Lamar Elementary (2020)

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

Lamar Elementary is a PK-6 campus in Midland, Texas. In Midland, everything revolves around oil production and everyone and everything is influenced by the rise and fall of oil prices. Midland ISD currently has one of the most significant teacher shortages in the state, mainly due to the cost of living in the Permian Basin. Local school districts have struggled to maintain growth in student achievement because of the unique struggles that come with an area driven solely by the oil industry.

  Lamar has shown growth over the last three years despite the constraints detailed above. The faculty and administration give credit to the collaborative work accomplished through the implementation of its Professional Learning Community at Work. 

 Lamar's Professional Learning Community at Work story began in 2014-2015 when it was selected to be part of Midland ISD PLC implementation Cohort 1. That year all teachers and staff were trained in the fundamental practices of professional learning communities. Lamar experienced many administrator changes over the last five years, and the fidelity of implementation was affected. After the 2015-2016 school year, Lamar was in year two of having the state label of "Improvement Required."

In 2016-2017, with a new administration and willing staff, PLCs at Work implementation began in earnest. It was critical to put systems in place to ensure implementation with fidelity. We worked closely with Dr. Sharon Kramer, our Solution Tree Consultant, to develop a plan.

 The campus developed a mission and vision statement and collective commitments. SMART goals were written that addressed achievement gaps.  By creating a master schedule with a weekly 90-minute block, teachers had time for collaboration. The 90-minute block also allowed students to be involved in enrichment activities provided by the counselor, librarian, fine arts, and PE teacher.   Each collaborative group established norms, and collaborative teams began consistently addressing the four critical questions. Grade level collaborative groups studied the state standards in-depth and selected essential standards for their grade levels. All essential standards were deconstructed. Backward design was used to plan common formative assessments, learning targets, and lesson plans. An intervention and extension block was added to every grade level's daily schedule. Results from common formative assessments were used to write targeted intervention and extension plans for students.  A student goal-setting system was established, and schoolwide celebrations recognized students for academic success.

 In 2017-2018, we continued to work with Dr. Kramer to refine our systems. Strategic protocols for planning, data analysis, intervention, and enrichment were created. We began using a clearly defined learning cycle. Our method of carefully analyzing student mastery of each standard was perfected. Lamar students showed growth, but Lamar remained an "Improvement Required" campus.  At this point, Lamar was at-risk for closing due to the number of years it had missed accountability targets.

In 2018-2019, after three years of consistent implementation of Professional Learning Community at Work practices, Lamar moved out of “Improvement Required”.  Not only did assessment scores increase, but behavior referrals decreased by 80%. Another notable accomplishment is that Lamar's teacher retention rate became one of the highest in the District.  During the 2018-2019 school year, Lamar was the only school that showed significant growth when compared to other schools with similar demographics. Lamar showed a 12 point gain. A graph of the final 2019 Report Card scores for all Midland ISD schools is included in the data section of the application.   Lamar is the blue dot in the green section of the regression chart. Lamar has also continued to score above the District average on K-2 Istation Data. Most recently, the principal was asked to speak with the Midland Independent School Board because Lamar's Middle of the Year Istation assessments were 12 points higher than the district average.

Please see the file in the data submission section. 


2019 Overall Report Card Scores  


 Because of the success over the last three years, Lamar Elementary is committed to a culture of continuous improvement through our Professional Learning Community at Work. We continue to attend training. Lamar's leadership team participated in the two-day School Improvement for All workshop in October 2019.  We also continue to work with a Solution Tree Consultant. One way we improve is to have collaborative teams evaluate themselves three times a year using the PLCs at Work Collaboration Rubric. Teachers evaluate themselves on collaborative culture, guaranteed and viable curriculum, common assessments, ensuring learning, and extending learning. Rubrics are analyzed, and adjustments made to help each team grow. One extraordinary result of this work is the excitement and commitment to learning that we have seen in our students. They have ownership, not only of their academic success but that of the school as well. 

 As a campus, we have set a goal to receive an "A" on the Texas Accountability Rating System. We know that the only way we will attain this goal is through implementing the PLCs at Work process.  We are excited to see how our journey will ensure even greater success for our students.  



1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Each year collaborative teams meet to review the essential standards from the prior year and make changes using the criteria of readiness, endurance, assessment, and leverage. After choosing essential standards, teachers consider the District provided scope and sequence and identify the essential standards from each unit of instruction. Teachers analyze each standard by breaking it down into all the needed skills and content. We call this our "Know and Show" charts (What students need to know and be able to show to demonstrate mastery). Then teachers review the unit test and state assessment adding any other relevant information to the "Know and Show" chart. The teachers use the "Know and Show" chart to create a learning progression of skills that will lead to mastery. After determining the progression of skills, teachers write learning targets. After teachers have planned and sequenced units, writing exit tickets and common formative assessments takes place. Exit tickets aligned to learning targets are given daily. Student work from the exit ticket is analyzed to determine student misconceptions. Student misconceptions are either addressed whole group or small group depending on the number of students not showing mastery. In grades 3-6, Lamar Elementary gives three, six, and nine-week interim assessments that measure student proficiency on essential standards. After providing an assessment, teams analyze data to determine what needs to be retaught, which students Tier 2 intervention and a plan for extension opportunities. Our lower grade teachers use monthly rolling assessments to monitor mastery of essential curriculum and monitoring of monthly iStation data to assess foundational reading skills.  At Lamar, students also track their progress towards mastery of the essential curriculum. Each student has a data binder where they have a visual representation of the progress they have made over the year.

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

Lamar intervention and enrichment systems are designed using the Solution Tree RTI pyramid. Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 intervention times are built into classroom and schoolwide schedules. Teachers use data from exit tickets and common formative assessments to plan needed whole group reteach and intervention for Tier 2 students.

Teachers analyze exit tickets daily to determine immediate re-engagement or reteach plans. Common formative assessments and district checkpoints are analyzed using a standard data analysis protocol. A two to three-week intervention and extension action plan is written to address standards not yet mastered. Lamar has a set intervention and extension block built into the master schedule for all grade levels. Additional support for Tier 2 students is provided during this time as well as for students that receive Tier 3 interventions. Students receive reading remediation through Fountas and Pinnell LLI and Istation.   Students needing Tier 3 math support participate in the Imagine Math program. Students in specialized programs receive services during the schoolwide intervention and extension block. The block allows all students to remain in classrooms during Tier 1 instruction. Students who have demonstrated mastery of essential standards participate in activities that support a more in-depth and broader understanding of the essential curriculum.




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

Midland Independent School District is committed to the work of professional learning communities.  The implementation of Professional Learning Communities at Work is included in the school board and yearly superintendent goals. Ongoing professional development is provided at the district level. At the campus level, we have had the support of Dr. Sharon Kramer for the last three years. She has helped us continually improve our practice through staff development designed specifically for the needs of Lamar Elementary.

Lamar Elementary School has built high performing, collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved student learning. Each team consists of teachers from a common grade level who engage in weekly discussions focused on one of the four critical questions. Each team has developed collective commitments and norms. Collaborative teams meet weekly for 90 minutes and focus on Lamar's Learning Cycle.  Protocols have been developed for each of the four questions. Common formative assessments are written by teachers and given frequently. The use of common formative assessments has been a powerful force in Lamar elementary moving out of the "Improvement Required" status imposed by the state. Mastery of essential standards is monitored closely not only at the school level but at the individual student level as well.  An example of a CFA progress monitoring tool used to monitor mastery of essential standards can be found in the Resource section of the application. The tool helps teachers clearly see which students need additional support and extension. After every CFA and interim assessment, the tool is updated.

Currently, all Lamar collaborative teams have rated themselves as being in the refinement or internalized stage on the PLCs at Work Collaboration Rubric. We have well-trained teachers that support new team members. Teachers regularly attend training opportunities within the District, at school, and with our Solution Tree consultant. 

Please see the CFA progress monitoring tool found in the Resource section of the application. 


2019-2020  Capturing Kid's Heart National Showcase School

2019-2020 Midland Independent School District Campus of the Year

National top quartile in learning environment and leadership on the 2019 TNTP spring culture survey