Leaders from Dogan ES and Henry MS provide progress update to board
Students at Patrick Henry Middle School are getting intense support and specialized interventions to improve their literacy skills as part of the district’s Achieve 180 initiative. The campus has added a literacy specialist, is utilizing a universal screener to determine student reading levels, and is providing literacy report cards for every student.
“We will be having meetings for all of our parents to go over the report cards so they can understand what level their child is at,” said Principal Kenneth Brantley. “Plus we are going to provide them with free resources and things they can do at home to directly support their child in reading and writing.”
Brantley talked about the steps he and his staff are taking to improve academic achievement at Henry MS during an Achieve 180 update to the HISD Board of Education on Oct. 30. Joining him was Sandra Menxueiro, principal at Dogan Elementary, which is also part of the district’s initiative to serve historically underserved and underperforming schools.
Centralized support and wraparound services
As part of Achieve 180, both campuses are getting centralized staffing support, including a counselor, a nurse, and a wraparound services specialist who will coordinate with agencies, non-profits, and volunteers in the community to provide social, emotional, and health supports to students and their families.
At Dogan, the specialist coordinates a weekly campus food distribution with the Houston Food Bank and is working to set up a “washing center” at the school because many of their families do not have running water or electricity as a result of Hurricane Harvey.
“Having a wraparound services specialist provided by the district is really going to change the way we serve and meet the needs of our students both inside and outside the classroom,” said Menxueiro. “We really appreciate all the support we are getting from the central office and from the other schools and school leaders who are supporting us in this work.”
As part of Achieve 180, both Dogan and Henry are paired with an HISD demonstration campus that has similar student demographics. The partnership provides staff with support, feedback, and collaboration. Teachers visit the classrooms at the demonstration school to view best practices and learn new techniques, and then teachers from the demonstration school co-teach with them in their classrooms. The demonstration school partnership is intended to build the capacity of school leaders and teachers, improve school-wide systems, and provide individualized support to the campus.
The schools are also benefiting from “Communities of Practice” visits. Each week, staff members from various HISD departments visit a different Achieve 180 campus to tour the campus, observe classroom instruction, and view staff collaboration and instructional planning. The group then meets to debrief what they saw and have a frank “think tank” discussion with campus and district leadership. Brantley and Henry MS staff recently had a visit to their campus.
“I am confident that by this time next year people won’t be asking IF we came off the state’s improvement required list, but how FAR we came off of IR,” Brantley said. “We are making changes based on student data, providing specialized professional development for our teachers, and I know we will be able to do it.”
Click below to review the school presentations.
Dogan ES Oct 2017 Presentation