Lakeside High School (2022)
- Number of Students: 1,129
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 28%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 3.69%
- Percent of Special Education: 9.23%
- White: 71.66%
- Black: 7.29%
- Hispanic: 13.02%
- Asian: 1.71%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0.19%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.36%
- Multiracial: 5.77%
- Other: 0%
Lakeside High School has always had a reputation as a strong academic school that places emphasis on rigor and college preparation. More specifically, the test scores at Lakeside High School consistently placed us in the top tier statewide. Due to accolades and these perceptions, we developed a sense of complacency. As time went on, however, it was clear that something was missing. That something was collaboration. The staff of Lakeside High School was made up of strong individual teachers who had strong goals for themselves and their students but worked in almost complete isolation. While we had some “teams,” these groups met sporadically and primarily discussed information relayed from the administration.
In 2019, several teachers and administrators attended a summer conference and came back enthused and excited about the possibilities of implementing a true PLC at Work culture at Lakeside High School. Many members of that initial group became the first Guiding Coalition of Lakeside High School. In order to get teachers involved and in order to create a culture of buy-in, we began a book study on Learning by Doing. Due to the uncertainty of exactly what the work was and how to go about it, the beginning seemed very difficult. Sometimes, it felt like we were going backward instead of forwards. It felt like we were struggling to find our way. However, as we continued in the process, we learned together and gained a shared understanding of the work that needed to be done and its importance to our students’ success as learners. Our mission, vision, collective commitments, and goals drove this. Additionally, as we worked through the process, we developed a greater understanding of what collaboration entails. No longer was collaboration a time to meet; it was now a time for collaborative teams to collectively address the four critical PLC questions. Eventually, we began to not only understand the work but to embrace it. Becoming involved in the PLC at Work process opened our eyes to ways we could become even stronger as educators while serving all of our students, especially those who were not doing well academically or socially. At that time, as a district, we recognized the need for planned and sustained time to collaborate with our peers. The schedule was modified to give one hour each week for teacher teams to collaborate. This “Smart Start Wednesday” approach has allowed our teams to work together during a time that is beyond their normal planning periods and focus on the four critical questions. Additionally, the master schedule was altered to provide small teams with common planning times to give even more time for collaboration.
With a strong idea of what we wanted to accomplish and the time for the work to be done, our teams began to unpack standards and develop clarity around what should be emphasized in each course. Our work to identify and unpack essential standards was difficult and awkward at first as we struggled to truly answer our essential question. When COVID-19 closed our school during the 2019-2020 school year, our teachers pushed forward. With clear, unpacked essential standards, our staff felt confident in the work they had done in the PLC process while also feeling thankful for the ability to collaborate with colleagues to provide the best virtual options for our students. Returning to in-person learning, our teams held meaningful conversations about our students and their needs, and we began to have a stronger sense of what each standard actually needed to encompass. This, in turn, strengthened our teaching teams. It also showed a need for stronger intervention practices. Furthermore, within our building, we shifted from having three tracks of core classes--On-Level, Honors, and Pre-AP--to two tracks of core classes--On-Level and Advanced. This allowed us to focus on the learning of ALL students instead of focusing on various levels of instruction or mastery. Even further, upon returning to in-person learning in the 2020-2021 school year, we implemented a new bell schedule that included a longer, more focused period for intervention. During this time, we also embedded Tier I and Tier II intervention more effectively into the classroom setting. More than anything, our teachers now began to see ALL students as their students.
Once our teams had an understanding of what would be taught in each class and the time to provide intervention beyond the standard classroom setting time, our teams began working together to create common grading and assessment practices. Truly, it was the assessment piece that brought into focus the other three questions and “connected all the dots” for us as a faculty. We gained a better understanding of the difference between formative and summative assessments, as well as the importance of common formative assessments. As a result of that understanding, we began to focus more on formative assessments and how to use them to guide instruction and engage students in their learning. Other changes included developing better and more consistent rubrics using student-friendly language, communicating meaningful results to both students and parents, and shifting from assigning grades to assessing learning. More than anything, the common assessment practices allowed our staff to have strong, meaningful conversations surrounding the data and performance of their students.
At Lakeside High School, the PLC at Work process is our catalyst for continued growth--for both our students and our staff. Even with a principal change and a grade configuration change (going from serving students in grades 8-12 to serving students in grades 9-12), our work has continued to improve and increase in effectiveness. However, just like any process that is worthwhile, our success has not come without its fair share of challenges. Perhaps that is the biggest lesson we have learned from our ongoing PLC at Work journey. Regardless of our differing teaching styles and widely diverse personalities, our collaboration has resulted in the identification of key standards, targeted unit calendars, common rubrics, and ultimately higher student achievement. We will continue to grow and improve as we learn more and continue the work we have started. Overall, we have transformed into a collaborative culture as a team in which our students are driving our next steps in learning. At Lakeside High School, we have come to truly personalize learning so that teachers can help every student achieve their full potential.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
The implementation of Professional Learning Community foundations enabled Lakeside High School to create solid content teams. Within those teams, our teachers and staff members have been able to focus on delivering a viable curriculum that has been amplified by understanding how to identify essential standards/skills within all content areas and supporting relevant student learning at the appropriate levels. Revision of team practices to collaboratively focus on student learning has empowered teachers to have conversations that are centered on the concept of ensuring learning for all students. Content collaborative teams developed unit maps based on the essential skills of each content area. This has made a significant impact on driving teacher decisions regarding instruction and student learning.
This level of collaboration allows our teams to ensure they are teaching the same content and skills at the same time, so that they commonly assess their students and then break down the data to determine what additional support measures are needed for individual students in Tier 1, Tier 2, or even Tier 3. Additionally, through this process, our general education and our special education teachers collaborate in stronger ways than ever--ensuring that ALL students (those receiving special education services and those not) are receiving grade-level instruction. Our general education teachers and our special education teachers also work together to provide intervention for all students in need during our WIN (What I Need) Time. This forty-five minute period occurs four times a week where students are directed to get the support (intervention and/or enrichment) they need based upon CFA results and other data points determined by the collaborative teams.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
Because we collect, analyze, and use data to drive our instruction more than ever before, our staff has a strong understanding of the need for prevention, intervention, and extension. In order to anticipate and prevent misconceptions in learning, our teams address these concerns when developing instructional plans. Our teachers then use formative assessment data to determine which students need Tier 1 intervention strategies. This level of intervention provides additional support for our students; however, when students still struggle with a concept or skill, Tier 2 interventions are implemented. Four days per week, we have WIN (What I Need) time. This 45-minute block of instruction allows teachers to provide the Tier 2 interventions and focus on the learning of the students who are struggling. Teachers develop RtI Plans based on the data gained from common formative assessments to guide student learning. Each department has priority weeks on a scheduled rotation--allowing ALL departments (including electives) to gain access to struggling learners and provide additional support. Students who are not pulled for intervention are given the opportunity during this time to participate in extension activities or enrichment lessons. No matter if it is extension or intervention activities, teachers collect additional data to continue monitoring student learning and performance.
The WIN time has been beneficial for all departments--from core content to CTE courses to the Fine Arts Department. WIN time has allowed them to work with students who are struggling with a particular concept, and has provided unique opportunities for students who are unable to take certain elective classes. It has given students the opportunity to learn to sew a button, create an art project, learn how to audition for a show, learn the fundamentals of debate, and understand the rules of improvisation. Our WIN time system has allowed us to provide students with timely support on essential skill development and/or extension while being very fluid and responsive to our ongoing needs. Moreover, all staff members are involved with WIN time as paraprofessionals and administrators work to pull “Will Groups”--groups of students who have the skill but have not shown that they have the will to complete the work. Administrators also pull students for behavior interventions or even skill interventions when there is a need within a department. For example, one of our Assistant Principals pulls students to provide math intervention as she was a former math teacher. Our counselors and mental health therapists pull students during this time for various reasons, including teaching life skills, building relationships, or even playing card/board games. Because of this “all-in” approach, our staff now sees the opportunity to share students and work to determine by target or specific skill what each group of students needs.
When students are continuously struggling, a school-based intervention team--made up of a district administrator, a building administrator, a general education teacher, a special education teacher, therapists (physical, occupational, speech), the ESOL coordinator, the dyslexia coordinator, and an examiner--meets, reviews the student’s data (including attendance, class performance, state assessment data, intervention strategies currently in use, etc.) and determines the next steps for that student. Those next steps could include a special education referral, a 504 plan, additional testing, or review. This practice allows all decisions related to Tier 3 intervention to be data-driven and fully encompassing.
Students who receive special education services historically have done so through separate resource classes. While we still have those courses, we have worked to integrate as many students as possible into the general education setting and will continue making this transition. In the 2018-19 school year, we had 19 resource English and math classes--servicing over 110 students in direct special education services. For the 2023-24 school year, we will have only 7 resource English and math classes--serving just under 40 students through direct services. Now, special education teachers work to provide push-in services in general education classes. This has helped improve the level of Tier 1 intervention ALL of our students receive in our English and math classes.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
At Lakeside High School, the work of our teams is the basis for our success. Our small teams have 45 minutes of collaborative planning time through the implementation of common planning times. Additionally, with the implementation of ‘SMART Start’ Wednesdays, our teams have an additional hour of uninterrupted collaboration time allowing them time to unpack standards, create CFAs, break down and analyze data, and plan for intervention. Each team has developed norms to guide the behaviors, work, and process of collaboration. Teams also use rolling agendas to prepare for the meetings and stay on task.
The creation of our guiding coalition is also one of the things that Lakeside High School implemented that built teacher capacity. The guiding coalition consists of one member from each department in the building. The guiding coalition consists of a teacher who was not currently a department leader, but someone that administration believed had great potential and would be able to bring knowledge and leadership back to their department. As our work has continued, the roles of administrators and academic coaches have shifted. Previously, administrators and academic coaches would lead the meetings; however, at this time, guiding coalition members lead the meetings while administrators and academic coaches provide additional support and ideas.
These weekly meetings have transformed the way data is discussed and analyzed. Instead of a global perspective or “feeling,” student achievement and growth is determined at a student by student/skill by skill level. Teachers use these weekly meetings to not only look at curriculum and data, but to also assign students to intervention or enrichment activities for the next week. Our collaborative teams set smart goals to target and focus efforts on improving student learning while employing an ‘our kids’ vs. ‘my kids’ mentality.
Our staff has grown continuously through this process. We have attended several PLC at Work institutes and have learned a great deal from our Solution Tree coaches and associates. We also continue to learn from each other and from teachers in other schools and districts. During the 2019-2020 school year, teams and administrators from our school collaborated with other schools across the state to create a statewide resource for schools to address learning loss caused by the COVID-19 school closures. As we continue to learn and grow, our staff members feel more confident sharing knowledge with their counterparts in other schools. However, more than anything else, our staff feels more confident in the level of instruction being provided to our students!
With this revitalized confidence in the level of learning, our staff is working to transition from a points-given grading system to a grading approach rooted in standards and skills. While traditional letter grades will still be issued, our staff is in the process of ensuring that all grades are reflective of standards and learning targets instead of non-academic performance measures. Furthermore, we have changed our grading policy to simply be semester grades. Historically, students’ grades were composed of two quarters--weighted at 40% each--and then a semester test--weighted at 20%. Now, student grades are cumulative throughout the entire semester. This allows our staff to better re-assess and ensure that grades are reflective of student learning and not student learning that took place in an arbitrary time period.
- #2 Best Places to Teach in Arkansas (2022)
- #4 Best School Districts in Arkansas (2022)
- #1 Best School District in Garland County (2022)
Scholarships (Total Offerings for Graduating Seniors)
- 2021-2022: $11,381,644
- 2020-2021: $11,121,799
- 2019-2020: $11,330,421
Selected to serve on Statewide Playbook Collaborative Teams and present at ADE Summit:
- 8th grade science team
- 8th grade English team
- 8th grade math team
- 8th grade social studies team
- Blake Campbell, Principal
- Darin Landry, Principal
Selected to present at the SEAS Arkansas Educational Conference (2022)--Blake Campbell, Principal