Hallsville Jr. High

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

In 2008, Hallsville Junior High received a rating of Academically Acceptable by the Texas Education Agency. This served as a call to action and change for the team. That summer, the principal formed a leadership team, comprised of teachers from every facet of the campus, including teachers from core and co-curricular, support staff and administration. The team attended its first PLC Summit in San Antonio together prior to the start of school and then developed a plan for carrying out what was learned at a leadership retreat when they returned.  

Common planning times were scheduled into the day as well as interventions. The first year was focused on building of interventions. Interdisciplinary task forces were developed to research best practices in instruction and RTI. Through this action research, next steps were determined for the second year. For four years, our teams studied day in and day out to find ways to tighten systems that ensured that every student was receiving the individualized attention he or she needed based on the common formative assessments that we were learning to write together with the help of on-going PLC Summits. Over the course of 2-3 years, we developed a system for students who were struggling for whatever reason, including skill-related, intentional non-learners, and students who were not succeeding due to behavior. Collaborative teams met at regularly scheduled intervals to plan for each component of the areas of support we had developed. The teachers and staff who were providing the academic and behavioral supports to students were the ones directly reviewing what worked and what did not and were continuously changing practice to make every area as tightly aligned and affective as it could possibly be.

In Year 2, our campus was named Exemplary (the top rating in Texas) for the first time in school history. And, the evidence of growth didn't stop with state assessment. Students from every demographic background showed gains on local assessments, in the gradebook, and in observational data collected by teachers and support staff. Every student was being served as needed, whether it was for remediation or enrichment, and they were truly beginning to thrive.

In 2012, the Hallsville Junior High transitioned from a 7th and 8th grade campus to a 6th-8th grade campus. The campus that 6th grade moved from had been working in the same areas and was greatly celebrated for student and school success, so many aspects of the reconfiguration were smooth. But, as with all big changes, the campus focused much that year on combining into one team that aligned in every way under the leadership of a new principal.

In 2013, HJH had another new principal who had been on both the 6th grade campus and the 7th and 8th grade campus. Our team began to solidify again and gain momentum following the many changes that had taken place. Practices began to grow from the experiences of both campuses as relationships were built and collaboration structures were reinforced. Data-driven changes are made as needed and continue to guide as to improve with each year that we are together. 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Every student is monitored through campus-wide processes using classroom performance and data from common, formative assessments as well as teacher and support staff input. All students take a universal screener at the beginning, middle and end of the year in the area of reading. (Math is being redeveloped. However, that is typically part of our universal screening process as well.) Those students who are flagged as at-risk through the primary screener then take a secondary screener. Both sets of data are used to develop an individual plan with a team of the student's teachers and support staff. The plan is implemented for each, and every student's progress is reviewed in RTI meetings every three weeks. Content area teams compare data during common planning to determine which students need immediate support at the Tier I level. Those students are then supported through instruction based on misconceptions and missteps founds in the data during class or during tutorials within the school day. Curriculum-based assessments that are developed by teachers are administered every nine weeks. Following each administration, every student on campus's progress is reviewed on this test by teacher teams and a team consisting of interventionists, attendance clerk, counselors, and the administrative team. With input from all, students who have not shown mastery of the curriculum are assigned intensive supports with the core teacher team in each area to be provided for the following nine weeks. The specific skill-based data is then reviewed by the core teachers, and the teachers share students to ensure that students are receiving intervention in the skills that they have not yet mastered. This support is provided during the school day.  Interventions are flexible even for these students as the teacher and intervention team regularly collaborate to make adjustments based on student response and intervention effectiveness.

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

Our campus has built upon what was established by the 5th and 6th grade campus and the 7th and 8th grade campus to ensure that our current pyramid of interventions meets the needs of our new campus. All of our interventions are provided during the school day, and they are available to every student, no matter what program they are in. We schedule students specifically to meet their needs based on previous year data. If a class is not needed for the interventions, we work with the schedule that the student has to ensure that he or she can be involved in co-curricular activities that motivate them to come to school while also providing the interventions needed flexibly within the school day. Some students have support staff who go into class with them while others go out to receive support for 2-3 days a week. Some of our students need both academic and behavioral supports (intentional non-learners), so they might receive support 5 days a week. There really is not a formula that we apply. We design the intervention plan to meet the needs of every student. 

We have interventions in all content areas. And, the pyramid that we started in 2008 at both campuses has developed into a complex system that addresses not only struggling learners, but learners at all points on the spectrum. HJH really does serve every student!

Research based interventions include:

  • 8GI- 8th Grade Initiative 
  • Researched based small group instruction
  • Motor Labs
  • Grand Central Station (GCS Express) 
  • Content Mastery 
  • Read 180 Enterprise
  • Lunch Bunch for Intentional Non- Learners
  • Read Naturally
  • iStation
  • Study Island
  • FastMath
  • FastForward
  • Intensive Math
  • Intensive Reading
  • PATHS- for Intentional Non-Learns
  • MTA
  • Transition program for incoming Jr. High and High School students
  • EdMark Reading 
  • Behavior Inlcusive Support Model
  • Flexible Scheduling

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

We focus on developing leaders who can sustain what has been established in any way that we can. We have collaborative times scheduled into each month for groups that need to meet less frequently and each day or week for those who need to meet on a regular basis for instructional planning. But, every collaborative group meets according the schedule set to ensure on-going communication and improvement. 

Protocols for effective team time are commonly agreed upon and reinforced by all leadership, which again is primarily teacher leaders, throughout the year. Norms, agendas, and non- negotiables are all developed by the teams who participate in the meetings, and responsibility is shared among the team. Campus and district leadership actively participate in all collaborative meetings, and we all hold one another accountable for the expectations set by the district, campus, and team. 

The focus of all instructional planning meetings is the questions essential for learning (or The Four Big Questions) as we call them. This guides our work in every content area. If we aren't planning for instruction, we still focus on student and staff learning. We all want to continue to grow and meet the needs of our students.

The following are teams that regularly meet to ensure learning is our focus and we are adhering to our Mission, Vision, Values and Goals.

  • Administrative Team- Administrators and counselors meet weekly to discuss events that are occurring on campus.  Administrators focus primarily on classroom instruction observed the previous week and what will be the focus for the upcoming week. 
  • Leadership Team- The goal of the leadership team is to gain input from and build capacity among all of our teacher leaders. All lead teachers and department chairs meet monthly to give input and feedback about decisions that affect our campus and stakeholders.  
  • Department Teams- During the past school year we were able to build in department meetings into our common planning time period. All grade levels in the department met twice a month to review data and participate in professional development. This helped to strengthen our vertical alignment and build relationships and trust across campus. 
  • Grade Level Teams- All core teachers meet as a team daily to collaborate and focus on student learning. They use the 4 Big Questions and data to drive all conversations. 
  • New Teacher Collaboration Time- In order to quickly embrace the PLC culture our administrative team and team leaders meet monthly with all new staff members. During this time we build in professional development that is centered around best instructional practices, learn about the different aspects of the PLC culture and why they are crucial to learning. We also review the campus processes and procedures in order for them to quickly acclimate to who we are as a campus. HJH hires new employees who can lead in areas that we are not yet strong. Campus leadership facilitating these meetings utilizes this time to build capacity in new teachers so that they can carry their new ideas forward.

Additional Achievement Data

STAAR Scores   2013    2014    2015    State
7th Grade 70 71 80 72
6th Grade 86 85 82 72
7th Grade 81 77 81 75
8th Grade 93 93 94 78
8th Grade 80 80 83 70
Social Studies        
8th Grade 81 66 79 64
Math     Avg. Raw Score  
6th Grade 88 90      *22 27
7th Grade 87 75      *31 28
8th Grade 98 98      *37 31

* Texas is currently developing new Math standards. Passing standards are set to be released in the fall. 

*Prior to 2014-2015, 6th grade was on a 90 minute schedule for all core classes. They are currently on the same 54 minutes schedule as 7th and 8th grade. Curriculum writers, with the help of their team, continue to work together in order to create a scope and sequence that is guaranteed and viable. 



Exemplary Campus 2009

Exemplary Campus 2010

Exemplary Campus 2011

Exemplary Campus 2012

Distinction Desgination in Math- 2013

Model PLC District- Solution Tree

Just for Kids Award- given by the National Center for Educational Achievement

Hallsville Middle School- Finalist for "National Schools to Watch" from the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grade Reform

Hallsville Middle School- NCEA Higher Performing Campus (4 years in a row) 

Featured in the Solution Tree vide series "Pyramid Response to Intervention- The Four Essential Guiding Principles"

TASSP Texas Middle School Principal of the Year 2011- Dr. Amber Daub

UIL District Champions- 2010, 2012-2015