Forbes Middle School
- Number of Students: 660
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 38%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 15.45%
- Percent of Special Education: 16.67%
- White: 45.9%
- Black: 5.15%
- Hispanic: 42.58%
- Asian: 1.52%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0.15%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.15%
- Multiracial: 4.55%
- Other: 0%
In April of 2018, I was named Forbes Middle School Principal. Two years prior to being named Principal, I attended the Solution Tree PLC at Work Conference as an Assistant Principal. After attending the conference, my fellow AP and I returned to campus and immediately implemented many of the tools we had learned about including Homework Lunch, Skill vs. Will, Professional Learning for Staff, etc. In August of 2018, we received the official news our campus was rated an "F." Student achievement had been on the decline at Forbes Middle School for years; however, this year, we received the "F" rating (with a new system by the state). We knew we needed a change when we got our preliminary numbers in May, thus I signed our leadership team up for the PLC at Work conference the summer of 2018.
At that conference, many things started to make sense. We needed to put in place the fundamental components, Teacher Identified Standards, Common Assessments, Systemic Intervention During the School Day, Extensions, and Systemic Teacher Learning, in order to make our school the best place for students to learn. We came back and worked through many conversations with every leadership team on campus of how we would or could address the learning needs of all students during the school day. By the time we met with every leadership team and got consensus, we had 80% of staff members on board with the flex period we call SOAR (we are the Falcons) before we even rolled it out. We implemented this flex period in January of 2019 after months of planning. During the 2018-2019 school year we also implemented weekly professional learning for staff, twice weekly partner planning and data review, and once weekly MTSS meetings for academics, behavior, and attendance. We used our weekly professional learning time to learn what the steps were for the PLC process. We started with identifying our high priority standards. Then, based on the HPLS that were identified, we developed our common assessments during these learnings and disaggregated the data during our planning and data review meetings. When the second semester started, we rolled out our SOAR period for student intervention and enrichment (clubs-rocketry, SeaPerch, Lego Robotics, DI, Jazz Band, Mixed Choir, Dance, Clay Art, UIL Academics, etc.) based on common assessment data only. After teacher feedback, formative assessments were created to give students the opportunity to exit intervention and return to their desired club. Very soon, student motivation to test out of their intervention increased, resulting in student achievement rising and the motivation to do well was growing. On the upcoming state assessment, our school went from "F" to "D." At first that might not sound impressive; however, that is what used to be known as a One Year Turnaround from an Improvement Required campus. Prior to the new school ratings where letters were assigned vs. IR or Not IR, a One Year Turnaround was a huge accomplishment.
Flash forward to 2022, we have continued to grow and build on these same components. The only change is that our SOAR period now includes students who are fulfilling their 4545 law requirement of 30 hours of intervention per failed state exam. As a campus we have selected our priority standards, written common assessments, provide daily intervention to students, and provide extension and club activities for those not needing intervention. Currently, our leadership team and learning design coach lead professional learning for teachers around data disaggregation and research based high quality improvement practices, such as examining the work we put in front of students as a department, and utilizing learning walks to reflect on our own practices. Our staff is committed to these practices because they have seen the impact they have had over time and more importantly, through COVID-19 and all the challenges it presented for our students and teachers from March of 2020 until the start of the 2021-2022 school year when all students came back. This past year, Forbes received the rating of "C" by the state of Texas. We also met Closing the Gaps Targets in over 10 different sub population areas. This is the first time since I've been at Forbes that we have met any. These practices will remain in place even after I leave some day because of our teachers beliefs in them.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
When we first embarked on our PLC journey, we started with the basics. We started professionally learning what it meant to be a Professional Learning Community. First, teachers for all core contents, selected high priority learning standards. These standards teachers agreed on were the "got to knows" when a student completed a grade level. The idea is that students demonstrate mastery on a formative assessment for these standards in the classroom or once scheduled into intervention. Intervention for the particular standards lasts until all students demonstrate mastery. Once new high priority standards are introduced, new intervention groups are pulled based on the new formative test scores.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
After attending PLC at Work for a second time in the summer of 2018 we rolled out a tutorial period where students were assigned based on a common formative assessment. Students take the common formative assessments in core classes, then based on results, are scheduled into the daily tutorial period for real time help and remediation or are plugged into extension/club activities during the same intervention period called "SOAR." The common assessments teachers build together as content partners cover one high priority learning standard that was teacher selected. It only covers one standard so teachers can create remediation over one standard only at a time. Students are able to take an assessment once in intervention as well after instruction to "test out" of intervention. Students that "test out" successfully, join the club or extension activity group. Extension and Clubs offered include but are not limited to...Rocketry, Lego Robotics, SeaPerch, Destination Imagination, Mixed Choir, Jazz Band, Electric Ensemble, UIL Academics, Art, and many other things. House Bill 4545 has thrown a wrench into the mix. At the same time, during this time, we have to fulfill the 30 hour tutorial requirement for every student that failed the staar test. Because we were set up with an intervention time already in our master schedule, we were able to provide the remediation immediately without having to scramble for a new plan. Also, we have noticed, the same students that need the house bill 4545 hours also tend to need the single standard remediation. This system with an intervention period, gives us the vehicle to provide timely intervention to students in need.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
Our teams focus on improving learning for all students by multiple teachers picking up intervention courses, even if they do not teach that particular school. Our teachers have accepted the ownership over student learning and holding students accountable for their teacher adopted required standards. Our teachers also engage in weekly research based professional learning geared towards increasing student achievement. A few of the things we do include: looking at student work as departments, conducting learning walks, and giving feedback to teachers. Our teacher teams review student assessment data and design intervention for students that perform low on these assessments. Teachers then implement the teacher designed intervention lessons and give students formative assessments while in intervention for students to demonstrate mastery.
Achievement Data Files
Additional Achievement Data
Attached is our state testing comparison since the 2018 rating of "F." The totals are school wide instead of grade specific because our 2018 TAPR report is missing the column of SPED for some reason. However, I reached out to our district as was able to pull my campus SPED data for the entire campus all three grade levels. Because of this, I went with the same data set for the next years. The 19-20 year is missing because Texas did not offer state testing after our COVID-19 shut down in March. An important note, don't just look at passing (approaches), look at the second level and third level of achievement as well (meets and masters). We saw significant gains at the meets level, especially in Reading across the board for all students. Our big focus and push this upcoming year is Math. Another important note, during the pandemic, we had 150 of 650 total student remote. The majority of our remote students did not engage in learning of any kind during 20-21 school year. The 21-22 data included having all those testers back and on the testing rosters even after a year of not engaging in school work. If any additional data is needed, please let me know. I've kept in touch with Mike Mattos since attending PLC at Work as a Principal. Mike encouraged me to apply for model school status. I informed him I would if the preliminary numbers were correct and we had a grade raise again through COVID-19 from "D" to "C." We received a C and have increased our letter grade each testing year from an F in 2018 to a D in 2019 to now a C in 2022. Texas did not have testing in 2020 and did not give ratings in 2021.
We have not received any awards for our PLC process nor have we applied for any. We are a 3 time Capturing Kids Hearts Showcase School though.