El Paso Leadership Academy
Comprehensive Needs Assessment
To have all students recognize that attending and graduating from
a four-year college can be a reality.
Prepare and place students in a four-year college of choice with the skills
required to graduate and become leaders in their communities.
The El Paso Leadership Academy (EPLA) is currently the only campus in the El Paso Leadership Academy Independent School District. EPLA opened its doors in 2014 and serves predominantly low-income families. A year ago, 90 students were served by the campus. Currently, EPLA serves 179 students in 6th to 7th, which in an increase of 101%. EPLA prides itself on being a collaborative teaching, college-prep middle school. It focuses on not only providing individualized development plans for its students but for its faculty and staff as well.
The student population is 91% White (Hispanic), 2% African-American, 4% White (Non-Hispanic), 1% Asian, 43% male and 56% female with an economically disadvantaged rate of 75%. The full-time staff population is 62% White (Hispanic), 38% White (Non-Hispanic), 46% male and 54% female with 21% of our teachers certified as Highly Qualified. The average daily attendance rate for students is 95% .There is a total of 49 discipline referrals this year, 28 in 7th grade and 21 in 6th grade. In 6th grade, there has been a decrease of 9% in discipline referrals from last year.
The El Paso Leadership Academy serves 17 English Language Learner students, 11 students in the Gifted and Talented program, 8 students identified for 504 services, 100% of RtI Tier I students, 30% of Tier II students, 5% of Tier III students, 22 students served through special education services (12%).
Our Target Assisted Title I program consists of parent/student liaison services and different data-driven software focusing on core content areas. This includes tri-annual benchmark testing with MAP, 6-weeks tests focused on TEKs, and daily targeted intervention with the program MyPath which not only provides an individualized learning opportunity but is also directly linked to MAP assessments. Our State Compensatory Program (SCE) currently focuses on providing small classes for students.
Comprehensive Needs Assessment Process
The El Paso Leadership Academy comprehensive needs assessment process is described below. The site-based decision-making team formed subcommittees to evaluate the previous years’ data along with current systems being used at the school. The committee, comprised of five middle school teachers, three administrative personnel, three community members and two parents worked on the development of this plan based on the five goals established by the District Improvement Committee. In addition, committee members participated in several activities on 10/21/2015, 11/14/2015, 01/23/2016 and 02/13/2016 to identify current objectives and strategies that are utilized most effectively to assist in the social, emotional and academic growth of the students at the El Paso Leadership Academy.
The committees evaluated program evaluations, survey results, and the following data: STAAR data, MAP scores, DMAC reports, Special Program participation, technology assessment, staff stability/mobility rates, school demographic data collected from PEIMS, student/teacher surveys, and PTSO participation/activities. Documentation of the process includes meeting minutes, agendas, sign-in sheets, copies of data reviewed and completed worksheets from the Region 20 CNA toolkit.
Comprehensive Needs Assessment
Committee members reviewed the data listed above to identify areas of strengths and needs. The data showed the following strengths and
- Strengths: The El Paso Leadership Academy utilizes criterion-referenced assessments (MAP, DMAC, etc.) to guide data-driven instruction and create individualized learning plans. Demographic data is also taken into consideration when planning for student success. As a result, during 2014-2015 school year there was an increase in benchmark scores between pre/post testing sessions. Teachers are also provided time on a weekly basis to routinely evaluate data in order to adjust instructional emphasis and plan for early, intensive interventions for students not meeting grade level standards.
- Needs: Due to the fact that the El Paso Leadership Academy collects and utilizes large amounts of data, it would be beneficial to implement professional development workshops focused on differentiated instruction and targeted intervention. There also is a need for specific and structured interventions with small groups of students in order to close the grade level gap among low-level learners and special program populations.
Instruction, Curriculum, and
- Strengths: Instruction and curriculum isassessed by the principal on a regular basis and teachers are evaluated on three different rubrics: College Readiness, Wong, and Lemov. This provides consistency with the lesson cycle and classroom management. In addition, the data software DMAC is linked to TEKS. This provides teachers with detailed proficiency reports to help improve, innovate, and develop action plans for all students.
- Needs: Currently there is a need for a stronger response to intervention with targeted information provided for all core content areas. Special populations, such as at-risk and gifted/talented students, must be provided with support and resources in order to achieve academic success. This requires time to focus on core content with individualized plans for each student. Additionally, there is room to improve upon technology integration in the curriculum and in the classroom.
Family and Community Involvement:
- Strengths: The El Paso Leadership Academy has been successful in engaging the community with various projects, such as Shark Tank and the current pilot program for gifted/talented students. It also has a number of dedicated volunteers that help at the school and on the PTSO board.
- Needs: There is a need for increased parent engagement on campus as well as a structured volunteer program for those who wish to be more involved. Volunteers are a vital part of the organization as the provide support for both students and staff members. Additionally, there is a need for more outside resources in order to support healthy family relationships. The El Paso community is rich with resources that many of our families and students could benefit from. Unfortunately, there currently is not enough time or man-power available to make these connections.
- Strengths: EPLA has created a rigorous and creative selection process for all teachers. As a result, teachers that are chosen tend to resonate strongly the culture and mission of the organization which helps in creating a positive and empowering classroom environment. This was shown in the student feedback collected within the 2015-2016 Student School Climate Surveys.
- Needs: There is a need for EPLA to continue ensuring that all appropriate staff members are Highly Qualified or working towards becoming Highly Qualified as defined under the “No Child Left Behind Act”. Highly Qualified staff members are a vital component in ensuring that students attain academic success. Additionally, EPLA could benefit from developing a robust selection process geared towards hiring HQ teachers that are a fit for our specific culture and mission. Once hired, teachers should also be offered on-going professional development and support to help them flourish throughout the school year.
School Culture and Climate
- Strengths:The climate at EPLA is one of positivity. Due to on-going classroom observations, coaching and feedback teachers are provided with an individualized development plan to help increase their effectiveness within the classroom. This has created an environment where students feel safe and cared for as show in the 2015-2016 Student School Climate Surveys. The school also has a tremendous teacher/student ratio and a classroom culture that is not focused primarily on state assessments but individualized student success.
- Needs: EPLA could not only improve in garnering student feedback but also in collecting feedback from parents, community members and other stakeholders. Having open and constant lines of communication open for our community is a necessity. There is also a need for increased parental involvement both on campus and in their child’s academic life. Currently, parent volunteer positions are limited to PTSO and Campus Improvement. Lastly, in order to incorporate the visionand mission into the curriculum, EPLA could benefit from incorporating high-level leadership programming focused on experiential learning and team-building into all grade level curriculums.
- Strengths: With the current schedule, EPLA has the ability to dedicate 1 hour per day to targeted intervention. This gives students time to work on subjects in which they are performing poorly. In addition, the computer software that is used is individualized providing students with the exact practice that they need in order to succeed. Teachers have access to various different methods of data collection and have the chance to voice their opinions when deciding which assessments will be used to evaluate individual students. In terms of community involvement, the PTSO and EPLA Board always posts their meetings times and notes making them easily accessible to the general public.
- Needs: EPLA could strongly benefit from providing teachers with more time for grade level meetings in order to make group decisions. Creating time for teachers to discuss data and create student centered academic plans would not only strengthen the grade level teams but also provide students with the individualized support that they need. There is also a need to increase communication with community and business leaders in the area. Internally, EPLA has a strong faculty and staff. Incorporating other businesses and community members would strengthen the organization further while enriching the lives of our students.
- Strengths: EPLA currently has data projectors to instruct classes and Chromebooks designated for every student. This enables teachers to incorporate technology into their lesson plans on a daily basis. In addition, EPLA also uses a uniform server, Google, which features numerous apps for education and instruction. Outside of Google, EPLA employs assessment programs such as DMAC and MAP to evaluate student progress throughout the year. Lastly, EPLA is also piloting the program Edgenuity which offers individualized instruction for each student.
- Needs: Since all students have access to Chromebooks, there is a need for a stronger signal in some classrooms along with increased bandwidth. This would ensure smoother lessons and a decrease in time wasted on lost signals. It may also be valuable to host technology-based professional development trainingsfor teachers on a regular basis to help strengthen the use of technology in the classroom. Outside of the classroom, EPLA could also profit from having an increased presence on social media and more frequent updates by teachers on the webpages. There is a huge opportunity to broadcast and also engage with the community online.
Summary of Identified Needs and Related Strategies
While conducting the 2015-2016 comprehensive needs assessment, the site-based team identified 3 priority areas to be the focus of EPLA’s improvement plan. These areas include — students, staff, and parents/community members. The following text will identify the main needs for each category with current and/or planned strategies of intervention.
Students: There is an identified need for strongerresponse to intervention and differentiated instruction in all core content areas. Additionally, in order to incorporate the primary characteristics of leadership as defined in our mission, students are also in need of a supplemental character development curriculum. Based on this prioritized need the site-based team identified several intervention strategies including:
- Data-driven instruction based on tri-annual MAP scores and 6-week DMAC exams
- Targeted intervention for math and reading via the pilot program X for all students 1 hour per day
- Creating Student-Centered Academic Plans (SCAPS) for each student based on MAP and DMAC scores
- Provide real-world experience by offering 1 project-based grade level activity per year
- Design & implement programming focused on supporting character development and acquiring leadership skills
Staff: There is an identified need for a robust system of recruiting highly effective teachers and also providing current teachers with support, resources and development opportunities. Based on this prioritized need the site-based team identified several intervention strategies including:
- Develop and implement a robust selection process based on established criteria for behavior, skill and fit
- Provide teachers with 1-on-1 professional development including classroom observations, coaching and on-going feedback pertaining to implementation of core competencies
- Implement a Performance Management Model that includes an annual plan, semester reviews, 6-week updates, ongoing coaching and self-assessments
- Increase the effectiveness of monthly professional development on data analysis and data analysis software to include trainings and teacher planning sessions
Parents/Community Members: There is an identified need of communicating and engaging parents with their children’s education and the school’s mission. There also is a need for increasing community involvement at the school on a regular basis. Based on these prioritized needs the site-based team identified several intervention strategies including:
- Increasing the amount of notifications sent home via auto-call/text, email, and newsletter announcements
- Host “Coffee with the Principal” one time per month in order to create dialog between the school and parents
- Continue to schedule student-led conferences
- Require teachers to update their teacher web page on a regular basis
- Increase the amount of social media posts to incorporate more student activities
- Provide structured volunteer opportunities for parents and community members