Harrington Elementary

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

Harrington opened its doors in 1978 and is rich in tradition. The campus is home to a diverse population that has historically been considered high performing. Throughout the past few years, demographics have changed causing a need to revise our current collaborative structures to meet the needs of all students. While PLC had previously been a part of our campus it was often thought of as something we did rather than who we are. In fall 2019, Harrington Elementary began a new PLC journey when a new leadership team was created on the campus. The new principal, Dr. Jacye Jamar, who attended a Solution Tree PLC symposium at a neighboring district and three PLC Institutes, arrived with a deep understanding of the work needed and a roadmap to embark on a journey of cultivating PLC structures within every component of the campus culture. 

At the very first staff meeting of the school year, the staff used the book Learning by Doing to generate a shared understanding of the PLC process. Teachers were then asked to use the Laying the Foundation rubric from the Learning By Doing book to determine their current level of understanding and application of the PLC process. The teacher leadership team analyzed the grade level rubrics, created action steps, and our PLC journey began. 

Our next step in the process was to work collaboratively to create the four pillars of a PLC. We worked to create why we exist at Harrington, where we saw our school in three years, our action steps to accomplish our vision, and our commitments to each other and ourselves to attain our goals. While working through this process together, staff members stepped out of their comfort zones and were encouraged to be in a state of vulnerability. At times the work of defining who we were was uncomfortable and awkward, but after the work was complete, we had a common understanding of who we are and the steps needed to progress us toward our goals. We quickly gained traction and haven’t looked back. 

As a result of continuous conversations, we realized many discrepancies between grade-level teams and their planning processes. We immediately refined our school-wide schedule to allow for consistent common planning time around the 4 PLC questions. A common lesson plan template and SMART goals were created by grade-level teams to bring a consistent focus to the work being done across the campus. In order to continue to build consistency in providing a guaranteed and viable curriculum, Vertical Teams came together to unpack the district identified essential standards. The unpacking process led to an immediate realization that teachers could focus their instruction more in-depth on the standards that have the greatest impact on student achievement and a refinement of instructional practices. We began creating Common Formative Assessments to inform the next steps in instruction and measure progress on essential standards. Our staff remained committed to the process of creating these assessments and talking through the proficiency criteria. Then, we learned how to analyze the Common Formative Assessments and purposefully use the data to drive our instruction for all students and self-reflect on best instructional practices. Teachers and specialists adjusted daily schedules to create embedded time for individualized learning for all students. We refer to this time as What I Need time (WIN time). Students were flexibly grouped in the grade level to meet their targeted goals. Because of these collaborative conversations, improved student performance was quickly noticed. It was exciting to watch the staff build trust and become comfortable being vulnerable about the strengths and areas of growth in their pedagogy. In March 2020, the World and education as we also viewed it changed. However, our teacher leadership team never lost traction and continued to use PLC structures to plan instruction, analyze and respond to student data, virtually. As we ended the year, the staff was proud of the work accomplished and excited about the continued journey ahead. The teacher leadership team was committed to immersing themselves in the books Learning by Doing and Learning by Doing Frequently Asked Questions about Professional Learning Communities at Work

In the summer of 2020, we wanted to continue the momentum we gained from the previous school year and planned to send our teacher leadership team to the PLC Institute. We partnered with our Parent Teacher Association to educate them on the fundamentals of a PLC and how it leads to an immediate impact on student learning and growth. Our PTA shared in our excitement of collaboration and student results and paid for half of our registration and hotel to the Solution Tree Conference in San Antonio. However, due to Covid-19, we had to postpone attending. 

During the 2020-2021 school year we continued to embrace the idea of “all means all.” As a result of our collaborative conversations, there was a shift from “What are we going to teach?” to “How do we know students have learned?”, “How will we respond when students have not learned?” and “How will we extend learning for students that have learned?”. Based on that shift in thinking, we continued to adjust our school-wide schedule to include additional planning time (Power Hour). During this dedicated time, teachers further developed their understanding of how to analyze data and use it to drive our instruction. Because of Power Hour, the campus culture shifted from “my students” to “our students”. Power Hour was a schoolwide effort. The PE, Music, and Art teachers supported students so that Power Hour could occur every other week for each team and used this time with students to instruct and enrich their content areas. Our Specials team was on board and immediately saw the benefit of teachers being able to have this time to collaborate. This system-wide structure within a PLC was truly fabricated within the culture at Harrington.

The teacher leadership team came back to school in the summer of 2021 with renewed energy and celebrated the growth of our student achievement. However, it was apparent that our students performing at or above grade level were not showing the same growth as other student groups based on Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) and State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) data.

To begin the 2021-2022 school year, the staff celebrated the growth of our Tier 2 and 3 students and started to plan for the adjustments needed for Tier 1 students. Because of our previous two-year commitment, teachers had the confidence and tools to make adjustments to meet students' needs. One focus this year is using MAP data and other data points to strategically group students based on specific needs during classroom instruction. With all students returning to in-person learning, we were able to refocus WIN time and once again use this time to provide additional individualized support for students. Throughout all classrooms, campus specialists are pushing in, Specials teachers are supporting students, and teachers are sharing students. Not only is this time engaging for students, but positive results are being seen based on our common formative assessments and various other data collection tools. As we continue to learn and grow in our shared understanding of a Professional Learning Community, our teacher leadership team utilizes The Collaborative Team Plan Book for PLCS at Work from Solution Tree to drive and guide our action steps. We meet monthly to celebrate student success and share artifacts to increase our capacity.  One of the many positive outcomes of our current beliefs and strong PLC is that our students and teachers are coming to school excited to continue to learn and grow.

By regularly coming together and sharing our learning, collaborative teams continue to develop an understanding of which processes have the most immediate impact on students’ learning and any needed campus adjustments. We will stay committed to reflection, refinement, and improvement of our practices to positively impact all student learning and growth. As the school year quickly comes to a close and we reflect on this three-year journey, we have adjusted our sails to stay aligned with our mission of educating and inspiring lifelong learners every day, in every way. Harrington teachers deeply understand and own that a PLC is not what we do, but who we are.

 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Clearly defined structures and systems are key to fostering continuous improvement by implementing a viable curriculum. In the Resources section, please refer to the “Harrington Curriculum and PLC Playbook.” The work at Harrington is committed to effective collaborative planning as outlined by the Plano ISD Collaborative Team Framework and Instructional Model. The Collaborative Team Framework and Instructional Model are systems used to ensure high-quality instruction in each classroom. The district also provides a scope and sequence outlining essential standards along with well-vetted, standard-aligned resources for all classrooms. In the Resources section, please refer to “Plano ISD Standards and Planning Resources”. We work campus-wide to foster the shared belief of ‘all means all’. Our campus schedule includes a 50-minute daily collaboration time for each team. Grade level collaborative teams meet with instructional leaders throughout the week to unpack the four essential PLC Questions. Teams work together to have conversations clearly defining the learning outcome for each essential standard which transfers and is visible in the lesson plan template. Examples of collaborative planning agendas “1st Grade Collaborative Planning Agendas”, “3rd Grade Collaborative Planning Agendas” and lesson planning templates “3rd Grade Lesson Plans”, and “4th Grade Lesson Plans” are included in the Resources section. Teams generate common formative assessments using a 0-3 rubric scoring system to ensure teachers are clear on learning expectations. As teachers create their CFAs, they include the criteria for success from the CFA rubric to provide clarity of expected learning outcomes for students. They then work on answering “How will we respond when some students do not learn?” and “How will we extend the learning for students who are already proficient?”. For examples of these CFAs and rubrics, please refer to “5th Grade Reading and Science CFA”, “1st Grade Math CFA” and “1st Grade Math Rubric” in the Resources section. After teams define the expected outcome for students, they determine the increments of learning for each standard and determine the best practices to achieve the learning outcome. For examples, please see “5th Grade Big Picture Plan” and “2nd Grade Big Picture Plan” in the Resources section. This also allows for teacher consistency and clarity around teaching and assessing the specific learning standards. 

Campus-wide, we have established a 50-minute embedded plan time called Power Hour every other week for teams to meet together to analyze student data and create action steps for What I Need (WIN) Time. A copy of this schedule is listed as “Power Hour Schedule” in the Resources section. When analyzing student work with the success criteria defined on their rubric, teachers unpack students’ progress toward mastery of the standard objective. Action steps are then generated to intervene and enrich each student within daily WIN time. Students are flexibly grouped to ensure each student is provided with the most individualized learning experience.  Teachers collaborate on specific interventions for students and enrichment learning opportunities for each student who may have school-wide the specific learning standard. “Kinder Power Hour Agenda” and “Kinder WIN groups” in the resource section are examples of these items. 

Multiple measures of 2020-2021 data, unveiled a need to focus on our Tier 1 students by analyzing growth projections, data indicated a need for more focus on growth for these learners. We created a specific data wall that categorizes students by MAP Quintile and we refer to this data wall every other week during Power Hour. To make the data wall more purposeful, we take the specific standard assessed with a CFA and put colored dots on each student’s picture within the quintiles to help see a big picture of growth or needed intervention within a grade level. This also helps identify patterns in areas of needed response across all grade levels.  We use this wall to also help with celebrating big learning milestones for our students, while also ensuring we have the targeted plan in place to flexibly group our students.

To ensure a viable curriculum and while tracking student progress, we embed two half days of planning per semester for each team to come together and ‘Big Picture Plan’. This time for unpacking each unit allows teams to map out a detailed learning progression for each essential standard. Teachers unpack unit assessments and pace learning for Common Formative Assessments and a time to re-engage students for needed intervention and enrichment based on CFA results. “2nd Grade Big Math Picture Plan” and “4th Grade Big Picture Plan” show two examples in the Resources Section.

We provide the highest level of instruction and continue monitoring student learning through vertical collaborative teams. All teams meet monthly to analyze student data by sharing student work samples and reflecting on building-wide instructional practices to ensure consistency across all grade levels. Vertical teams share information with their grade-level teams so the following month members can share how previously discussed tools and resources were utilized across the campus. This system in place allows for a culture of continuous learning for individuals and collaborative teams which leads to improved teacher efficacy. An example of a Vertical Team meeting is listed in the Resources Section as “Vertical Team Meeting”.

 

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

Within our school-wide schedule, a daily 30-minute block of WIN time was created so all students can receive intentional, targeted instruction on preselected essential standards in addition to their daily targeted instruction within the classroom. Teachers determine specific criteria, student groupings, and re-engagement strategies by analyzing CFA rubrics, unit assessments, and daily checkpoints. Next, students are flexibly grouped within the grade level and all grade level teachers and content specialists (dyslexia teacher, gifted and talented teacher, librarian, and instructional specialist) push in to provide the small group intervention and enrichment. Teachers have seen a significant impact on student engagement and achievement as a result of sharing and flexibly grouping students. WIN time is an intricate piece of thread in our Harrington fabric and demonstrates another approach to “all means all.” An example of grade-level WIN time groupings is listed as “4th Grade WIN Groups” in the Resources section.

As a first layer of capturing students that need academic or behavioral support, we conduct quarterly Name and Need meetings. The people attending these are the campus leadership team, counselor, instructional specialist, special education team, and classroom teacher. During these meetings, we discuss the student’s most recent assessment data, classroom observations, social-emotional needs, and any outside factors that may affect the student at school. We then use that information to create action steps, give feedback to the teacher, or determine if the student needs to be monitored more closely through the Student Support Team (SST). The document titled “Harrington RTI and SST Process” shows a detailed example of the process used to identify and monitor student intervention progress. An additional document titled “2nd Grade Name and Need” shows an example of the steps accomplished in this meeting.

To further monitor and respond to students who need more targeted and specific intervention towards essential standards, another support system in place is weekly SST meetings. This committee is made up of our instructional specialists, parents, counselor, special education teachers, grade level model teachers, student’s teacher, and campus leadership team. We work together as a committee to generate specific SMART learning goals. During this meeting, we create the most individualized learning goals for each student by offering resources, various strategies, and creating student progress monitoring tools. We also meet to support students needing positive reinforcement and specific behavior goals. At the conclusion of the meetings, teachers receive a date to reconvene and celebrate the achievement of the goal or create the next steps towards achieving the learning goal. After the meeting, teachers then provide intervention, monitor progress towards the goal, and document intervention to discuss progress at the next SST meeting.  “3rd Grade SST Initial/Review” and “3rd Grade Intervention Documentation” in the Resources section are two examples that illustrate this process.

For students needing additional enrichment support beyond WIN time and classroom enrichments, we utilize our gifted and talented teacher. The Plano Academic and Creative Education (PACE) teacher participates in weekly grade level collaborative team planning to ensure question four (How will we enrich and extend the learning for our proficient students?) is addressed. The PACE teacher collaborates with classroom teachers to plan opportunities for students to apply and transfer their understanding of essential standards.

Lastly, we allocate funds to hire additional support teachers who can support third through fifth grade to provide specific and intensive interventions for students needing to meet targeted learning goals.

 

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

Harrington Elementary’s collective ownership of student learning is the result of the quality time spent in collaborative teams. Instructional specialists, grade level teachers, instructional coaches, interventionists, administrators, special education teachers, and even district instructional leaders come together to dissect student data and formulate a plan for future work. 

We use these shared planning times daily, bi-weekly, and quarterly for a variety of purposes, such as data analysis, Big Picture planning, and designing common formative assessments (CFAs). We also analyze data from many sources using a data wall to visualize needs, spreadsheets, data trackers, and some informal records. 

Our teacher leader team used a curated list of books to learn more about PLC systems and their impact on improving student learning. They participated in the Learning by Doing, Plan Book for PLCS at Work, and the Frequently Asked Questions About Professional Learning Communities at Work book studies. They read each chapter, completed rubrics, and left collaboration time with areas of growth and action steps for their teams as outlined on the specific rubrics. Teacher leaders also utilized The Collaborative Team Plan Book for PLCs at Work Collaboration this year. Each month teachers met to share artifacts from the monthly suggested action steps with each other. Teachers left the learning sessions with individual and collective learning to apply within their classroom. This became a cyclical process as each month we celebrated our collective growth and student growth. 

Every member of the grade level collaborative team is focused intently on student learning. After working to place specific learning targets on a Big Picture unit plan, teachers use collaborative team planning to create Common Formative Assessments (CFAs). These planning sessions are rich in discussions of the expected outcomes, increments of learning, and the specific student responses acceptable for each level of the CFA rubric. Since the CFAs and rubrics are created together as a process, the team also has the opportunity to share common practices which ensures each student has access to the highest level of learning.

These systems and structures which promote a collaborative culture have naturally created a collaborative environment focused on embracing a collective purpose of learning for all.

 

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Harrington is a small campus, therefore the number of students in any given subpopulation is small which impacts the overall percentages for those groups. Many student groups are less than 5-10 students, therefore the average MAP scores are heavily impacted by outliers in the data. This accounts for some of the lower numbers in the subpopulations across all years of data collected.  In 2016-2017, district Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) reports did not include a separate program file with Special Ed, English Learner, or Economic Disadvantaged disaggregated. Starting in 2017-2018, the district NWEA reports included these separate program files with each subpopulation group.

The MAP test administered in first grade is the K-2 Growth Test. The NWEA national norms for first grade changed in 2020-2021 in that same year, higher level content was added to the K-2 test. MAP contains content that is above a first-grade level to allow students to answer questions to determine the limit of a student’s content knowledge. Since the updated norms happened the same year as the additional high level content, the new norms do not reflect the added rigor of the K-2 test. Therefore, first grade norms are now likely a bit high taking into account that the additional content would lower the scores of traditionally higher performing students.  The first grade scores for 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 reflect these updates to MAP.  

An additional note about the MAP data in 2020-2021 is that students in all grade levels were administered the beginning of year MAP at home due to all students learning virtually the first three weeks of school. Many students were provided assistance from a caregiver at home and for most students, the beginning of year scores did not accurately reflect their academic knowledge. There was a decrease in the scores in middle of year administration once students returned to school and did not have assistance on their MAP assessment.

Based on the end-of-year MAP data from 2020-2021, it showed a need to improve Tier 1 instruction for students scoring in MAP quintiles one, two, and three in the 2021-2022 school year. From the middle of year MAP data we received in 2021-2022, we have seen significant growth on MAP for students scoring in quintiles one, two, and three. This growth is due to our response to data-driven instruction and we continue to use student data to adjust and refine student learning.

Trends we notice from our MAP data are:

  • Our students consistently perform higher than the district in almost all grade levels and content areas, except for first grade due to the changed norm standards.

  • Our students in K-2 were impacted by Covid-19 and there was a decrease in performance in all contents shown in 2020-2021.

  • At Harrington, traditionally underperforming subpopulations scored higher than the same subpopulations district wide.

For STAAR assessments, in the years 2016-2017 and 2017-2018, most of the subpopulations in grades 3-5 were masked due to there being 10 or fewer students in that subpopulation in the grade level assessed. Starting in 2018-2019, our subpopulation scores were available because our school demographics began to change leading to more diversity and a need for more collaboration. The change in our subpopulations showed the need for even more targeted instruction to meet the needs of all students. Teachers quickly responded to this need by consistently analyzing and using student data to drive instruction.

Trends we notice from our STAAR data are:

  • Students in the 3rd grade cohort in 2018-2019 showed an increase in Reading when the same cohort took STAAR in 5th grade in 2020-2021.

  • Special Education students in the 3rd grade cohort in 2018-2019 showed an increase in Reading when the same cohort took STAAR in 5th grade in 2020-2021.

  • Students in the 3rd grade cohort in 2018-2019 showed an increase in Math when the same cohort took STAAR in 5th grade in 2020-2021.

  • Special Education, ELL and Economically Disadvantaged students in the 3rd grade cohort in 2018-2019 showed an increase in Math when the same cohort took STAAR in 5th grade in 2020-2021.

  • The 5th grade team has achieved growth in Science STAAR overall and in all subpopulations across the past several years.

  • The 5th grade team has maintained consistently high achievement in Reading and Math across the past several years.

2016-2017

    • State Awarded Distinctions: 

      • Academic Achievement in ELA/Reading

      • Academic Achievement in Mathematics

      • Academic Achievement in Science

      • Top 20% Closing Performance Gaps

      • Postsecondary Readiness

    • Regional Science Fair Qualifiers

    • PTA Awards

      • 226 Members

      • Fall Honor Roll 100+ Club

        • Head Start

        • Fall Increase

        • Spring Increase

      • President’s List 

2017-2018

    • State Awarded Distinctions:

      • ELA/Reading

      • Mathematics

      • Comparative Academic Growth

      • Comparative Closing the Gaps

      • Postsecondary Readiness

    • Regional Science Fair Qualifiers

    • 2017-2018 Wonder League Robotics Competition Perfect Score Finalist

    • PTA Awards

      • 275 Members

      • Golden Apple

      • 3 Year High

      • Honor Roll 250+ Club

      • President’s List

      • MARS Membership

      • Reaching High

2018-2019

    • State Awarded Distinctions: 

      • ELA/Reading

      • Mathematics

      • Comparative Academic Growth

      • Comparative Closing the Gaps

      • Postsecondary Readiness

    • Regional Science Fair Qualifiers

    • 2018-2019-First Lego League Advanced to Regional Championship

    • PTA Awards

      • 305 Members (Student Enrollment 411)

      • Honor Roll 250+ Club

        • Fall Increase

      • President's List

      • Golden Apple

      • 3 Year High

      • MARS Membership

      • Voice for Every Child - GOLD (PTA membership = 75% of student enrollment)

2019-2020 

    • State Distinctions/Designations were not awarded

    • PTA Apple Award and  PTA Excellence Award  

    • Regional Science Fair Qualifiers

    • National School of Excellence (PTA)

    • 2019-2020-First Lego League North Texas Regional Championship Top 30

    • 2019-2020-First Lego League Innovation Project 2nd Place at Qualifiers

    • PTA Awards

      • 308 Members

      • Golden Apple

      • MARS Membership

      • President’s Challenge

      • MARS Involvement 

      • Voice for Every Child - GOLD

      • School of Excellence

2020-2021 

    • State Distinctions/Designations were not awarded

    • PTA Apple Award

    • Regional Science Fair Qualifiers

2021-2022

    • First Lego League Robotics Regional Winner

    • 2022-First Lego League North Texas Regional Championship 16th Place

    • 2022-First Lego League Qualifier Overall Champions

    • Regional Science Fair Qualifiers

    • PTA Awards

      • 241 Members

      • Shining Star

      • Voice for Every Child - Silver  (Student enrollment = 345)

      • Golden Apple (pending)

      • MARS Membership

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