Block House Creek Elementary
- Number of Students: 630
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 28%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 7%
- Percent of Special Education: 16%
- White: 64%
- Black: 4%
- Hispanic: 26%
- Asian: 1%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0%
- Multiracial: 1%
- Other: 4%
Block House Creek Elementary has built a strong Professional Learning Community (PLC) by developing a culture that has created a positive impact on students and teachers. First, we established a campus-wide unified vision centered on student and adult ownership of learning. We have established a safe and supportive learning environment where all students can learn, as well as a shared culture of understanding that the students we serve are “our” students. Next, the campus built a system where teachers are provided a protected collaborative meeting time to discuss and plan while utilizing a guaranteed and viable curriculum. Through these meetings, we are able to analyze data and reflect on our student’s needs and our own instruction. This deeper reflection allows us to use each other’s strengths to build on areas that need improvement as well as learn from each other and build upon our own skills. Not only has this allowed teachers to be reflective, but this culture has transferred into student’s awareness of their progress and learning. As a result, we recognize success across all grade levels. Our culture, practices, and environment continue to encourage trust, risk-taking and a fail-forward attitude for both students and teachers.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
Teachers at BHC have developed a multitude of ways to monitor student learning. Through the initiation and implementation of the PLC process, our teachers and administrators have discovered that protected dedicated time is essential to aiding teachers in student monitoring. Developing common formative and summative assessments has given us the data to reflect not only on the students who are in need interventions, but also students who require remediation and enrichment. Teachers have collaborative discussions and look at each student’s skill level to determine what instructional strategies are needed to achieve mastery and meet the needs of the whole child across multiple disciplines and settings. Our campus schedule consists of student grouping, or “Flex Time”, which is a 30 minute concentrated small group time built in during the day and allows us the opportunity to instruct students based on their specific needs, therefore giving us a more detailed picture of student learning, as well as determination of SMART goals and tracking of our RtI students. The Flex Time schedule is determined by each grade level, but is set so teachers may utilize any extra staff members as additional tutors to work with small groups to insure that every student’s needs are being met. Teachers determine student needs by collecting data from common assessments, tracking sheets, anecdotal records and Kid Watch grids. Students also track their own data through the use of student data notebooks and identify areas of intervention and challenge.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
To begin the process of intervention, we determine which students need additional time and support by analyzing common formative assessment data, student work samples, and historical data. After this analysis and reflection, groups are created for targeted small group instruction during a dedicated “Flex Time” where the focus is intervention and challenge. Teachers are assigned to groups of students from the entire grade level based on their teaching strengths and the student’s needs. In addition to the “Flex Time” setting, teachers make instructional adjustments to ensure that all student needs are being met through differentiated instruction. Tracking these interventions helps us identify students who may need the additional support the RtI process offers.
Non-classroom, peer tutors and community members all support intervention efforts during the day. Support at home is fostered through Family Nights where parents observe their child’s learning in context and can leave with resources to utilize at home.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
Having at least half of our campus teachers trained in the PLC at Work™ process (DuFour, DuFour, and Eaker), Block House Creek Elementary has created a positive culture that supports instructional growth beginning with a shift towards a true collaborative mindset.
Teacher capacity to improve student learning has been fostered through campus-wide expectations that have established a dedicated time, place, and protocol built into the school day for building our campus’ PLC’s. To acquire this “sacred time”, our PE and Fine Arts teachers provide extended class periods and dismiss students at the end of the school day (2:40pm) to allow the team meeting to have a 2 hour block of uninterrupted time (2:00pm – 4:00pm) every other week on the same day of the week. Here is a monthly sample of our current PLC schedule. Times listed are when teachers have their conference time and PE/Fine Arts have their classes.
|PLC Rotating Schedule at Block House Creek|
|Normal Schedule||Kinder PLC Day||1st PLC Day||2nd PLC Day||Normal Schedule|
|7:50-8:40||5th Grade Specials||5th Grade Specials||5th Grade Specials||5th Grade Specials||5th Grade Specials|
|8:45-9:35||4th Grade Specials||4th Grade Specials||4th Grade Specials||4th Grade Specials||4th Grade Specials|
|9:40-10:30||3rd Grade Specials||3rd Grade Specials||3rd Grade Specials||3rd Grade Specials||3rd Grade Specials|
|10:35-11:25||2nd Grade Specials||2nd Grade Specials||2nd Grade Specials||FAPE Planning||2nd Grade Specials|
|11:25-11:55||FAPE Lunch||FAPE Lunch||FAPE Lunch||FAPE Lunch||FAPE Lunch|
|12:00-12:50||Kinder Specials||FAPE Planning||Kinder Specials||Kinder Specials||Kinder Specials|
|12:55-1:45||1st Grade Specials||1st Grade Specials||FAPE Planning||1st Grade Specials||1st Grade Specials|
|1:50-2:45||FAPE Planning||Kinder Specials||1st Grade Specials||2nd Grade Specials||FAPE Planning|
|2:00-4:00||No PLC||Kinder PLC||1st Grade PLC||2nd Grade PLC||No PLC|
|Normal Schedule||3rd PLC Day||4th PLC Day||5th PLC Day||Normal Schedule|
|7:50-8:40||5th Grade Specials||5th Grade Specials||5th Grade Specials||FAPE Planning||5th Grade Specials|
|8:45-9:35||4th Grade Specials||4th Grade Specials||FAPE Planning||4th Grade Specials||4th Grade Specials|
|9:40-10:30||3rd Grade Specials||FAPE Planning||3rd Grade Specials||3rd Grade Specials||3rd Grade Specials|
|10:35-11:25||2nd Grade Specials||2nd Grade Specials||2nd Grade Specials||2nd Grade Specials||2nd Grade Specials|
|11:25-11:55||FAPE Lunch||FAPE Lunch||FAPE Lunch||FAPE Lunch||FAPE Lunch|
|12:00-12:50||Kinder Specials||Kinder Specials||Kinder Specials||Kinder Specials||Kinder Specials|
|12:55-1:45||1st Grade Specials||1st Grade Specials||1st Grade Specials||1st Grade Specials||1st Grade Specials|
|1:40-2:45||FAPE Planning||3rd Grade Specials||4th Grade Specials||5th Grade Specials||FAPE Planning|
|2:00-4:00||No PLC||3rd Grade PLC||4th Grade PLC||5th Grade PLC||No PLC|
PLC times include teams going through the cycle of creating agendas, identifying celebrations, developing SMART goals (both 9 week and yearly), unpacking essessential standards, creating and reviewing common formative and summative assessments, completing data tracking sheets, reviewing and analyzing data and reflecting on instructional practices and strategies. These structure are all utilized to ensure efficiency and effectiveness to increase student achievement and also allow for team accountability within the system.
Grade level team leaders also come together with campus Administrators and the campus Instructional Coach several times throughout the year for a full day of reflecting on how our PLCs are impacting instruction and student learning throughout the campus. This time is also utilized to present new strategies for leadership skills, best teaching practices, data tracking, etc. as they relate to our PLC continuous improvement.
Thanks to this specific PLC model, isolated team awareness has now transferred vertically to all grade levels and is dramatically impacting how, when and to what rigor skills are taught. Examples of this include:
- vocabulary alignment
- TEKS awareness and scaffolding of skills from one grade to the next
- analysis of the scope and sequence of when to best teach specific skills that are most challenging for students
- realization that certain Essential Outcomes are more apparent across all grade levels and strategies are being vertically discussed to address the gaps within those skills
As Stephen Barkley suggests, teachers should “own their students” for three years - the year before, the year of and the year after they serve them within their own classroom. By accepting this philosophy, we have collected, analyzed and reflected on student data from both formative and summative common assessments which has lead to the following across all grade levels:
- teams recognize strengths and weaknesses of instructional practices
- teams now have open communication and trust to learn from each other in perfecting their own best practices
- teams collaboratively build both formative and summative common assessments complete with assessment administration scripted protocol to ensure alignment of results
- teams analyze student errors made on assessments in a timely manner to quickly correct misconceptions
students are grouped into targeted skill-based groups aligned with teacher strengths for both intervention and enrichment
This PLC journey is contingent upon targeted professional development based on both teacher and student needs. This continuity allows us to build upon the positive impact that PLC has and will continue to have on our campus.
LEEF Grant Recipient
TEA Campus Distinction
2014-2015 (Science) (STAAR)
2016-2017 Closing the Gap
No Place For Hate Campus