Pleasant Grove ISD (2023)
- School Address: 8500 N Kings Hwy , Texarkana, TX 75503, US
- School Phone: 9038314086
- Superintendent: Ronald Chad Pirtle
- Contact E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Number of Students: 2,310
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 29.61%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 3.81%
- Percent of Special Education: 10.87%
Schools in District
Pleasant Grove Independent School District
- Pleasant Grove High School
- Pleasant Grove Middle School
- Pleasant Grove Intermediate School
- Margaret Fischer Davis Elementary School
- White: 69%
- Black: 14.07%
- Hispanic: 7.66%
- Asian: 2.73%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0.09%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.35%
- Multiracial: 6.1%
- Other: 0%
Pleasant Grove ISD had been dabbling in PLC Lite for several years prior to the arrival of a new superintendent in the Spring of 2019. Formal PLC training had never been provided and this was reflected in the inconsistencies and misconceptions across the district. The superintendent knew for Pleasant Grove ISD to level up, as a district we had to develop and deepen the understanding of the PLC process. He led the charge and collaboratively developed and launched a three year plan to ensure the district had the knowledge and skills needed to authentically engage in the PLC process.
Year one of the plan focused on building shared understandings and commitment to the PLC process with district and campus leadership. Year two of the plan focused on developing and growing the Guiding Coalitions and year three focused on core content area teachers. Moving forward into year four, our focus will be on providing training and support for all staff.
Year 1 2019-2020
The superintendent knew the leadership team had to become students of the PLC process to be able to support the work on their campuses. “Programs live and die in the principal’s office” was his mantra and he was committed to ensuring campus principals were prepared. PGISD leaders officially began their learning journey on June 3, 2019 with Jon Yost.That day was eye-opening to say the least. By the end of it we all were crystal clear about what we had NOT been doing correctly and how much we needed to learn.We solidified our “why” and built shared knowledge about the foundational pieces that had previously been missing. At the end of the day, we had collectively faced our current reality and we were committed to learning and putting in the hard work to ensure high levels of learning for all students. At the end of the day of learning, the superintendent shared with the leaders, “You know enough to be dangerous, but do not go back to your campuses and sink the ship. Take this year to just learn.”
A large part of our learning with Jon Yost was instilling in us how important the Four Pillars of the PLC Process were going to be on our PLC learning journey. On June 6, 2019 we came together as a leadership team and began working collaboratively on the district mission, vision, and values (attachment 8). The superintendent asked if anyone on the leadership team could recite the existing district mission statement and not one single leader in the district could, even the ones who were on the committee and helped write it a couple of years previously. It was lengthy and seemed almost irrelevant when we started unpacking it. As we worked collaboratively to find examples of exemplar mission statements in our Solution Tree books and researched Model PLC Districts’ mission statements, we kept coming back to the same thought - our mission statement needed to be short, concise, and focused on our commitment to ensuring high levels of learning for all students. As a district leadership team, we drafted the proposed mission statement “The mission of Pleasant Grove Independent School District is to ensure high levels of learning for all students” and the Pleasant Grove ISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved the recommendation. Now every school board meeting is started with a board member reciting our mission statement, which is reflective of their commitment to the PLC process. The district vision, collective commitments, and goals were a little more challenging. We spent some time building shared knowledge about each and having collaborative discussions to ensure each supported our mission statement. We came to consensus and wrote our district vision and collective commitments (attachment 18) within a couple of months during year one. Our mission and vision have remained the same, but we have updated our collective commitments annually. As we have grown and learned more about the PLC process, our commitments have been updated to reflect that growth. This past summer during our leadership retreat, we unpacked our district collective commitments and identified what each looks like, sounds like, and feels like. We realized we had been neglecting them, so we recommitted and now discuss them frequently within our PLC work. As a district, we did not work through the goal setting process until year two. As we learned more about how important the goal setting process was, we created systems to ensure we are constantly monitoring district goals, campus goals, and even collaborative team goals. This year our goal work is focused on student goal setting. We are learning together about how to ensure students are setting meaningful, measurable goals that will result in high levels of student learning.
During year one, when the new school year started, campus teams continued to engage in PLC Lite and do their best with the knowledge they had. Former “principal meetings” were repurposed to focus on leadership learning. Leaders of Learning (LoL) meetings prioritized the agenda to ensure the bulk of the day was spent learning together about the PLC process. The superintendent’s commitment to these meetings reflected his commitment to the PLC process and that did not go unnoticed.
The leadership team continued building capacity by engaging in book studies, reading All Things PLC magazine articles, and learning from the plethora of videos in Global PD. The leadership team also attended the PLC Institute in San Antonio in October 2019.
As the Leaders of Learning built shared knowledge it became clear that if we were truly going to engage in the PLC process, more support would be needed than we could currently provide. Again, the superintendent demonstrated his commitment by creating the new role of Campus Learning Coordinator. In Spring of 2020, during the pandemic, we hired four Campus Learning Coordinators to join the Learning Services Department. Overnight Learning Services went from a department of one to a department of five. Each campus learning coordinator was assigned to and housed on a campus where they would provide ongoing support for the PLC process. Every campus had a Campus Learning Coordinator. The Learning Services team, which consisted of the Director of Learning Services and the four Campus Learning Coordinators, immediately began learning together and making plans for future PLC learning across the district. Our goal was to always look ahead and know what was next in the district’s PLC learning journey so we could “learn ahead” and build our own shared knowledge. We were committed to becoming the district “PLC gurus” and this was evident in our weekly meetings where we drafted learning plans, created learning calendars, and collaboratively developed training modules that would later be pushed out across the campuses. We learned together and built our shared knowledge together to ensure there was consistency and a common understanding of the PLC process across the district. To this day, this team meets weekly to grow, learn, and plan collaboratively.
Year 2 2020-2021 - Guiding Coalitions
Year 2 of our learning journey began during the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, June 2020. At Pleasant Grove ISD, we believe a large part of our story starts here because we did not let the pandemic stop our learning or commitment to the PLC process. In year two, the focus was strategically on building capacity within the Guiding Coalitions. We had planned to take the leadership team and Guiding Coalitions to the PLC Institute,but due to COVID-19 the PLC Institute was canceled. Determined to continue moving forward, we came up with plan B and in June 2020, Dennis King facilitated a day of in-district learning for these two groups. We sat six feet apart, wore masks, and followed all the CDC guidelines, but we learned that day and we got better for kids.
Throughout the 2020-2021 school year, as challenging as it was, we continued to foster a culture of learning and continuous improvement. We learned about leading and deepening professional learning communities from Jon Yost. We deepened our understanding of the RTI process through virtual training. As we all developed a new normal, we continued to learn. This new learning began to trickle down as principals, Campus Learning Coordinators, and Guiding Coalitions organically began sharing their new knowledge with their collaborative teams. The presence of the Campus Learning Coordinators in the collaborative team meetings definitely escalated the learning and collaboration.
Although the pandemic shut our schools and limited learning, we continued to do the work. Instead of using the pandemic as an excuse, our culture of learning flourished. We felt even more responsibility and urgency to be the best educators possible because we knew our students needed us to be our best. As a district, we continued to build our shared understandings even in the face of lingering challenges. Throughout these challenges, our commitment to the process grew even stronger and our pathway to ensuring high levels of learning for all students grew even clearer.
When virtually every other district in the state experienced the “COVID-19 Slide,” Pleasant Grove ISD experienced very little learning loss as indicated on our STAAR/EOC state assessments. This was attributed to the work collaborative teams continued to engage in throughout the 2020-2021 school year. The school closures required us to answer the critical questions more tightly than ever before due to the decreased amount of time students spent in classrooms. During high teacher absenteeism, collaborative teams stepped into neighboring classrooms to facilitate new learning on priority standards. Teams strategically provided Tier 2 and Tier 3 support using whatever platform was available. Teachers who were quarantined taught virtually from their homes. Rather than COVID-19 becoming an excuse, the educators at PGISD used it as a catalyst to build a collective culture and collaboratively ensure the learning continued.
Year 3 - 2021-2022 Core Content Areas
Year 3 of our learning journey focused on all core content area teachers. Through their work with the Campus Learning Coordinator and Guiding Coalitions, core collaborative teams were already identifying and unwrapping priority standards, creating common assessments, and analyzing data. Year three was focused on working with these teams to deepen their common understandings of the PLC process. We embraced the “Learning by Doing” mindset and every core team in the district had collaborative time built into their work day. Most had it five days a week, with only the elementary school having two days per week. The Learning Services team developed a 100 Day PLC Learning Plan and facilitated it across the district, making adjustments when needed to ensure viability and sustainability. Jon Yost facilitated a day of learning for the district in August 2021 to build a deeper understanding of what it means to be a professional learning community and deepen our understanding of the four critical questions. Angela Freese was brought into our district to build capacity on assessment practices first with leadership then with core elementary and secondary teams. This positively impacted how teams planned, and especially how they answered critical question two.
We launched the PGISD Unit Design Template during year three and held tight that core area teams had to use the template to guide their work as they planned collaboratively. This was challenging but we knew the process of creating the unit plan walked teams through the work of teams. Year three was a year of celebrations. Pleasant Grove ISD experienced a lot of growth for the adults as well as our students. We had maintained our focus and finished the year strong.
Year 4 2022-2023 Tier 1 Instruction
With the three year plan executed, we did not transition into year 4 without careful thought and consideration. With the blessings and financial support of our Pleasant Grove Board of Trustees and additional funding from our Education Foundation, we took 107 educators to the PLC Institute in July 2022. The timing was perfect! The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and teachers shared how it all “finally made sense” to them. Many shared that this was the best professional learning they had ever attended. By enabling us to take the majority of our core content area teachers to the institute, the district’s commitment to the process was evident. The growth and celebrations of learning by our teachers was a testament to the culture of continuous improvement.
We experienced a different hiring season for the 2022-2023 school year from previous years. As hiring committees, usually made of campus administrators and teachers, crafted their interview questions, there was evidence of our commitment to the PLC process. Campus interview committees began viewing candidates as potential collaborative team members and being very vocal about how we “do business” in PGISD. Organically, our new hires came in committed and ready to embrace the collaborative culture.
We took the momentum of the PLC Institute into the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year and started strong. Our theme for this year is “It’s Time to Bloom.” We are committed to engaging in the PLC process and constantly seeking improvement, and we believe it is our “time to bloom.” Are we perfect? Absolutely not, but we are definitely better than we were before we embarked on this learning journey together.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
Identifying priority standards is a collaborative process teams engage in unit-by-unit to create a shared understanding of what students need to know and be able to do. Our teams revisit their priority standards unit-by-unit to determine if the list needs to be tweaked or adjustments made, then they launch the PGISD Work of Teams (attachment 1) to systematically walk through the process of answering critical question 1. They collectively unwrap each priority standard and get crystal clear on what students need to know and be able to do. They create student-friendly learning targets and identify the learning progression. They collaboratively discuss what proficiency looks like for each standard and they provide examples of student work (attachments 21-24).
To ensure clarity among the collaborative teams, beginning this year the district launched the expectation for teams to create learning progression ladders for each priority standard. Teams start with the least complex learning target at the bottom and each rung increases in complexity until students reach the priority standard on the top rung. They write “I can'' statements going up the ladder to make the ladder student friendly. Some teams have celebrated the process because it identified pieces of the learning they had been inadvertently missing, such as prerequisite skills. Teachers also gained clarity about non-priority standards, because they recognized that the supporting standards are probably a rung in the learning progression to a priority standard. Through creating this learning progression ladder, collaborative teams are digging into the standards at the deepest level and building a shared understanding of exactly what students need to know and be able to do. Through this work, our priority standards become our “promise” standards or, our guaranteed curriculum.
The Pleasant Grove ISD Unit Plan Template (attachment 2) includes a pacing calendar that must be completed when teams are planning collaboratively for an upcoming unit. By pacing the learning, the experts - the teachers - are ensuring adequate time is being given to each priority standard to effectively teach the standard. Teams have some flexibility due to unforeseen interruptions, but the team comes to a consensus when common formative assessments and common unit assessments will be administered to ensure the data is valid and reliable. Teachers administer assessments within one to two days of their colleagues. Because teams are pacing the unit based on what is appropriate for each standard, the curriculum becomes viable, or doable.
Working collaboratively on the process above ensures a guaranteed and viable curriculum and helps alleviate the “educational lottery” between classes or teachers. We believe the litmus test to the validity of our guaranteed and viable curriculum is when no parents (educators or not!) request certain teachers because they know, regardless of the teacher they are assigned, their child will be guaranteed the same curriculum as the students down the hall.
Pleasant Grove ISD has built-in time on every campus for interventions and extensions during the school day. This ensures data is not only gathered and analyzed, but responded to in a timely manner. The Pleasant Grove District Balanced Assessment System (attachment 3) clearly identifies assessment types, purposes, and expectations to ensure learning is monitored on a timely basis on every campus. During Tier 1 instruction, teachers monitor student learning through quick formative checks and they respond to that data within that class period or during the next. These frequent checks throughout the unit ensure students who need additional support receive that support before moving on to the next learning target.
As a part of their unit planning process, collaborative teams create a minimum of one Common Formative Assessments (CFAs) to monitor student learning during the unit. These are focused on priority standards and administered strategically within the unit. On their Unit Pacing Calendars, teams identify when these CFAs will be administered, when the data will be analyzed, and when they will respond to the data. Because collaborative teams are meeting daily, teachers are usually able to respond to the data within 48 hours before the data becomes stale.
During the unit planning process, teams also create the Common Unit Assessment to monitor proficiency on the standards within the unit. The Unit Pacing Calendar identifies when the assessment will be given, when the Unit Data Analysis Protocol will be completed, and when the data will be responded to through Tier 2 intervention. Because teams are meeting daily, students who need unit interventions and/or extensions are usually claimed within 48 hours to meet every student’s need within a timely manner.
Priority standard proficiency is monitored on a student-by-student, priority-by-priority standard spreadsheet. These are created at the beginning of the year by Campus Learning Coordinators and maintained by the collaborative teams. Teachers can update the spreadsheets as frequently as needed but the maximum time between updates is at the end of each grading period.
Every principal at Pleasant Grove ISD has a Principals’ Watch List (attachments 4.1 and 4.2) that is created and maintained by their Campus Learning Coordinator. This is a huge project at the beginning of each year, but the benefits to having this list are enormous. The spreadsheet includes information on previous and current unit grades, attendance, previous STAAR/EOC performance, district screeners, and discipline. This ensures students are monitored in a timely manner because Campus Learning Coordinators are sharing updates with their A-Teams on a regular basis. Collaboratively, the A-Team creates a plan for each student on this list that identifies who is going to monitor this student. This spreadsheet creates one powerful document that principals can easily access to monitor student learning and hopefully be proactive rather than reactive to challenges the student may be facing.
Monitoring Tier 3 is dependent on the services and/or support students are receiving. Special Education students have goals based on priority standards and teachers monitor this learning progression. The Case Manager ensures these are being monitored in a timely manner. Dyslexia student growth is monitored using the BOY, MOY, and EOY district screeners. Also, the dyslexia program has built-in progress monitoring after every eighth lesson that the dyslexia teachers utilize. Students who have been identified as “at-risk” in reading are monitored by the campus interventionist every ten days and instructional adjustments are made based on this progress monitoring. The district uses MAP Growth to assess students three times per year in math, and the results of this assessment prescribe math lessons in Progress Learning, a program aligned to the Texas TEKS. Teachers are able to monitor student growth and identify additional student supports using this data.
As a district, PGISD is continuing to work on progress monitoring in a timely manner in math. Our focus initially was in Reading, but moving forward the district will shift that focus to include Math, Science, and Social Studies.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
Using knowledge gained from Taking Action : A Handbook for RTI at Work, our district is committed to supporting campuses as they continue to develop and refine their campus systems of intervention and extension. Each campus has developed a customized plan to provide students with additional time and support for learning (attachments 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3).
To ensure we systematically provide the intervention and extension students need, we utilize multiple data points. We provide Tier 3 support over previous grade level standards using district beginning-of-year, middle-of-year, and end-of-year Reading/Language Arts and Math screener data, STAAR/EOC data, previous grade level performance data, and special programs assessment data. These students are receiving very targeted and specific support on a daily basis. They are progress monitored and decisions about placement are made by a collaborative team of teachers and administrators.
To ensure we systematically provide Tier 2 support, collaborative teams use Common Unit Assessment results to create groups based on priority standards. Teams analyze the data by teacher to determine who should teach which priority standard(s) and teachers “claim students” based on this information. We are working to tighten our practices around re-assessing these students and ensuring fluidity based on student need.
To provide additional support for the current unit, teachers usually work in small groups with students within their Tier 1 instructional block. However, teams also have the option of working collaboratively within their team to place students based on priority standards. This support always takes place PRIOR to administering the Common Unit Assessment.
To create a system that is effective and sustainable, most campuses have purchased a program designed specifically for teachers to use to “claim” students for Tier 2 instruction. There is flexibility and accountability built into these systems. Teams identify which students need additional support on which priority standards and they “claim” students as needed. The system documents the students in attendance and the priority standard supported (attachment 9). Only the elementary campus still uses a spreadsheet to claim students which they have found as an effective tool for providing Tier 2 support.
At Pleasant Grove ISD, every campus has Tier 2 time and Tier 3 time built into the school day. All campus master schedules have been modified to include Tier 2 and Tier 3 instruction that does not require a student to miss access to Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3 (attachment 17). This required Pleasant Grove High School to implement second order change by strategically abandoning block scheduling because it was what was best for kids. With the change, their Tier 2 time is built into the day and every student has time for support as needed.
Out-of-the box thinking provided an additional option for Tier 2 support. Learning Services partnered with the Athletic Department to get coaches engaged in Tier 2 support for their athletes. Tier 2 and Tier 3 athlete concerns were identified and coaches received training as needed on how to provide support, monitor student work, and analyze data on district screeners. This had a huge impact on learning at our high school and exemplifies collective efficacy.
Another approach to providing Tier 2 and Tier 3 support was increasing the number of ESL certified teachers in our classrooms. This alleviates students being pulled from Tier1 instruction to receive ESL services. By building capacity in our classroom teachers, students are being served more effectively and with less disruption than before.
Pleasant Grove ISD is working to be more intentional about providing extensions during Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 time to extend student thinking and increase the rigor of their learning. The plan is to add one additional rung to the top of the learning progression ladder, above the priority standard, for question four. This will ensure collaborative teams are planning for question four during the unit planning process. Some teams are currently using Digital Learning Menus to provide extensions in a flexible, relevant format. We know with collaboration and innovative thinking, PGISD will improve critical question four of the PLC process.
Current examples of extensions that address question four and extend student thinking and learning are attached to Step 8.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
Over the last 4 years, PGISD has gone from one day per week for collaborative team meetings to five days per week for collaborative team meetings (attachment 7). We knew if we were going to ask them to do the work, we had to provide the time. To maintain focus on PG’s Work of Teams (attachment 1), each team creates an agenda that ensures they stay on task. The goal is to have a Campus Learning Coordinator in every collaborative team meeting to facilitate the process and provide support as needed. It is crystal clear to all administrators and teachers that this time is for the work of teams and nothing else. As a district, we work to protect this time as much as possible.
As we learn more, we do better. Collaborative Team Meetings (CTMs) have improved over the last several years due in part to the intentionality around creating/refining norms and protocols, assigning team roles, setting common goals, and effectively answering the four critical questions. From the district perspective, we have created a structure that ensures we continue to grow educators in a systematic, intentional, and consistent way. This learning begins with the Learning Services team. This team is committed to ongoing learning and holding each other accountable. They meet weekly to collaborate and build a common understanding about the PLC process. They discuss current realities and problem solve ways to grow our teams, meeting them where they are. The Learning Services team creates the map for the PGISD PLC journey then they work together to prepare for the next step - facilitating learning for the Leaders of Learning (includes district and campus leadership).
Learning Services facilitates a day of learning monthly for the Leaders of Learning (attachment 12). The content is strategically targeted because the campus administrators and Campus Learning Coordinators will eventually flip the learning with their Guiding Coalitions. This ensures administrators are comfortable with the content and coordinating the learning on their campuses. This builds capacity in our campus administrators while also preparing them to lead learning on their campuses. After they receive the learning, campus administrators meet as an A-Team on their campus to unpack the learning and make a plan to push the learning out to their Guiding Coalitions in a timely manner.
Campus administrators implement the plan the A-Team created and facilitate the learning with their Guiding Coalitions. The content may be tweaked or adjusted to fit the direct needs of the campus, but basically the same learning is being facilitated on every campus.
Once the Guiding Coalitions learn the new content, they begin to push it out to collaborative teams. Teams unpack the learning and identify the implications for their work. To close the circle, the Campus Learning Coordinator provides ongoing support for all new learning. We believe this learning pathway allows us to implement the same learning and information from top to bottom.
For students who will live independently as adults, special education services are provided to students using a co-teach model in which the general education teacher and the special education teacher work together to provide specially designed instruction required to provide FAPE while not removing students with disabilities from Tier 1 core instruction. This was not our practice prior to engaging in the PLC process. For students who need additional intervention on previous grade level priority standards, Tier 3 time is utilized for small group direct instruction. Progress toward mastery of IEP goals is monitored to ensure efficacy of instruction.
Achievement Data Files
Additional Achievement Data
Pleasant Grove ISD has spent the last three years focusing on improving learning outcomes based on "Meets Grade Level or Above." While the state of Texas accepts "Approaches Grade Level or Above" as passing, we believe to ensure high levels of learning for all students, our goal must be to surpass that minimum standard. In addition to the data linked, other growth we have seen includes:
- Dyslexia referrals have been cut in half
- Students with IEPs are now passing the STAAR/EOC test with some even scoring Meets and Masters
- District literacy screening data shows increased percentages of students reading at grade level or above in every grade level
Because of our intentionality in how we now analyze data - student by student, standard by standard - our RTI framework is manageable and successful. Every child is provided with the Tier 2 and Tier 3 support needed without interrupting Tier 1 instruction. All students now have access to Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 blocks of instruction that are built into campus master schedules.
Additional data requested for student growth of SpEd students in grades 6-8 and 9-11 as well as dissagregated graduation rate data by subgroups are attached above.
- District Academic Growth Scale Score: from 69 (D) in 2019 to 90 (A)in 2022
- Pleasant Grove High School - B rating in 2019 to A rating in 2022
- Pleasant Grove High School Academic Growth Scale Score from 57 (F) in 2019 to 78 (C) in 2022
- Pleasant Grove High School Closing the Gaps Scale Score from 78 (C) in 2019 to 92 (A) in 2022
- Pleasant Grove Middle School Academic Growth Scale Score: from 60 (F) 2019 to 84 (B) in 2022
- Pleasant Grove Middle School Closing the Gaps Scale Score: from 74 (C) in 2019 to 80 (B) in 2022
- Pleasant Grove Middle School Relative Performance Scale Score: from 74 (C) in 2019 to 85 (B) in 2022
- Pleasant Grove Intermediate School Academic Growth Scale Score: from 82 (B) in 2019 to 92 (A) in 2022
- Pleasant Grove Intermediate School Closing the Gaps Scale Score: from 87 (B) to 98 (A) in 2022