Structures to Support Learning
Dora B. Lantrip Elementary School
Houston Independent School District
Lantrip Elementary School (LES) in Houston ISD (HISD) serves a student population (total = 696) that is 3% African American, 95% Hispanic, 2% White, 89% economically disadvantaged, 42% limited English proficient (LEP), and 58% at risk. The campus operates an environmental science magnet program.
In 2004–05, the campus accountability rating was Academically Acceptable, and campus TAKS performance was at or below state averages for reading and mathematics. Since 2005–06, the percentage of LES students passing reading TAKS and the percentage of students passing mathematics TAKS has increased from 89% and 85% respectively to 95% passing in both subject areas in 2009–10. The campus received and has maintained an Exemplary accountability rating since 2007–08 (see Supporting Evidence for more information).
In this summary, find out how the campus:
- Used professional learning communities (PLC) to conduct ongoing progress monitoring and weekly data review and promote strategies for teaching English language learners (ELL)
- Implemented a 3-tiered intervention process targeting early reading and literacy development, especially for English language learners, but extended to all students and all core subjects
- Established an Intervention Assistance Team, with a case manager assigned to students identified for Tier 3 interventions
- Mandated gifted and talented (G/T) training for all teachers
- Focused on foundational skill building and developing high student expectations
Strategies used by the campus that are aligned with the research base on using data-based decision-making and intervention models to support struggling students include (see Research Base for more information):
- Making data part of an ongoing cycle of instructional improvement
- Establishing a clear vision for schoolwide data use
- Providing supports that foster a data-driven culture within the school, including use of a data management system
- Providing differentiated reading instruction for all students (tier 1) based on assessments of student reading levels; intensive, systematic instruction on up to three foundational reading skills in small groups for students identified for tier 2 interventions; and intensive daily instruction that promotes the development of various components of reading proficiency to students identified for tier 3 interventions
- The campus offers an environmental science magnet program, which operates as a school within a school.
- The district curriculum provides model lessons that teachers use as a guide.
- The district uses an online assessment management system designed for HISD.
- The campus was a 2009 U.S. Blue Ribbon School and a 2009–10 Title I Distinguished School.
Source: Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS)
Ongoing assessment and weekly data review by grade-level PLCs
- The campus implemented professional learning communities (PLC) beginning in 2004–05, and staff reported that PLCs were deeply embedded in campus culture. Staff worked through PLCs to align the curriculum horizontally and vertically and to develop common assessments for each grade level, including weekly assessments in the foundation subject areas and bi-monthly benchmarks.
- Grade-level PLCs met weekly to review data, discuss instructional strategies, and plan collaboratively. In addition, ongoing progress monitoring was conducted during monthly full-day, grade-level collaboration and planning days. Teachers reviewed data from daily classroom assessments, common assessments, curriculum-based assessments, and district-developed benchmark exams, which were administered every nine weeks. Objectives that students had not mastered were identified for re-teaching. Grade-level teams also examined student performance by teacher and individual students to isolate areas of instructional weaknesses. Teams then identified the strongest teachers by objective to share practices with the team.
- Staff reported that PLCs were critical in sharing strategies to serve all students, including special populations. For example, through PLCs, teachers shared strategies for serving the campus' English language learner (ELL) population, (42% of students were identified as LEP in 2009–10).PLCs worked together to tailor campus instruction based on the district's English as a Second Language (ESL) curriculum, shared instructional approaches and techniques from a variety of trainings focused on ELLs, and worked together in implementation of the English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS).
3-tier intervention process
- In 2006–07, the campus convened a team that consisted of the principal, the campus' leadership team (comprised of teacher leaders from each grade level), and additional teachers. This team reviewed campus data on retention rates, especially in the lower grades, and discussed ways to give students early support. The team then created a 3-tiered pyramid of interventions and a detailed intervention process with a major focus on PreK, kindergarten, and Grade 1.
- The campus created a series of documents that gave teachers specific guidance on the intervention, referral, and reporting process. For example, teachers were provided a checklist of Level 1 in-class interventions that listed strategies targeting academic interventions, communication approaches, strategies targeting behavior and self-esteem, and physical classroom arrangements.
- Level 1 classroom interventions included the following:
- Explicit instruction with modeling
- Multiple opportunities for student practice
- Use of manipulatives
- Use of verbal and visual signals
- Use of work stations/centers
- Reduced paper/pencil tasks
- Small-group instruction
- Variety of physical arrangements
- Level 2 interventions included the following:
- Additional pull-out opportunities
- Conference with grade-level team
- Conference with student
- Flexible grouping
- Variety of physical arrangements
- Level 3 interventions included referral to a campus Intervention Assistance Team (IAT) and daily pull-out sessions of 45 minutes for supplemental academic instruction. The IAT included the campus principal, nurse, literacy coach (who chaired the IAT), the student's classroom teacher, parent(s), the campus magnet coordinator, and the student (if allowed by parent). The IAT completed a detailed assessment of each referred student's needs and an action plan. This process documented the specific problem the student was facing, an educational and health history, as well as a summary of previous interventions. In addition, the process documented goals for the student and an intervention plan detailing the type of intervention, resources needed, person responsible, data collection method for monitoring, frequency and timeline for intervention, and schedule for follow-up meetings.
- Each student identified for Level 3 interventions was assigned a case manager, either an IAT member or a member of a grade-level team, who was responsible for individual monitoring of student progress. After each follow-up meeting, IAT members were asked to submit a form for each student reviewed indicating their assessment of the student's progress: adequate improvement – case closed, continued monitoring by IAT, new action developed, referral to other service, or other.
- Level 3 supplemental pull-out instruction was provided in reading by two experienced teachers who worked at the campus on an hourly basis. These teachers were typically retired teachers who were trained by the campus literacy coach in reading strategies used in the regular classroom to provide consistency across classroom and pullout instruction. These staff worked with groups of five or fewer students for the 45 minutes of instruction using a variety of research-based resources. Students were pulled out of non-essential academic time, such as recesses or independent work time in work stations, or out of non-core area classes as needed.
- In other subject areas, Level 3 interventions were developed by lead teachers for in-class delivery in small groups. The lead teacher would work closely with the student's teacher to model differentiated instruction tailored to the individual student's needs in the subject area.
- When students were identified for interventions or recommended for a higher level of intervention, a parent-teacher conference was required. The campus encouraged students to also attend these conferences if allowed by their parents. After each meeting, teachers, students (as appropriate), and parents were asked to complete an Intervention Consultation form that outlined the reason for the intervention, the goals for student achievement, and the intervention plan with defined teacher, parent, and student responsibilities.
- While interventions focused on literacy were prioritized because of the importance of early reading and the size of the ELL student group, the early intervention process was applied across subject areas.
- Student data reports in the core subject areas were generated in Campus Online, and the literacy coach developed a one-page data summary for each teacher that provided a color-coded printout of student scores on assessments identifying students for Level 1, 2, or 3 interventions based on cut-off scores. The printout provided individual student scores, average percentage passing, and the percentage of students passing at different score levels, e.g., 60-69%. Staff emphasized that teachers were typically already implementing interventions for individual students based on their observations of student needs, but the reports helped to fine tune needs based on the 3-tier intervention pyramid.
Focus on foundation skill building, rigor, and early college awareness
- The campus emphasized accelerated skill building in the early grades, with a focus on reading and literacy development given the large population of ELLs served by the school. Successful ELL strategies included, but were not limited to, visual scaffolding, use of "realia" strategies (connecting language acquisition to the real world), story re-enactments, "syntax surgery" (visual manipulation of English grammar), total physical response, and skill grouping.
- Staff reported that each grade level, including PreK, set goals for student performance that were based on the concept of accelerated learning.
- PreK instruction emphasized literacy/writing exposure and providing a print-rich environment. PreK teachers had to identify academic objectives and outcomes for each lesson. To facilitate this, PreK teachers participated in campus vertical alignment work and used state PreK guidelines (2008) as a framework to plan and implement relevant instructional strategies.
- The campus incorporated the new English Language Proficiency standards (ELPS) in the development of lesson plans in both bilingual and regular classrooms.
- The campus also provided multiple workshops each year for parents to build their capacity to support their children's academic growth.
- To ensure that teachers were able to provide rigorous instruction differentiated to meet all student needs, all teachers, not just G/T teachers, received an initial 30 hours of training in G/T instruction with annual updates.
- The campus also promoted college awareness and expectations through a variety of activities and campus slogans ("Why do we need the knowledge? Because we are going to college."). For students in Grades K–2, the campus conducted an annual college week tied to career day, with a host of targeted activities focused on college (door decorating, college research projects, and college counselor speakers at parent nights). Students in Grades 3–5 took an annual trip to local and state college campuses as follows: Grade 3 visited University of Houston, Grade 4 visited University of Texas at Austin, and Grade 5 visited Texas A&M University. Staff reported that college awareness and expectations had become embedded in the campus culture.
- Professional learning community training
- Training for teachers in use of the district data management system
- Training on the Intervention Assistance Team process
- Training for interventionists at all grade levels
- Training for teachers and interventionists who provided small-group interventions
- Gifted and talented (G/T) training for all teachers
Resources, Cost Components, and Sources of Funding:
Programming was implemented using a combination of campus/district funds. In 2009–10, the district allocated one year of funding from a district Capacity Building and Demonstration Site Grant in Reading grant to support costs for campus reading interventionists.
Cost components included the following:
- PLC training
- Training in use of Campus Online
- G/T training
- Staff reported that it was critical there be no disconnect between strategies used in the regular classroom and those used for pull-out instruction to provide coherent intervention support and reinforcement of classroom learning.
- The literacy coach provided training and worked one-on-one with hourly interventionist teachers to ensure consistency across instruction and to retain hourly employees by treating them "as part of school family and as professionals."
- Staff also reported that supplemental academic support for younger children was embedded within the school day to the extent possible so that students were not too tired.
- Staff reported that time for PLC planning and collaboration was critical to the success of the early intervention model.
- Through constant reinforcement in all staff communications, the campus worked to create a culture that emphasized the need for early interventions.
Established Best Practice
Overview of Evidence:
In 2004–05, the percentage of LES passing reading and mathematics TAKS was at or below state averages. The campus accountability rating was Academically Acceptable. Since that time, TAKS performance in both reading and mathematics has increased above both state averages and averages of a peer campus comparison group that included 40 peer campuses.1
The percentage of LES students passing reading TAKS increased from 89% passing in 2005–06, compared to the state average of 83% and the peer campus group average of 83%, to 95% passing in 2009–10, compared to the state average of 88% and the peer campus group average of 85%.2 All comparisons were statistically significant (p<.05). Chart 1 shows trend data comparing the percentage of LES students passing reading TAKS to the overall state and peer campus group averages from 2005–06 to 2009–10.
In mathematics, the percentage of LES students passing TAKS increased from 85% passing in 2005–06, compared to the state average of 81% and the peer campus group average of 78%, to 95% passing in 2009–10, compared to the state average of 87% and the peer campus group average of 87%. All comparisons were statistically significant (p<.05). Chart 2 shows trend data comparing the percentage of LES students passing mathematics TAKS to the overall state and peer campus group averages from 2005–06 to 2009–10.
The campus received and has maintained an Exemplary accountability rating since 2007–08.
Source: Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS)
- Gersten, R., Compton, D., Connor, C.M., Dimino, J., Santoro, L., Linan-Thompson, S., and Tilly, W.D. (2008). Assisting students struggling with reading: Response to Intervention and multi-tier intervention for reading in the primary grades. A practice guide. (NCEE 2009-4045). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/publications/practiceguides/
- Hamilton, L., Halverson, R., Jackson, S., Mandinach, E., Supovitz, J., & Wayman, J. (2009). Using student achievement data to support instructional decision making (NCEE 2009-4067). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/publications/practiceguides/
- University of Texas System/Texas Education Agency. (2003). Instructional decision-making procedures for ensuring appropriate instruction for struggling students. Austin, TX: Author. Retrieved from http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/special.ed/reading/pdf/idm.pdf
Dora B. Lantrip Elementary School
Houston Independent School District
100 Telephone Road
Houston, TX 77023-1834
1Peer campuses were identified using the campus groups used in Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) reporting. For more information on how campus groups are identified, see the AEIS Glossary, http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/perfreport/aeis/2009/glossary.html.
2 Averages are weighted averages including the number of test takers for the grade level(s) of the practice.