Pierce Early Childhood School
- Number of Students: 208
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 81.3%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 70%
- Percent of Special Education: 12.4%
- White: 2%
- Black: 5%
- Hispanic: 90%
- Asian: 2%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 1%
- Multiracial: 0%
- Other: 0%
We began our PLC journey in 2017 as our Administrators and small groups of teachers began attending the PLC Summit conference. Initially, we focused on a shift in mindset through the development of our Mission, Vision, Goals and Collective Commitments with our Staff. Through our collaborative work as a Guiding Coalition and then a revision time with all Staff, we developed our Mission to exist to support all children’s academic, social, emotional and ethical development for lifelong success. As a Staff, we evisioned a school in which Staff:
- Pursue continuous professional growth through professional development and collaboration
- Continually assess, monitor feedback and reflect to ensure student progress
- Act as role models with consistency in all areas
- Provide engaging learning experiences
- Build the student’s foundation at their personal level of need based on differentiation and awareness
As we developed our Collective Commitments together, we shifted our language as Educators to what we could control and how we could filter all of our campus decisions through what was best for our students and not what was easiest for the adults. To achieve the shared vision of our school, Pierce Early Childhood staff have made the following commitments:
- We will provide a consistent environment that recognizes and accepts the students’ academic, social-emotional and cultural needs.
- We will commit to creating a positive culture that fosters relationships among all stakeholders.
- Within our Teams we will support each other with honesty, an open mind and a positive mindset.
- We will model positive attitudes, values and ethics.
- We will learn and understand out students’ backgrounds and treat them as individuals.
- We will commit to embracing change with a focus on what we can control.
One of our first items to address was student attendance. Through our #EveryPandaEveryDay initiative, we developed a collaborative culture of celebrating school attendance and making sure that every one of our pandas experienced valuable learning opportunities every day. This way, our hashtag expanded far beyond just attendance and now encompases who we are on the PLC journey. We focused our planning time on high levels of learning for all students. From there we began meeting Collaborative Teams to focus on the 4 questions and analyze our data. At the time, all three Early Childhood campuses had a set of 10 Essential Skills that everyone focused on throughout the year. We began to look at our data to compare progress by Teacher and began having real collaborative conversations about what kids were learning, what to do when they weren’t learning and how we could help each other get our kids to new learning levels. Our Guiding Coalition gathered regularly to learn more about the PLC process, to collaborate and expand on key concepts of Learn by Doing and to get insights from Global PD videos. In the Fall of 2019, we got to experience our first PLC Coaching Academy. The Teachers who attended brought back their learning to our teachers, and we were able to refocus our Teacher Team norms and agendas. Teachers began to share kids in order to provide intervention or extention of learning. We also began to discuss Common Formative Assessments. We were on the journey, but I as the principal always knew a piece was missing: allowing our teachers to choose their own Essential Standards. But I clung to our Essential Skills because it was safe. And then a Global Pandemic occurred. Suddenly, in the Spring of 2020, as we transitioned to remote learning and a complete shelter in place, my staff began to cling to the collaborative team process for life. It became more important than ever for our teachers to meet together and use the Four Questions to drive what we were teaching in remote learning. All of a sudden teachers were having deep conversations about what was essential in remote learning, and what could be strategically abandoned in our new normal. Our Guiding Coalition gathered on Zoom to help ease tension, support one another, and focus on a collaborative model. We also began planning for a new grade level for the Fall of 2020. We opened a 3-year-old half day program, moving the majority of our 4-year-old program to Elementary campuses. Additionally, we increased to 5 ECSE (Early Childhood Special Education) self-contained classrooms, with one class being for ECSE 3’s and the others for ECSE 4’s. I began to see an opportunity for teacher autonomy. After all, this was a Global Pandemic, so why not take a chance and let Teacher Teams choose their Essential Standards since we were going to strategically abandon our Essential Skills anyway? So, in the Fall of 2020, I challenged our Teacher Teams to set their own Essential Standards for their students. We already had drastically reduced enrollment, so it was a great time to try new things with smaller classes. Teachers were nervous, but they got on board. As an Administrator, I let go of the control I felt with the Essential Standards and was thrilled to watch my teachers pursue their professional ideas and opinions in a collaborative setting. There was true power in letting teacher autonomy propel us forward in student learning. We were clear to also align all of the required goal setting for our new evaluation system to this new process of setting Essential Standards. So as all of our goals were tied to the collaborative teams, we would be motivated to continue growing throughout the year. Growth is not the word I would actually use. It was more like an explosion of professional learning and growth. A small group attended the PLC Coaching Academy on Assessment, and we began our journey of writing Common Formative Assessments for 3 and 4 year olds. What a ride!! At each Guiding Coalition, our Team Leaders presented progress, data and artifacts and we learned from each other. In February of 2021, I had another group attend the virtual PLC Summit. More light bulbs went off! As of June of 2021, after we hosted the 3 Day Virtual PLC Summit for all three early childhood campuses, all of my current Teachers, Administrators, Librarian and Counselor have attended the PLC Summit. In May of 2021, we brought in Cassandra Erkens to work with our Teacher Teams and help us with next steps, and present our PLC progress in teams. As a Staff, we are excited to update our Essential Standards with a focus on the SMART Goal format and look forward to continued collaboration of Teacher Teams in the 2021-22 school year.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
Teacher Teams meet weekly to review, discuss, and collaborate on Essential Standards to be taught, how the skills will be assessed, and how the assessment will be delivered in order to ensure that the team is providing the assessment in a common way. When the teams meet the following week, they discuss data from the assessment then cycle through the collaboration process for the upcoming week with current data in hand to discuss which skills need to be continued and which skills/students need to be provided more time. The PK 4 program follows a district written curriculum with select instructional minutes. Our PK 3 program uses team collaborated daily schedules that are created using the Frog Street PreK 3 curriculum that aligns with the PreK 4 guidelines.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
Our Early Childhood PK program is an RTI program at heart since students must qualify as At Risk to attend. Throughout the year, teachers plan instruction for their chosen Essential Standards, provide learning opportunities for students to be able to show if they master particular skills, and then use data to determine any necessary reteaching. In the PK 4 instructional minutes, the daily schedule includes 30 minutes of RTI/Extension time. PK 3 also includes small group instruction to maximize their 3-hour day. A valuable and developmentally appropriate focus of our PK program is repetition and continuous connections with Essential Standards that are provided daily. Teachers embed these skills in whole group instruction, circle time, and/or calendar time, which allows for additional exposure and spirals concepts throughout the school year. Each content area also includes small group instruction that encompasses Tier 2 interventions. At the campus level, we align our master schedule so each Teacher Team has the same Specials time, so students are able to shift between teachers to best meet their needs.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
We have been successful at building teacher capacity by having all of our teachers and academic program support staff trained at the 3 Day PLC Summit. We have also had various teachers attend the two PLC Coaching Academies so that the knowledge is spread among all Collaborative Teams. Teachers in the Coaching Academies took what they learned back to campus to present to teachers during Purposeful Planning days throughout the school year. Teacher Teams are able focus their efforts on the planning phase of instruction by having crucial conversations around the four Essential Questions. Essential Standards are determined at the beginning of the school year and common assessments that provide evidence of learning are created along with scoring and delivery rubrics. Teachers then analyze the data from those assessments, compare the data and share ideas on how to support continued student learning. This cycle of collaboration happens weekly. During Guiding Coalition meetings, Team Leaders and Campus Leaders engage in data conversations with opportunities for questions and/or suggestions from team members.
Achievement Data Files
Additional Achievement Data
Important note: Since we exclusively work with an enrollment of PK 3 & PK 4 students, we are considered an Early Childhood School and not an Elementary School. There is no state assessment offered for PK 3 or PK 4 students in Texas.
CIRCLE is our State required Progress Monitoring measure required for PK 4.
Recognition at the 2019 District Convocation event for the highest attendance rate in the district for the 18-19 school year of 97.6%