Pleasanton ISD receives national recognition



Pleasanton Independent School District recently received national recognition for their work with the Marzano Resources High Reliability Schools (HRS) and High Reliability Teacher (HRT) program. There was a virtual award ceremony on Dec. 17 that hosted schools from all over the nation. The HRS and HRT program was taken on by the district as a developmental program to boost teacher effectiveness and develop instructional skills in the classroom.

High Reliability Schools is a multilevel process. For the district to be named a Marzano High Reliability School, they must successfully enact each level. This requires an outside source to examine each campus to see if the district is effectively practicing each level of the Marzano HRS process.

There were a total of seven school districts in the nation that received Level 1 Certification this year and only one of these schools were in Texas, Pleasanton ISD. There are 1,126 schools in the Marzano HRS program, 12 of which are internationals institutions.



As a branch of the High Reliability School Process, the district is also offering the High Reliability Teacher (HRT) program. This program supports the districtwide initiative for each campus to become a High Reliability School.

HRT is designed to encourage teacher effectiveness and develop their instructional skills in the classroom. This program is also a multilevel training program for teachers across the district. They must successfully conquer skills such as foundation of instructional strategies, reflection of instructional strategies, student learning and valid and rigorous feedback.

The district’s goal was to have 20% of their teachers in the program, which was achieved this past year in 2020. There are teachers at every campus participating in this program. Teachers that have completed Level 2 of their HRT certification include Shelly Lingo, Alyssa Luna, Glennda Gover, Tiffany Sanders, Dawna Garvin, Nicholas Hinojosa, Gina Cassaday, Clinton Roberson and Joelle Van Curan.

Teachers that are completed with Level 1 of their HRT certification include Brandy Netherton, Tammy Shapland-Perkins, Briana Fey, Jennifer Slatton, Jennifer English, Lauri Kelley, Martha McMurry and Genevieve DeWaal.

Other teachers enrolled in the HRT program include Laura Parra, Brandi Burkett, Candi Burkett, Kellan Hicks, Angelica Kiser, Sabrina Lopez, Rebecca Lopez, Jessica McDaniel, Kristen Nelson, Michelle Ramirez, Stefani Smith, Charlee Baker, Nadine Barrow, Jacklynn Campbell, Jenna Cook, Bianca Fletcher, Amber Kostek, Michelle Meyer, Sarah Mills, Myra Nunez, Deanna Rindorf, Sylvia Villarreal, Keri Bird, Meagan Bomar, Rhonda Bourland, Allison Bukowski, Catherine Hauer, Garrett Lowery, Rebecca Myrin, Nicole Taylor, Melinda Villarreal, Cynthia Infante, Elvira Jones, Janie Olivarri, Tayler Roberson, Nechole Williams and Steve Wusterbath.

Pleasanton ISD also received national attention for how they developed a collaborative cohort program for their teachers to complete the HRT certification. This has become the preferred method for schools that have teachers in the Marzano HRT program. This collaborative method was strategized and built by Dr. Matthew Mann, Pleasanton ISD Superintendent, and Dr. Venus Valenta, Pleasanton ISD Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction.

Dr. Valenta explained that the teachers in their first cohort felt that the accountability with the cohort program was extremely useful as they went through this process. She further pointed out, “Ultimately, it is great for teachers to have professional development and that autonomy to go through professional development on their own.

But it is also great when teachers are able to study materials or go through a certification together and have something in common to engage with one another, because there is a better understanding of the different concepts. In the end, they are going to have to implement collectively. Knowing that they are all on the same page with the work as they move forward, I believe is the advantage of working in a cohort model.”

The district has also incentivized the HRT program. For every level that their teachers complete, they get a $500 stipend added to their salary each year. Teachers can earn up to a $2,000 stipend each year for as long as they remain in the district.

Dr. Mann highlighted, “Implementing the High Reliability Schools framework at Pleasanton ISD has been the best educational initiative that I have ever been associated with in my 25 years of education. It has given great clarity to specific areas of focus that have positively impacted educator practices and in turn will increase student achievement. Coupled with the development of the High Reliability Teacher cohort program has been a wonderful complimentary initiative to the HRS. However, I did not predicate or even fathom how impactful and successful the High Reliability Teacher program would be to professional growth for the teachers of PISD. It truly has taken on a life of its own and really has reimagined professional development and allowed teachers to take research-based instructional practices and apply them to their teaching and planning. I am excited and very proud of their work, not only of the teachers, but also the campus administration as they have truly embraced this process and it is transforming our schools.”

A new cohort of teachers will begin the HRT process in the fall, and the district also plans on starting an additional cohort in the spring semester. This is specifically aimed at coaches that are short on time in the fall semester, but the spring cohort will still be open to any teacher.

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