San Jacinto Junior High

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

***PROMISING PRACTICES SCHOOL***

San Jacinto Junior High is a 6-8 campus in Midland, Texas. Because the local economy hinges on the ebb and flow of oil production and its fallout, the retention of teachers and the percentage of transient students present significant challenges.  Midland ISD has had five superintendents since 2016, various Central Office leadership changes and restructures, and a challenge consistent with the nation of teacher-wide shortage, mainly due to the cost of living in the Permian Basin. 
San Jacinto began PLCs in 2016, with one Solution Tree consultant.  The focus was on learning the foundation of the two-week cycle for collaborative teams to utilize with their PLCs.  From 2017-2019, the 64 percent of returning teachers implemented the previously taught two-week cycle to the best of their abilities.  There was no further professional development from Solution Tree; however, our Educational Service Center provided sporadic lesson-planning opportunities that guided the PLC work for tested subjects.  During this time, the campus had a consistent principal.

In 2019, there was a new campus principal and 39 percent turnover rate.  The district continued to prioritize PLCs; however, there were inconsistent opportunities to refine our practices.  In 2020-2021, the campus utilized another Solution Tree consultant to enhance and re-center our general understanding of the PLC process and guidelines as we navitaged virtual learning and teaching.  In 2021-2022, we were strategic in our professional development implementation and teacher support through the partnership of a Lead4Ward consultant and a Solution Tree consultant.  This support from our Solution Tree Consultant was pivotal in our journey to achieving our goals of high success in accountability ratings and student growth.

With our consultant’s guidance, we developed a mission and vision statement that was supported by collective commitments.  We utilized SMART goals to leverage our Campus Improvement Plan to be a “living and breathing” document that guided all of our work: master schedule, consistent planning times, interdisciplinary team times, a hybrid-block bell schedule, and built in time for intervention/enrichment.  The hybrid-block bell schedule allowed for a priority of instructional time.  The interdisciplinary team times supported student behavior and accountability, parent involvement, and social-emotional needs of our students.   The consistent planning times ensured that all teachers had the opportunity to meet 3x weekly with their collaborative teams.  A student goal-setting system was established and school-wide celebrations recognized students for academic success.  
In 2022-2023, each collaborative team has established norms and roles within the first two weeks of school to  increase efficiency and effectiveness of our collaborative teams.  The teams consistently focused on the 4 essential questions and utilized various Solution Tree resources to guide our work with planning, intervention, enrichment, data analysis, and professional development.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Each year, collaborative teams are expected to meet at least 3 times weekly during the school week to work on the PLC cycle.  During this time, our collaborative teams unpack essential standards, utilize the scope and sequence, create knowledge and skills charts, and review state assessment data to create a learning progression of teaching strategies for the collaborative team teachers to implement.  This collaboration and teamwork paired with the usage of the TEKS Resource System (TRS) ensures that guaranteed and viable curriculum is occurring in our classrooms daily.  The work of the collaborative team benefits the implementation of TRS and its application to our students and their needs, based on various data points. 

To refine our practice of collaborative teams this year, we’ve opted into the Texas Instructional Leadership practices to grow the capacity of our PLC leaders and enhance our ability to unpack the standards and view the curriculum holistically.  We selected a team of 4 content leaders to lead this work of disseminating these instructional practices out to each department to better meet their core-specific needs within the PLCs. 

We also utilize several other high-quality resources such as: Lead4Ward field guides, IXL, state-adopted classroom materials, Achieve 3000, and Lead4Ward scaffolding guides.  These resources help to support the scope and sequence to allow teachers to provide tier 2 and 3 instruction that closes instructional gaps, intervene, and enrich while still teaching grade-level material.

Our Collaborative Teams have adopted Data Protocols based on templates from both Solution Tree and ead4Ward to help them identify areas of need for intervention and enrichment, drill down to the root causes of student struggle, and plan tier 1 reteach sessions as well as tier 2 intervention. These team-specific protocols are used on CFAs and more comprehensive team-developed tests. Teams therefore have hard data to guide instruction and inversion built into their short and long term assessment cycles.
Likewise, we have a number of district developed or adopted assessment tools, including NWEA Map, Imagine Math, Achieve 3000, Summit K-12 (for Emerging Bilingual students,) and STAAR Interim testing, which our Collaborative Teams use to assess student success over time (individual growth) and compared to their peers across campus, across the district, and across the nation. These larger, comprehensive tests give us insight into trends of growth and struggle that help us when large scale course- corrections might be in order and to look for discrepancies where a student’s performance on team-generated assessments may diverge from their performance on standardized assessments.These also serve as an accountability to our Collaborative Teams to ensure that our in-house assessments are up to the rigor expected in our state standards and assessed by these standardized assessment tools.  

In addition to these approaches to formal assessment data from both formative and summative assessment tools created both in-house and externally, we are also starting to implement ways to monitor and adjust based on informal assessments of in-class work before we get to the formal assessment pieces in the first place. Teachers are being trained on how to create exit tickets and other checks for understanding to gauge success over daily lesson objectives and our leadership are being trained to coach teachers on how to ensure that the activities students perform daily in class match the rigor of our TEKS. Refining our daily lessons through constant monitoring and adjusting will help us become proactive rather than reactive, not waiting for a formal assessment to intervene or enrich.

 

 

 

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

In our master schedule, we have built in a hybrid block schedule, meaning that every subject will have at least one extended 90-minute period a week. We have also double-blocked all English classes and most Math classes so that students receive 90 minutes a day in those identified subjects every single day. The purpose of these longer blocks is to allow teachers time to implement tier 1 reteach and intervention, pull small groups during class for enrichment or tier 2 intervention, and make time for hands-on, high-impact learning activities such as science labs, socratic seminars, game-based lessons, and the like.
We have also built an advisory period to occur 2x weekly.  During this period, Interdisciplinary Teams work together to assign students to target invernetion or enrichment sessions based on very specific needs as evidenced by hard data, usually formal assessment data. A student may get a very intense reteach, an opportunity for a creative extension, extra time to practice skills that students have a basic grasp of but struggle with consistency, or even to address socio-emotional needs some students may have that inhibit their learning. The notion here is simple- we have set aside an hour per week where every student can get exactly what they need in whatever format is most beneficial for them. 

Finally, we offer a range of before and after school opportunities to intervene and enrich, including targeted tutorials by invitation, homework help, and organizations like the Science Club and Book Club that spark curiosity and allow students to explore areas of interest beyond our official curriculum.

 

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

All of our Collaborative Teams are led by a hand-picked teacher who we believe has the knowledge and skill to see that the work gets done. That said, the distinguishing marks of our most successful teams are teacher experience and willingness to collaborate. Our 8th grade math CT for example, consists of five teachers, three of whom have decades of experience in the profession and over twelve years of collaboration on our campus. Obviously, this unusual combination of expertise and comradery allows this team to truly shine. They function without ego and can look unflinchingly at data and have hard conversations about areas of need without strife. This ability to engage in the work at this level is a product of professional confidence and collegial community we’d want to see on all of our collaborative teams. Our 7th grade math team now regularly meets in the same room as the 8th grade team allowing that less-experienced group to consult with the 8th grade team and implement the data analysis and lesson planning activities they observe the 8th grade team modeling for them. We’re already seeing improvement from the 7th grade team as a result. 

In order to build that sort of skill and collegial attitude with our less experienced faculty, we also group our teachers onto Interdisciplinary Teams, which focus on issues like handling the logistics of intervention and enrichment through advisory as well as collaborating to build relationships with students and address needs on discipline and attendance. Our leaders on these teams also take on a mentoring role for less experienced faculty. 

We are also working hard to provide training opportunities to staff aimed at growing their professional capacity. Some of our veteran staff, for example, were able to attend Harvard Turnaround School Leaders training this summer. Three teachers who are in the 3-5 years of experience band are our Texas Instructional Leadership Framework training and implementation efforts. All of our first year teachers are enrolled in our New Teachers’ Academy program, which is step one of our brand new three-year intake system which is designed to guide new teachers through their first three years, growing their classroom management, instructional strategies, and ability to analyze and adjust to data.

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Formal data spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1m59_gkTi4jqdZjmJ5nKbM7N3dpuEV9hqyvF51OrnypI/edit?usp=sharing

- Midland Education Foundation grant recipient for 2021 and 2022
- Harvard School Turnaround Leaders Institute acceptance (Charles Butt Foundation)
- TASSP conference presentation summer of 2022
- Lead4Ward Think! conference presentation November 2022
- Quartile 1 for Student Growth in Reading
- Quartile 1 for 6th Grade Math Masters
- Quartile 2 for Student Growth in Mathematics
- Quartile 2 for 8th Grade Math Masters
- Quartile 2 for Algebra 1 8th Grade Math Masters
- MISD Teacher of the Year (Whitefield, Ritchie)
- Attendance Awards for 1st, 2nd, and 4th 6 weeks

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