Quail Hollow

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                                 Quality Review

                                             Quail Hollow Middle School

                                         2901 Smithfield Church Road
                                             Charlotte NC 28210

                                       Principal: Tara Lynn Sullivan
                                    Dates of review: March 12 – 13, 2009
                                     Lead Reviewer: Renee Middleton

                               Team reviewers: Kit Rea and Joanna Smith

                                             Cambridge Education (LLC)

Quail Hollow Middle School: March 12, 2009
Quail Hollow Middle School: March 12, 2009
 Content of the report

  Part 1: The School Context
  Information about the school

  Part 2: Overview
  What the school does well
  What the school needs to improve

  Part 3: Main findings
  Overall evaluation
  How well the school meets Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Quality Review

Quail Hollow Middle School: March 12, 2009
 Part 1: The School Context

  Information about the school

  Quail Hollow Middle School (QHMS) serves students in grades 6 through 8. The current school
  enrollment is 892, which is a decrease from 2007-08 of 959. The students comprise 36 percent
  African-American, 29 percent White, 28 percent Hispanic, 3 percent Multi-Racial, 3 percent
  Asian, and 1 percent American Indian. There are 12 percent exceptional children (EC) and 17
  percent designated limited English proficiency (LEP) students. Sixty-five percent are eligible for
  free or reduced-price lunches. The school’s average attendance is 93 percent which is below
  the state expectations and district average. There have been 107 principal’s suspensions in this
  academic year, a significant reduction from the previous four years.

  The school’s faculty includes 53 teachers, supported by an academic facilitator, literacy coach
  and three assistant principals. The school is in its fourth year of requiring improvement as a
  CMS Priority School under the No Child Left Behind requirements. The current principal joined
  the school in September 2007, the school’s fourth administration change in the last five years.
  The school has recently undergone building construction which has led to disruption to teachers’
  classroom locations. The school met its 2008 Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) targets and
  expected growth in math with 25 of 29 targets met overall.

Quail Hollow Middle School: March 12, 2009
 Part 2: Overview

  What the school does well

    •    The school is led by a reflective principal who encourages shared leadership.
    •    Under new leadership, the school has taken steps to improve the school’s culture and
         there is growing mutual respect among adults and students.
    •    The school met the 2008 AYP targets in math and achieved high growth in geometry.
    •    Teachers are working collaboratively at each grade level.
    •    Parents and students hold the principal and the school staff in high regard.
    •    Students and parents have a sense of identity and pride in the school.
    •    The parents appreciate the guidance and support their children receive from the teaching
         and support staff.
    •    The parents, teachers, and students association (PTSA) actively engages parents in
         supporting fundraising and contributions to awards for students’ achievement, good
         behavior and perfect attendance.
    •    The school has established links with its local community, churches, and business such as
         the Huntington Learning Center to enhance student learning.
    •    The school is clean, safe, welcoming, and appropriately resourced to support student

  What the school needs to improve

    •    Implement vertical curriculum alignment to address the requirements of the North Carolina
         Standard Course of Study (NCSCOS) and the school’s priorities for raising student

Quail Hollow Middle School: March 12, 2009
    •    Identify and embed school-wide research-based instructional strategies to make learning
         more relevant.

    •    Improve the quality of teachers’ questioning strategies to promote higher level thinking and
         problem solving.

    •    Improve the school-wide analysis of student performance data and common assessment
         outcomes to positively impact student learning.

    •    Ensure that the school-wide student behavior management system and discipline policy
         are applied consistently, understood, and supported by the entire school community.

Quail Hollow Middle School: March 12, 2009
 Part 3: Main Findings

  Overall Evaluation: The school’s overall performance

  This is an undeveloped school.

  Quail Hollow Middle School faces a number of challenges. For the new principal appointed in
  2007, the last school year alone entailed significant staff turnover (19) and this adversely
  affected student learning. The 2008 school year has shown greater stability and the school’s
  culture is improving. The school staff speak highly of the principal’s efforts to “turnaround” the
  school. The school met its 2008 AYP and expected growth in math. However, results in
  reading across all grade levels and grade 7 writing declined. The first year of results in science
  is well below district and State averages. Intervention strategies are in place, but still
  developing to address these shortcomings. The principal has good understanding of what the
  school needs to do to raise expectations through the introduction of new systems and policies
  intended to impact instructional and behavioral management strategies. The school has moved
  forward in realizing its vision, as noted in students’ improved attitude to their learning and

  Teachers work collaboratively in each grade level and plan regularly to implement the North
  Carolina (NC) content standards. Yet, the school lacks a curriculum that is vertically aligned to
  impact coherent and well-paced lessons. There are few whole-school strategies for developing
  curriculum mapping, scaffolding of skills, and literacy across all subject areas. Most teachers
  are not secure in their use of data to effectively differentiate lessons. Their higher-order
  questioning and checking for individual student understanding are developing. Parents praise
  the support and guidance that their children receive from teaching and non-teaching staff.
  Communication between home and school is good with twice monthly reporting of students’
  progress. The school has established links with its local community, churches and businesses
  and it is promoting the involvement of parents in the life of the school to enhance student

  Criterion 1: Achievement
  The school demonstrates high levels of academic achievement in the core subjects and the trend of achievement
  shows improvement at all grades in all subjects. The school uses available student performance data to take and
  adjust actions to improve the quality of students’ learning.

  This area of the school’s work is undeveloped:

  In 2008, the school met its AYP goals in math for the first time in four years. The overall student
  population showed expected growth in math for the same period (59 percent at or above grade
  level); including high growth in grade 8 math and geometry. The school’s 2008 end of grade
  (EOG) test for reading and the grade 7 writing test data indicate that student performance at
  Levels III and IV (proficient or above) is below state and district averages. Trends show that
  there has been a decline in reading and writing for the past three years as students enter the
  school with greater gaps in their reading comprehension and acquisition of grade level language
  skills than in previous years. Although students make marginal progress at each grade level,

Quail Hollow Middle School: March 12, 2009
  their academic growth in reading and writing are not substantial enough to close the academic
  gap. Over the past three years, there has been an increase in the number of students in the
  school who qualify for free and reduced-price meals, and the administration believes this has
  significant bearing on the school’s results. This view does not explain the 2008 math growth
  and the fact that the number of students identified as LEP has decreased. There is a school-
  wide initiative to improve students’ language arts and reading skills through a few new
  structured programs such as Springboard, Word Smart, Academy of Reading (guided small
  groups), and Reading Counts, and these are beginning to impact student learning.

  LEP students make good progress in lessons that are standards-based, and in structured
  language arts (LA) lessons. In these lessons instruction implements effective strategies that
  impact their individual language acquisition needs, improve academic vocabulary and provide
  opportunities for discourse. EC students with disabilities make good progress where there is
  inclusive instruction that personalizes their learning based on their individual education plans.
  The school conducts ‘honor’ lessons for those students identified as intellectually gifted and
  talented children to address their higher learning needs. There is, however, disparity in the
  performance of significant ethnic subgroups. The lowest 2008 EOG testing composite results
  are shown among African-American students at all grade levels, especially among African-
  American boys. There has been a decline in the performance of this subgroup from the two
  previous school years. Although the school has significantly reduced the suspension rate this
  year to 107 cases, there is over-representation of African-American students.

  Criterion 2: Curriculum
  The curriculum is relevant and appropriate to the needs of all children, across all grades, and for all sub-groups in
  the student population.

  This area of the school’s work is undeveloped

  All students have access to a broad and balanced schedule of standards-based subjects. Yet
  the school lacks a cohesive vertical curriculum alignment across grades 6-8 to implement the
  NC Standard Course of Study (NCSCOS). Lessons do not consistently address the higher
  order skills required for students’ mastery of the core-subject standards. While teachers work
  collaboratively, lessons are mainly taught in a traditional way and at knowledge level, rather
  than taking on the challenges of being more analytical and providing opportunities for students
  to synthesize information. Not all lessons follow the rigors of the district’s pacing guides to
  ensure that there is ample time for students to grasp essential concepts, skills, and
  understanding within the NCSOS standards. The administration are still grappling with
  supporting teachers’ understanding that there are missed opportunities to implement a range of
  strategies to personalize student learning through ‘stations,’ differentiated guided learning, and
  pair/share work to address the standards. The school has done a good job of implementing
  writing in science and within the LA lessons, but there are insufficient opportunities for
  expository writing across all other subject areas.

  The school has recently made adjustments to the curriculum schedule to accommodate a fifth
  block for intervention classes, which are yet to impact learning. The curriculum during this block
  is developing rigor with more structured lessons than the previous year’s “clubs.” Some
  students are targeted for specific language arts, reading and math support and tutoring, while
  others have electives such as art, band, percussion, and dance. The school provides physical
  education (PE) as mandated by the district during this time for grade 7 and 8. The school has
  an array of support and intervention programs to use with those students targeted for improved

Quail Hollow Middle School: March 12, 2009
  literacy and mathematics skills, such as Math Academy and Reach Guided Studies. The AVID
  program builds students’ note-taking, academic discourse, and organizational skills. The
  program has further contributed to the improved motivation and academic progress in grade 8
  as students take ownership of their learning, with teachers effectively monitoring their progress
  in readiness for high school.

  Criterion 3: Learning and teaching
  Student learning, progress and standards are a direct result of challenging instruction and high quality teaching.
  Decisions are based on use of data and evidence.

  This area of the school’s work is undeveloped

  Most students work as instructed and their behavior is generally good, with mutual respect
  evident throughout the school. In most lessons students are compliant, but have little challenge
  and limited opportunities to be actively engaged. In a few lessons they have good opportunities
  to discuss their learning, interact with adults and peers, work independently and learn from
  research, as exemplified in a science project undertaken in grade 8 to understand the impact of
  water quality on humans and nature. Students state that they enjoy relevant lessons based on
  exploration and their own research. However, most lessons are based on lecturing or whole
  class instruction and so do not allow sufficient time for students’ collaboration, academic
  discourse, and reflection. Few lessons have closure or strategies to check individual student

  Some teachers share rubrics with students, especially in language arts lessons, to develop
  strategies to improve and personalize their learning. Teachers regularly confer with their
  students, but do not consistently give written feedback to inform students of their next stages
  and levels of learning. The use of data is yet to be embedded in teachers’ planning to meet the
  diverse needs of all students. As a result, there are few instances of differentiated learning
  activities across the school. The administration has recently issued teachers with their own
  class data profiles, which are in an early stage of use. The language arts and mathematics
  teachers have developed and use common assessments to assess what their students know
  and how they might be progressing. There is little evidence of this same level of assessment
  and analysis in other subject areas. There is weekly professional development for all teachers
  to meet in grade levels, which they find invaluable to improve their instruction. A number of
  teachers attend district-wide training. These further help them improve their subject-knowledge
  as well as instructional strategies for meeting the needs of specific subgroups, such as LEP
  students. Grade 7 teachers are mainly new to the profession, and they welcome the support
  and coaching that is beginning to help them effectively manage and maximize learning in their

  Criterion 4: Leadership and management
  The school has a high quality leadership and management team with a clear vision, ambition and goals; a focus on
  student achievement; a sense of purpose and high aspirations; and strategies which impact directly on students’

  This area of the school’s work is proficient

  The principal and assistant principals maintain realistically high expectations of themselves for
  improving teachers’ instructional strategies, managing the school well, and in taking actions

Quail Hollow Middle School: March 12, 2009
  informed by data. The principal is well respected for bringing about some stability to the school
  and for her concerted efforts to improve the school’s culture. The principal has good
  understanding of financial matters and runs the school efficiently. She manages the school
  well. This was especially evident during the construction work that was disruptive earlier this
  year. The principal and leadership team work well together in the use of information from a
  range of data to inform school-wide decisions and strategies. The teaching faculty was involved
  in producing and revising the school improvement plan (SIP) to reflect current steps to improve
  student achievement. Reviews are undertaken quarterly and reported to the school leadership
  team, which consists of the school leaders, staff and parents. There are, however, few
  measures to know the effectiveness of the school’s actions.

  The principal is beginning to identify the strengths in her staff and to build capacity for shared
  leadership. This is noted in the opportunities she has taken to build a professional learning
  community (PLC), although this is yet to be underpinned by research-based studies of effective
  instructional and leadership practices. Together, the principal, assistant principal, academic
  facilitator and district literacy coach regularly meet to address priorities for school improvement,
  although there is some duplication in the work of the school’s staff and in the literacy coaching.
  The majority of teachers are receptive to change and school improvement in pursuit of raising
  student achievement. The administration encourages teachers to take a lead in discussing and
  addressing students’ achievement and behavior in order to identify issues, trends, and what
  needs to move the students on in their learning. However, teachers are quick to point to the
  students as reasons for shortcomings. As administrators’ time is split by grade level
  commitments, there is little time given to establishing school-wide practice relating to vertical
  alignment in the curriculum planning and cohesiveness in developing teachers’ instructional
  strategies. The principal follows the district’s teacher evaluation system to hold teachers
  accountable for the impact of their instruction on student learning. The principal and assistant
  principals are improving their lesson ‘walk throughs’ to more closely monitor instruction and
  provide behavior management support. A disproportionate amount of their time is spent dealing
  with behavior issues and related paperwork, rather than providing instructional leadership and
  giving teachers sufficient verbal feedback on their instruction.

  Criterion 5: Learning environment
  The school has a safe and orderly environment and makes full use of its available resources, including technology,
  to directly impact student learning.

  This area of the school’s work is proficient

  The school’s friendly and welcoming climate is conducive to student learning. The school staff
  have a good understanding of their designated responsibilities. They show care for the students
  and know them well, and there is mutual respect. Students report that the climate of the school
  has improved markedly since the beginning of the school year. They trust the staff and state
  that they are dealt with fairly. In turn, they are willing to help both peers and adults in classes
  and around the school. They know that any matters are dealt with by the assistant principals
  and/or the principal directly. The school is safe and functional. There are emergency plans in
  place to ensure the safety of all students in the event of a crisis. Students value the support
  they receive from teachers and other staff, such as the counselors’ guidance, in times of need.

  Suspensions have decreased over previous years through the administrators’ careful tracking of
  student behavior and their readiness to challenge teachers who have excessive behavioral
  referrals. According to the principal, “changing mindsets continues to be a work in progress” in

Quail Hollow Middle School: March 12, 2009
  disciplinary matters. Each grade level has its own disciplinary responses, but the lack of an
  agreed school-wide behavior management system and policy has meant that there is not a
  coherent and consistent approach to how adults deal with student behavior. Most students
  understand their achievement levels and what they need to do to improve through their twice
  monthly progress reports. This process enables students to take responsibility for their own
  learning. The school ensures that all textbooks and material are standards-based including the
  core books for the LEP students. The use of a well-resourced media center and of computer
  technology supports students’ development of research and technological skills. The school
  leadership has taken rigorous steps to improve student attendance, which in 2008 averaged at
  95.5 percent. LEP students and their families benefit from social assimilation supported by the
  Amigos program and La Noche Latina for family language support.

  Criterion 6: Involvement of parents and the community
  The school has a range of regular, two-way methods for communicating with parents, guardians and the wider
  community and takes steps to encourage active engagement in the education of their children and involvement in the
  life of the school.

  This area of the school’s work is proficient:

  The principal has set a priority for improving the school’s partnership with parents and the
  community. There is an active PTSA that supports the school well through fundraising events
  and in providing communication for parents through email, newsletters, and its own link to the
  school’s website.     The PTSA has initiated a series of events to celebrate students’
  achievements, such as honor roll parties, character education certificate presentations, and
  good attendance awards. Parents’ expectations are being raised through the encouragement of
  the school staff and through opportunities to be involved in the school’s decision-making
  process as part of the school leadership team. A few parents attend the school’s own and
  district workshops that have helped their understanding of the middle school curriculum and
  how to prepare for their children’s transition to high school.

  The school has reached out to fathers through the All Pro Dads breakfast events to encourage
  their presence in school and their support for their children’s education, especially in reading
  with boys. The school celebrates diversity of the students and their families, particularly among
  a significantly high number of parents who speak Spanish as the home language. La Noche
  Latina is a popular venue for parents wanting to be updated on school events in their home
  language. Most teachers routinely provide parents with student progress reports. There are
  monthly newsletters and notices sent home to widen the school’s communication with parents.
  Where there are concerns about a student, the school offers a range of support, including
  guidance, counseling and tutoring. Teachers encourage parents to contact the school to
  provide information and to discuss concerns. However, the principal has identified that the
  school staff need to reach out to parents to increase their involvement in the life of the school
  and in their children’s education. The school has established partnership with the local
  churches, charities, and welcomes guest speakers from the community. The school has
  recently established its partnership with a local business, the Huntington Learning Center, to
  solicit their support and resource sponsorships.

Quail Hollow Middle School: March 12, 2009

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