Certification][Background & Demographic
Statement] [Learning Centered Schools
AllenISD Blue Ribbon School Award Application
Lovejoy ISD students starting with the
graduation class of 2010 will no longer attend Allen High School
Lovejoy ISD will open it's first high school Fall 2006
PART V. LEARNING-CENTERED SCHOOLS
A Student Focus and Support
A1. How would you describe you student population? What are your students'
needs? How do you assure that the needs of all students are met?
With a fast-growing community situated within one of the nation's telecommunications
centers, Allen High School's largest challenge is meeting the individual
needs of over 2,400 students. Growing at a pace of almost 200 students
per year, AHS has a student population that comes from every state in
the U.S., Canada, Mexico and various other countries. Each student brings
a wealth of prior experience and anxieties about coming to a new setting.
Part of the beauty of AHS's student population is that most of our students
have moved to Allen in the past seven or eight years. This means that
most of our students remember what it feels like to be a new student,
and they empathize with our newest students and absorb them quickly into
the fabric of AHS. Allen was a small farming community with little diversity
up until the late 1980s. Now the ethnicity of our population is 85.3%
Anglo, 4.9% African-American, 6.8% Hispanic, 2.8% Asian/Pacific Islander,
and 0.25% American Indian.
AHS is apportioned into four "houses." These houses are an integral
part of how we meet our students' needs. Each house consists of a House
Principal, House Counselor, and a House Secretary. The House Offices are
located away from the main office in four different locations. Students
are split by alphabet into houses: House 100 has all students whose last
names begin with A-D, etc. This fits the model set forth in Breaking Ranks
by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. The document
recommends splitting schools into "smaller learning communities."
Each house serves approximately 600 students' daily needs; from maintaining
students' schedules and graduation plans to helping the students and their
parents acclimate to high school life. Each House has a Student Support
Team (SST) that meets twice a month to discuss specific students' needs.
Teachers, parents, or other staff members refer students to the SST based
on specific concerns that need to be addressed to help the student be
successful. The SST consists of teachers assigned to the house, the House
Principal, the House Counselor and any other support personnel that may
be needed such as the school nurse or campus support counselor. The houses
also have a House Improvement Team that meets monthly to discuss how to
best meet the needs of students both within the house and elsewhere on
campus. The HIT consists of students, teachers, parents and the House
Principal. The House Concept gives our students a "school-within-a-school"
where they can be known and cared for by adults in a more contained system.
In the past two years, AHS has begun coordinating benchmark testing in
each course to ensure that all students are receiving the essential knowledge
and skills, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). This year
each department developed semester exams for each course. These exams,
written by teachers who teach the courses, include TEKS. In the 2001-2002
school year, each department is developing benchmark exams that will be
given in each course between the 6th and 8th week of the semester. These
exams will tell whether the scope and sequence for each course is being
followed and help determine which groups of students need more time on
specific TEKS in order to master the required material.
The AHS administrative mission statement reads: "Every student's
potential will be revealed, respected and fulfilled." To ensure that
this mission succeeds, AHS offers a wide range of courses and course settings.
Ninety-one percent of the Class of 2001 plan to attend post-secondary
institutions according to a graduate survey. To help students prepare
for this challenge, AHS offers a full-diploma International Baccalaureate
(IB) campus offering sixteen IB courses and eighteen Advanced Placement
(AP) courses. One of only 19 Texas public high schools to offer both IB
and AP programs, AHS considers it necessary to expand student opportunities,
and to enhance the chances of students being accepted into the university
of their choice. AHS students took over 325 AP & IB exams in the spring
of 2001. More than 60% of these students received scores high enough to
qualify for college credit. AHS also has a strong partnership with Collin
County Community College (Quad C). Quad C maintains a satellite campus
at AHS that includes offices and three classrooms totaling over ten thousand
square feet. More than one hundred and thirty AHS students are enrolled
in college courses directly from Quad C this school year for dual enrollment
credit. In the 2000-2001 school year, 36% of AHS juniors and seniors (519
students) took college-level courses (IB, AP and/or Quad C courses). AHS
also stresses that students should take the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude
Test (PSAT) both their sophomore and junior years. Last year, AHS had
over 570 students take the PSAT. AHS took the results of the sophomore
PSAT and created a summer Scholars Program for those students that demonstrated
the potential of becoming National Merit Scholars. After instituting this
new program in 2000, the number of National Merit Scholar recognitions
more than doubled from seven to fifteen students.
By using flexible scheduling, AHS also allows students to accelerate their
high school program. AHS has an AB block schedule in which students may
take eight classes over a two-day period, four ninety-minute classes each
day. Students wishing to graduate early - either mid-year or three-year
graduates - may take accelerated block classes that meet daily for ninety-minutes
allowing the students to get a full-year credit in a course in a single
semester. AHS also offers an accelerated block of English I and English
II that gives students that have failed English I prior to coming to AHS
an opportunity to earn two English credits during their sophomore year.
Plans are to expand these offerings to other subject areas in the 2002-2003
school year. Students who perform below the state standard on the Texas
Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) are required to take a TAAS remediation
course in the subject (reading, writing, or mathematics) until the student
achieves success on the TAAS. AHS also offers extensive courses of study
in Health Occupations, Computer Science, Agriculture, Business and Technology,
Visual and Performing Arts as well as Athletics.
A2. What nonacademic services and programs are available
to support students, and how do they relate to the student needs and school
Believing that students who participate in co-curricular activities will
be successful in school is a belief and practice of AHS. AHS offers over
70 clubs, organizations and programs. Approximately 80% of the student
body are involved in at least one of these activities. These offerings
include competitive activities (athletics, choir, band, debate, robotics,
University Interscholastic League academic teams, etc.), service organizations
(Student Council, Key Club, National Honor Society), and specific interest
clubs (Black Youth of America, Future Farmers of America, etc.). AHS is
conscious of making programs inclusive and building programs that draw
The IB program emphasizes that students should be involved in nonacademic
pursuits. This past summer several students created a junior volunteer
auxiliary that was committed to supporting child abuse victims in Collin
County. These IB students volunteered their time at the Collin County
Children's Advocacy Center. One of these students recently wrote about
her experience of working at the center: "I never thought the 'magic'
of this Center would take over me so much, but it has. When I started
working here, I thought it would be good, but depressing work. I couldn't
have been more wrong. This is a happy place, a place of solved problems
and new beginnings, and above all
hope." These types of experiences
help our students understand that education is not just academics. Education
includes learning how to interact with diverse groups of people that have
different experiences. AHS is committed to making the community an extension
of the campus and to allow the students to gain as many life experiences
as possible before they go on to post-secondary pursuits. The Peer Assistance
Leadership (PALS) Program offers three important services to our students,
district, and community. First, they serve as the ambassadors for new
students. A PALS student gives each new student a tour of the building.
They walk through the new student's schedule, ensure that the student
has someone to sit with at lunch the first week, and help the new student
get a better understanding of what programs and services are available
at AHS. Second, PALS also are available for peer mediation when the counselors,
administrators, or other staff members identify students that may need
mediation. PALS students that participate in peer mediation have been
trained on how to handle tough situations and how to reach an understanding
between peers. Third, PALS students also travel to each of Allen ISD's
ten elementary campuses to work with students that need an older role
model. The elementary campuses depend upon these students to help younger
students gain self-confidence and to be successful in school and in life.
Students at risk of dropping out of school are monitored through each
house. The House Principal and Counselor monitor student grades and attendance
for signs that a student is not succeeding. When these students are identified,
the House Principal or Counselor call on the Student Support Team to help
design a program or options that will allow the student to find success
at AHS. One option is to refer the student to AHS's support counseling
program. AHS has a full-time support-counseling department that offers
both individual and group counseling opportunities. Over 200 students
are served annually through the support program. There are 12 to 15 groups
going at any given time dealing with such varied issues as substance abuse,
bereavement, new students, family issues, divorce, and self-esteem. Responses
from students about the groups have included: "We got to learn about
how to take control of our stress. I loved the way we could tell
everyone how we truly felt." "I've learned to deal with my emotions
and living with my Dad." The dropout rate at AHS over the past several
years has consistently been less than one percent.
Health services are offered to students through a wide array of opportunities
and health checks done through the nurse's office. In addition to dispersing
medication, the nurse and her assistant keep track of student health records,
being sure that students have the required vaccinations and examinations
done in a timely manner. The nurse plays a much bigger role at AHS, though,
than just being a nurse. She is an extension of the counseling department,
another venue for students to find support and encouragement on a daily
basis. The nurse or her assistant often identifies a student that is about
to drop out of school and to bring them to the attention of administration.
Medical problems that other health services have not detected are often
noticed in the nurse's office. The nurse is adept and working with staff
members, and often becomes their primary health service source in many
cases offering blood pressure checks, flu shot information, and advice.
The key to health services at AHS is that the students and the staff trust
and respect the nurse's office where they know they can receive quality
help and confidentiality.
A3. How does your school determine and address the developmental
needs of students as they move from grade to grade?
With rapid changes occurring in the work force, it is evident that workers
in the 21st Century will have to be flexible, problem-solvers that have
strong critical thinking skills. AHS has developed a series of evening
seminars known as Eagle Vision to help students, parents, and community
members better understand the transitions from grade school to high school
to post-secondary pursuits. Eagle Vision is designed to assist our students
in passing through high school to post-secondary pursuits. Each fall,
grade-level meetings are held beginning with Senior Eagle Vision and working
down by grade to sixth grade. Each program is designed to address the
specific needs of the grade-level group in question. For instance, the
PSAT, and how students need to participate as sophomores for taking the
PSAT during their junior year to pursue National Merit Scholar recognition
is discussed in the Sophomore Eagle Vision seminar. These seminars have
become popular with parents and students, and normally between 300-500
people participate in each meeting. Discussion begins with the lower grades
about how colleges and other post-secondary institutions view applications.
Admissions' representatives from colleges attend Eagle Vision to discuss
how to give applicants the best opportunity to be admitted. In addition,
with the younger students, emphasis is placed on planning the high school
program. Topics such as how grade point averages impact future options,
AP, IB, as well as discussing the importance of taking rigorous coursework
throughout high school are explained in detail.
AHS also hosts a College Night each fall in which 80-90 colleges, universities,
and other post-secondary institutions set up booths and make themselves
available to students and parents. AHS encourages lower grade-level parents
and students to attend College Night to raise the level of expectation
and to begin thinking about what institution best fits the needs of the
student. More than a thousand people attend College Night each year. Beginning
each January, academic course guides for the next school year are passed
out to students. Counselors meet with 25-30 students at a time to explain
the options to incoming freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. AHS also holds
evening meetings with parents to explain the process, timelines, and options
that their students need to consider. By March, a tentative listing of
each student's choices in mailed home to parents to ensure that the proper
choices have been made. Administrators and counselors are available from
February through July to meet with students and parents to discuss specific
concerns or options. Before the school year begins, students come to the
high school and pick up a copy of their schedule. Because they are new
to the campus, sophomore parents and students are invited to attend a
Sophomore Orientation one evening they week prior to the beginning of
school. This year over 500 parents and students participated.
Another practice that AHS uses to ensure that our students are fulfilling
their potential is Eagle Scholars, a program whose requirements exceed
the Texas Scholar Program (TSP) by one math credit. This program dovetails
with the TSP that recommends students to graduate under the Recommended
High School Plan. In Allen, the plan requires students to take four years
of mathematics, three years of science, and at least two years of a foreign
language. AHS received special recognition from the Texas Education Agency
for having 55% of the Class of 2001 graduating under the Recommended High
School Program. The Class of 2002 currently has 70% of its students on
the Recommended High School Program.
As previously stated, AHS uses PALS to help new students with the transition
to a new school. Beginning this year AHS held a New Student and Parent
Reception in which the House Principals, Counselors, and Secretaries were
introduced. Program opportunities for new students were discussed, and
PALS students were available to give tours of the facilities to parents
and students. The House structure (A1) assures that all students will
have a principal, counselor, and secretary to meet their needs as they
develop during their years at AHS. Students often have the same teacher
for more than one year, helping to build additional close relationships
upon which students can rely.
A4. What co-curricular activities are available for students
and how do these activities extend the curriculum?
AHS has a proud tradition of offering a broad array of extra-curricular
and co-curricular opportunities. Eighty percent of the student body participates
in some school program, club, or organization. In athletics, AHS offers
all UIL-approved athletic programs, as well as supporting Allen students
participating in gymnastics, hockey, lacrosse, and rodeo. There are 36
separate teams fielded with approximately 750 students participating.
Girls make up approximately 40% of the total. Band, drill team, cheerleading,
color guard, choir, theater, and debate involve another 500 students.
Additionally, there are another 30 school-related programs available,
including A-Team Robotics, FFA, FCCLA, Health Occupations Society of America,
Future Business Leaders of America, French, German, and Spanish Clubs,
UIL academic teams, Distributive Education of America, National Honor
Society, Academic Decathlon, and the Thespian Society. There are also
a number of service organizations such as Key Club, Black Youth of America,
Fellowship of Christian Athletics, and the Student Council.
The principal meets monthly with a group known as The Principal's Council.
This group is composed of officers of every school organization, program,
and club on campus. The Principal's Council includes approximately 100
students. Part of the goal is to help groups expand their membership to
include a more diverse group that reflects the diversity of the AHS student
population. Meetings are designed to give students in leadership positions
and administrators an opportunity to discuss topical issues that may be
global, or pertain just to AHS. The dialogue helps students feel as if
they have a direct voice in school affairs. The Principal's Council takes
the message of the meeting back to students, helping to make AHS a better
place to be. Additionally, The Principal's Council fosters a better understanding
between students and administrators, and provides an opportunity for students
to mature in their role as leaders.
The underlying premise of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities
at AHS is to be inclusive. Last year new clubs were initiated by students:
Black Youth of America, Cartoon Club, Poetry Club, and Vegetarian Club.
As AHS grows each year, it becomes critically important to find new ways
to involve students. This requires the commitment of the staff to be involved
in student activities as well as a commitment from administration to find
creative ways to market and communicate opportunities for students. AHS
sponsors a Program Fair each spring to allow each organization, club,
and program to showcase themselves for the underclassmen in grades 8-11.
The Program Fair is planned to occur during the period of time when students
are making their decisions about which classes to take the following year.
A5. How does your school address the accessibility of its
facilities to students and others with disabilities?
AHS was constructed in 1999, and was designed to fully comply with the
Americans with Disabilities Act. There are five elevators spread throughout
the campus, and all entrances have wheelchair access. The main entrances
all have automatic doors for the disabled. Pushing a button that indicates
wheelchair accessibility operates these doors. Handrails and areas for
wheelchair access are set up in the gymnasium and at the football stadium.
Students in wheelchairs actively participate in theater productions (where
sets are built by Technical Theater class to allow wheelchair-bound students
to act on stage) and as student trainers in athletics.
B School Organization and Culture
B1. How does the culture of the school support the learning of all its
members and foster a caring community?
Allen High School provides the opportunity for all students and staff
to feel an integral part of a caring and nurturing academic and social
community. The Principal's Council (A1), Campus Improvement Team (CIT)
and four House Improvement Teams (HIT) meet monthly to receive information
about the campus, discuss concerns and ideas for improvement, and to make
decisions by building consensus among groups. The CIT builds the Campus
Improvement Plan that includes budgetary, staffing, and program needs
at AHS. In addition, the Department Coordinators meet to consider and
review instructional and campus issues. These meetings, plus a monthly
faculty meeting, create a webbing effect that communicates the direction
of the campus to all campus stakeholders.
Teachers are encouraged to look at the "big picture" and offer
suggestions for improvement of the school. One recent example is the addition
of IB Advanced Math as a needed asset to our set of rigorous courses.
This addition was first suggested by the physics teacher who saw the need
for students to apply mathematics beyond the level of calculus. Another
example is the increased effectiveness of the human health program when
a clinical rotation class was added. This particular class was suggested
by the human anatomy and physiology teacher as a way to better prepare
students to fill the increasing need for medical technicians and nurses
within the community.
Students acquire a sense of belonging to a smaller community within a
large community as they find their niche within the four houses. Within
a house, students work with the same counselor, principal, and secretary
for all their personal and academic needs. They have a chance to build
a rapport with these adults who can call them by name, and students do
not feel like a number in a large high school. The administrative staff
in each house also builds a relationship with parents over a three-year
period and is better able to accommodate the academic as well as personal
needs of the students. Teachers also belong to a house and build relationships
with the administrative staff as well as other teachers in their house.
Teachers in each house plan social activities that help new teachers to
sense a feeling of belonging as soon as they join the staff.
The instructional culture of AHS is one that fosters the expectation that
all students will be prepared for the work environment they will be a
part of in the 21st Century. Rigorous coursework is mandatory throughout
high school. As an example, the number of students taking physics has
increased from 110 in 1998 to 375 in 2001. Other courses such as chemistry
and pre-calculus, considered electives at most schools are considered
mandatory at AHS. Students use every course to prepare for post-secondary
pursuits. Technical skills are developed and enhanced in AHS students.
Students use the Internet for research, and teachers and students have
access to 36 Internet connections in each classroom. Computers on Wheels
(COWs) may be brought to class, or classes may be taken to one of two
computer labs in the library. Communication skills are developed as students
take languages other than English, socially interact in a variety of situations,
and work in both large-group and small-group settings. Staff models citizenship.
Ethical behavior, service to the community and obligation to make the
school and society better are emphasized. Students observe staff as they
participate in blood drives, Love Week, and in club organizations.
B2. What opportunities do students have to build sustained
and caring relationships with teachers and other adults? How does the
school promote a healthy peer climate among the students?
From the moment a student enters Allen High School, he or she feels a
vital part of the school. Our support counselor conducts New Student Support
groups at the beginning of the year. Not only do new students build relationships,
all students have tremendous opportunities to become involved in co-curricular
activities (A2 and A4). Students enjoy a variety of clubs (Student Council,
Key Club, America's Pride, Pals, Art Club, Spanish Club, French Club,
Chess Club, Vegetarian Club, Cartoon Club, Poetry Club, and others) that
help students become involved with each other and with adults. Teachers
sponsor these clubs outside the classroom. The goal is to have every student
involved in at least one outside activity.
Teachers are encouraged to stand in their doorways during passing periods
and engage students in conversation. Teachers and staff are also encouraged
to "take the pledge" to find a student in their classes who
isn't active in school programs and to establish a nurturing relationship
with the student. More than one hundred staff members have agreed to participate
in "taking the pledge."
Students are supported academically with school-wide tutoring times. Every
Tuesday and Thursday teachers are available for the school tutoring times
and have at least two other tutoring times for the convenience of the
students. Athletic coaches do weekly grade checks of their players and
require them to attend tutoring when their grades drop below 75. This
program continues the entire school year and is not limited to the game
season. Students are also supported with co-teaching in certain classes.
A regular education teacher teams with a special education teacher to
work with those students with special academic needs.
A healthy climate prevails throughout the school because the students
understand the need to give back to the community. Clubs including National
Honor Society, PALS, Key Club and IB students perform hundreds of hours
of community service with such activities as Toys for Tots drive, Christmas
Dance at retirement center, Red Cross Blood Drive, and visits to nursing
homes. Students also provide a healthy climate in other schools in the
district when PALS travel to middle schools and the Alternative Education
Center to mentor students who need a positive role model. Athletes participate
in ball buddies and build relationships with grade school boys. A recycling
program to recycle paper has been developed within the school. Students
become involved in Red Ribbon Week that reminds students of the pitfalls
The entire school body becomes involved in Love Week, a unique program,
designed to help a person or family in the community with a medical or
other problem that presents a financial need. Students participate in
projects to help raise money to donate to this cause. Love Week culminates
with a school-wide celebration of student efforts and a presentation to
the deserving recipient.
In promoting a healthy peer climate among students, adults realize that
the students' concerns must be addressed. Last year several black students
raised the issue of AHS's lack of interest during Black History Month.
Because of their concerns, the Black Youth of America Club was organized.
They established peer tutoring among their group by the end of last school
year. This year the group is planning additional emphasis during College
Night, college entrance exams, and other ways to help all students at
B3. How are teachers hired in the school? How are teacher
The most important criterion in hiring a new teacher is that the prospect
genuinely cares about students. Each House Principal is responsible for
approximately forty teachers and staff members. When a position is open
in any of the four houses, the House Principal works with the district's
Human Resources Department to locate qualified candidates. The Deputy
Principal becomes the liaison that gathers applicant resumes and references.
The House Principal and Department Coordinators interview the candidates.
When the appropriate candidate has been identified, the Deputy Principal
and Principal then interview the candidate, ensuring someone with excellent
"people skills" and the needed subject knowledge has been chosen.
AHS also hosts a district-wide job fair each spring. This past spring,
more than 600 interested candidates attended the job fair. Four teachers
that were first interviewed at the fair have been hired this school year.
AHS also sends administrators to job fairs at universities within a 300
mile radius. AHS recruits through its web site where interested applicants
can get a copy of an application and see examples of the positive environment
generated at AHS.
A variety of factors influence teaching assignments, including teacher
certification, student enrollment, and teacher requests. Special training
is provided for teachers who seek new assignments. As an example, teachers
of regular courses may teach AP and IB courses after they are sent to
special training courses during the summer. Student enrollment has a large
impact on making teacher assignments. Teachers are assigned where the
needs are, based on enrollments in particular courses. Teachers are provided
the opportunity to request an assignment. These requests are granted when,
in the view of the administration, those assignments are in the best interests
of the students.
B4. What is the school's plan for school safety, discipline,
and drug prevention? What is the record for the past five years?
AHS considers itself a showcase in school safety. A campus-wide camera
system affords 50 different views of the building and perimeter including
all hallways, entrances, and gathering areas. Security officers are on-site
twenty-four hours per day, every day of the year to monitor cameras and
walk the halls. Security officers also drive through the parking lots
on a regular basis. Three School Resource Officers (SRO) are stationed
at AHS in conjunction with the Allen Police Department. SROs are constantly
in the halls, at lunch, and interacting with the students to create positive
relationships. The officers also do classroom presentations to help students
gain a better understanding of how law enforcement works.
All persons entering the campus must wear identification badges so that
the identity of each person is known. Staff and student badges have photos
and barcodes, as well as the staff's positions and student badges have
identification numbers. Student and staff badges may be used to pay for
food in the cafeteria on a pre-payment basis.
The Touchdown Club, one AHS booster organization, is sponsoring "Shattered
Dreams" later this year. This is a cooperative effort involving the
police, fire department, local and state alcohol and drug abuse agencies,
community organizations and student organizations in a re-enactment of
a serious accident involving the use of alcohol. In addition to a voluntary
drug-testing program of students is offered to parents, the district uses
drug-sniffing dogs to perform random searches of automobiles, classrooms,
and other areas in the school. Each year a speaker presents a program
about the dangers of drinking and driving before the Senior Prom.
Each year the Student Code of Conduct and Student Handbook is updated
through the CIT (B1) to ensure that developments and trends are addressed.
Beginning this year, the Principal's Council (A4) will discuss issues
where the school has latitude within which to make changes such as dress
code, public displays of affection, and tardiness to get students involved
in cooperatively making AHS a more user-friendly campus. This process
will also serve as a venue for having deeper discussions with students
about how to deal with drug abuse and potential violent acts on campus.
AHS Support Counselors (A2) also offer individual and group counseling
in areas such as "stop smoking," an insight group for students
using an illegal substance, and a concerned students group for teens with
a parent or sibling with a drug problem.
Discipline is maintained within the classrooms by teachers whenever possible.
Teachers are free to post individual classroom rules, but all teachers
are required to maintain the rules in the Student Code of Conduct and
Student Handbook. When students violate rules repeatedly or in a way that
is difficult for the classroom teacher to handle, a student may be referred
to the House Principal. These methods have proven successful. AHS has
seen a steady decrease in numbers of expulsions, from seven four years
ago to none last year, even though the student population has grown by
more than 500 students.
C. Challenging Standards and Curriculum
C1. How does the curriculum serve the broad goals for student learning
and development that the public generally expects education to achieve:
personal and intellectual growth, citizenship, and preparation for work
and higher education? What relative emphasis does the school place on
these goals in the curriculum?
Allen High School is pleased with the high academic standards embedded
within the curriculum. The curriculum is designed to balance between the
students' academic and intellectual development as well as their personal
growth as citizens and workers. AHS is proud that the Texas Education
Agency (TEA) rated the school as exemplary - the State's highest rating
- in 2001. AHS is one of only 23 high schools in Texas with more than
2,000 students to achieve this rating.
The expectations of AHS are built around the State of Texas's identification
of the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful, the TEKS (A1).
AHS requires all students to take four years of mathematics (only three
years are required by the state) and three years of science (only two
years are required by the TEA). Students are encouraged to take rigorous
coursework. Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses
(A1) have open enrollment opportunities for all students.
The expectations are being met by AHS students. In a Senior Exit Survey,
91% of the Class of 2001 are pursuing post-secondary education with 72%
of those going to a four-year college. With 36% of our juniors and seniors
taking AP, IB, or dual enrollment courses, AHS is preparing students for
their futures in higher education. All AHS students are encouraged to
graduate under the Recommended High School Plan. This is the plan the
Texas State Board of Education recommends as best preparing students for
post-secondary education or the workforce. Included in the plan, students
take a minimum of two years of foreign language, four years of English,
four years of social studies, four years of mathematics and at least three
years of science. AHS has over a thousand students taking a foreign language
this year with 686 students taking Spanish. The push to upgrade mathematics
and science instruction has resulted in the increased number of students
taking pre-calculus and calculus from under 300 in 1998 to 592 students
in 2001. In addition to its Exemplary High School rating, the TEA gave
additional recognition for students completing the Recommended High School
Program (as opposed to the Minimum High School Program, with 4 fewer required
credits and less emphasis on science and mathematics), with almost 80%
set to graduate on that plan this year.
AHS ensures that students falling behind in core subjects have opportunities
to accelerate their programs to catch up with their peers. This is accomplished
by double blocking classes (A1) and by taking reading, writing, and mathematics
classes to help the students prepare for the TAAS (A1).
Citizenship is modeled by all adults at AHS. Additionally, the Social
Studies Department infuses citizenship, individual freedoms, and the importance
of voting in the curriculum. The Science Department, PALS, and the Student
Council emphasize the civic duty of donating blood in two drives annually.
Citizenship and leadership is also taught overtly in PALS, Student Council,
Peer Tutors, and Leadership class. As a part of citizenship, abundant
community service is emphasized. The IB Program, National Honor Scociety,
PALS, and Key Club all require community service hours. Students in biology
classes are urged to volunteer at the Heard Natural Science Museum for
C2. How is your school organized to provide for differing
student academic needs within the school's goals, priorities, and curriculum?
The goal to have all Allen High School graduates take the Recommended
High School program (C1) clearly demonstrates that AHS is serious about
preparing all students for post-secondary pursuits. Requiring all students
to take a fourth year of mathematics, a third year of science, and at
least one year of fine arts - requirements that are above the minimum
standard set by the state - is another indicator of the goal. Students
are heterogeneously grouped in all classes. Enrollment in AP and IB courses
is open. Teachers, administrators, and counselors constantly advise students
about appropriate course choices the students move through their high
school career. There are three categories of courses: a.) Regular courses
that prepare students for post-secondary pursuits; b.) Pre-AP and Pre-IB
courses that prepare students for taking college-level courses while still
in high school; and, c.) AP, IB or Collin County Community College courses
that gives high school students college-level experiences and expectations.
The block schedule allows students to get up to 32 credits by the time
students graduate. This is significantly more than the 24 required by
the TEA. Having additional opportunities for students allows more variety
in course scheduling. Creativity in scheduling allows students to reach
their maximum potential for achieving thier goals. In addition to the
regular block schedule, some students take a "0" Period at 7:00
AM. Others enroll in college courses before, during, or after the regular
school day. This year two school-wide tutoring times are available to
students, in addition to two times set by teachers in each class.
The AHS campus improvement plan's first goal is to meet the state's Academic
Excellence Indicators System (AEIS) standards for an exemplary campus,
the state's highest rating. In the process of meeting that challenge the
following were accomplished: a.) For three consecutive years, all qualified
AHS students have passed all levels of the TAAS (A1), meaning no student
was denied state graduation because they failed to meet the state standard;
b.) Enrollment in college preparatory (Pre-AP & Pre-IB) courses and
college-level courses has increased to over 45% of AHS students; and c.)
The campus attendance rate of 94.8% missed the state goal of 95% by only
0.2 percent. In 2000-2001, 435 students took AP & IB courses at AHS,
105 students took college courses from CCCC on the AHS campus, and 2,325
students were enrolled in Pre-AP and Pre-IB course sections. Examples
of the numbers of students taking rigorous courses that AHS stresses include
Spanish 3, French 3 and German 3 (329 students), Chemistry (735 students),
Physics (385 students), Algebra 2 (887 students), and Pre-Calculus (430
C3. How does the school ensure that diverse learners (for
example, students with disabilities, gifted and talented students, students
with limited English proficiency, migrant students, and students placed
at risk) have the opportunity to learn challenging content and achieve
at high levels?
All courses are open to students with disabilities, and students are encouraged
by their House Counselor to attempt courses that are both mentally and
physically challenging. Peer tutors are provided for students with disabilities
to ensure success. One example is the provision of scribes for students
who cannot take their own notes or write out test information. Gifted
and talented students have specially designed courses such as Phoenix
English, an AP English course that extends the AP standards by having
students creative solutions to unique problems. Academically advanced
students enroll in AP and IB programs to challenge them. Some students
also receive college credit by taking the AP exams in the spring. Students
who have limited English proficiency are assigned mentors. They have an
ESL class and Content Mastery Classroom (CMC) support for courses in which
the students have difficulty. CMC supports students in reading, test taking,
class work, and other identified difficulties the students may experience.
Students at risk may be placed in several support settings when identified
by the Student Support Team (SST). These students may be referred to the
Support Counselor or to an outside counselor. They may placed in the CMC
for extra tutoring for instruction. Additionally, they may be assigned
a mentor teacher who monitors their progress and is available for additional
The 504 committee meets to review students that do not qualify for the
Special Education Program, but possess special needs that cannot be met
in the regular classroom. The Attendance Committee reviews students that
have violated the 90% attendance rule mandated by TEA, and determines
if a waiver should be granted to students that provide information relative
to their absences. All professional personnel are given student Individual
Education Plans at the beginning of the school year to assist the teacher
in student modifications to aid in student success. The Co-Teacher Program
supports identified students within the classroom settings that need direction.
Nine Special Education teachers assist the classroom teacher with assignments
and monitor the approximately 170 SpEd/504 students in 20 sections for
a total of 600 students in various capacities within the classroom.
C4. What is the process for continuous curriculum renewal
at your school? What questions about curriculum is your school currently
AHS is in the midst of a three-year plan to create curriculum documents
for all courses. These documents will include curriculum guides, scope
and sequence, as well as benchmark exams for each course. Last year each
department created semester examinations for each course offered, meaning
that all chemistry teachers gave the same final examination that covered
the state-mandated TEKS for the course. This helped create the beginnings
of a scope and sequence for each course. In 2001-2002, each department
has developed benchmark examinations for each course. These benchmark
exams cover what is to be taught during the first six to eight weeks of
the school year in each course. The teachers are given a two-week window
in which they are to give the benchmark exam. The results are used to
determine which TEKS objectives students are learning, and which ones
need more emphasis. By the beginning of the 2002-2003 school year, the
plan is to develop curriculum guides for each course based on the scope
and sequence that evolves from the benchmarks and semester exams. These
guides will help teachers, especially new teachers and teachers teaching
courses at AHS for the first time, understand the sequence that needs
to be followed in teaching course material. This process has created better
vertical dialogue between the teachers within each department as well
as creating a better transition with the teachers at AHS's feeder campus,
the Lowery Ninth Grade Center. Meetings are held that include Ninth Grade
Center teachers in each department multiple times during the school year.
Course alignment has also been addressed in each department to ensure
that students are receiving the best sequence of learning to prepare them
for their future. The focus is to get all students into courses that are
more rigorous, and for students to continue to take these courses throughout
high school. AHS is in the process of requiring all students to take mathematics
through their junior year and English through their senior year, whether
they have completed graduation requirements or not. These requirements
are a response to the need to prepare students for post-secondary pursuits.
C5. Successful schools offer all students opportunities
to be engaged with significant content. How does your school ensure that
students achieve at high levels in the core subjects?
A. English - The English Department strives to meet the academic needs
of all Allen High School students by providing a comprehensive and diverse
curriculum. To satisfy graduation requirements, students must take four
years of English. The core English courses include Resource English, English
I -IV, Pre AP and AP English, Pre IB and IB English, Pre AP and AP Phoenix
for gifted and talented students, and English Composition and Rhetoric
dual credit courses with Collin County Community College.
English I - IV classes integrate literature, writing and grammar, and
prepare students for college and post secondary courses as well as future
careers. English II is a survey course of diverse genres. English III
focuses on American Literature; and English IV studies British Literature.
Teachers also focus on critical thinking skills and test taking strategies
to help students succeed on SAT tests, TAAS tests, and End of Course tests.
Semester exams are departmentalized and objectives tested correspond with
the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) as taught in the school
curriculum. Teachers meet two or three times during the six weeks to discuss
scope and sequence and objectives during the grading period.
Those students wishing to receive college credit enroll in Pre AP in the
10th grade, AP Language in 11th grade, and AP Literature in 12th grade.
These classes have open enrollment. The enrollment for the 2000-2001 school
year was 269 Pre AP students and 210 AP students. Teachers of these courses
attend seminars presented by the College Board during the summer at least
every other year.
Pre IB and IB classes are also available and 103 students were enrolled
during the 2000-2001 school year. IB students follow an international
standardized curriculum and complete internationally moderated exams.
IB teachers also attend seminars and receive specialized training.
The learning styles and academic needs of the gifted and talented are
addressed in AP classes known as Phoenix classes. In order to be enrolled
in these classes, students must be evaluated through testing, a portfolio,
and parent and teacher observations. These students receive one credit,
and may take the AP English test for college credit as well.
Students may receive college credit by taking English Composition and
Rhetoric as a dual credit course with Collin County Community College.
Presently 80 students are in enrolled in these classes. Last year 85 AHS
students received 6 hours of college credit by completing these classes.
Allen High School also offers elective courses of SAT Prep, TAAS Reading,
and TAAS Writing. School Board policy makes it mandatory for any student
who fails TAAS his or her sophomore year to take a TAAS class. We also
provide a creative outlet for students by providing a Creative Writing
Course. This class is offered second semester and will publish a literary
magazine for the school.
In an effort to keep up with the needs of all students, three new courses
were developed for the 2000-2001 school year (Accelerated English I &
II, English IV, and Business and Technical Writing). Accelerated English
meets daily and is designed for those students who failed English I. They
can receive two credits (English I and English II) in one year. Since
these students struggle with English, they become more proficient by having
daily reinforcement. English IV Accelerated has been established for those
students who wish to graduate early. They also meet daily and can finish
English IV in one semester. Senior teachers also saw the need for a Business
and Technical Writing Class for those students who are on the minimum
graduation plan and want to develop communication skills needed after
graduation. These classes are co-taught with a teacher from the special
education department and students receive better-individualized assistance.
English teachers realize the importance of preparing our students to excel
once they leave our school. Our state TAAS scores last year in Reading
(96.6% passing) and Writing (94% passing), combined with the number of
students receiving college credit for AP (79 students in 2001) and dual
credit English courses (85 students in 2001) indicate the dedication to
learning and excellence in the English curriculum.
B. Mathematics - Skill development and success in math are tied to a strong
aligned curriculum. At AHS each subject area - Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra
II, Math Models, Pre Calculus, Calculus, and Probability and Statistics
- is completely aligned with the TEKS, and TEKS are aligned with the Standards
and Practices of the NCTM. Students are challenged at every level: regular,
pre AP, AP and IB. For those students whose algebra skills are not at
a level to allow them success in Pre Calculus, we have instituted an Algebra
III class. It is designed to fulfill the fourth math requirement at AHS,
and prepare the students for College Algebra or Pre Calculus.
Clear and productive communication among the two middle schools and the
Lowery Freshman Center has led to consistent content mastery and performance.
Meeting in subject area groups, teachers discuss pacing, sequencing and
lesson presentation. Benchmark testing has been instituted to track the
success of the curriculum alignment. Each subject area uses the same semester
exam to assess students' performance. These tests are aligned with the
TEKS and our local curriculum.
To assist students struggling to pass the TAAS test AHS offers Math Strategies
classes. The teacher of this class strives to reteach the skills necessary
for students to pass the test. Besides teaching the specific content of
the TAAS test, the teacher works on arithmetic skills and building a conceptual
foundation for understanding math in general.
In cooperation with the Science Department, algebra classes emphasize
math content that is essential for success in chemistry and physics. They
solve equations with variables other than x, changing units in a mathematical
manner, and understanding slope as a rate of change in a variety of situations.
Projects assigned in some of our Algebra II and Pre calculus classes allow
students to investigate math in the context of history and see its function
in society. In Geometry, students make 3-dimensional art that represents
tessellations and planar surfaces. Career investigations also enable students
to see how math is integrated into professional life.
Last year, 18 AP math exams were taken: 15 Calculus and 3 Probability
and Statistics. Of those taken, 12 scored 3 or better. Five IB exams were
taken with 3 passing. Of those taking the February, 2001 TAAS, 94% of
sophomores passed - an improvement of 8% over the previous year. Because
of our district commitment to 100% of our students passing the TAAS before
graduation, in the past 2 years, we have had no senior fail to walk the
stage because of failure on TAAS.
C. Science - The science curriculum includes Integrated Physics and Chemistry,
Biology, AP Biology, IB Biology I and II, Chemistry, Pre-AP Chemistry,
AP Chemistry, Physics, Pre-AP Physics, AP Physics, IB Physics, Principles
of Technology, Aquatic Science, Environmental Science, and Geology. All
students at AHS - excluding those students who graduate according to their
I. E. P. - exceed the state minimum science requirements of two credits.
Additionally, 55 percent of the graduating class of 2000 graduated on
the recommended plan with at least biology, chemistry, and physics credits.
Critical thinking skills and problem solving techniques are stressed with
an emphasis on equipping students with the tools necessary to formulate
and present informed, explicit solutions when faced with academic, business,
or life challenges. Lab reports are used to help students to plan and
implement investigative procedures followed by analysis of data and formulation
of conclusions. In addition, guided reading activities develop student's
abilities to understand and decipher science text, helping students with
standardized testing as well as enhancing reading objectives.
Curriculum alignment within content areas, vertically and horizontally,
and across disciplines has recently been accomplished. This alignment
is based on the National Science Education Standards and the TEKS. Alignment
discussions and planning take place through many different venues during
the year including district planning sessions facilitated through Allen
ISD Curriculum department, departmental meetings, and meetings between
the math, English, and science coordinators. These meetings have resulted
in the science and math departments functioning with an interdisciplinary
curriculum helping to reinforce and support both areas. For example, the
math department uses specific science topics such as the use of slope
to determine density and acceleration, while chemistry and integrated
physics and chemistry use methods similar to math teachers when covering
Purchase and use of equipment has been coordinated between the advanced
classes, chemistry, biology, and physics, allowing more students to be
use calculators and Computer-Based Lab (CBL) equipment for data collection
for analysis during laboratory and field experiments. CBL probes are used
in physics and chemistry to measure kinetics and in environmental science,
aquatics, and biology to measure pH, oxygen, and carbon dioxide levels
The professional accomplishments of the science staff assure that students
will receive excellence teaching. A number of teachers serve as officers
in science associations and on various committees within science associations
at the state and national levels. One physics teacher holds patents on
inventions created while doing laser research with the government. Another
physics teacher is a Physics Teacher Resource Agent (PTRA) for the American
Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). One of the biology teachers is
coauthor of the textbook used in the course, and has been president of
the National Association of Biology Teachers and is the founding president
of the Texas Association of Biology Teachers. This year teachers will
be making presentations at the Conference for the Advancement of Science
Teachers (CAST) on the state level, the National Association of Biology
Teachers (NABT) on the national level, and at Universidad Regiomontana
in Monterrey, Mexico on the international level.
D. Social Studies - Students offered the mandated state curriculum and
have the opportunity to take advanced, college credit, and electives classes.
Psychology, Sociology, and Film as a Reflection of Society are electives.
Pre-AP World History, Pre-AP World Geography, AP American Studies, AP
U.S. Government, AP Economics, AP Psychology, AP Human Geography, and
AP European Studies are advanced level courses taught according to the
College Board Standards. Students also have the opportunity to receive
an International Baccalaureate diploma. Dual Credit classes give the students
the opportunity to earn both high school and College credit at the same
time. CCCC has classes at AHS. Several teachers also teach at the college.
Each Social Studies class incorporates TAAS skills into their curriculum.
Teachers are encouraged to use several types of learning techniques. Cooperative
learning groups, problem solving, analyzing events and using technology
are just some of the techniques used in the student-driven curriculum.
AP Government class has a website to trace bills in Congress, Art History
has a website that allows students to visit museum and U.S. History has
a history display comparing the Vietnam War and World War II in the library.
These are just some examples of the student-driven activities.
E. The Arts - The AHS nationally recognized fine arts department includes
Visual Arts, Band, Orchestra, Choir, Drama and Dance. AHS is fortunate
to have an exceptionally talented group of students and faculty as exemplified
by honors at the state, national, and international levels. Every course
meets or exceeds the TEKS, state standard objectives for knowledge and
skills. All graduates have taken at least one fine art credit.
Offerings in art include Art 1 and Pre-AP Art 1 as prerequisites to Drawing,
Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, Electronic Media, Graphic Arts, AP Studio
Arts, and IB Studio. Basic skills and concepts in relation to creation
and analysis of art are taught through the elements and principles of
design. Math is integrated into the art curriculum as students determine
and analyze measurements, ratios, and proportions. Students acquire and
organize knowledge in four themes: perception, creative expression/performance,
historical and cultural heritage, and critical evaluation.
The Theater Department offers courses in performance as well as technical
theater applications. Technical Theatre designed for the student interested
in the technical aspects of the theater and hands on experience in stagecraft.
Theatre Arts designed for the student interested in competitions, performances
and productions. Theatre Production designed for the student interested
in hands-on experience in acting and stagecraft through public performances.
Subject content addresses the TEKS, and lessons in time management, public
relations, successful teamwork, effective communication skills and career
focus are included. AHS hosts the UIL One-Act play competition. The Theatre
Guild is a club open to all Thespians interested in theatre.
The Choir Department offers vocal/choral techniques, music theory, and
music history. Students may join the Encore (show choir), Acapella (varsity
mixed choir), Touch of Class (select women choir), or Eagle Women (beginning
women choir). This year the Eagle Corps (all male choir, grades 7-12)
has been added to the curriculum. Theatre and Choir Departments work together
in hosting a madrigal dinner in the winter. The students perform and compete
in a festival in Ensenada, Mexico. The past 2 years AHS Choir had six
students make the region choir. The Choir produced two musicals Grease
and the Music Man as well as performs for the Rotary club and the opening
of the Legacy Bank in Frisco.
The AHS Band is comprised of approximately 270 students in grades 9-12.
During the marching season, all students combine with the color guard
and drill team units, to form the 340-member marching unit, Allen Eagle
Escadrille. The Escadrille performs at all football games, pep rallies,
UIL marching contest and special civic events. The marching band has received
over 20 consecutive first division ratings at the UIL region marching
contest. The marching band has also made several appearances at the state
finals including two first-place finishes. Other notable performances
include the Macys' Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York and the St. Patrick's
Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland. Five concert bands are available for students
in spring. These bands perform at several concerts, UIL concert and sight-reading
contest and an out-of-town spring festival. Last years festival included
a trip to Orlando, Florida where all of the bands received top ratings
including two Best-In-Class Awards. Band students also have the opportunity
to participate in various venues such as the UIL Solo/Ensemble Contest,
Region/Area/State bands, and the Jazz Band. These venues provide our students
with the opportunity to achieve on a much more personal level.
The AHS dance program offers Dance 1, 2, 3, and 4, Drill Training. Drill
Team and Color Guard. Each level studies the techniques of various dance
forms, dance history, choreography and performance. Drill Team and color
Guard perform at various school functions as well as compete in the band
UIL competition in the fall. Drill Team competes in area and statewide
contests and has won numerous awards, including Sweepstakes (Division
1 rating in three routines), outstanding showmanship, outstanding precision
and the judges award. The Color Guard recently begun competing in area
winter guard contests and received recognition on their programs.
F. World Languages (other than English) - Language classes are offered
in French, German and Spanish. In each languages, offerings include Levels
I-V, both regular and advanced levels, including both AP and IB. The core
of the foreign language curriculum develops skills in the communicative
domains of reading, writing, listening and speaking. Additionally, emphasis
is given to understanding the cultures of the people who speak the target
languages. Activities focusing on the TEKS engage students in practicing
their language skills in academic, social, business, and literary climates
through performance-based simulations including role-playing and paired
interviews that are recreated both in classroom and laboratory settings.
Additional enrichment is given through exposure to the history, geography,
film, current events, literature, art, music and foods native to the target
cultures. Foreign exchange students bring added enthusiasm and richness
into the classes and at club meetings. Students have opportunities to
extend their experiences as they attend contests, perform at local festivals,
and participate in state symposiums. Staff members attend state and national
workshops and conferences to continue professional growth and bring the
most modern application of linguistic pedagogy into the language programs.
C6.What other content areas or programs play essential roles
in your schoolwide curriculum goals?
Broadcast Journalism at AHS is nationally recognized for the innovative
use of technology in. The KGLE Radio Network, our high school radio station,
KGLE 3, our high school television station, and Cable Channel 17, our
district cable channel provide creative programming. A daily newscast
from the campus is aired to AHS students and the community. Creative programming
includes "The Bistro," a cooking show, "Allen, The TV Show,"
a soap opera based on the old "Dallas" series, "Knowledge
Quest," an academic game show, and live sports and sporting events.
These programs provide both entertainment and school and community information.
In using both writing and oral formats, the TEKS and TAAS objectives are
reinforced. Most importantly, however, they provide students with opportunities
for success in the world of journalism.
CCCC plays another essential role in the program of AHS. With a 30,000
square foot satellite on the AHS campus, students are in a unique position
to maximize their potential to complete high school requirements while
getting college credit. In 1999-2000, the first year of operation, two
students received 21 hours of college credit from CCCC, and entered university
as transfer sophomore students. In 2000-2001, 85 students received dual
credit in English, and a similar number in Social Studies. These numbers
are actually doubled when one considers that students take two semesters
of college to receive one credit for high school. CCCC provide college
advisors to plan out an entire college career, and have remedial courses
in reading, writing, and mathematics for students who do not pass the
Texas Assessment of Skills Placement test (TASP).
C7. What requirements must be satisfied before a student
is promoted to the next grade level of schooling?
Since AHS is a grades 10-12 campus, students that have completed a year
at Lowery Freshmen Center (or in another district) are admitted to AHS
no matter what their credit total is. This practice is to avoid having
older students retained at Lowery Freshman Center. Core discipline courses
are double-blocked to allow students that are behind on graduation requirements
to catch up. Students must have completed 6, 12, and 16 credits to be
classified as a sophomore, junior, or senior respectively. Students wishing
to graduate a year early must officially apply for early graduation to
allow the registrar's office to determine if the student has earned enough
of the graduation requirements to be classified as a senior. In 2001-2002,
AHS has approximately 50 students that have applied for early graduation.
Early graduates receive a $1,000 scholarship from the State of Texas.
AHS students must complete 24 credits to graduate on the minimum graduation
plan, two more credits than the State requirement. Students must complete
28 credits to graduate on the Recommended High School Program, four more
credits than the State requirement. Approximately 70% of students at AHS
graduate under the Recommended High School Program. In granting AHS Exemplary
High School status, the Texas Education Agency also gave an additional
recognition for students completing the Recommended High School Program
C8. What are your course requirements for graduation? What
percentage of the last graduating class completed curriculum requirements
typically required for college admission? What percentage of the last
graduating class completed a course sequence designed to prepare them
for a transition to work? What percentage of the graduates completed some
other sequence required for graduation?
State High School College Prep Career Other
Requirements # of
Years % of Grads. # of
Years % of Grads. # of
Years % of Grads.
English 4 4 4
Mathematics 3 4 4
Algebra 1 1 1 1
Geometry 0 1 1
Algebra 2 0 1 1
Other 0 1 1
Social Studies 4 4 4
Science 2 3 3
Lab Science 2 3 3
World Language 0 2 0
Arts 0 1 1
Technology 1 1 1
Career Related 0 0 2
Health/Physical Ed. 2 2 2
Other 6 7 3
# of Credits 22 28 72% 24 28% 0
Allen High School recommends that all students begin on
the Recommended High School Plan, "college prep" plan. By the
end of their senior year, many students transition into the state minimum
plan which does not require two years of World Languages. However, all
AHS graduates must have 4 years of mathematics and 3 years of science,
a year more than the state requires in either area. Over 25% of AHS graduates
earn college credit prior to leaving high school.
D. Active Teaching and Learning
D1. How are teaching practices and learning experiences in the school
consistent with current knowledge about successful teaching and learning?
Successful teaching occurs when there is successful learning. Such teaching
practices enhance and enable students to construct their own learning.
The Professional Development Appraisal System (PDAS) is a research-based
method of evaluating teaching methods. PDAS stresses the use of multiple
activities within a class period, hands-on activities, and differentiation
for different students. Hands-on activities such as board games to learn
history, building models to understand math relationships, and performing
lab activities to understand the nature of science occur in classrooms
throughout the curriculum. Teachers receive training for these practices
during district and campus-based staff development days, and weekly ACT
meetings. The following are only a few examples of teaching practices
used to enhance student learning.
· At AHS, math classes have easy access to graphing calculators.
Because calculators are available, teachers construct lessons that allow
students to discover graphic and algebraic relationships. Their application
in introductory levels enhances the understanding of slope, rate of change,
and the coordinate system. In upper level classes, their use supports
a deeper understanding of the theory behind trigonometry and calculus.
Besides calculator use, mathematical modeling classes use CBL and CBR
units to gather and analyze data. In order for students to relate math
experience to the world, some time is used to discuss current affairs
and how math can be used to analyze and study a current event topic such
as disease or crime.
· In biology and environmental science, live animals are used in
the classroom. Students relate the classification system to characteristics
of the species. Students study behavior and measure physical characteristics
such as heart rhythm and temperature. The "Port-a-pet Program"
connects what is studied in the elementary classroom with actual animals.
Elementary school students come as a class to the biology lab to investigate
the animals and their behavior. As part of the IB program, senior IB students
design lessons that they teach at the high school to elementary school
classes. By cooperating with an elementary teacher the lessons on the
microscope become accessible to young students, while enhancing the experience
for the older students.
· Physics includes a long-term project about the roller coaster.
While studying forces, speed, and acceleration, students build an understanding
of the analytical side of roller coasters. The project culminates in a
trip to Six Flags to verify expectations through direct experience with
· Encouraging students to become active in the political life of
our country, government teachers provide opportunities to express themselves
in class and through the government web page. Students contribute to the
web page and maintain it. By actively engaging in political conversation,
their study of the function of government becomes relevant.
· Students in computer science experience the process of programming
as well as the rewards. Their preparation takes students to a level that
enables them to become summer employees and interns at local companies
such as Raytheon. The students reach a level of programming experience
that has led 6 of them to full scholarships in computer science at the
· In AP Art History, the teacher utilizes the resources of the
Internet and the flexibility of computer presentations to make art more
immediate and personal. Students create "cave" paintings, Greek
art on pots and urns, and an architectural portfolio that uses local structures
to catalog the forms studied.
· In English, writing is the centerpiece of the curriculum. As
students study literature and the culture that produced the literature,
they demonstrate their understanding and integration of the information
through essays and critical analyses. Work with grammar is closely linked
to student writing. Using self-analysis, students improve their knowledge
of the mechanics of language and its use.
· Foreign language students are challenged to work in the language.
Frequently in the second and third year classes, the class is conducted
in the language. Through exposure to authentic material and the oral practice
students are able to become skilled in reading, writing and speaking the
D2. In what ways do teaching practices support student-initiated
All departments use a variety of strategies and practices to support student-initiated
learning. Students work in cooperative groups and on individual projects
both inside the classroom during class time and outside the classroom
for homework assignments. Administrators monitor the variety of teaching
practices during PDAS evaluations. Time is provided for students to reflect
on problems and attempt individual solutions. Some examples of ways teaching
practices support student-initiated learning in a variety of curricular
· Students in broadcasting, produce the daily announcements in
a news format complete with news, sports, weather and advertisements.
Without the daily contact and planning that goes on between students,
this enterprise would fail. It is so good that for 2 years the KGLE, the
Broadcast Journalism team, has been nationally recognized.
· Student initiated work extends into Journalism classes that produce
a newspaper published six times a year. Students pick news stories, features,
and editorials under the supervision of the teacher. It is the students'
responsibility to meet deadlines, layouts, and pictures for the stories
in a completely cooperative effort.
· Computer science students are given parameters for writing a
program for a game, but the balance of the project is their own. The culmination
of the project is a presentation to people in the professional community
who rate their efforts - much as would happen if one presented an idea
or concept to a business. Through this link, there is a dialog between
the computer science student and Raytheon, Micorsoft, and local companies.
· Clinical Rotation class allows for student-initiated work in
sciences. After a course of preparation in medical terminology, students
are supervised through a clinical experience at a local hospital. The
ultimate goal is for the student to be prepared to pass their Certified
Nurse's Assistant (CNA) test. The students are given direction, but the
performance is their own.
· Participation in CoCo BEST competition requires that A-Team Robotics
students use the knowledge of robotics that they acquire largely on their
own. They compete against other teams given the same problem and the same
materials. Students initiate and evaluate their own learning and performance.
D3. How are resources made available to teachers and students
for gathering information and sharing the results of their efforts?
The AHS library is a state-of-the-art, user-friendly resource facility
that provides equal, open and flexible access to resources and technologies,
and is fully integrated into the instructional process. The library provides
a balanced, carefully selected and systematically organized, diverse collection
to meet the needs of students and faculty. The library houses a small
professional library for teachers featuring professional education journals,
as well as two computers where teachers can access any of the library's
online subscriptions. The Media Retrieval System will be available soon
so that all the classes can access and view the same video as needed to
enhance student learning. The library maintains extended hours Monday
through Friday and operates the Livewire computer lab during and after
school, as well as in the evenings.
The library staff engages, directs, and encourages students individually,
and in groups, in problem-driven research, application of problem-solving
information, and the use of technology. In the 2000 school year inventory,
there was a balanced collection of 15,000 items or approximately 5 items
per student, including books, periodicals, software, and electronic resources.
The library annually subscribes to approximately 13 online subscription
services, in addition to the online services it receives through the Texas
Library Connection. These subscriptions are accessible to students and
teachers from any in-school location where they can login, as well as
at home. The library also provides students with two local newspapers,
one national newspaper, and a full-text news database. The librarian facilitates
teachers in accessing the video collection available through the Region
10 Education Service Center, which provides a two-week lone period on
its materials to teachers.
The librarian collaborates regularly with teachers to cooperatively plan
curriculum and learning experiences within a flexibly scheduled environment.
Teachers in all departments work with the librarian to select and secure
materials for research projects. The librarian recruits suggestions from
teachers, notifies teachers of materials that would enhance their curriculum,
and makes teacher requests a top priority. The librarian consults individually
with each teacher when time is reserved for class use.
Some hardware in the library includes 120 computers, 90 of which are housed
in two interior computer labs. Additionally there are 40 computers housed
in the library's exterior lab, The Livewire. The Livewire is an informal
study lab. Included in the library's hardware are three portable video
conferencing units that can be used in the classroom, or in any location
in the building that has a network connection. There are VCRs, digital
projectors, digital cameras, scanners, CD-ROM burners, and video link
televisions available for checkout from the library.
The library is a space for a variety of uses. It contains display cases
to showcase student and faculty work. Last year students in photography
displayed competition photos. Architectural graphics students are presently
displaying examples of shelters and house models made from boxes. Space
is available in the library for students to congregate to discuss group
projects in which they are involved.
Every student at AHS utilizes library services at some time during the
school year. In 2000-01, the total number of student contacts, engaged
in formal guided research, served by the library's two interior computer
labs was 35,048 students. During the same period, the print library served
14,864 students doing formal guided research. Walk-ins average 25 students
per day for 4,625 walk-ins last year. The grand total of student contacts
for the AHS library in 2000-01 was 54,519 students. The AHS library offers
an appealing, effective environment that is age-appropriate for students
and reflective of students' interests, the community, and instructional
D4. What technology applications is the school using? How
do they relate to the curricular goals and how do they support teaching
Teaching technology is available to every teacher and student in every
classroom. Available technology includes everything from lasers and laser
disk players to VCRs and graphing calculators. All classrooms have at
least two computers for student and teacher use. Computers On Wheels (COW)
labs bring more computers in the form of laptops to classrooms. Teachers
throughout the school assign PowerPoint and Hyperstudio presentations.
Students use the technology to enhance and showcase their understanding
of the content. The following examples demonstrate how the technology
allows teachers to design lessons that incorporate its use in their curriculum:
Ø Every math teacher has access to 12 or more graphing calculators
in the classroom. Math classes use a discovery approach with respect to
graphs and their equations. Probability and statistics class uses both
the calculator and computer program to simulate problem situations or
to analyze given data. Life science classes use conferencing via computer
to learn about other habitats and science teaching.
Ø One biology page contains more than 200 links to web sites that
enhance the curriculum. The sites are grouped according to the topic or
unit studied. Students are given the opportunity to e-mail researchers
in various fields of biology, and to post their results for other students.
Assignments, test reviews, and other visual information is attached for
Ø Thoroughly integrated technology is available in government classes.
Research using the Internet and distance learning are used often. The
AP government classes started a web site called "Students Take Action
in National Democracy" (STANDS). The purposes are to show students
that the government affects life today, to provide a mechanism for interactive
dialog with other students throughout the U.S., and to help students know
who their state and national representative are and how they can help.
Students research bills in State Legislature and U.S. Congress. The site
includes an editorial page where students can voice their opinions. Several
lawyers, a judge and a policeman have agreed to answer e-mail questions
students may have. STANDS, also, has a list of helpful web sites page.
Here students can find WebPages about college grants, AP test reviews,
etc. Academically, the teacher can easily inject the essential elements
from Government as the students develop the web site. Students publish
articles about local, state and international events.
Ø The AP Art History teacher has a web page where students are
asked to analyze works of art and e-mail their responses to the art teacher.
There are other links where students can take an Egyptian Tour, view Art
projects from other schools, visit a Medieval Art and Music gallery and
Teachers are trained to use technology in a variety of ways. Staff development
is provided district-wide during the summer months and throughout the
school year. Training on use of the electronic grade book, attendance,
and computer programs are also provided during ACT (E1). Region 10 Service
Center provides additional training for those teachers who need training
beyond the requirements of the district.
By graduation, all students have used word processing, spreadsheet, and
data base programs to complete assignments in the classroom and for homework.
Many of our students have already produced their own web pages before
coming to AHS, and all students are proficient at doing research using
Internet capabilities, and most can create a web page by the time they
E Professional Community
E1. What opportunities do teachers and other staff have to build professional
community that enhance their collective capacity to work together to support
AHS provides opportunities for its staff of 173 to develop personal communities
essential for student learning. Across the district, all certified professional
personnel are required to complete 150 clock hours of Continuing Professional
Education (CPE) every five years. These hours may include: (1) district-sponsored
CPE activities, often designed by high school staff; (2) approved activities
outside of the district; or (3) postgraduate course work through an accredited
institution of higher learning. CPE units are part of the employees annual
performance appraisal, providing teachers the ability to grow in their
given academic arena or expand their interest in others areas for the
benefit of their students. Allen Curriculum Training (ACT) sessions are
held 45 minutes on a weekly basis to provide information and training
on topics covering web pages, the computer grade book (SASI), Special
Education Training, software analysis for current software used, technology
surveys, sexual harassment training, multi-intelligence seminars, teaching
methods, library assistance, and video conferencing among others. ACT
had lead to an increase of computer usage in the classroom by both teachers
and students. All teachers have web pages that provide information and
assignments beneficial to students and acts as a resource for parents.
The arrangement of AHS into four "houses" (A1 and B1) provides
the small school atmosphere for the approximately 600 students in the
respected "house". The "houses" are divided alphabetically
allowing student to stay with the same Principal, Academic Advisor, Secretary,
and Student Support Team throughout their high school career. This provides
for a smooth transition from year to year, because of the established
relationships developed the previous year. Siblings are in the same house,
creating a better understanding of family situations, how they affect
the family, and support conferences with parents. The House Concept often
leads to teachers of Math, English, and Social Studies sharing students,
thus having an inside view to academic or behavioral failure yielding
strategies to support the student. Common planning time between teachers
is provided for teachers in staff development meetings, course meetings
before or after school, and during lunches for most teachers.
The Student Support Team (SST) is an integral program in achieving student
success. The SST is comprised of an administrator, a counselor, a Special
Education teacher, a secretary, and several teachers that have been trained
to assist students in need. Teachers, parents, or peers can refer students
identified as having issues that interfere in academic success to the
SST. Case managers are assigned to each student, collect information from
various venues, review and evaluate the information, and present it to
the SST. Individual plans for the students are proposed, ranging from
mandatory tutoring, daily monitoring by case manager, adult mentors, 504
placement, participation in counselor lead student groups for students,
and outside referral if necessary. SST serves to help teachers' help students
redirect their focus and regain academic stability.
The Campus Improvement Team (CIT) is composed of administrators, teachers,
students, paraprofessionals, community leaders and parents. The CIT meets
monthly to discuss issues relevant to campus decisions, problem solving,
student-driven issues, and reviews goals and objectives of AHS. Minutes
are distributed to all campus personnel. Besides the CIT, the Department
Coordinators (DC) play a leadership role in building professional community
throughout the school. The DC meets monthly with administration to review,
evaluate and create changes in curriculum within the respected departments
relevant to student success in the classroom.
The sense of community at AHS is enhanced through social events, athletic
and academic events, PTSA luncheons, after school get-togethers, meals
for families in times of struggle, and celebration of life events (weddings,
births, retirements). AHS shares moments of joy and sadness as a family.
E2. How does a coherent approach to professional development
for teachers and other staff ensure their ability to implement effectively
the school's curriculum, instructional strategies, and support system?
How do organizational arrangements such as time and teaching assignments,
and school norms and culture, make professional development a priority?
Professional development as directed in Domain IV of the Professional
Development and Appraisal System (PDAS) leads teachers to pursue activities
that assist them in understanding the individual needs of the students.
Our philosophy of staff development is based on the standard of Continuing
Professional Education (E1). The philosophy of Allen ISD Professional
Development states "being a professional in the field of education
implies commitment to continued learning and growth, the ultimate goal
is improving student achievement." The standards of this program
are based on the National Staff Development Council. The standards include:
· aligning staff development with school and district goals to
· establishing priorities on what issues to address using student
· providing follow-up and support;
· addressing the need for quality education for all children, regardless
of race, ethnic background, gender or special needs;
· emphasizing a challenging, developmentally-appropriate core curriculum
based on content and objective established by the school, parents, and
· promoting parent and family involvement in education.
Teachers may select classes from the District Professional Catalog, attend
district, Region 10, or special workshops, state or subject-specific conferences,
Advanced Placement Summer Conferences, and postgraduate coursework in
pursuit of personal growth to support improvement in teaching and learning
in the classroom. AHS teachers have opportunities to select topics for
staff development days through yearly surveys. Teachers are encouraged
to develop programs for staff development days sharing ideas and information
with colleagues gained through personal development. Allen Curriculum
Training (E1) is another opportunity for professional development. Various
topics are covered weekly providing new learning opportunities or reinforcement
of previous knowledge. Mentoring of new teachers helps to support the
learning process that occurs when one enters a new facility. The Department
Coordinators play a vital role in the support of new personnel. Regular
training sessions indoctrinate new teacher procedures and protocol for
success within the high school setting. The district encourages teachers
to seek postgraduate work through a partnership with the University of
North Texas and an annual stipend for completion of Masters or Doctorate
E3. How does the school tailor professional development
and support to address the differences in career experience or professional
New teachers attend a three-day in-service at the beginning of the year
in addition to the three regular in-service/workdays that all teachers
are required to complete. During this in-service they are trained in the
daily operations of AHS and where to find support for those frequently
asked questions during the first hectic days of school. In addition, weekly
training is given concerning copier machines, computer access, passwords,
and general areas of concern that have been identified during departmental
meetings by previous new teachers. New teachers are assigned an experienced
teacher to mentor them. The mentor is responsible for helping the new
teacher with questions concerning the workings of the classroom, where
to find help for problems that arise after school has started, and etc.
Department Coordinators also help new teachers with problems such as where
to get additional books, how to help students with computer log-ins, questions
about AHS policies as well as general questions about classroom management,
tutorials, calling parents, or how to handle modifications for exams or
quizzes. Within departments, subject areas also have meetings, usually
weekly or biweekly, to insure with horizontal curriculum alignment. During
these meetings teachers help each other find new ways to present difficult
material, identify problem areas for new teachers that experienced teachers
have encountered previously, and ways to avoid those problems or help
students through those areas. For instance, chemistry teachers meet to
review the labs that will be done the next week.
The district offers a wide variety of after-school technology classes
that are tailored to the attendee's experience level regarding specific
areas. Some classes include basic computer training, Microsoft Word, Microsoft
Excel, and PowerPoint training with varying levels of expertise offered
(novice or experienced), using the internet in the classroom, web page
design, etc. The actual classes that are offered are based on a survey
that is done at each campus within the district. After analysis of the
survey, a catalog of classes is sent to each school and teachers sign-up
for their choices. These classes are also offered through the continuing
education department during the summer. In addition to the opportunities
for teachers, counselors, aids, office personnel, custodians, and cafeteria
staff participate in staff development. The counselors, secretaries, and
paraprofessionals have been involved in training within the areas of discipline,
use of body language when dealing with students, parents, or the community,
and computer proficiency with a variety of programs used in AHS. The custodial
staff attends a series of safety training each year. Office personnel
attend Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) workshops
and other workshops at Region Service Center XIII related to campus goals.
District and school training are normally accomplished using AISD or AHS
staff. Both AHS and the district have professionals who possess excellent
skills in presenting staff development. Our teachers are often featured
at state, national, and even international conferences, and in other venues
that train teachers. For example, last year teachers presented at the
National Association of Biology Teachers Convention, the Conference for
the Advancement of Science, and Universidad Regiomontana, among others.
E4. How does your school use the processes and results of
student assessment, staff evaluation, and school review to support professional
growth? How has teacher professional development improved teaching and
resulted in higher student achievement and success?
Enhancing teacher expertise to improve student achievement is a focus
for meaningful professional development. TAAS, AP, and IB examination
results are used to assess student achievement. The results are also used
to gage the effectiveness of teachers. Teachers attend conferences and
seminars that are specifically geared to help them increase student achievement
(E3). Teachers who attend these training sessions are instrumental in
designing new activities and communicating these with other members of
the professional staff. As students achieve at higher levels than previously,
teachers work harder to see that the potential of all students is realized.
Resulting from an analysis of the AP English exam results in Phoenix classes,
for example, it became obvious that the course needed increased rigor
because students were not doing well. After a teacher was provided with
expertise from an AP English seminar, she received reassigned to teach
the class, and AP English scores in Phoenix classes have improved.
PDAS (E2) is used to identify areas of strength and weaknesses in staff.
Strengths are used to place teachers in courses that are more appropriate
and involve teachers in additional curricular activities. When weaknesses
are identified, additional training, a mentor, or a deficiency plan for
improvement. Both of these improve the effectiveness of the staff, resulting
in greater student success in the classroom. CIT (B1, B4, and E1) suggested
that TAAS data be used to place students in classes to improve skills
in reading, writing, and math. Consequently, all students have passed
TAAS for the past two years. The HIT (A1, F1, and G1) made the recommendation
that all teachers of AP and IB classes receive additional training. Therefore,
no teacher is assigned to AP or IB classes unless they attend summer workshops.
F Leadership and Educational Vitality
F1. How does leadership move your school towards its vision/mission? How
is the instructional leadership role defined and implemented? How are
resources aligned with goals?
Strong, supportive leadership is an important aspect of AHS. Bob Caudle
is currently serving his second year as Principal, where he has been instrumental
in developing and monitoring guidelines for the school. Department Coordinators
were reintroduced after a two year absence because Mr. Caudle saw the
need to have subject area expertise directly available for teachers. Mr.
Caudle has been proactive in preparing teachers and students for the TAKS
(C5) to be implemented in 2003. Deputy Principal, Billy Coburn, has assumed
a major responsibility for day-to-day program objectives and student activities.
House Principals provide leadership within their houses through monthly
meetings, leadership of SST and CIT meetings, and staff appraisals. Decisions
regarding curriculum and procedures are first-line teacher based, then
considered by department chairs, and ultimately approved by the budgeting
committees. The child's interest is critical in the decision-making process.
Collaborative leadership promotes ownership in the decision-making process.
Through the Student Council and President's Council, a representative
group of student organization officers, the Principal meets and listens
to the requests and interests of the students. In this way, special programs
such as Program Fairs and student activities can be scheduled. Teachers,
parents, and students meet monthly on the Campus Improvement Team (CIT)
to review policy and procedures that may need to be addressed - change
is often made as we find need to change.
HIT representatives meet monthly to discuss areas of concern. The CIT,
Department Coordinators and others may later address these concerns. Curriculum
work is done to ensure curriculum alignment both vertically and horizontally
in major core areas as well as special needs areas such as technology
levels. This ensures a smooth transition from middle school to high school.
The SST (A1) was established within each house to evaluate students' needs.
Through advisor and teacher evaluations, special programs can be developed
to ensure student successes, including special monitoring programs, revised
schedules, or alternative learning programs. Parents are involved in this
F2. How does the school engage its internal and external
stakeholders in leadership and decision-making? What is the relationship
between the principal and stakeholders?
Teachers and students initiate change on many levels. New courses, such
as clinical rotation and IB Advanced Math, have often been implemented
because of the suggestions of teachers (B2). Black Youth of America (B2)
is not a course. This student-initiated organization was established because
some students felt that their culture was not fully included in the curriculum
and celebrations at AHS. Since establishment of this club, peer tutoring
and a greater emphasis on Black History Month has occurred.
The AHS leadership is founded on mutual respect for all participants.
The CIT (Campus Improvement Team) is a 20-member group of department representatives,
parents, and business representatives that meets monthly. The goals of
the CIT, developed by the principal, elected teachers, and parents, are
parallel to those of the district. The expectations of the district and
AHS are evaluated annually to assess successes and benchmarks.
As problems arise, group decisions may be made quickly. Our lunch program
began the year with three lunch schedule times. Another lunchtime was
initiated when it became clear that this was an inefficient schedule.
Our lunch program is a prepaid system with cash to be used in only specific
lines. To quicken the lunch process, CIT requested the lunch prices be
placed on a marquee over the lunch lines offered so students could better
manage the amount of money they knew was in their accounts.
Surveys are often employed when major decisions are implemented. When
AHS was constructed, the community was involved at all levels for a period
of almost a year. Many of the suggestions from the community survey were
implemented. One of these was that we have one high school rather than
two. The natatorium, being constructed jointly for city and school use,
was another suggestion by the community. Students and parents have been
surveyed about the dress code and changes were made as a result.
Community plays an important role in our student offerings and coursework.
AHS is located in a highly technical area. The A-Team CoCoBEST (Collin
County Boosting Engineering Science Technology) has hosted the area robotics
competitive contest, sponsored in conjunction with Raytheon. In this group,
students create robots, maneuver them by remote control, and make them
perform designated duties in time-regulated segments.
F3. What kind of participatory school improvement process
operates at your school? How did your school prepare its Self-Assessment
for the Blue Ribbon Schools Program and how did this initiative relate
to other school improvement and planning efforts.
At the end of the 2001 school year, the CIT reviewed the year's activities
and data including numbers of students in each house, and structured a
plan that made the numbers more equitable in the upcoming school year.
Our strengths and direction included the continued alignment of our curricula
to ensure transition from school-to-school or program area-to-program
area (e.g. Science, math, history). Support of our House concept, the
curriculum teams, the SST programs, the Principal's Advisory Council,
and open communication lines with the faculty, staff, and community keep
our goals foremost in view. In recognizing our own shortcomings, we are
better able to redirect some of our programs to meet student need and
A member of the CIT, Allen Kimball, was sent to a seminar at Region 10
where the Blue Ribbon application was discussed. In reviewing the criteria
for other noteworthy educational certifications, such as TEA Exemplary
status (C1), the requirements were similar. The internal review of the
campus and district goals assisted in the planning and working of this
Blue Ribbon application. Through this self-study, AHS was able to align
and implement processes such as Department Coordinators and curriculum
specialists structuring curriculum alignment, vocational departments working
on career tech initiatives, and experienced teachers assisting new teachers
in training and mentoring programs. A committee of CIT and Department
Coordinators met during July. The committees began to analyze the data
and criteria needed to complete this document. Information was gathered
from administrative sources and surveys of the district that had been
prepared for end-of-year reports. Teachers were surveyed to review their
experiences and their involvement in both school and non-school activities.
The parents were offered the opportunity to provide input and to read
the application for accuracy. The application provides a framework from
which to view the school on a broader perspective than has been done in
the past. It will be used as data when additional changes and realignments
are suggested to improve the school. Many teachers hold prominent positions,
and many teachers have worked in other capacities, bringing multi-talented
information into our curriculum areas (H8).
F4. How does the school leadership use the most current
information about education to promote continuous improvement in the school?
How does such evidence influence decision-making?
In February, a retreat was held by the CIT to formulate goals for the
upcoming year. Objectives and strategies were diagnosed and the changes
or efforts will be applied with the new school year (F7). Videotapes by
Dr. Harry Wong have been provided for all new teachers. Dr. Wong's book,
The First Days of School, is suggested reading for all teachers. Using
the suggestions by Dr. Wong, teacher expectations are clearly stated and
instruction begins on the first day of school.
The Campus Improvement Team (CIT) uses data from AEIS, TAAS, SAT, ACT,
and AP reports (see H4-6, Appendix I, and Appendix II) to formulate goals.
As the data was analyzed, new courses in math and English were initiated
to help students improve in these areas. TAAS test results of Spring 2001
showed a passing percent of 96.6% in reading, 94.4% in math, and a 94%
in writing. Consequently, there were improvements in these core areas.
As new trends in education become apparent, course offerings are introduced.
The CISCO Systems program was offered for computer-assisted learning.
This is a training program that the CISCO Systems company normally requires
tuition and a waiting list. Out students can be hired directly into the
company directly upon completion of the course and graduation from AHS.
The Health Occupations program was developed for students interested in
the medical fields. The training provided by this program, including clinical
rotation class, also allows students to become employed in the health
care field as a technologist or Nurse's Aide upon completion.
F5. Reflecting on the last five years, what conditions or changes have
contributed most to the overall success of the school?
AHS has experienced many challenges during the last five years, including
an expanding student population, a new facility, and an expanded curriculum.
These challenges have been considered opportunities rather than problems,
resulting in a renewed vigor at AHS. Conditions that have contributed
to our success include:
· A new facility, opened in 1999, has brought a new interest to
our community. Our one-high school town is drawing new businesses and
new construction. New incentives have drawn qualified personnel to our
district. Our community has grown at a 6-7% growth rate with approximately
1, 000 new students enrolled in the Allen ISD system.
· AHS has an ongoing commitment to curriculum alignment. Pathways
are being implemented to coordinate core curriculum through the elementary,
middle, and high schools. This alignment will assist in maintaining high
curriculum standards. The course offerings reflect technical learning
as evidenced by AutoCad classes and Broadcast Journalism courses.
· Collaborative leadership will be a continued effort to coordinate
our house concept. House Improvement Teams (HIT) and Campus Improvement
Teams (CIT) work together to make changes in policy and procedures as
needed. Team leaders from various departments discuss concerns and the
ultimate decisions are referred to the CIT.
F6. How has the school integrated technology to improve
management and program efficiency and effectiveness?
Technology has been an area of emphasis for more than six years in our
district. Laptops were issued to all teachers and administrators for use.
Teachers are given in-service instruction on use and application of software
for meeting course objectives using technology across the curriculum.
Grades and attendance are recorded electronically and progress reports
are issued at the mid-six weeks grading period, and as a report card each
six weeks. ACT (Allen Curriculum Training) sessions are used to introduce
new procedures to all teachers. An instructional designer, a professional
trained in technology use teaches small groups to use special software
programs, such as Inspiration, html, and e-mail grouping. Approximately
70% of students' homes have computers with Internet connections. E-mail
is increasingly used as a communication between teachers and parents.
All teachers have web pages, and most include information on assignments
and additional Internet links for students. Parents are provided with
information about classes and methods of contacting teachers via web pages.
Approximately 20 students are taking virtual high school subjects from
other school campuses as an alternative course offering.
F7. What are the major educational challenges the school
must face over the next five years, and how does the school plan to address
As a new facility in an established community, we can expect some future
problems or adjustments. We can expect that positive results will come
from meeting the following challenges in a proactive manner:
· Increasing growth will be a major factor. Current rate of growth
appears to be 6-7%. As students continue to enroll, growth will affect
our teacher-student ratio and could ultimately affect student proficiency
and teacher morale. Student population currently is 2,437. New construction
is planned and that may assist in reducing class loads, as new classrooms
become available. As a result of new construction and additional students,
at least one additional House will be added.
· With the increased numbers of students, comes the responsibility
of providing curriculum choices. Considerations for flexible scheduling
and alternate school attendance such as arriving early or staying later
may be an alternative to allow students a better off-campus work option,
at the same time alleviate the flow of traffic within the halls. Correspondence
courses, independent study programs, and on-line courses may all become
a greater part of the future.
· Development of business-related programs may be necessary to
meet the needs of students and the area's demand on what the students
are capable of doing when they join the workplace. Again, we can site
the Health Occupations curriculum, media preparation through journalism
and yearbook, and business applications using Microsoft as curricula that
meet both of these objectives.
G. School, Family, and Community Partnerships
G1. What are the goals and priorities of the school, family, and community
partnerships? How have the school and community both improved as a result
of these partnerships and how did the school measure the improvements?
To determine satisfaction and areas that need improvement AISD conducts
a Community Attitude Survey with our patrons every two years. The next
survey is scheduled for October 2001. Parents, students, and community
leaders are involved in Strategic Planning and district-wide focus groups.
Last year the focus groups included budget development, calendar development,
communications, recruitment, and retention of staff. The CIT (B1) meets
monthly to review and refine the campus improvement plan, which is developed
annually at the CIT retreat. Input is provided to these representatives
from a monthly HIT (A1), Principal's Student Leadership Council, PTA and
others as appropriate.
Extensive collaboration between the school and community is part of the
uniqueness of the school climate. AHS is the flagship for the city of
Allen. It is the center for numerous city, business and recreational activities.
These partnerships are evidenced by a new Medical Technology Program.
In collaboration with the new Presbyterian Hospital, it offers 20 students
a medical rotation, providing them an opportunity to work and learn in
the hospital environment. The primary goal of these partnerships is for
the graduates of AHS to have useful and employable skills upon graduation.
Our partnership with CISCO Systems has offered our students the unique
opportunity to obtain their technology certification while attending high
school. Currently, our Career Technology Program has 14 businesses working
with our office administrations program, 47 businesses working with our
marketing students, 18 businesses working with the family and consumer
science program and 11 businesses with our agriculture students. Additionally,
AHS agriculture students are collaboratively working with the city of
Lucus to build and irrigation system for that community.
Another example of collaboration is the planning, funding, and building
of our new high school facility that houses both Allen High School and
a satellite campus of CCCC. This inter-local agreement provides our students
the ability to enroll in college for dual or concurrent credit while never
leaving our building. Last year CCCC offered 46 college credit courses
and 41 continuing education courses with an enrollment of 251 high school
students and 469 Allen citizens. In addition to traditional college classes,
CCCC offers a Culinary Arts Program in Hotel Restaurant Management. The
30,000-sq. ft. facility also provides AHS and the community advisement,
assessment, admissions and financial aid information, plus an information
commons area with on-line access and complete audio and visual services.
G2. How does the school involve families in their children's
Family involvement and partnership begins early with Allen High School.
Eagle Vision seminars are held annually at both middle schools and the
Lowery Freshmen Center. The purpose is to begin academic planning and
support a smooth transition to AHS. Our Sophomore Eagle Vision seminar
was held the night before school started this year to provide guided tours,
answer questions, clarify expectations, and calm the nerves of students
and parents. These Eagle Vision Meetings continue with each class to provide
information for academic planning for high school and to provide information
for the college application process and career technology planning. With
over 200 new students to our school this year, a New Student Reception
was held the first week of school to meet, provide information, and begin
to develop relationships with new students and parents. AHS sponsors a
Program Fair (A4) for AHS students and the incoming sophomore class each
April. This gives our students and parents information concerning the
content of classes and extra curricular activities.
Parent and school communication is a vital link to student success, and
AHS has developed a plethora of communication strategies. The use of KGLE
school television station (reaching all students in AHS and available
to homes equipped with cable access), e-mail, voice mail, school web sites,
and teacher web sites are some examples. A weekly email, E-nouncements,
is sent to approximately 1,000 parents' homes explaining upcoming events.
Such parent contact provides continuous information to the Allen community.
This is combined with the more traditional approaches of newsletters,
parent mailings, open house, parent conferences, and meet the teacher
night to facilitate communication with parents. Our parents held 83 booster
club meetings last year to plan and provide support for our students.
Many programs in our school hold annual banquets that are sponsored by
the booster clubs. Parents volunteers also accompany the many groups that
take trips around the country to participate in national competitions.
Forty parents accompanied the band to Orlando last spring and stood night
watch, managed instruments and helped supervise the 240 students on the
trip. The Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) held 14 meetings and
had a membership of 670 parents, teachers, and students. An example of
the support was our senior "After Prom" Party, in which over
100 parents sponsored an exciting and safe all-night event for 650 seniors.
The PTSA volunteers are always a phone call away as they proved after
a fatal car accident with two of our students last Fall. The AHS parents
organized and were at the school in force to help identify students in
need and help the staff manage the crisis at our school. They also provided
a hospitality room for the many counselors and clergy that were in our
school to work with our students for several weeks.
Homework is an important component of the rigorous academic standards
at AHS. Students are issued a set of textbooks to keep and use at home
at the beginning of each semester. A class set of textbooks is also maintained
in each classroom. In addition, all teachers offer tutorials Tuesday morning
and Thursday afternoons and two additional tutorials each week. Parents
are encouraged to utilize these opportunities for students that need additional
instruction. Study guides are provided for all semester exams to allow
appropriate preparation at home.
G3. How does the school support the needs and concerns of families?
Fostering a caring community and meeting the individual needs of each
student in a high school with more 2,400 requires an intentional process
that is clearly understood by staff and students. The staff primarily
utilizes the four student support teams that are part of the house concept.
The house principal, academic advisor, special education teacher, and
a minimum of four regular teachers receive referrals from staff and students.
The nurse, school crisis counselor, or parents are included as appropriate.
The teams meet on a regular basis to staff each student referral. A case
manager (teacher) is assigned, strategies are developed to address the
student's academic or emotional needs, and communication strategies are
developed to work with the student, parents, teachers, and staff. Student
referrals are reviewed at each meeting to determine progress and develop
additional interventions. This process is utilized for a wide range of
student needs. The evidence of the effectiveness of this process could
be that approximately 10% of students in House 200 were referred to their
student support team and the majority of cases were closed when the concerns
were addressed or remediated. Some cases continue as open for an extended
period if the team feels that success has been limited or monitoring appears
The school nurse and nurse's aide work with from 125 - 200 students daily
during the school year. In addition to providing medical services to students,
they are a vital link for many students to access advice and referrals
to appropriate school and community services. Nutritional education is
part of the health curriculum that is required for graduation. Currently,
particular emphasis is being placed on the trend of using and misusing
nutritional supplements. At parental request and for a nominal fee the
nurse will provide voluntary hair testing for substance abuse. For students
experiencing emotional, substance or family issues, AHS provide one full-time
and a part-time support counselor that work with groups and individual
students. Last year, they served 120 students in 15 groups that addressed
issues of sobriety, grief, family issues, stress management, self-esteem,
social skills, smoking cessation, new student on campus and female issues.
They also worked with approximately 25 students weekly in individual sessions.
A book review group focused on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens.
The support counselors act as the primary referral source for students
and their families.
Currently, AHS has only two teen mothers in our student population. Individual
plans were developed for each student. Both students are on an early graduation
plan for December. One student participates in the non-traditional program
at the alternative school. The other student attends school on a shortened
school day, and is enrolled as an office aide. She is allowed support
by her counselor on a daily basis.
Transportation is available to students who live more than two miles from
the school, or if their pathway to school is determined to be hazardous.
Students with special needs are provided transportation to their residences.
In addition to 469 adults enrolled in college classes and seminars in
CCCC (C2), approximately 5,000 adults and children participated in Community
Education classes last year. Two hundred and twenty -seven classes were
available to the community with 95% of the classes offered in the high
school facility. Traditional offerings such as computer classes, aerobics,
craft classes were available, as well as, less traditional classes like
hula, sign language, and belly dancing.
G4. How are educational resources in the school and the
community used to extend learning opportunities for students, teachers,
The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex has many opportunities for our students
to enrich their learning. AHS students participated in extended learning
experiences on 48 field trips last year. They experienced a variety of
resources, including the Dallas Visual Arts Center, Kimball Art Museum,
and the Dallas Museum of Art. The AP/IB Physics classes use Six Flags
Over Texas to complete a project on mechanics and motion.
The summer academic program at the high school facility offered classes
for middle and high school students. Classes included the opportunity
to gain credit for advance coursework and classes to receive credit for
previously failed classes. A TAAS Class (A1) was offered at no charge
to provide remedial reading, writing, and math to middle and high school
students. The enrollment for the summer of 2001 was 333 students. In addition,
a Super Scholars Program was provided for thirty 11th grade students whose
scores on the PSAT indicated the potential to receive National Merit Recognition.
The Summer Athletic Program included 650 students enrolled in the Adam's
Course (a strengthening and conditioning program), including 250 females
and 10 adults. Over 1000 students participated in the Allen Athletic Camps
that were primarily located on the high school campus. The new AHS Activity
Center is open to the community for individual exercise and weight training
as well as formal classes for adults. Last year 80 adults enrolled in
the fitness program and 175 in the Adams Course Speed Development Course.
Currently, the Don Rodenbaugh Natatorium is under construction and scheduled
to be completed this spring. This joint venture with the city of Allen
will provide our students with and outstanding facility for swimming classes,
swim team practice and competition. Additionally, the community will enjoy
a beautiful, year-round recreational swimming pool.
As the flagship of the community, AHS provides the citizens of Allen a
location to participate in life-long learning at CCCC or in adult education
classes, or enjoy recreational and leisure activities. The AHS building
is open 7 days a week and from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. weekdays. Last
year in partnering with the community, an International Gymnastics Competition
Allen High School provides the citizens of Allen a location to participate
in life-long learning at CCCC or adult education classes, or enjoy recreational
and leisure activities. The AHS building is open 6 days a week, weekdays
from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The most appropriate description of the partnerships between the citizens
of the City of Allen and the AHS is the slogan that some students wear
on their T-shirts - "One Town, One Team, One Dream."
H. Indicators of Academic Success
H1. What is the school's overall approach to assessment? How do the methods
align with the educational vision/mission and curriculum? What questions
about assessment is the school currently addressing?
The rigorous curriculum, in combination with the school mission, is the
driving force in producing well-prepared students. The curriculum is continuously
monitored both informally and formally. Students are assessed informally
in individual classrooms using teacher-constructed tests and observations
to monitor progress. On a more formal basis, internal assessments include
results of TAAS, Benchmarks at the 3rd, 18th, 21st, and 36th week in each
course to see that TEKS are being taught, ACT (E1), and SAT exams. Diagnostic
exams are given prior to entering some courses such as Phoenix, although
it is the general philosophy that all courses be open to all students.
Students at AHS consistently score, as a group, well above the state average
on the End-of-Course exams (EOC) in Biology and Algebra. However, the
EOC exams are used to determine if students are on target for passing
the TAAS. If students are not, they may take TAAS preparation courses,
or other classes to help them be ready for the TAAS. Additionally, the
PSAT is used as a predictor of student achievement on the SAT and Act.
All of the data is used to encourage students to take courses that will
challenge them intellectually. SAT and ACT (Appendix I) and TAAS and EOC
(Appendix II) assessments have consistently been above state and national
H2. How does the school use assessment results to understand
and improve student and school performance? How are data used to influence
Assessment data allow the staff and students to understand where students
stand in relation to the present norms for local, state, and national
exams. AHS deliberately seeks to challenge the norm. Assessment tools
are used to set direction for both staff and students as we seek to enhance
the achievement and fulfill the capabilities of each student. Examples
of ways data has been used to influence decision-making include:
¨ A TAAS practice test is administered in the 10th grade and the results
are used to provide additional learning opportunities for students who
appear to be at risk of not meeting the passing standards. As a result,
all students have passed TAAS before graduation for the last three years.
¨ Analysis of the number of tardy students in 1998-1999 led to a "tardy
sweep" in which students were sent to a central location where detentions
were assigned. Since then, the program has been re-evaluated and students
are now sent automatically to the House Principal where they are assigned
a tardy detention. The obvious decrease in the number of students in the
hallways is evidence that this procedure is working.
¨ Because of assessing the progress of Limited English Proficient
(LEP) failure rate in regular courses and on TAAS, a TAAS preparation
course for LEP students was instituted this year.
¨ House Counselors analyze the transcripts of all students to assess
the numbers of credit-deficient students. This analysis was the basis
for implementing accelerated programs in English so that students could
catch up and others could accumulate credits to graduate early.
H3. What assessment data are communicated to students, parents,
and the community? What are the purposes of these communications? How
does the school ensure that these stakeholders understand the standards
for judgment and the meaning of the data?
Communication with parents and the community is an important aspect of
the partnership that AHS shares with its stakeholders. All parents are
made aware of TAAS results by sending student scores, with an explanation
of the results, through the mail. House Counselors and Case Managers from
Special Education or 504 talk with each student about the results of their
TAAS tests. Students who do not pass TAAS are counseled individually with
regard to preparations that they need to make to improve their scores
during the next testing period. This information is also provided to parents
by mailings, E-nouncemnts, cable channel 17, and PTSA. Results from TAAS,
ACT, SAT, and AEIS are published in local newspapers, mailed to parents,
posted on the districts cable network, presented at school board meetings
and in the AHS E-nouncements.
Additionally, House Counselors call in each student and explain the results
of the PSAT to each student. Students are given information and strategies
to help them improve their scores on the SAT, and students who show the
greatest potential of becoming National Merit Finalists are encouraged
to take special preparation classes in the summer.
H4. What standardized norm-referenced tests developed on
the national, state, or district level has the school given in the last
five years? What are the results for the last five years?
AHS does not administer a norm-referenced test to all students. The state-mandated
TAAS is used for curricular assessment. However, approximately 67% of
students take the SAT or ACT. The number of students taking these tests
has increased every year. The nationally validated PSAT, SAT, and ACT
are available for students as juniors and seniors. AHS consistently ranks
above the state and national averages. The results of SAT and ACT scores
are given in Appendix I.
H5. What criterion-referenced tests does the school use?
What are the results for the last five years?
The Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) is the criterion-referenced
text used by public schools in Texas to determine if students are meeting
state standards. Allen has had all students pass by the time of graduation
for the past three years. The 2001 TAAS results include special education
populations. TAAS results are presented in Appendix II.
H6. What alternative assessments of student performance
does the school use?
AHS uses several methods of alternative assessment. All art classes use
a portfolio as part of their assessment. Students entering the Phoenix
program present portfolios and take placement tests developed for the
program. Phoenix students also use their portfolios when entering college,
and two students received college credit for their portfolios (at Southern
Methodist University and University of Mississippi). Many students in
the AP and IB Program take the AP/IB test at the end of the year. Last
year 365 students took AP exams. Students in C++ Computer Programming
design a game, and receive an evaluation from the teacher as well as other
Other assessments include mock trials and mock elections in government
classes, skits and creative projects in English and biology classes. Speeches,
debates, interviews, and presentations are the norm across the curriculum.
Students are expected to be able to be able to perform in front of an
audience of their peers and these performance assessments are a part of
each student's grade in a variety of curricular settings.
H7. What are the data for the past five years in the following
areas that serve as quantitative indicators of the school climate and
Student attendance has increased as students have been held accountable
for the 90% rule to receive credit and as they have been informed of the
importance of their attendance on the school's rating. Many teachers relocate
when their spouse are transferred or assume a new position within their
2000-2001 1999-2000 1998-1999 1997-1998 1996-1997
Daily Attendance figures 95.2% 94.8% 94.7% 94.9% 93.9%
Daily Teacher Attendance 99.7% 99.6% 99.7% NA NA
Teacher Turnover Rate 20% 24.8% 28.3% 21.5% 18.1%
Student Dropout Rate 0.25% 0.5% 0.3% 0.3% NA
Student Dropoff Rate
H8. Which awards received by the school, staff, or students
are most indicative of school success?
The faculty, staff, and students at AHS understand that success is attainable
at many levels. Awards are one way that our society recognizes outstanding
examples of success. Corporate, small group, and individual successes
are celebrated at AHS with regularity and with increasing consistency.
The examples provided below are intended to demonstrate that AHS achieves
success at all levels.
ü Allen High School was named an Exemplary High School for the 2000-2001
school year by the Texas Education Agency.
ü Shawn Risener was named the 2000 Texas Journalism Teacher of the
Year by the Texas Professional Communicators (TPC).
ü Alton Biggs, a 25-year veteran teacher at AHS, won the Texas Outstanding
Biology Teacher Award on two occasions (1982 and 1993), the only teacher
in Texas ever to do so.
ü The Broadcast Journalism Department was a National Broadcast Pacemaker
Winner in 2000 and 2001. The National Scholastic Press Association presented
this award, considered the Pulitzer Prize of scholastic journalism.
ü A-Team Robotics won the CoCo BEST Founders' Design Award at the
regional level for the most innovative robot design in 1999.
ü KGLE, the AHS television station, has ranked among the Top Five
high school broadcast programs in the nation for the past 4 years.
ü PALS was chosen to represent statewide PAL programs as a pilot
site for virtual communication nationwide.
ü In 2000 and 2001, Kathleen Moore and Shannon Vaughan respectively,
students in the AHS Agriculture won State Agriculture Scholarships from
the Ford Corporation.
ü Amy Geer won the 3rd Congressional District's Grand Prize in art,
a full scholarship to the Savannah College of Art and Design, and a place
in the Texas Capitol Art Show for 2001.
H 9. What were the students who graduated in the Spring
of 2001 doing as of September 2001?
Graduating Class Size 399
Enrolled in a 4 year college or university 72.2 %
Enrolled in a community college 12.0%
Enrolled in technical training 6.0 %
Found employment 8.8 %
Military Service 5.3 %
Working full time 8.8 %
Other (travel, exchange student) Unknown
Unknown 5.5 %
Percentages do not add to 100% because some graduates are enrolled and
working full time. Data is determined by the analysis of the Senior Exit
Survey completed by all 2001 graduates.