Glendale Elementary School District #40

  1. PLC Story
  2. PLC Practices
  3. Achievement Data
  4. Awards
  5. Resources

Since 2010, Glendale Elementary School District has been on a journey of continuous improvement utilizing the PLC framework. However, in the first 5 years of this work, we would categorize the work, and as Drs. DuFour would state, PLC Lite. There was a seemingly low sense of commitment throughout the district to hold true to the Big Ideas and process of the right work.

 In the summer of 2015, there was a newly created sense of urgency and focus on building a strong professional learning community throughout GESD. There was a conscious decision that we could not just move teacher-by-teacher or team-by-team or school-by-school, but to move the entire district forward. In order to accomplish this, we realized we needed to move in the same direction and hired Dr. Sharon Kramer to help us with the big picture work along with the day-to-day steps and supports to ensure we were on the right pathway.

We are now in our fourth year of this continuous improvement journey. We have gone from the majority of our schools being labeled C’s and D’s to the majority of our schools being labeled B’s. We have site-based school learning teams, or guiding coalitions, that help to not only implement the work, but monitor and support the collaborative team work on each campus. We have clarified the four essential questions along with the three big ideas of a professional learning community and have cultivated that we are “All in for ALL Kids”. This helps us focus not only all diverse populations or subgroups, but kid by kid. Also, in this current iteration of the continuous improvement process, we are focused on collective teacher efficacy and collective inquiry.

As we have learned this this process, it is not about right or wrong, but about doing better and that we celebrate lesson learned and progress towards our goals. These are our mantras for our PLC journey.

Our state data from 2018-2019 was published and through our work with the PLC Process, we have found that this is the first time since 2011, we do not have a “D” labeled school site. Our students are growing and becoming proficient.

As stated in our original application, we are celebrating our lessons learned and progress towards our goals. This year, 2019-2020, we have facilitated clarity around the work of a School Learning Team and a Problem of Practice. Site administration has had extensive professional learning around this clarity and have become champions for this work on their campuses along with their School Learning Teams. Moreover, our collaborative teams are sharing students and sharing team goals. All the students at the school have become “our students.”

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

In Glendale Elementary School District, student learning is monitored on a timely basis in a number of ways that align with our balanced assessment system. Our balanced of assessment system spectrum goes from formative to summative. During first best instruction, we have worked with teachers to do checks for understanding throughout lessons and at the end of the lesson each day. These help to provide Tier I Intervention in a timely manner. For Kindergarten through 2nd grade, we ensure the use of rolling assessments which are “rolled” through a quarter 1-on-1 to ensure students are on track for grade level foundational expectations and are used as a common formative assessment (CFA) by collaborative teams. For Kindergarten through 8th grade, we ensure CFAs are created, implemented and analyzed to kick in Tier II Intervention for students needing more support to learn the grade-level standards. We also progress monitor K-5 grade students in a tiered approach. More summative means of assessment are our unit assessments, benchmarks, and state assessment.

As we continue to align curriculum, instruction, and assessment, we find that we are getting tighter with our curriculum and summative assessment alignment with the state assessment (we are now at a 90% accuracy with predictability). However, we are still working on aligning our common formative assessments with the rigor and complexity of the benchmarks and state assessment. For K-2nd grade, more and more collaborative teams are working on implementing the rolling assessments in reading and math to inform instruction.

School Learning Teams are now working to support and monitor the work of collaborative teams. This focus is also with monitoring of student learning. School Learning Teams give formative feedback on proficiency maps, intervention plans, and lead data discussions.

2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.

In Glendale Elementary School District, we have created a three-tiered system of support for our students who need additional time and support for learning. More than four years ago, while we were doing perhaps PLC Lite, we created an RtI block of time for every student in our schedules. This time lived in the master schedule and was treated like a class or course. Since our time with Dr. Sharon Kramer, we have realized, as a learning organization, that in order to move from a flooded pyramid to a balanced multi-tiered system of support, we needed to reframe and re-engage the organization on what it means to have the three tiers of intervention. The attached document has helped us with a structure that aligns with our work in collaborative teams. We have moved from a scheduled RtI course to flexible times in the schedule for immediate Tier II intervention, a structured time during each balanced literacy block and balanced mathematics block for Tier I instruction, and the flexible times for students who need a programmatic Tier III intervention and a system for entry and exit into Tier III intervention. We stopped allowing the master schedule to dictate our tiers of intervention and have moved to a systematic and purposeful approach to supporting our students with additional time and support for learning grade-level content and skills.

In GESD, we are getting clearer and clearer on what are the 3 Tiers of Intervention. With a somewhat flooded pyramid, we are working on what Tier III looks like throughout a school. Now that we have clarity on what that looks like, we are working with daily schedules on flexible times for Tier II and that small group instruction and guided reading should happen in Tier I. Teachers are now sharing students to in order to ensure all students get small group every day in Tier I.


3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.

In Glendale Elementary School District, we have been “doing” PLCs for a decade. However, once we starting working with Dr. Sharon Kramer in 2015-2016, we have reorganized our thinking, training, and implementation of Professional Learning Communities and the work of collaborative teams throughout the district. One of the first points we ensured everyone heard and understood was that we do not have time to move one student at a time, one team at a time, or one school at a time, but we needed to move the entire district in terms of student learning. This along with our data reality helped to create a sense of urgency. We no longer do PLCs, we use Professional Learning Communities as a framework for our continuous school improvement.

In 2015-2016, Dr. Kramer met with Principals, Assistant Principals, and district leadership to re-engage the learning process of Professional Learning Communities. We built common understandings and knowledge of the right work and process. We started to understand the difference between teaching and learning and how to lead the work of PLCs.

In 2016-2017, we created a districtwide Guiding Coalition to not only learn about the right work of collaborative teams, but to lead the building of capacity for this work throughout the school district. Again, not just student by student, but moving the whole district forward through the work of each collaborative team. We clarified and implemented curriculum-instruction-assessment and intervention processes, evidence-based strategies, and structures to ensure the knowledge was shared districtwide. At the same time, we engaged two D-labeled schools in a full continuous improvement process with Dr. Kramer in a fishbowl model with district leadership and lead principals observing and reflecting on the process in order to implement that work districtwide.

In 2017-2018, we continued with the districtwide Guiding Coalition and implemented the above model with Dr. Kramer at each of our 17 schools and meeting with two collaborative teams per school. This allowed each school to use these identified collaborative teams and their own School Learning Team (or Site Guiding Coalition) to continue to build capacity at their school sites. It was also in this year, we took a Professional Learning Community-informed document from another district and began to use the Learning Cycle as our “anchor” for the work of collaborative teams.

In 2018-2019, we have identified our five schools who were in most need due to high teacher turnover, academic achievement and/or how close the school was to obtain an ‘A’ designation. These five schools have three collaborative teams that meet with Dr. Kramer once a month to stay on track with the continuous improvement work of a team. The district instructional coaches, in GESD they are titled Achievement Advisors, also meet with Dr. Kramer as well as our principals and assistant principals to ensure all support is moving in the same direction. Also, with the procurement of a new assessment platform, we have renewed our understanding of how to create, implement and analyze Common Formative Assessments. In turn, this has informed our work with Tier II intervention and providing time and support for students to learn grade level standards.

In 2019-2020, we have identified 6 schools needing targeted, specific support. These schools have three collaborative teams that meet with GESD Ed Services and Dr. Kramer to not only ensure they are doing the right work with the Learning Cycle, but start to build capacity for the rest of their schools. As mentioned earlier, with Site Administration, we are focusing on the work of School Learning Teams and a Problem of Practice and using collective inquiry to solve it. This process has taken our Site Administration professional learning to a whole new level of deep thinking.

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

In Glendale Elementary School District, we collect meaningful achievement data, both formative and summative, throughout the school year. As mentioned in the “Monitoring Student Learning on a Timely Basis” portion of this form, we have a balanced assessment system in our school district. One item that has not been explained yet, is our newly created Rolling Assessments which are administered to our Kindergarten-2nd grade students. These assessments are based on end-of-year foundational expectations of our students. Each week, Kindergarten-2nd grade teachers administer a mapped-out skill from the assessment with the student 1:1 in reading, writing and/or math. The data from these assessments are then used like a CFA and interventions for kids who may not be on track for grade-level ready are part of Tier II intervention.  To go along with these expectations, a "Show What You Know" folder is created for each child to track their own progress through these foundational skills. Examples of these documents are attached.  (Please see step 8 )

Our data from last school year, as mentioned prior, showed growth. One school was .3 from an “A” rating and no school is at a “D”. The sense of urgency is palpable in our district and at school sites. Although we have rolling assessments implemented in K-2, Benchmarks in 3rd-8th, we have found that our 3rd grade data is not where it should be, especially in Reading and Writing. That stated, for 2019-2020, we created formative assessments as check-ins with RI and RL standards for 1st and 2nd grade to not only check on achievement, but to prepare our students for the rigor of a 3rd grade Benchmark. The implementation of these is going well. We are seeing where the gaps are and need for professional learning to inform instruction.

WESTMARC Quality of Life Enrichment, Education Award Honorable Mention: Landmark

Kiwanis Read around American Schools: Imes, Coyote Ridge, Desert Garden, Desert Spirit, Sine

Beat the Odds, Center for the Future of Arizona: Sunset Vista

Valley of the Sun United Way Reading Program: Sine

Maricopa County Educational Services Agency, Rodel Principal of the Year: Jack

Preschool Quality Plus 4-Star Rating: District

ASPAA Classified Employee of the Year

ASBO International Emerging School Business Leader

Ten Phenomenal Women in School Transportation

Arizona State School Facilities Board Member

AASBO Board of Directors

Arizona English Teachers Association Middle School Teacher of Excellence: Challenger

Make-a-Wish/Macy's Believe Campaign Honoree: Coyote Ridge

Nutrition and Research Chair for the School Nutrition Association

ASBA Total Board Boardsmanship Award

Community Eligibility Provision Program: 15 school sites

Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting

Most Robust Wellness Program, Valley Schools: District

2017 Healthiest Employer, Phoenix Business Magazine: District

United Blood Services Silver Award: District

Energy Star Certified Building Award: 15 school sites

ASBA Advocate of the Year, 2019

Community Service Leadership I.R.S

Hometown Christmas Parade- Community Spirit Award, 2019

Peoria North Rotary Club, Oustanding Prom Closet Support, 2019

Maricopa County Heat Relief Network, Certificate of Appreciation

Glendale Police Department, Be Aware Crashes - Traffic Campaign