Savannah Elementary

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

In January 2009 the Savannah staff gathered in the library to begin the work of identifying the mission, vision, values and goals that would serve as the foundation of our PLC work together. Because of the importance of this activity all staff members, regardless of their assignment on campus were asked to attend and give input. For our PLC to truly impact students and transform our practice, we knew everyone had to agree upon the reasons for our existence, what we wanted to become in the future, the values and behaviors that would be tight and the first steps we would take as a staff. Eleven years later, our mission, vision, collective commitments (values) and goals are foundational to everything we do on our campus. They are used as a filter and standard when making all decisions. Teachers, staff members, students and families revisit them annually and they have evolved on our journey. Our current mission, vision, collective commitments (values) and goals are:

Our Shared Mission

Savannah Elementary exists for the sole purpose of equipping and preparing our students with skills they need for the future by ensuring they are safe, kind and learning at high levels every school day.

Our Shared Vision

Savannah Elementary will become a collaborative community of excellence that produces high levels of student achievement for all students.

Our Collective Commitments In order to achieve the shared mission and vision of our school, Savannah staff members will:

  • Provide quality tier 1, 2 and 3 instruction with fidelity.

  • Engage parents and community members in learning and school activities by creating meaningful activities and communicating them to all parents.

  • Provide a student-centered learning environment where students are aware of learning expectations through goal setting and feedback.

  • Collaborate with colleagues to create unit plans and assessments that ensure the academic growth of all students.

  • Provide a student-centered learning environment where students feel safe to take academic and emotional risks by implementing restorative practices, CHAMPS and building relationships.

  • Utilize data to plan and provide intervention and extension opportunities for all students and to monitor the progress of student learning. 

  • Provide instruction through the workshop model in all content areas that is individualized to student needs. 

  • Monitor each student’s learning on an ongoing basis through common formative assessments and other student learning artifacts. 

  • Consistently implement  the three big ideas, the four pillars and four critical questions of professional learning communities at work.

  • Engage in our learning community as both a teacher and a learner by utilizing best practices, engaging in collaborative planning and staff development while setting personal goals. We will utilize feedback from peers, coaches and administrators to improve practice.

In 2015, our campus took it to the next level by redefining what it means to collaborate with collective commitments centered around the 4 critical questions.  We now consider the four critical questions each day on our campus. We recognize the importance of everyone on our campus being crystal clear when it comes to learning expectations. Teachers have worked to identify essential standards at each grade level. Once essential standards are identified, they are aligned vertically. Our staff engages in this work annually. Each year our essentials are revisited and revised if needed. Unit plans for each essential standard are written by grade level teams that include teacher behaviors, ladder of learning targets in cognitive demand, common formative assessments, pre/post assessments, and rubric. The data from these assessments help us identify if students have learned each essential. Teachers meet consistently to review data and determine next steps for kids. Each child in our building is discussed frequently by name and specific need. Data helps us identify what we do when kids learn and when kids have yet  to demonstrate mastery of a specific standard. When students demonstrate they have mastered an essential standard they receive extension. Students needing additional support receive appropriate intervention.

We can identify a true turning point in our journey. It was the first time we attended the  RTI at WORK conference held in Des Moine, Iowa in May 2018.  The three days of learning put the pieces together for us on what change we needed to bring back in order to truly meet ALL kids at HIGH level.  This wouldn’t be an easy feat, but we were determined to start looking at intervention and extension differently at Savannah Elementary.  Historically, we had team leaders for each grade level.  We immediately established a Guiding Coalition with more of a focus on student learning, rather than messengers of information & deadlines.  The first thing the Guiding Coalition established was our master schedule to reflect time for tier one, tier two, and tier three instruction.  We didn’t want any student to miss any part of the pyramid, if needed.  All students would receive tier 2, which we call Target Time, whether as intervention or extension.  Historically, we only had tier 2 time for reading, but with our new way of thinking we made it a priority in the master schedule for reading & math intervention daily.  Additionally, we evaluated our intervention programs and purchased Leveled Literacy Intervention for our reading interventionist to use as our tier 3 reading intervention and teacher teams to use for tier 2 intervention.  Our teams determined their essential standards and created essential standards chart and essential unit plans to guide their instruction.  We put emphasis on teaching less better! In 2015-2016, the state of Texas created a new accountability system. That year we would have received a ‘D’ grade according to the new system. In the 2018-2019 school year, we received a ‘B’ from the state. This improvement was by and large due to the work we learned from the RTI at Work Conference and implementation of the protocols and systems on our campus.

With an understanding that this work is a continuous cycle of improvement, we are currently focused on revising our assessment practices with our essential standards.  In January 2020, we took members of our Guiding Coalition to The Woodlands for the RTI at WORK Institute to help build capacity across our campus for this work.   We are refining our common assessment practices and putting more emphasis on student learning and linking teacher behaviors to student outcomes. Our implementation of the professional learning communities proces is a model for the district. We have presented at numerous district administration meetings. District level and campus level administrators come frequently to observe the work in action and we have  had the opportunity to work collaboratively with many school leaders in our district.  The protocols and templates that guide our PLC at Savannah Elementary are being used as strong examples around the district of 24 elementary schools, 8 middle schools, and 4 high schools.  Currently our professional learning as a campus is a focus on assessment  rubrics, feedback, and goal setting. Savannah Elementary’s motto is “Preparing for the Future...Today!”  We believe with the focus on ALL students at HIGH levels, we will ensure our students are prepared for college, career, and/or military futures. 


1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

At Savannah Elementary, we promote a culture of continuous improvement for not only our students, but our staff & teachers too.  We believe it is important for teachers to have time within the school day to lift their level of understanding and refine their craft of teaching by having time to collaborate.  Our master schedule reflects a 50 minute planning time daily; along with an additional 60 minute planning time every two weeks.  Our campus is on a rotating schedule, where the leadership team, interventionists, special education teachers, and team teachers meet every Monday-Wednesday for 60 minutes.  Our teachers utilize the district scope & sequence, UBD unit, and Lucy Calkins Units of Study for Reading & Writing to guide tier one instruction. Teachers emphasize planning for our essential standards through deepening our understanding of the standard by completing essential unit plans; writing learning targets, pre/post assessments, common assessments, and unit plans.

Our data protocols are designed after the reproducible in Nichol Dimich’s Design in Five book. Teachers create ladders for each essential standard by brainstorming the learning targets and organizing them in the order of cognitive demand.  Our CFA timelines are created based on the ladder of essential standards.  We respond to this data in whole group and small group instruction within tier one instruction.  We enter all common formative assessments into Aware, in order to have quick results to create next steps. Additionally, we give a pre assessment and post assessment at the beginning and end of each unit. 

We begin with celebrations of STAR STATUS STUDENTS.  Each member of the PLC (teachers, support staff, interventionists, leadership) share  two students who have shown star status.  Our stars are collected on the wall to display the hard work of our students and staff.  We then go into conversations about students of concern who are not progressing with the current intervention plan.  We keep track of this information in our Students of Concern Spreadsheet (see artifact). Teachers break by content to review essential standard timelines and data to create next steps for Target Time. Target Time groups are created based on post assessment data.  Target Time is planned and tracked on a spreadsheet (see artifact) and students are moved fluidly based on teacher observation and exit ticket data.  

Furthermore, one of our district board goals is for all students reading on grade level by the end of 3rd grade.  To monitor our progress towards this goal, we have a guided reading tracker (see artifact) that is updated bi-monthly with students’ instructional reading level.  Our kindergarten-2nd grade teachers share students for guided reading at tier one, in order to meet more students’ needs more efficiently across the grade level.  We use the DRA2 at the beginning, middle, and end of year to track our students progress towards our campus goal that every student will make a minimum of one years growth in reading.  The leadership team created a reading correlation chart (see artifact) for teachers to track the progress of their students towards their year or more growth. 

Lastly, our teachers use an electronic portfolio to track student progress and share artifacts with home by using See Saw.  Parents are able to have access to their child’s electronic portfolio throughout the year to see what they are currently doing in class, as well as, a look into the classroom as a whole.  Students are able to upload their own artifacts and rate themselves using rubrics that are co-created with teachers and students.


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

Savannah Elementary has a 30-minute intervention time built into our master schedule for reading and math, Monday-Friday.  This time gives every student the opportunity for intervention or extention on our grade level essential standards. Our campus refers to this time as Target Time. During this 30-minute block, students are flexibly grouped across the grade level based on which learning target they still have not mastered for the essential standard.  Our common pre/post assessments are designed based on the learning targets that were written at the beginning of the unit.  Each learning target is represented on the pre/post assessment and the assessments are written in cognitive demand. Before the start of the unit, the pre assessment is given, and teachers use this information to know where to enter on the ladder for Tier 1 instruction. The entry point on the ladder for Tier 1 is based on where the majority of students need instruction. However, students are pulled in small groups based on individual or group needs to provide instruction on specific learning targets they need. If a child is proficient on a pre test, they are immediately extended during this unit. When teachers analyze the data for target time groups, they are created based on learning targets still not mastered.  For students who have mastered the essential standard, they are then extended on that essential or moved to a nice to know standard.  The campus wide Target Time template is used to sort students into groups based on learning targets.  Teachers are assigned to intervention or extension groups based on the highest percentage for that learning target on the post assessment.  For example, if a teacher scored 91% on TEKS 3.3E (I can represent real world problems using pairs in a table) then they would instruct that target time group with the students who were not proficient for this specific learning target. The Tier 2 intervention plan for each group is designed based on teacher strengths displayed in post assessment data. The teachers discuss teacher behaviors that produced the greatest outcomes of student learning. Those are the teacher behaviors that are replicated in the Tier 2 intervention plan.  Everything correlates back to our ladder of learning targets in cognitive demand. The goal is to work students up the ladder of proficiency towards our essential standard by goal setting and tracking progress towards mastery of the essential standard. 

Social and emotional needs are at the forefront of all we do.  Savannah Elementary utilizes restorative practices in every classroom.  Our master schedule reflects a 20 minute circle time at the start of each day, in addition, teachers greet students at the door and students check in on a mood meter as they enter class. Teachers use this check in data to gauge what support different students may need to get their morning off on the right track. Every classroom has a Relationship Agreement that is made together and revisited throughout the year that highlights how the teacher will treat students, students will treat the teacher, students will treat students, and how the classroom will treat the school.  Our school counselor facilitates a guidance lesson for every classroom twice a month, and kindergarten-1st grade students once a week. Additionally, she has lunch bunch groups and one on one counseling for those that need it.  Students who are exhibiting behavior concerns are discussed in our data talk meetings.  These students are recommended for an ABC tracker and point sheet to help pinpoint specific goals to target and correct. 

Students who are not making progress with tier 2 intervention, academically or behaviourally, are brought to our campus MTSS committee. This committee is composed of campus administration, school counselor, reading recovery teacher, reading interventionist, math interventionist, dyslexia teacher, ESL teacher, licensed school psychologist (LSSP), special education teacher, and our diagnostician.  Together, we outline a comprehensive intervention plan with specific research-based interventions, frequency, responsible parties, and check in points.  The person responsible for the intervention tracks the progress on a progress monitoring sheet.  We reconvene every 4 to 6-weeks about the progress of the student and many times, it is recommended that plans continue, are adjusted to reflect new areas of intervention, or a recommendation for a specialized evaluation may be recommended by committee members.


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

Because we recognize the number one indicator of student achievement is the teacher selected for each child, we invest time to ensure every member of our staff has the skills, knowledge, resources and support necessary to impact student learning. Building capacity for us starts with identifying the best candidates for each position. Our interview process is project-based. We co-created  criteria for the characteristics new candidates need to increase their chances of success. Our interview questions probe for both their knowledge of PLC, as well as their potential to contribute to our culture of high expectations. 


Once hired, new teachers become a part of a learner-orientation environment. All teachers are encouraged to enter the building each day as a teacher and as a learner. Job-embedded professional development occurs daily in our building through our use of instructional coaches, administrative feedback, team collaboration meetings and other more formal PD opportunities.

Other capacity building elements of our learning community include:

  • The Table - This is a school-wide audit of every practice and system in our building that occurs each spring. Teachers are placed on committees based upon areas of personal passion. These teacher teams spend time accessing systems and tying them to student outcomes. Proposed changes are discussed and agreed upon by the entire staff and documented in The Savannah Playbook.

  • Curriculum Playbook - The Savannah Curriculum Playbook is the product of The Table. It is a written document that describes how we agree we will “do school” at Savannah. The power of this document is the way it levels the playing field giving new teachers the same knowledge of their more experienced peers. 

  • Teacher-led initiatives - Any time we implement something new we start by learning together. Administrators will identify a “learning leader” from each grade level who will be involved in very intentional staff development. These grade level representatives work to be experts and serve as resources as their peers try new practices. All implementation timelines, learning targets, and assessment of initiatives is done by the team of teachers that partner with the leadership team. We have used this model with success to implement initiatives like Assessment for Learning, PLC, and Restorative Practices to name a few..

  • Teacher Toolbox- A google site for teachers to access important documents, forms, systems, etc… The Toolbox is a hub to our entire staff to ensure everyone has access to information they need.  

  • Project School- Our campus was selected by our district to collaborate with Teachers College at Columbia University as a Project School. This is an honor to be chosen as one of the few campuses across the nation. We are paired with two staff developers who will provide professional development throughout the year to our ELA teachers. This training will help build our Tier 1 strategies in the area of Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop, small group instruction, conferring, goal setting, and feedback.

The glue that holds our PLC together is our Guiding Coalition. Our Guiding Coalition is a 15 member group of teacher leaders who apply annually to lead our campus in this important work. The Guiding Coalition members serve as leaders on their teams to help guide their teams through the PLC process. They have volunteered for additional learning opportunities and have a deep understanding of our campus level systems and the PLC and RTI process that we utilize. Their peers view them as experts and consistently probe them throughout the school day. The Guiding Coalition creates the master schedule, lead campus wide professional development, monitor SMART goals at their grade level and campus wide, they lead vertical teams, lead book clubs tailored to address teacher identified needs, among other various ideas. They also take a lead role in determining our strengths and weaknesses throughout campus needs assessments. This data is used to help develop our campus improvement plan, and aligning our campus goals with our board goals. 


Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Savannah Elementary is located in a rapidly growing area within the Denton Independent School District. Our community is a popular location for families moving within the state of Texas. We also receive many students from a variety of other locations across the nation. When considering this data and assessing the effectiveness of the Professional Learning Communities at Work process we have implemented, it is important to drill a bit deeper. The average presented represents numerous students. Many of which move to our campus the year they are tested on a state exam. 

We believe the mobility rate contributes to the trends seen in our STAAR data. Below, we have included COHORT data which identifies significant improvement for students who were continuously enrolled in Savannah. This gives a better gauge to the effectiveness of the PLC processes we have implemented at Savannah Elementary. When looking at the cohort data please consider the following.

  • The cohort size for economically disadvantaged students is 14.

  • Of the fourteen economically disadvantaged students 3 (21%) students were identified as dyslexic after their 3rd grade year.

  • Of the fourteen economically disadvantaged students 4 (29%) students were identified and served through special education. In Texas, all students take the grade level assessment in spite of eligibility.

  • The 20 point achievement gap between all students and economically disadvantaged students was decreased to a 16 point gap in 2019. 

  • The percentage for all students grew from 56% in 2017 to 66% in 2019. This is a 10% increase.

  • Economically disadvantaged percentage grew from 36% in 2017 to 50% in 2019. This is a 14% increase.

Savannah Elementary Cohort Data | 2017 - 2019



Continuously Enrolled ALL

3rd Grade



Continuously Enrolled Economically Disadvantaged

3rd Grade



Continuously Enrolled ALL

4th Grade



Continuously Enrolled Economically Disadvantaged

4th Grade



Continuously Enrolled ALL

5th Grade



Continuously Enrolled Economically Disadvantaged



As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we do not have 2020 standardized data. The process we had in place prior to the school closure, indicated there would be substantial growth for all sub pops. In the absence of 2020 data, we returned to school this year aware of the challenges we would face as a result of COVID-19. As a result, our staff renewed our commitment to the value of PLC. We worked to ensure we implemented our strategies and processes with fidelity to ensure our students still have access to high quality instruction. Below you will find grade level reading SMART goals that are monitored on a bi-monthly basis. The reading level identified in the SMART goal is the mid of year expectation for each grade level. Therefore, the data shows us that a great majority of students are exactly where they should be in spite of losing such a significant part of their end of previous grade level. Those who have not met the SMART goal yet, are identified by name and need, with a personalized intervention plan in place. 










By 12/18, 60% of Kinder students will be reading on an instructional C3 or higher.

By 12/18, 85% of 1st students will be reading on an instructional G or higher.

By 12/18, 68% of 2nd students will be reading on an instructional L or higher.

By 12/18, 85% of 3rd students will be reading on an instructional O or higher.

By 12/18, 85% of 4th students will be reading on an instructional Q or higher.

By 12/18, 77% of 5th students will be reading on an instructional S or higher.

On Track or Not on Track

On Track

On Track

On Track

On Track

Not on Track

On Track

As of 11/13/2020 we are __% away from meeting SMART goal.

10% away

15% away

15% away

10% away

34% away

14% away


SMART Goals are tracked in our grade level guided reading tracker by student/by teacher and a running record is used to measure progress.

IMAGINE NATION SCHOOL OF EXCELLENCE AWARD -The Imagine Nation School of Excellence Award. Schools and students who demonstrate outstanding usage, dedication, and implementation of an Imagine Learning program throughout the year. Today, 134 schools receive the honor for the 2019-2020 school year.

 2018-2019 Schools of Excellence, Imagine Math 3+

·Savannah Elementary, Denton ISD, Texas

2019-2020 Schools of Excellence, Imagine Math 3+

·Savannah Elementary, Denton ISD, Texas

 IMAGINE NATION BEACON SCHOOL AWARDS - The Imagine Nation Beacon School Award. Schools and students nominated by Imagine Learning representatives exemplifying the spirit of the Imagine Learning partnership, consistent program usage, and best practices in program implementation. Today, 97 schools receive the honor for the 2019-20 school year.

 2019-2020 Beacon Schools

  • Savannah Elementary, Denton ISD, Texas