, and the MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) assessment. Collaborative teams (both, at the building and district level) analyze this data to ensure students are learning at high levels. In addition to these interim assessments, Pomeroy administers common assessments, reading running records, and skill progress monitoring probes that helps ensure students are making progress and help inform instruction. Data is addressed at scheduled data meetings, intervention grouping PLCs, or during weekly planning meetings, to identify strengths and weaknesses to address. Based on the data, instructional practices and intervention is adjusted to meet student needs.
At Pomeroy, we are also aware that setting goals is essential to creating a plan to success. For this reason, teachers create student achievement SMART goals that include action steps early in the year. These goals are submitted to their appraiser. In addition, teachers are encouraged to use provided tools that facilitate goal setting with students that they can use as a reflective tools throughout the year.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
Pomeroy’s mission highlights how we collaboratively work toward ensuring every day that we “develop students that are socially, emotionally, and academically prepared to be successful leaders.” The staff is open to new practices and continuous learning that addresses student needs toward being a well-rounded individual. For academics, the district and campus leaders have guided grade level teams in identifying essential standards that helps ensure students are provided a viable curriculum across classrooms. Campus coaches meet weekly with teams to facilitate collaboration in providing solid Tier 1 instruction. In addition to supplemental small group classroom support, there is a time set aside during the day for systematic interventions and extension to occur. This thirty-minute instructional time, PAW (Panthers at Work), is built in the daily schedule to address Tier 2 support. Multiple assessment data tools are used to group students based on instructional need. Assessments include skill screeners, running records, Curriculum Based Assessments, and Measure of Academic Progress assessment. Students needing additional instructional support are placed in an intervention group. Other students are assigned to work on extension activities by their teacher. Gifted students are also grouped during this time for extension. This intervention and extension time provides teachers with the opportunity to support each other and students with the additional instructional time that supports their growth.
For students that need additional Tier 3 support, additional instructional support is provided through tutoring, additional supplemental instruction during the day by a paraprofessional or teacher, school day tutor, or the Dyslexia and Intervention teacher.
PAW time also facilitates maximum participation of special education or dyslexic students in the general education classroom. Specialized teachers make a special effort of providing necessary pull-out support during this intervention and extension time so that students are able to have exposure to the general curriculum.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
At Pomeroy we know that the only way to address the needs of our students is through a collaborative approach that integrates continuous learning for all. The district also values the power of professional learning communities. They support this practice by providing focus meetings each nine weeks that allow teachers across the district or grade levels to collaborate about instruction. In order to support this collaborative culture at Pomeroy, we have established structured collaborative times throughout the week for teachers to plan, reflect on practices, and participate in professional development. Each grade level has a common planning time. During that time, teams have the opportunity to collaborate with their peers and participate in weekly Tier 1 grade level planning (Tuesday and Wednesday). In addition, Thursday’s conference time is designated as a time to address a variety of school culture and academic relevant topics. Thursday facilitates professional development and meetings that address literacy, math, data, intervention, SPED, 504, PBIS, etc. Professional learning is facilitated by leadership team members or teacher leaders. In addition, grade level teams are provided with one day each nine weeks to collaborate and plan for instruction.
Achievement Data Files
2014-2015 - Earned three of the possible four state distinctions
2015 - Named a "Children at Risk Gold Ribbon School"
2015-2016 Earned three of the possible five distinctions
2017 - Named a "Children at Risk Gold Ribbon School"
2018-2019 - Earned all five of the possible state distinctions
2019 - Named a "Children at Risk Gold Ribbon School"
2022 - Grade of 87% and three more distinctions by TEA
From the Children at Risk website:
"CHILDREN AT RISK celebrates schools that rise beyond expectations and excel academically. Gold Ribbon Schools are high-poverty, high-performing schools. In order to qualify as a Gold Ribbon School, 75% or more of a campus’ students must be classified as low-income, and the school must receive an A or B grade in C@R’s annual school rankings. Charter and magnet schools (as designated by TEA) are not eligible.
For many years, Gold Ribbon Schools have been nonexistent or rare. However, poverty is not an excuse for low-performing schools; the rise in Gold Ribbon Schools across the state is proof. The proportion of eligible schools achieving Gold Ribbon distinction has increased in recent years, but Texas still has a long way to go to ensure all students receive a quality education."