Caraway Intermediate School
Principal: Alfred James
A+ Coach: Jennifer Fowler
780 Students, Grades 5-6
|Limited English Proficient||21%|
At Caraway, the number of A+ Scholars on a college-ready trajectory in reading grew from 3 to 35 - the biggest percentage jump in the Challenge Network.
What We've Accomplished
- Students developed deeper literacy comprehension and started becoming strong and confident readers, as the A+ Coach introduced the use of high-interest novels (instead of textbooks and worksheets) and independent reading time in classroom lessons.
- A 40-minute daily enrichment period allowed the A+ Coach and some teachers to work directly with a group of A+ Scholars. These students significantly outperformed their peers on the state test.
- One teacher in particular transformed her teaching with the consitent help of the A+ Coach, resulting in a more vibrant, challenging enviornment for kids.
What We've Learned
- Gaining the trust and support of the school-based reading coach has been pivotal for gaining wider impact on teacher practices schoolwide.
- District benchmarks and pacing expectations are often at odds with student needs, an issue that A+ is working to resolve with leaders in the central office.
- A new principal and a new teacher gained the confidence to change practice when A+ provided the research backing and political cover for trying new and innovative strategies.
Because Caraway students graduate to Hoffman Middle School, working with these two Challenge Network campuses provides an opportunity for A+ to explore depth of impact on a feeder pattern.
Alfred James is in his third year as principal, a post he earned after serving as an intern in Houston A+’s rigorous aspiring principal academy.
A conversation between James and A+ Executive Director Scott Van Beck provided early inspiration for the goals of the Challenge Network.
When asked where he needed help the most, James revealed that TAKS preparation and basic-level teaching were dominating instructional time in the classroom, and challenged A+ to help his students and staff to make significant gains in commended performance.
Caraway Intermediate School Results
|Number of A+ Scholars||140|
|Number of A+ scholars scoring Commended (2009-2010)||3|
|Number of A+ scholars scoring Commended (2010-2011)||35|
|Number of A+ scholars missing Commended by 1 or 2 questions||9|
|Number of A+ scholars missing Commended by 3 or 4 questions||22|
|A+ Commended goal at end of Year 2 (2011-2012)||52|
Click here for year one results