Garden Ridge Elementary (2022)

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

Creating a shared vision and commitment to the implementation of a Professional Learning Community is an ongoing process.   Each year we continue to revisit the foundations of a PLC including the 3 big ideas and the 4 critical questions of a PLC so that the staff is able to assess the current reality of where their students are and the actions that they are going to take.  Then we are able to reflect on our instructional practices in order to have a greater impact on students' growth.  Our journey has been intentional, slow, and steady.  It’s one that we are still on. 

We began our journey in 2016 by understanding the foundations of a true PLC and why the work was important to our growth as educators.  At the beginning of each year, I meet with my staff and review these foundations as a way to continue to support our culture, guide our work, and build capacity in my staff.  Once the campus understood what the goals were of a PLC, we moved into understanding how to read and interpret data.  Since data is an integral part of the PLC process, the staff needed to have an understanding of how to use data to drive instructional decisions.  In addition, I wanted to ensure the staff had a common language when discussing data and that they understood how to interpret data in regard to the impact it would have in the classroom.  As a campus, we discussed that the data helps us improve our instructional practices so that we are able to be responsive to the needs of our students.  These meetings need to be timely and often in order to have the greatest impact on students. Having this learning has allowed the staff to have a better understanding of the process, the use, and the importance of using data to grow in our instructional practices.  For the first 2 years of implementation, the administration served as the facilitators in our campus PLCs and/or district personnel would assist to help with understanding the data and next steps.  Once the staff understood the overall process and gained more confidence in their own abilities, I then had all of the staff trained on how to facilitate these types of conversations through PLC teacher leadership training.  My entire staff was trained on these practices to ensure that everyone had the tools that they needed when working in a PLC.  It also allowed all staff members the opportunity to facilitate collaborative team meetings.  This took away some of the emotionality when discussing data and created a more collective responsibility.  Creating that common understanding of a collaborative environment allowed teachers to feel safe in sharing their data.  Having authentic conversations about instruction, students, and our work has been instrumental in the development of our PLC processes.  Our meetings have evolved over time as we have gained knowledge, confidence, and a better understanding.  While I have a specific number of required PLCs for the campus, you can now find staff engaging in them consistently without prompting and having data-driven conversations about their own teaching and what to do differently moving forward. 

Gaining our understanding of the PLC process has completely shifted the culture of the campus.  You can hear collaborative conversations in the halls, during meetings with stakeholders, and in daily interactions.  The staff now looks forward to these meetings as a way to truly support their own growth and the growth of their students.

Each year we try to add a new layer of learning which allows teachers to have a deeper understanding of the overall impact a PLC can have on teacher growth and student achievement. We started with the foundations.  We then moved to processes, expectations, and understanding of the components of a PLC.  From there, the staff was able to gain a better understanding that this is a continual cycle to improve our instruction based on the data we have to help us move our students forward.  Last year, we added the layer of actively creating and monitoring student growth through formative assessments for specific content areas.  We started with one assessment each semester and then moved to one per nine weeks this past year.  I have allowed teachers choice in the content that they focus on so that they can build their skills before creating formative assessments for all content areas. Teachers track their own data on their specific formative assessments in order to monitor student progress.  This data is discussed during ongoing PLCs.  Standards selected for formative assessments were selected based on the prior year's performance.  Regardless of the focus of the PLC, teams complete a collaborative PLC form each time they meet in order to help guide them in the 4 critical questions of a PLC.  This focuses their conversations and helps to remind them about what is essential during these meetings.  Decisions are made at these meetings to address the needs of the questions so that they are pulling their own learning forward. 

Administration participates in PLC meetings so that we can be a part of the process, support teacher growth, support our own growth, and have a better understanding of where our students are performing. Some staff members have already focused on the essential standards as part of their yearly goals.  This will be a campus focus this year.

Our journey….

*The foundation of a  PLC

*Building common goals

*Understanding the importance of data and the different forms of data that are available

*Understanding how to discuss and interpret data, building a common language

*Understanding how to facilitate discussions around data through trust and mutual understanding

*Administration attended Solution Tree PLC conference in 2017

*Sent first teacher leaders cohort to attend PLC conference 2018-2019

*Intentional campus focus on the 4 questions and the PLC cycle

*Understanding formative assessments and how they can impact instruction - first time creating one

*Intentionally focusing on formative assessments in all content areas to drive instruction throughout the year

*Focusing on formative data results during PLC to improve instructional decisions and change teacher practice to improve student growth

*Next steps - Identifying the essential standards

Each year we revisit the goals of PLCs and how it drives our work regardless of the next layer of our learning.  In addition, I have sent multiple staff members to the Solutions Tree PLC workshops to help build a common understanding of the greater impact this practice can have on student learning and our instructional practices.  As we have started this process, staff has changed, our demographics have changed, and our student needs have changed which has required us to do the additional groundwork in the foundations of a PLC. We have been through a national pandemic and still have continued along this journey knowing that it's who we are as a campus and a district.  Please see the data table below.  Our campus has grown to 25% special education students over the last several years.  Over the years we have grown into 4 self-contained classrooms with high student needs which include all grade-level students.  In addition, our campus has a high transfer rate of students.  Generally, we are a campus of around 375 students, which tends to have around 80-100 students that transfer to our campus.  We are currently 18% free and reduced lunch.   25% of our students are at risk.  16% of our students are currently in the Gifted and Talented program.

I am proud of the growth my staff has made and the data-driven conversations we now have about students and how to best help support their unique needs.










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PLCs are non-negotiable on our campus and within our district.  We have developed a  baseline of our overall expectations.  Each grade level is expected to meet at least 3 times per nine weeks in a formal PLC setting.  This allows them to be intentional with their time and their outcomes.  However, I have many teams that go beyond this expectation.  This year teams were also expected to create at least one formative assessment per nine weeks to be responsive to their students’ needs.   Each year I try to add a new component to our PLC journey along the way in order to allow the learning to be deeper and increase staff commitment.  Next year, our district has embedded PLC days within the district calendar that will allow staff additional prolonged time to focus on data and the implications to our instructional practices.  This will be a great way to have the job-embedded time to be intentional with the PLC cycle.  In addition, principals will be participating in PLCs with other principals to continue their own growth throughout this year.

Time is always allocated to PLCs at the beginning of the year during our August professional learning.  This allows staff to begin to focus their instruction and their work on being responsive to students’ needs.  At the end of each year, I collect data from teachers to pass along to the next grade level so that they can begin to discuss where students are, their specific areas of need, and what their instructional focus should be on when starting in August.  Teachers are then able to begin targeting skills right from the start of the school year and they don't lose any additional instructional time.   In addition, this work allows staff to begin planning instruction intentionally and build small groups early on so that intervention can begin at the start of the school year.

Moving forward to the 22/ 23 school year our campus will have over 10 new campus employees. We will begin the year by reviewing the campus vision and collective commitment, Campus goals, and team collaborative goals.   As a campus, we will also review the items that we will talk about during our collaborative team time.  We will focus on reviewing our norms and the why behind our PLC.  We will begin the year with each grade level setting a team goal that they can continue to monitor throughout the year.  In addition, we will really focus on holding tight to our expectations so that we can reflect on the work we are doing to help support our students.  The essential standards will be discussed and identified for grade levels so that they can truly focus on these.  Data will continue to be presented so that we can analyze the data before the year even begins, which will allow staff to plan instruction intentionally, prepare interventions for those in need, and create stations that address areas of need and strengths.  I will also be sending another teacher cohort to critical friends training this upcoming year so that I can continue to build capacity with my staff.


1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Teams meet as a collaborative team at least three times per nine weeks.  In addition, we have two Literacy Checks-ins each year to review student progress and discuss instructional strategies.  Student needs are always reviewed.  As teachers work with students and assess their growth, they are then able to monitor progress and determine if they need to be brought to Response to Intervention.  Below you will find more information about the processes in place which allows us to monitor student learning.  

  • Campus Multi-Tier Support System- the committee that meets regularly to discuss struggling students.  

  • Literacy Check-Ins- once a semester to have intentional conversations about data, instructional design, and support as it impacts students.   I have also added RTI rounds to our professional learning so that we could support both high achievers and struggling students.  I am working to continue to build a collective responsibility for all students on campus in order to help students achieve.  As the campus administrator, I continue to collaborate and partner with teachers to help improve instructional practices.

  • Monitor grades and interventions with both campus administration and campus support staff to ensure the needs of students are being addressed. 

  •  Formative/summative data - this data is reviewed in PLCs in order to adjust instruction and focus on standards that students struggled with

  •  Walkthrough data-  this includes formal walkthroughs and trend data walkthroughs that are targeted to campus goals. Profession Learning is designed to meet instructional gaps noted based on walkthrough trends and observations.  Data is also discussed with the campus Building Leadership Team in order to gain input from all stakeholders on the next steps, programs, and reflect on our progress as a campus.

  •  The administration is an active part of collaborative team meetings and serve as a resource for all staff members.  

  • The administration is always willing to discuss students and their progress.  These are ongoing conversations that happen frequently and are not always formal.  Staff is able to collaborate anytime so that plan can be formed to address specific student needs.

Garden Ridge Elementary has many processes in place to help monitor student progress. This system allows for teacher collaboration with other colleagues and the administration team.  First, the students are provided Tier 1 instruction to help support all learning.  As teachers work in PLC and review their formative and summative assessment results, students in need are identified.  Once they are identified, the teacher is able to support these needs.  The teacher will adjust her instruction and continue to look at other areas of support in the classroom including small groups and station support. 

The students continue to be monitored to see if their needs are focused on specific skills or if there are greater needs present.  Students who are struggling academically or behaviorally are then placed in the MTSS system in order to develop specific goals that target students’ needs.  These goals are monitored through classroom data collection and teacher observations in order to track student development.  Small groups are pulled within the classroom based on student needs and are fluid with the standards and concepts taught.  In addition, groups are changed based on student progress.

Teachers use a variety of formative and summative assessments to monitor and analyze student growth.  Our district uses several systems to track data including Eduphoria, iStation, and TX KEA, in addition to their classroom observations.  We have a leveled reading system that is implemented in our small guided reading groups across the campus in grades K-5.  This library has been improved on over the last several years to provide additional resources for teachers.  Comprehension Toolkits were given to each teacher in the building and provided professional learning on how to implement this instruction in the classroom to support reading instruction. In 2021-22, each grade level has created 4 formative assessments to monitor student growth. (attached is an example from 1st grade) These assessments are in addition to campus/district-based CBAs.  Data is then analyzed in PLCs so that instructional support can be adjusted and provided.

Students that continue to not meet academic or behavioral criteria, continue to be monitored through our MTSS system with the appropriate interventions applied.  This team is comprised of teachers, specialists, administration, and parents.  This group continues to meet as needed to adjust tiers based on student progress or lack of progress.  

At the end of this school year, teachers will turn in the standards that they focused on in their formative assessments as data to be provided to the next grade level next year.  We will focus on this data during our August professional learning, in addition to vertical alignment meetings in order to analyze gaps so that teachers can begin to address these areas as soon as school begins.  Guided reading levels will be provided to the next year’s teacher so that small groups can begin soon after procedures and expectations in the classroom have been established. 

The types of assessment utilized by our school are:

Formative and summative assessments are given to monitor student progress and adjustments to instruction and support can be provided.

1.   running records

2.   Student conferences

3.   Student/teacher feedback

4.   Peer to peer conferences=

5.   Student conversations

6.   Classroom discussions

7.   Individual and group instruction

8.   Skill development focused on small groups

9.   Guided reading groups

10. Questioning

11. Writing samples

12. Collaborative group work

13.  Exit tickets

Summative Assessment- Assessment is given at the end of a unit.  

1.   Presentations

2.   Quizzes, Tests

3.   Individual and group projects

A variety of assessments are administered at each grade level: classroom-specific exit tickets, grade-level common assessments, district assessments, and required state assessments.  The data gathered from these assessments are analyzed and discussed in order to make decisions on interventions, support, instruction, and small groups.  Adjustments are made as needed and progress continued to be tracked.  

Students and parents are provided with feedback frequently.  Students are able to meet with teachers as needed. Parents are given the opportunity to meet with teachers at least 2 times a year.  Other opportunities are offered as needed by the teacher or parent.  ARD meetings, 504 meetings, and MTSS meetings are held in order to address students' needs.


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

At our campus, there are various levels of support for our students to meet their needs.  Teachers provide in-class interventions, small groups, after-school tutoring, and support in all content areas.  These interventions are changes to address the changing needs of the students.  We have developed an MTSS plan to help support struggling students in both academic and behavior concerns.    Our MTSS committee includes the entire grade level, the counselor, and the specialist relevant to the concerns, administration, and parents.  These groups meet on designated days each month to discuss and review student concerns.  The administration will have a pre-meeting with the teacher to help them focus on the specific goals they want the student to focus on.  Goals use the SMART framework and are monitored through a 4-6 week period of time in order to implement with fidelity.  Meetings are held for students to monitor their progress on each tier.  As meetings are held and data is reviewed, the MTSS team determines if the student needs additional support and a possible movement in tiers or a reduction in additional supports also resulting in a movement of tiers.  Staff is provided student information at the beginning of the year for those students currently in the MTSS process so that they continue to provide the support that the student needed to help them be successful for the upcoming school year. 

Processes are reviewed each year in order to address any concerns and to better serve students.  After-school tutoring is also offered to those students not making progress.  Next school year we have planned more intentional time in our support provider's schedules to address additional intervention time. 

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

At the beginning of the year, each grade level meets to review and agree upon their collaborative norms.  Grade level collaborative teams meet 3 times per nine weeks to review data and discuss the 4 questions of a PLC.   Collaborative teams rotate facilitating responsibilities in order for them to stay focused on their goals while all parties are accountable for their success.  Various data is brought to each collaborative team meeting depending on the needs and goals of that specific grade level.  Protocols are used to ensure all teachers are involved in the conversation.  Based on the data and the needs determined in collaborative team meetings will impact teachers' next steps.  This year we have started focusing more on developing formative assessments to monitor student progress to become more targeted in our response to their needs.  Each teacher monitors student progress on the essentials that they identified that the students are struggling in.  Each monitoring piece looks different to the grade level and their specific data. 

Our enrichment team also participated in all PLC learning so that they are also able to participate in the PLC process.  Sometimes the enrichment team is able to participate in district-wide PLCs based on their content specialty.  This past school year, I also had our enrichment team meet as a PLC to determine what formative assessments they could create for their specific area, which would allow them to target specific skills for improvement.  Their team also reviewed data to determine instructional decisions moving forward.  This continued to be an area of growth for our campus.


Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Over the last 2 years, education has been impacted by a multitude of factors that have impacted student growth.  First, students were moved to virtual learning when the pandemic first arrived during the spring of the 2020 school year.  As the pandemic continued in the 2020-2021 school year,  students were given the choice to participate in virtual or in-person learning.  Students were able to participate in both options with all the different supports provided in a variety of ways based on placement and mode of learning.  Students in our district were able to toggle back and forth between virtual learning and in-person learning based on parent requests per nine weeks.  In addition to that, severe weather hit in February, which closed our district for an additional week because of snow.  In the 2021-2022 school year, all students in our district were back to in-person learning, however, there were still COVID restrictions in place.  As the pandemic continued, students would be in and out for COVID exposure which impacted the high number of days they were in attendance for learning.  Then again, the severe weather hit Texas and schools were closed once more for several days.  As we continue to work through COVID restrictions, staffing insufficiencies, and the impact that all of these factors have had on schools, we continue to be optimistic and diligent about our work and focus on PLCs.

There has been a multitude of factors that have impacted student learning including the type/mode of services provided, staffing, weather, attendance, and ability to access information online just to name a few.  Through all this, our students and staff have persevered and worked to close the gaps that have been 3 years in the making.  Although our 2019-2020 campus data is incomplete, we are proud to say that we saw a huge increase in academic gains in 2021-2022 through STAAR data.  In addition, from 2017-2022, data shows that the campus did have some drop in student performance in 2021 but then regained it despite the vast impact of COVID on education.  One celebration to highlight would be the  5th-grade growth in reading STAAR from 49 to 70 in the master category.  I am extremely proud of the work that all stakeholders have done and continue to do.  I look forward to the gains that will continue to take place in the future.



Campus Awards you would like to highlight:

CREST Awards (multiple years)

Campus Administrator of the Year 2018 TSCA

Campus Assistant Principal of the Year TSCA

Elementary Counselor of the year TCSA

TEPSA Student Awards and Campus Excellence Award through StuCo multiple years