Nettie Baccus Elementary School’s latest achievement is one for the books.
Despite the challenges many have faced during the COVID pandemic in recent years, the campus has consistently shown significant improvement in overall performance, recently earning a B (88) accountability rating from the Texas Education Agency – a Impressive leap from his F (57) rating in 2019.
The TEA Score measures how much students are learning each year and whether or not they are ready for the next year. It also shows how well a school or district prepares its students for success after high school in college, the job market, or the military, depending on txschools.gov.
This is the first accountability report released by TEA since 2019, due to two years of COVID-related hiatuses, according to tea.texas.gov. More than 1,000 districts and 8,000 campuses have been assessed this year, with feedback showing promising signs of progress in Texas’ efforts to catch up on students academically. The 2022 report shows that 25% of districts and 33% of campuses improved their letter grades from 2019 — and Baccus is one of them.
Julie Rohleder accepted her position as director of Baccus after the publication of the 2019 TEA report.
“I came with a mission,” she said. “I saw the data and God said, ‘Julie, I think this campus is for you.’ I knew there was some kind of calling for me to be here. When I first walked into this building, I was like, ‘Why is that an F? These kids are awesome. teachers that I saw were doing great things, so I dug into the data and then I realized they were all doing great things, but they weren’t going in the same direction. There were certain behaviors and some cultural behavioral expectations for kids that needed to be tightened and I knew that if those things weren’t tightened as a campus, we weren’t going to go deep enough in learning.
Rohleder served as a leader for the campus, advising faculty and staff on how to improve the campus academically and behaviorally for students.
Every morning from 7:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., Baccus hosts Pirate Time, where students go out and into their individual groups to get the help they need with a specific topic.
The campus has also integrated several tactics and programs to help students with various subjects, such as Handwriting Without Tears, a program run by special education teacher Melissa McHugh to help students with their calligraphy.
“We’re learning our skills in handwriting, print and cursive,” Rohleder said. “We’re at 88 as a campus, and what we’re doing now is really highlighting the writing, because the STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) is going to be more writing and open-ended responses. for our children. , and we want this to extend to the whole program.
Students from kindergarten to grade five were each tasked with creating a story which will then be posted on their lockers for all to see.
“The writing samples that are displayed outside are stories that students have published. They went through a whole writing cycle, from brainstorming to writing to publishing,” Rohleder said.
Francesca “Frenchie” Garcia, an interventionist at Baccus, has become an integral part of training teachers on how best to teach writing to their students.
“Once they are published, they browse and read what their peer has written. They can read other people’s writing, get ideas for what they want to do to write next time, and then once they’ve done that, they come back and set a goal on what they want to improve on next. times,” Garcia said. “Then they can come and hang it (on their locker) and it gives them pride.”
“When you look around campus, and you see the visual samples of our kids, and you can see the growth of their handwriting, it’s so much fun,” Rohleder said. “We’re making sure kids not only know how to make multiple choices, but also how to make open-ended responses and be able to express themselves through that written communication – that’s going to be the transition this year with STAAR and that’s going to happen. affect people and their grades, and it will affect children and their success if they are not used to using it. That’s what it’s all about, it’s just getting kids to love writing. I want to instill in them how to write, love to write and express their communication through it.
Math intervention teachers as well as instructional coaches review the data and determine which students need more math help. Through the Do the Math program, designed to support struggling students from grades one through five, students are then placed in intervention groups to help them solve math problems.
“It’s a very integral piece,” Rohleder said. “We have seen a lot of good growth for kids in math. With COVID, we had several gaps, so we had to overcome those gaps and start filling them. We’ve seen great growth with that.
Reading Interventionists work with the Leveled Literacy Intervention program designed to help struggling readers achieve grade-level skills. LLI is delivered through explicit and direct instruction in a small group format.
“They bring individual students to the level of their reading to help support them there. We make sure that what we choose for these children is useful, intentional and meets their needs. We don’t waste time with everything they already know. We build on what they know and individualize for each student,” Rohleder said.
If a student needs a break or a reset, they will be taken to one of the behavior rooms by the school’s behavior interventionist.
“She has two different rooms: one room that looks like an ISS (In School Suspension) room and another that has different tools and resources like fidgets, games, a trampoline and sensory pads so kids can get a grip. before you get to that frustration or that reset moment,” Rohleder said.
Communities in Schools, a non-profit organization that helps at-risk students, is also available at Baccus.
Erika Schat, school social worker, accompanies around 90 families out of the 470 students enrolled in Baccus.
“We have 82% economically disadvantaged students, so it’s really important to have this partnership with Communities in Schools,” Rohleder said. “She (Schat) has a clothes closet here and is able to provide advice on medical needs, and even more than I can as a public administrator. If there are financial difficulties, and if they need money for gas or something like that, she is able to meet those needs and help them.
Pedagogical specialists Kelly Eppler and Jairo Martinez work behind the scenes with teachers, as they dig into and analyze the data — and make sure teachers understand what their resources are and how to use them.
Student-led conferences are held twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring, for parents and children to reflect on student behavior and academic status. The campus also hosts professional learning communities, where groups of teachers work collaboratively at the school level to improve student achievement.
“We meet every two weeks with each grade level, and during that time we talk about the data. We talk about the assessments that we’ve given, the data that we’re getting, how those driving instructions are, and how fluid the outreach and outreach groups are,” Rohleder said.
Rohleder said one of the main reasons the campus was able to go from a 57 to an 88 rating is because of the teachers.
“You tell them something, and they go so much further than I even realize,” she said. “It makes me the proudest principal to see the educators in the classroom doing what they do best. These teachers are phenomenal. Like, it’s not me. All I did was find systems and look for good teachers, and the magic happened.
As for the future, Rohleder hopes to maintain the B rating, while striving to reach that A.
Garcia added that the reason Baccus has been so successful is due to Rohleder and assistant manager Melissa Shipp.
“This campus works because they stick together,” she said. “Like us teachers, we don’t work if we don’t feel supported. I mean, I’m driving 45 minutes from Fort Worth because of the leaders here. They always help and support, and they care about the children. That’s why it works here.
Rohleder added: “We are so blessed. I mean, from teachers to kids to families, we are blessed.
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