H.D. Hilley Elementary School
El Paso, TX
The practice: Professional development should provide learning opportunities that relate to individual needs but are, for the most part, organized around collaborative problem solving.
At H. D. Hilley Elementary School in rural West Texas, collaboration is a way of life not only for the staff, but for the entire community. H. D. Hilley has developed an organizational structure that results in ongoing problem solving and action planning.
Organized in both vertical and horizontal teams, and a community-wide school improvement team that includes parents as well as staff members, the stakeholders have multiple opportunities to identify and solve problems related to student learning and school success. The School Improvement Team meets monthly to structure, monitor, and assess school-wide initiatives in response to student needs. Vertical teams are centered around the curricular areas of Communication, Math and Science, Fine Arts, and Technology. These teams meet monthly and are responsible for designing, coordinating, and evaluating professional development in their respective areas. Grade level teams meet weekly to discuss student work and suggest ways to address individual learning problems. Teachers frequently offer to support and coach each other as a result of these weekly meetings. They share their expertise for the benefit of all students.
Through frequent communication and sharing student work and
assessment results, teachers are proactive in preventing students from
falling behind, identifying potential problems, and maintaining the focus on
students' academic success.