The HRS Leader

Region 9 High Reliability Schools-February/March 2018

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Level 1

Making PLCs Effective

Scheduling and planning PLCs is critical, but once you have created the groups and the time to meet, it's important to focus on the content. Yes, PLCs should be data driven. However, there is more to a PLC than data. Take a look at the essential questions below. One way to ensure effective PLCs is to make sure these questions are being addressed during PLC meetings (not every question every meeting though).


That brings up another point about PLCs. Campuses should have a way for administrators to stay informed on what PLCs are discussing without being present at or in charge of every meeting. There are lots of ways of doing this, but a plan is important.

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Level 2

Reflective Practice

In Level 2, the focus is on effective teaching in every classroom. One of the key pieces to that is for teachers to reflect on their practice.


Keep in mind the five things a reflective practitioner should do:

  • Use a common instructional framework.
  • Reflect and set growth goals.
  • Engage in focused practice.
  • Received focused feedback.
  • Observe others.



As a campus, plan for ways to make these happen. Have you decided on a common instructional framework? It can be The Art and Science of Teaching, but you can also work to blend your current framework or model with ASOT.


Do your teachers not only set goals but have a plan in place to reflect and monitor their progress toward that goal? How are teachers encouraged to engage in focused practice? Is ASOT a regular part of you PLCs?


Feedback can come from a lot of different sources. Walkthroughs are the one most people thing of first, but feedback can come from peers or even students. Student opinions are easy to collect in quick exit tickets.


Last, how do your teachers have the opportunity to observe effective teaching? This can be through instructional rounds or a pineapple wall. It can also be through the use of videos during PLCs or faculty meetings. We want to make effective teaching the center of our conversations.

Level 3

Using Proficiency Scales to Create Assessments

Once your campus is ready to work in Level 3, your PLCs may start to change to some degree. Part of this is because you are ready to create proficiency scales and tie common assessments to those scales. Below you will see what Mario Acosta, a Texas principal, uses as the PLC process and planning cycle for his campuses.


There are three important ideas in regards to proficiency scales:

Important Idea #1: Proficiency scales provide clear focus for instruction to essential learning goals.

Important Idea #2: Proficiency scales serve as the framework for high-quality classroom assessment.

Important Idea #3: Proficiency scales ensure alignment of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and feedback.

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Supporting Your ASOT Teachers

Your ASOT team for this year has completed all six days of training in The Art and Science of Teaching, so you might be wondering "Now what?" We hope that your ASOT team shares what they have learned and what they are trying with the rest of the staff, whether in whole-group faculty meetings or in small-group PLCs.


One way you can keep in the loop of what your ASOT teachers are doing is to read The ASOT Reflection, our digital newsletter. While these are published within the ASOT Classrooms, they are also shared on Twitter and on our website, www.esc9.net/HRS under Newsletter Archives.

Sharing the HRS Vision

Just as we hope your ASOT teachers are sharing effective instructional practices with their colleagues, we hope your leadership team is communicating the High Reliability Schools framework with the rest of your staff. It is important that all staff members understand and know what the campus is doing in each level. It is especially important that everyone sees HRS as a framework for all of the initiatives you might be implementing, rather than as another initiative to try.


One idea to demonstrate this is to create a vision of instruction that communicates how all of the different pieces of what your school is doing fit together as part of the HRS framework. We've seen this look different from campus-to-campus, but it helps solidify the key concepts of the work the campus is doing.

Contact Us for Support

We want to help you in any way we can! Keep in mind that in any of these levels, we can help you plan, implement and monitor progress. Use the form below or reach out to your R9 specialist.