Board receives progress update on Achieve 180 initiative

Kashmere, Wheatley, and Woodson PK-8 leaders present challenges and changes on their campuses

HISD Board of Education trustees received an update at the Oct. 12 board meeting on Achieve 180, a research-based action plan to support, strengthen, and empower underserved and underperforming schools across HISD.

Achieve 180 School Support Officer Felicia Adams made a presentation on the progress that has been made at the 44 campuses included in the program and outlined the amount of time that has been spent on each of its six guiding pillars: leadership excellence, teacher excellence, instructional excellence, school design, social and emotional learning supports, and family and community empowerment. Best practices from previous successful school turnaround initiatives have been incorporated into the pillars.

Some measures of success for September include staffing and training. All campuses have hired essential staff, including a nurse, counselor, and librarian, as well as a new teacher coach and two associate teachers. In addition, all teachers have received literacy training and are attending weekly extended-day training  on Wednesday afternoons. District-provided teacher development specialists are embedded on every campus to work with teachers.

Watch the video above to learn how Kashmere High School, an Achieve 180 campus, is using data to drive instruction.

Principals outline root causes

Three Achieve 180 principals made presentations to trustees on the root causes underlining why their campuses and students have struggled over the years.

Kashmere High School Principal Nancy Blackwell outlined the progress her school has made over the past three years and discussed their current challenges with literacy.

“We currently have 240 ninth-grade kids in Tier III literacy instruction, so this is a massive effort,” said Blackwell. “Those students are now spending 530 minutes a day focused on reading and writing.”

Principals from Wheatley High School and Woodson PK-8 also presented to trustees. Wheatley Principal Shirley Rose said her school has changed its class scheduling to provide more time for reading and math interventions for students and more time for collaboration and planning for teachers. A new hour-long student lunch is staffed with teachers who provide tutoring in all core subjects.

“Having the weekly extended-day training for the entire staff has also been amazing,” said Rose. “Having the staff come together every Wednesday as an entire team has allowed us to become a community of learners.”

Woodson PK-8 Principal Steven Gittens presented an overview of the school’s historical data and outlined how the campus is now using data to drive student instruction and interventions.

“Our teachers are using weekly data-trackers, and our students are using their own data-trackers,” said Gittens. “This is going to allow them to take ownership of their learning.”

Gittens also gave a shout-out to the Achieve 180 demonstration schools partnering with Woodson. Teachers from his campus have already made several visits to Cornelius Elementary and Black Middle School to watch effective instructional practices in action.

Click below to view the entire Achieve 180 school presentations from the Oct. 12, 2017 Board of Education meeting.

Kashmere HS presentation

Wheatley HS presentation

Woodson PK-8 presentation