Eugene Kranz Junior High School (2023)

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

Kranz Junior High opened in 2018. Many of the staff did not choose to move to Kranz and were not happy to be there. On some teams elements of collaboration were present and data was used to make decisions, but a culture of collaboration and a focus on results were missing at Kranz JH. Despite a culture that needed improvement and a staff that was not fully committed to the work, Kranz Junior High earned a ‘B’ rating and a distinction in RLA its first year.

 For the 19-20 school year, many new team members were hired with a focus on building a more positive, collaborative culture focused on achievement. October 2019, four interventionists and two campus administrators attended RTI at Work in The Woodlands, TX. The group gained deeper understanding about essential practices of Professional Learning Communities, leading the team to compare current campus practices with those of a “true” PLC. As we self-assessed, we realized that our school was “PLC-lite”. We had common collaborative planning times with department and grade-level teams, we utilized common assessments within departments, and we were familiar with some of the PLC terminology. In weekly collaborative planning meetings teams discussed what and occasionally how to teach, but none were focused on ‘The Four Critical Questions’. As a result, it was determined that our campus lacked a systematic approach to collaboration and intervention, and the quality of a student’s instruction was largely determined by the teacher they were assigned. The training and reflection about our current reality inspired us to commit to the PLC process, including the development of a school-wide intervention system.

Throughout the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, we formed a Guiding Coalition led by the staff members who attended the training. We introduced our teams to the Four Critical Questions to guide planning and formed a task force to design a school-wide intervention system for the 2020-2021 school year. Our plans were interrupted by the COVID-19 shutdown.  The pandemic created conditions that changed our practices and challenged the PLC implementation process. Based on our training and research, we believed the PLC model provided the solution we needed to adapt to the struggles our students and teachers faced from an extended period of interrupted learning. We remained committed to becoming a Professional Learning Community.

Our Guiding Coalition was now challenged to implement the processes of PLC in a new environment. We offered virtual and face-to-face learning with select teachers facilitating hybrid classes. Social distancing limited many systems. The Guiding Coalition realized that a systematic approach to intervention was necessary, but we had to design an approach that fit our health and safety requirements. During the 2020-2021 school year, we implemented an intervention program through Zoom on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Intervention lessons were delivered by expert teachers and interventionists, virtually, to students both on campus and at home. In class, supervising teachers assisted students with their learning while the expert instructors led the remote lessons. While this was not our preferred method of intervention, it allowed us to provide intervention to help close gaps from interrupted learning. The remainder of the 2020-2021 school year was full of changes that required us to continually adapt to new conditions.

The summer of 2021 provided needed relief from the stresses of the previous school year. This break allowed the staff to have time and space to think about the needs of our students for the upcoming school year. We knew the challenges we were facing regarding regression in student achievement; we researched strategies that would close learning gaps and accelerate learning. During the summer of 2021, a team of 20 staff members attended the PLC at Work virtual training hosted by Dickinson ISD. Teachers attended a variety of virtual sessions on PLC and intervention. Inspirational stories about the successes that schools similar to ours had with implementing PLC practices fueled our commitment. KJHS faculty committed to transforming our school’s culture. Our Guiding Coalition, with participation from all faculty, rewrote our school’s mission and vision statements and created collective commitments and campus goals to align with the expectations of an effective PLC. Our entire staff adopted the Four Pillars for KJHS. KJHS Roadmap We reshaped how our teams engaged in planning conversations around ‘The Four Critical Questions’. Teams set norms and continued common formative assessments.  Social Studies' Norming PP  SS Norms   We aligned the CFAs to essential standards and used data to plan for intervention and enrichment. Math CFA  Data was consistently tracked and students showed significant growth.

Throughout the 2021-2022 school year, a task force composed of teachers and campus leaders created a school-wide intervention system to implement the following year. During the summer of 2022, more than 30 additional staff members attended the PLC at Work Institute. We continued to make connections between the successes we were seeing in our student data and our implementation of PLC practices. New teachers, as well as teachers “on-the-fence”, were inspired to commit to our mission and vision. As a result, KJHS earned an ‘A’ rating and 5 distinctions from TEA in 2022. Accountability Presentation  In grade 7 math, students approaching standard increased by 13 points and those meeting standard grew by 10 points. The Emerging Bilingual student group improved by 17 points, and students receiving Special Education services improved 13 points. In grade 8 math, students performed above the region and state by 13 points. The Emerging Bilingual student group improved  9 points, and students receiving Special Education services grew 12 points. In grade 7 reading, students grew in every category and performed above both region and state. The Emerging Bilingual student group improved 19 points, and  students receiving Special Education services improved 16 points. In reading grade 8, students also grew in every category and performed above the region and state. The Emerging Bilingual student group improved 21 points, and students receiving Special Education services improved 24 points. In science and social studies, students performed above the region and state. The Emerging Bilingual student group improved 21 and 19 points, and students receiving Special Education services improved 5 and 16 points respectively. Because of the significant improvement in the learning of ALL students, our campus accountability score improved in the student achievement domain from 79 to 85 and in the closing the gaps domain from 82 to 96. 

Prior to the start of the 2022-2023 school year, the staff committed to implementing the campus-wide intervention/enrichment system created by the task force. Intervention and enrichment are offered Tuesday-Thursday for 30 minutes each week. Collaborative content teams identify students in need of targeted support based on CFA data, and students who have demonstrated mastery of the essential standard(s) have a choice in the academic enrichment they receive. We are collecting data and teacher feedback during our first year of implementation and are making adjustments to increase effectiveness. Intervention Schedule In addition, each Monday and Friday the time is designated as Camp Kranztastic where every student is able to choose clubs or passion projects to participate in during 3-week sessions. Camp Rosters 

The PLC journey for Eugene Kranz Junior High is a process of continuous improvement. We strive to improve our systematic processes to ensure all students learn at high levels. Our campus goals for 2022-23 address PLC, Presence, and Progress - we will continue to refine our systems and procedures in order to become a model PLC campus, we are implementing systems to ensure we have at least 95% attendance for students and staff, and we will follow through with our commitment to ensure every student learns at high levels. 


1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

To create and implement a guaranteed and viable curriculum, Kranz Junior High content teams begin by collaborating to identify the essential standards for their content by applying the four-part test: 


  1. Does the standard have endurance? (knowledge/skill should be retained beyond the unit)
  2. Does the standard have leverage? (standard can be applied to more than one content area)

  3. Does the standard prepare students for future success? (essential pre-requisite for next level)

  4. Will the standard prepare students for success on high stakes tests? (STAAR, ACT, SAT)

Using data, our collaborative teams think of their standards using the four-part test to determine boulders, rocks and butterflies and ultimately, which standards will be identified as essential. During collaborative team time, the essential standards are broken down into discrete learning targets and  common formative assessments are planned to monitor student learning. Teams collectively design engaging activities to teach the essential standards. Data from the common formative assessments is analyzed to determine if students mastered the essential standard(s). Based on this data, teams provide just-in-time intervention and enrichment. The common formative assessment data is also used by the team to evaluate the effectiveness of their own teaching practices to enhance their planning for future instruction and interventions. The team works collaboratively to create Common Summative Assessments for the end of each unit. Data is studied, and students who fail to demonstrate mastery on essential standards are scheduled into the campus-wide system for tier two intervention. This process is used by all content teams in order to implement a guaranteed and viable curriculum so that all students receive a high quality education regardless of the teacher they are assigned. Science Unit Plans   Math Unit Plan

Kranz Junior High teachers monitor student learning in a timely manner. Teachers are strategic in planning multiple formative assessments (checks for understanding) into every lesson. Typical checks for understanding are Do Now (opening) activities, Exit Tickets, Turn and Talks, and other formative strategies such as white board responses, embedded Lead4ward strategies, or techniques from Seven Steps to a Language-rich Classroom. In addition, every content team is committed to integrating student writing into every lesson. Teachers look at student responses to these tasks daily to gauge student learning. Common formative assessments are designed, given and assessed in real time so that action can be taken within 24 hours to address student needs. When common formative assessments are taken, data is analyzed within a day and students are placed in common groups among the team of teachers and interventionist (flex grouping) the next school day for differentiated instruction. In some cases, students are placed on a differentiated path immediately based on scores and either participate in an enrichment lesson or an intervention lesson for the rest of that class period. SS Intervention Slide Deck

Along with teachers, Kranz students are expected to monitor their own learning. Teachers in each core area provided students with baseline data - their spring scores from the previous year. At the beginning of each unit of study, students set academic goals with action steps to attain their goal. They revisit their own data after assessments to monitor and track their progress throughout the year in each of their academic courses. Student Data Tracking

In addition to tier one intervention, our campus incorporates a schoolwide tier two intervention and enrichment system for students five days each week. Tuesday through Thursday are for academic intervention or enrichment. Monday and Friday are “camp” days where every student is able to participate in a club or passion project. Students who have not mastered essential standards during direct instruction and tier one intervention are rostered for tier two intervention which provides additional instruction targeted on the identified essential standards. Students who have demonstrated mastery are allowed a choice of open sessions which provide engaging extension activities around the essential standards. It is through our system of classroom checks for understanding, common formative assessments and summative assessments that we monitor learning on a timely basis in order to diagnose mastery of learning and prescribe the appropriate intervention or enrichment for ALL students.


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

Kranz has continuously improved the campus wide system of intervention and extension to provide students with additional time and support for learning. During the 2019-20 school year, we began discussing the need for a campus wide intervention and enrichment system; however, with the shutdown caused by the pandemic, our efforts did not get very far. In 2020-21, we again began discussing the need for a systematic approach for intervention and enrichment, but with the strict health and safety guidelines, we were limited in how much we could do. However, we did create a campus wide time for intervention. During this time, master teachers conducted lessons via Zoom on standards that were low for the entire campus. The teachers in each classroom served as facilitators. If the state had measured accountability that year, our data indicated we would have maintained our B rating. While this was a success given the learning gaps caused by the shutdown, we knew we needed to offer a more targeted system to ensure high levels of learning for all students.

During the 2021-22 school year we focused on two things to support our efforts around intervention and enrichment. First, each collaborative team committed to using common formative assessment data to provide intervention and enrichment to students in order to ensure mastery of the essential standards. Second, a task force met multiple times during the year to design our campus wide system to be implemented in 2022-23.

We attribute the consistent improvement in student achievement to the campus efforts in moving from “PLC light” to “PLC done right.”  Our faculty works in collaborative teams to identify essential standards and determine how to commonly assess student performance.  Teams plan just-in-time intervention for students yet to master essential standards and provide challenging enrichment tasks to students who demonstrate mastery of the essentials. Tier 2 intervention is delivered school wide through a flexible period built into the instructional day.  Students demonstrating mastery are allowed to choose academic enrichment during our Camp Kranztastic time while students who need additional time and/or support are scheduled into intervention sessions. Camp Kranztastic is part of our daily schedule. Tuesday through Thursday each week students participate in intervention or enrichment. On Mondays and Fridays, our students are all allowed to choose a camp to attend. Camps can change every three weeks, giving students the opportunity to try different activities. Some of our most popular camps are chess, crochet, legos, jewelry-making and anime. Weekly Intervention/Enrichment Schedule

With the implementation of the PLC process campus wide, our buy-in for meeting the mission and vision of the school, our focus on all the four critical questions, and our implementation of a system of intervention and enrichment, our campus has earned an “A” rating with 5 of 7 distinctions from TEA for the 2021-2022 school year - the only school in our district to achieve this rating.   


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

KJHS embraced the PLC process to build effective, high-performing, collaborative teams focused on student learning and growth. We established a Guiding Coalition and immersed the staff in the PLC process through Solution Tree training and campus expectations. Because so many staff members attended the PLC at Work conference during the summer, we began the 2020-21 school year with a large group excited about this work.

We engaged the faculty in defining our campus mission, vision, goals and  commitments. Input and approval from the entire staff established our list of agreed upon commitments that supported our positive culture and fundamental purpose of ensuring all students learn at high levels. At the same time, each content team met to establish norms to guide its behavior when meeting throughout the school year. Our guiding coalition, as well as every collaborative teacher team on campus, review the norms, mission, and vision at the start of each meeting. RLA Norms/CC  RLA CLT Agenda

Prior to committing to the PLC process, all teams had a common planning period. Teams used an agenda, reviewed data, and looked at standards, but the plan was “day-to-day” activities rather than discussing the Four Critical Questions. It was during the 2021-2022 school year that we moved to a truly collaborative planning process with efforts focused on the Four Critical Questions. Our Guiding Coalition led the work of embedding the Four Critical Questions into the collaborative planning process. We committed to becoming a collaborative team rather than just a group. We used the 15-day challenge to analyze the standards within each unit in order to identify essential standards in order to create a guaranteed and viable curriculum. Now the CFA design, implementation, and reflection process is the hallmark of our collaborative planning process. We use the data from our CFAs to drive our intervention and enrichment. The consistent use of this process has built capacity in all teachers and has yielded data that clearly shows our commitment to the campus mission. Science SuS   SS Intervention Plan




Academic Achievements:

2018-19 TEA-rated B Campus

  • Earned a distinction in RLA

2019-20 & 2020-21 not rated due to pandemic

2021-22 TEA-rated A Campus (earned 5 out of 7 Distinction Designations)

  • Mathematics
  • Social Studies
  • Comparative Academic Growth
  • Post-Secondary Readiness
  • Comparative Closing the Gaps (scored 93 on Closing the Gaps)


2018-19: Varsity UIL Sweepstakes, 1st place in Honor Band Contest, 1st place for Varsity 3C Gator Music Festival

2020-21: Varsity UIL Sweepstakes, Grand Champion Gator Music Festival, 2021 National Winner for Mark of Excellence, more students made region band than any other in our region (46)

2021-22: Varsity and Non-varsity UIL Sweepstakes, 2022 National Winner for Mark of Excellence, more students made region band than any other in our region (36)

2022-23: more students made region band than any other in our region (43)


2018-19: 1st place State Champions at Crowdpleasers contest, all high platinum awards

2019-20: 1st Runner Up State Champions at Crowdpleasers contest, all high platinum awards

2020-21: 1st place State Champions at Crowdpleasers contest, all high platinum awards

2021-22: 1st Runner Up State Champions at Crowdpleasers contest, all high platinum awards


2020-21: 7 students made region choir, Symphonic Choir earned 1 superior rating in UIL sight-reading

2021-22: 7 students made region choir, Symphonic Choir earned 1 superior rating in UIL sight-reading, Shadow Creek Festival earned a superior rating

2022-23: 15 students made region choir

UIL A+ Academics

Chess Puzzle

  • 1st - 3rd place 7th grade
  • 1st and 3rd 8th grade

Number Sense

  • 1st - 3rd place 7th grade
  • 1st - 3rd 8th grade

Ready Writing

  • 1st & 2nd place 7th grade
  • 1st - 3rd 8th grade