Calder Road Elementary

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

What a journey this has been! Our school openend in 2010, and we opened the doors to students and teachers from 6 different schools. Our first 3 years our acheivement data showed that students were not acheiving at a high level, and that students receiving interventions were not making adequate progress. At this crossroads, and going into year 4 of our campus, it was evident to our leadership team that Calder Road would need to transition into a professional learning community so that all students would acheive at high levels, and our teachers would have opportunities for growth in the profession. 

The leadership team, which consisted of the principal, assistant principal, and instructional coaches (math and reading) realized that the work need to begin with a guiding coalition. The first step was to identify the guiding coalition that could move the campus forward.  Our leadership team had engaged in the PLC work in their previous districts so they had an idea of where to begin the work.  

The guiding coalition, which consisted of campus leaders, classroom teachers, and paraprofessionals, led the  campus through the process of creating a collective commitment  that ALL students (PK-4) would grow academically each year in their independent reading level and their math level (MAP). The collective commitment also stated that the  3rd and 4th grade students' overall  performance  would be higher than the state average in reading, writing, and math. We agreed that our students were capable and able to outperform the state average in the areas of "meet grade level" and "master grade level". 

 Once the guiding coalition was identified, the team began the work of increasing dialogue during planning times.  In 2013, team planning was divided by teachers. On each grade level team, one person was responsible for a subject. For example, the teacher responsible for “planning” math, would come to the collaborative team planning  meeting with a draft plan ready for the week ahead.  There was little conversation and no room for autonomy. Through effective questioning, the teams began to center the work of planning around essential standards, common formative assesment, and student outcomes. The Calder Road staff was introduced to the 4 Critical  Questions that became the anchor to our planning sessions.  

  • What do we want all to know and be able to do? 

  • How will we know if they learn it?

  • How will we respond when some students do not learn?

  • How will we extend the learning for students who are already proficient?

Calder Road teachers began to examine practices that had been institutionalized such as weekly comprehension exams and spelling tests, and they began to find new practices that engaged learners and increased academic dialogue in the classroom. 

 In 2015, we discovered the book "Learning by Doing" and our leadership team embraced the work by setting SMART goals with teachers. Each teacher, in conjunction with the campus administrator set SMART goals for his or her class. We looked at each specific student, set the goal for growth, and included the student and parent in the conversation. The SMART goals  accelerated reading and math growth in students and we were able to look at students as individuals, provide them with appropriate accommodations, instructional tools, and target their specific needs. Working with the student and the parent was powerful. For students that did not have a parent able to participate, a staff member adopted the student. Every student on campus had an adult to discuss goals with other than the classroom teacher. 

With SMART goals in place, the dialogue amongst staff became more robust and authentic. Teachers were talking in the hallways about instruction, they were seeking out professional development, and we found and filled in gaps of the understanding of essential standards. Every  staff member became a member of the  Global PD series,  which we still use often.  In 2017, the guiding coalition attended the PLC at Work conference, and we continued to refine our practices.  At Calder Road we continue to learn every day and the work we continue to do with Solution Tree helps us grow and it validates our work.   In 2021 Calder Road Elementary was awarded the USDE Blue Ribbon Award as well as the U.S. News and World Report Best Elementary badge for being in the top 30% in student acheivement in Texas. 

 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Our written curriculum is based on Essential Standards. Teachers meet regularly to revise and discuss what standards are essential and which standards must be mastered by ALL students. The district curriculum department provides benchmarks and 9 week common assessments in all subject areas which help us plan instruction at the high, balcony level, but the Calder Road teachers know that the most powerful tool to assess students and intervene immediately is the common formative assessment given in the classroom regularly

Through common formative assessments in all subjects, teachers are able to analyze learning, identify misconceptions, and clarify for students. Through this practice, teachers are also able to seek out help from one another, and refine tier one instruction.  Our teachers are well-trained in the practices of small group instruction, scaffolding instruction for the current essential standard, and pulling small groups to reteach or teach in a different way. In addition to written common formative assessments, when collaborative teams meet, they plan for high engaging, low prep quick-checks and we allow students to learn from their own mistakes through targeted discourse. 

 

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

Calder Road Elementary has created and implemented systems of intervention and enrichment for ALL learners. Through this targeted, additional time provided throughout the school day, academic growth has increased in all areas. 

 The designated time is called "prime time" and it is 40 minutes every day. Collaborative teams meet, discuss student needs, review formative assesment data,  and group students into flexible groups to meet their needs. All support personnel, including the dyslexia specialist, are a part of this time.  When teams work together to plan the lessons, they focus on the essential standards and they plan for scaffolding and extension as needed. These groups change frequently, and data is tracked and monitored to ensure every student is making progress. 

 

 

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

CRES is a professional learning community, and our leadership team focuses on individual talents and building capacity across the campus. Our professional development opportunities are aligned with our school’s vision, mission and campus improvement plan. Our collaborative teams, along with campus leadership, discuss student achievement data both from a balcony view, and from individual student views to look for patterns of gaps and weaknesses. We identify misconceptions in tier one instruction and we look to each other to find solutions such as learning walks, or co-teaching. If needed, we seek out professional development that will help us learn and grow. We also look for gaps in teaching and learning at both ends of our student achievement spectrum and we hone in on what to do if students already know the skill, and what to do if they don’t know the skill. We count on scaffolding guides, and rigorous questioning to fill in gaps for ALL students.  

 

Teachers have time during work hours to plan, problem solve, and engage in meaningful professional development. Anytime we are tasked with a new initiative or problem, teachers are highly involved in the training and problem-solving required. This provides systematic, in-house support on campus, instead of relying solely on outside resources.  It is important for our staff to have the support they need in real time. Our teachers take great pride in being trained in up-to-date educational practices and trends. Teachers from every team serve as mentors, participate on district committees and present at district and state level trainings/conferences. Teachers continue to engage in “learning walks” and collaborative planning to learn from each other. We continue to use our embedded professional learning time to refine our instructional practices together.  

Teachers have a voice in schedules, resources, and other decisions that impact their professional learning. Calder Road’s culture of open communication allows teachers to feel safe to take risks and try innovative ways of teaching and learning. We measure success by academic results and we do not make excuses for students or other professionals. We believe in findind solutions to hard problems, and staff members hold each other accountable. 

 

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

 

 

Over the past three years, the teachers at Calder Road Elementary School have immersed themselves in efforts to ensure that all students are learning at high levels. The state of Texas uses the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) to measure growth and overall achievement of all students beginning at grade 3.  At the campus and local level, we use the MAP to monitor growth in reading levels at all grade levels.  Each year we have increased in all tested areas, and we outperformed the state in all areas of the STAAR test. We also began to outperform other schools in the district with the same socioeconomic status and demographics, and we have continued to receive distinctions from the state which are based on performance compared to 40 other schools that are matched to our population in the state.

For K-2 Calder Road uses the Texas state approved MAP (NWEA) evaluation for early literacy. This assessment consists of subtests that are used for as universal screeners for early literacy and for progress monitoring that allows teachers to evaluate the effectiveness of instruction and intervention for all students.

In the below chart you will see the percentage of students in each grade level that were reading on or above grade level at each benchmark. The accelerated growth in each grade level is encouraging to our teachers and our community. We have a 20% mobility rate, so it is even more encouraging that our students grow at an accelerated rate.  When looking at the beginning of year data, it is evident that the “summer slide” is not at impactful as it has been in the years before our deep commitment to ALL students learning at a high level, research-based intervention time during the school day, and a deep collective commitment to learning together as professionals.  Looking back on data since 2010, it is evident that our reading levels were stagnant, and although we have not yet reached our goal of 100% students reading on or above grade level, we have reached the goal of 100% of&

2021 National Blue Ribbon School

2021: World News and Report Best Elementary School Badge 

2019-Texas A Rated Campus 

20219: ERP National Honor Roll School 

 

 

 

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