After a cycle of years in which our campus unsuccessfully looked for answers for low student performance; we switched our mindset from a short term, quick fix, to a long term solution. We recognized our need to become a true Professional Learning Community. We began our PLC journey by building an understanding for the need for this change. We then created our guiding coalition to work to gain a true understanding of where we were in the work and to galvanize the commitment necessary for growth to happen. Our mission, vision, and core values were developed and contiunue to drive all we do.
Time was then spent researching and training to guide conversations and utilize tools to identify essential leanring standards and assessing students' learning. Our teams started determining priority standards and building learning design templates to guide instruction. Learning was then assessed by formative and summative assessments and that led to data tracking, leveled student reports and flexible grouping. Studnet data soon showed significant growth and teams were able to feel success. Compliance quickly became commitment. These results drove the process in the early phase of implementation, and the support of the instructional leadership team and administration has kept the momentum growing from year to year. With the collaborative model, we have found that significant growth happens when teachers focus on the right work and when they work together. Our campus understands now that the only way we reach our mission of high levels of learning for all is as a PLC.
Our journey towards this application has seen a world-wide pandemic interrupt so much of our work, but we have continued to see growth and gains as a professional learning community. Our focus has shifted from not only essential standards, but to a real emphasis on instructional practices through a workshop model. Last year there became an apparent disconnect between collaboration and lesson planning and just as we ask our teachers to do with students, we responded to that need with support. Administration and campus instructional leaders provided training and resources, and we held a tighter commitment to meeting for structured planning times in addition to our extended collaborative times. Adding this component to our work can be seen in the data and student growth, further validating that we are spending our time focused on the right work.
A line in our core values states that we believe that lifelong learning is a mission and we are the missionaries. We now work relentlessly to ensure high levels of learning for all students and are committed to reach every student every day as a Professional Learning Community.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
Essential learning and appropriate pacing are the foundation on which our teachers begin each school year. We utilize both the district curriculum pacing and our campus data to drive this process, with the shared understanding that these long range plans will adjust as we monitor how students are responding to the instruction throughout the year. We build or analyze summative assessments that assess the standards with depth and complexity, and then build scaffolded common formative assessments allowing teachers to monitor whether students are mastering that learning. In order to ensure that all of these steps are taken as a collaborative, we have found that the weekly agendas have proven to be an imperative component. Our most effective teams come with detailed agendas, roles and responsibilities that are shared, and work that is centered around essential learning as well as a response to students' understanding. This has provided a coaching focus for our teams who are not experiencing as much success. Instructional specialists have begun working closely with those teams to determine what action items will help them plan for and monitor student learning throughout their instructional units.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
When we began our journey we recognized through research and experience that we have to make a difference with the time that we have during the normal school day. There is no quick fix but we are recognizing that the experts are in the grade level and that we can make the difference with the time we have. Flexible grouping has become the established norm for all grade level teams to provide intervention and enrichment opportunities. It is through a cumulation of formative and summative assessments and monthly running records at students instructional levels that teachers are able to form intervention groups appropriate to each students needs. Student groups are revisited by teams on a weekly/biweekly basis to target individual students by standard and ensure 1.5 years growth for all students. The increase in formative assessments and running records have helped to ensure that teacher dialogue in these collaboratives are centered around standards and a response to students and their understanding. Teams work to balance RTI intervention with current unit flex grouping to guarantee that students are supported at all levels of the tier process. With post-covid gaps and needs, we built a larger intervention team and teacher capacity by training teachers within each team on how to provide Tier 3 intervention in math and reading. This was essential and highly effective in placing all of the student needs into appropriate groups that allowed for growth. As we continuously grow in our collaborative work, we plan to target more opportunities for enrichment. While there are some great opportunities within the building, we know that an emphasis and intentionality in planning for these groups will increase the success we are seeing as a campus.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
With an emphasis on effective Guided Reading and Guided Math classrooms, we looked for leaders within our campus to provide tools and training for other teachers. From instructional strategies, effective use of small group materials, and organization/management, teacher capacity has best been grown throughout the coaching and collaboration within our building. In addition to teacher growth, these teacher workshops allow us to vertically align our essential standards and strategies in which we address them. This common language and consistency aids in creating an environment of continous and fluid learning from year to year. Roles and responsibilities within collaborative teams switch every year to ensure that we are hearing the voice and building capacity within all teacher/team stakeholders. The COVID pandemic inevitably posed instructional gaps. As a response, one member from each collaborative team moved up with the students from 20-21 to 21-22. This leadership role within the campus provided an invaluable tool on each team for content knowledge in one level to transfer to other grade levels and collaborative members.
Achievement Data Files
Additional Achievement Data
We saw incredible gains in the very first year as we moved to become a PLC. We earned three distinctions and saw growth from just about every student group and in every grade level. At the same time we worked to change the culture of the building and transitioned more than 30 staff members between the end of school in 2018 and the start of a new year in August 2019. That transition proved to be difficult as all teams worked to build upon what we learned from the previous year, but had to start over with so many new staff. We saw our STAAR Approaches levels go down; however, our focus continued to build and grow our Meets and Masters levels in both subjects and in 3rd and 4th grade. In the 2019-2020 school year, we saw improvements in our collaborative process throughout the building. Our instructional coaches were able to lead and our data was trending towards the levels that they had been in 2017-2018 or even higher. Then the pandemic occurred and we lost all opportunity to show the successes that were building throughout the year. One of the greatest difficulties from the Covid interruption was that TES did not get to show publically how much we had grown. We were heartbroken that all the gains were never able to be measured.
The work continue even in the pandemic. Our teachers and staff were amazing throughout the missed time in 2020 and we began 2020-2021 with a focus on making up the learning we know so many missed. Even with the mitigating factors and three rounds of movement from face to face and virtual, we saw learning levels returning. In fact, as a campus we were one of the few schools in our district, our comparison group and even the state to make gains from the last state assessment in 2019. The 2021-2022 school year has focused on closing the gap. We collectively committed to ensure one and half year’s growth academically, emotionally, and socially. Our focus and intentional work paid off! Our state assessments this year are collectively the highest our school has seen. Once again demonstrating that school improvement is not about a quick fix, but instead is a long term commimttment to learn and work together to ensure high levels of learning for all.
2017 Recognized by Tomball ISD for PLC Journey from Focus School to PLC
2018 ELA/Reading Distinction Designation
2018 Postsecondary Readiness Distinction Designation
2018 Comparative Closing the Gaps Distinction Designation
2019 Great Expectations Model School
2019 Destination Imagination State Qualifying Team
2020 Great Expectations Model School
2021 Great Expectations Model School
2021 Assessment Performance matched 2019 levels
2022 Great Expectations Model School
2022 Unified Champion School
2022 Destination Imagination State Qualifying Team
2022 Assessment Performance higher than pre-pandemic levels