Riverside County Office of Education

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

The PLC School Leadership Team (SLT) program coordinated by the Riverside County Office of Education, Division of Educational Leadership Services (ELS) supports schools in becoming highly-functioning professional learning communities.  This is a two-year program consisting of ten training sessions and interim school site work focused on developing leadership capacity, implementing structures and processes of a PLC and increasing student academic achievement.  In addition to the program Directors, ELS employs a core group of consultants to facilitate the SLT program.  The program description has been provided by Terry Wilhelm and the evidence of effectiveness is representative of the elementary, middle, and high schools that have completed the two-year program since 2003.  56 schools from ten districts in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties in California are represented: Moreno Valley Unified School District, Lake Elsinore Unified School District, Jurupa Unified, Corona-Norco Unified, Hemet Unified, Alvord Unified, San Jacinto Unified, Perris Union High School District, Fontana Unified, and Bellflower Unified.

The SLT program is a proven process for schools to become professional learning communities.  Training is delivered to a cohort of schools, with facilitators serving as coaches for the design and implementation of strategic interim school site work.  Each session focuses on two strands, school leadership and student academic achievement, which are connected to the Cultural Shifts found within Learning by Doing.  Throughout the sessions, schools create SMART goals for their interim work that focus on supporting the implementation of a PLC, increasing student achievement, enhancing the capacity of teacher teams, and propelling the Cultural Shifts at their school site. 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

A component of the SLT program is for school leadership teams to assess the extent to which critical foundations of a PLC exist at their sites: a focus on learning, a collaborative culture, collective inquiry into best practice, action orientation, commitment to continuous improvement and school improvement planning, and a results orientation. School leadership teams accomplish this by administering a rating scale survey to all staff to discern the degree to which it is perceived that a collaborative culture focused on results and learning exists at each school. This sets the stage for the continuous monitoring of student achievement and the collective development of best practices to ensure all students learn. The expectation of the SLT program is that schools establish structures that provide teacher teams a minimum of two hours - and preferably four hours - of collaboration time per month. The Critical Issues for Team Consideration in Learning by Doing is used as a framework to ensure that school leadership teams are strategic in supporting their teacher teams in the effective use of collaboration time. As part of the training, school leadership teams are provided tools and routines in the form of data- and focus-walk-protocols which have been proven to be high leverage processes to maintain a continuous focus on student learning results and collective development of best practices.

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

The SLT program uses the California Department of Education’s Academic Program Survey (APS), and Response to Intervention model (RtI) - a pyramid of interventions concept that provides systems of interventions that support the learning of all students. The APS provides a structural framework for aligning the bell schedule and/or master schedule with appropriate core academic interventions (benchmark, strategic and intensive) for all students. The concept of a system of interventions is effectively conveyed using the video “Through New Eyes,” which provides the school leadership teams with a mental model from which to discern the extent that their schools’ structures and culture affords additional time and support for student learning. Again, the Critical Issues for Team Consideration in Learning by Doing is used as a framework to ensure that school leadership teams are strategic in designing and implementing systems of student interventions. School leadership teams also receive training in cultural proficiency, and the culture of poverty, to enhance their ability to meet the learning needs of at-risk student populations and collectively develop best practices.

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

Providing leadership development and support for principals.

The program provides customized support for participating principals, based on the needs of the schools and the cohort. This may include intersession site visits, advance orientation meetings for the principals with their district superintendents and district office staff, intersession principal breakfast meetings, and principal-only meetings prior to team meetings. In the case of in-house cohorts delivered within a single district setting, the facilitators hold advance planning meetings with district leaders, and maintain regular contact with them in order to ensure that the program is providing cohesive support for district initiatives. For all-high-school groups, team “mentors” are provided through the program. These are retired high school administrators or academic coaches, who attend all team sessions with their assigned team, and conduct intersession visits to help ensure that the plans developed during each session’s Time to Design segment are successfully carried out.

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

The goal of the SLT program is to develop the school leadership team’s capacity to support their respective schools in making the Cultural Shifts in Learning by Doing. To this end, school leadership teams are provided tools, routines and leadership practices that enhance their ability to directly empowering teacher teams to focus on results and learning. This includes a process for developing a school-wide shared vision by clarifying core beliefs and establishing collective commitments. A foundational component of this work is the creation and maintenance of norms for all teams at the school. In addition, training is provided on how to effectively run meetings, develop communication skills and processes for building consensus, and to use formal discussion protocols for analyzing data and student work. Again, the Critical Issues for Team Consideration in Learning by Doing is used as a framework to ensure that school leadership teams are strategic in designing and implementing tools and routines that guide the work of teacher teams.

At the conclusion of the two-year program each school presents evidence of their implementation of PLC concepts, including gains shown in student achievement data. School leadership teams have indicated that they possess a greater capacity to function as a guiding coalition. This increased leadership capacity has translated into the consistent use of protocols to analyze student assessment data and inform instructional practices, creation and monitoring of team and classroom SMART goals to guide instructional and curricular decisions, co-planning and co-teaching by grade level and course-alike teams, and implementation of various academic interventions to support student learning. Schools completing the program have received recognitions for academic achievement including National Blue Ribbon, California Distinguished School, and Title 1 Academic Achievement. In addition, schools completing the program have exited Program Improvement and state-monitored status.

Table 1. 2008-09 Demographic Data

2011-12 Demographic Data

Subgroup SLT Schools Riverside County State of CA
Hispanic 68% 60% 52%
White 14% 25% 25%
Free/Reduced Lunch 76% 60% 57%
Students with Disabilities 28% 21% 22%
English Learners 12% 10% 10%

Table 2. Academic Performance Index (API) Score

Academic Performance Index (API) Score

SLT Cohort 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Cohort 1 (Served in 2003-05) 629 637 659 667 689 701 716 728 733 744
Cohort 2 (Served in 2004-06)   667 686 688 704 727 740 746 748 753
Cohort 3 (Served in 2005-07)     640 668 672 711 721 730 773 780
Cohort 4 (Served in 2006-08)       714 716 753 764 771 756 768
Cohort 5 (Served in 2007-09)         696 726 746 755 750 758
Cohorts 1-5 Overall         695 724 742 753 752 761

Table 3. Academic Performance Index (API) Score Change

SLT Cohort 2003-12 API Change 2004-12 API Change 2005-12 API Change 2006-12 API Change 2007-12 API Change
Cohort 1 (Served in 2003-05) 115 107 85 77 55
Cohort 2 (Served in 2004-06)   86 67 65 49
Cohort 3 (Served in 2005-07)     140 112 108
Cohort 4 (Served in 2006-08)       54 52
Cohort 5 (Served in 2007-09)         62
Cohorts 1-5 Overall         66
Riverside County 103 98 84 71 57
State of CA 80 77 61 49 43

Table 4. English Language Arts Proficient Rate

English Language Arts Proficient Rate

SLT Cohort 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Cohort 1 (Served in 2003-05) 20.3% 21.1% 26.8% 28.9% 31.4% 32.5% 38.2% 40.3% 42.2% 46.1%
Cohort 2 (Served in 2004-06)   29.4% 33.5% 35.0% 36.7% 40.0% 43.4% 45.3% 44.7% 46.8%
Cohort 3 (Served in 2005-07)     27.7% 28.4% 29.3% 32.6% 37.5% 39.0% 44.3% 47.5%
Cohort 4 (Served in 2006-08)       32.3% 33.9% 38.3% 44.3% 46.6% 48.4% 45.9%
Cohort 5 (Served in 2007-09)         41.5% 46.9% 49.8% 51.8% 55.2% 49.8%
Cohorts 1-5 Overall         34.6% 38.1% 42.6% 44.6% 47.0% 47.2%

Table 5. Mathematics Proficient Rate

Mathematics Proficient Rate

SLT Cohort 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Cohort 1 (Served in 2003-05) 22.2% 22.0% 29.6% 31.0% 32.2% 35.8% 38.5% 40.0% 41.0% 45.1%
Cohort 2 (Served in 2004-06)   33.4% 37.3% 35.9% 40.4% 44.7% 47.9% 46.0% 46.9% 46.8%
Cohort 3 (Served in 2005-07)     26.4% 28.8% 32.4% 35.8% 36.7% 40.3% 43.6% 47.8%
Cohort 4 (Served in 2006-08)       46.9% 44.0% 51.4% 52.9% 53.3% 54.3% 52.0%
Cohort 5 (Served in 2007-09)         39.4% 44.7% 46.6% 47.9% 52.8% 49.5%
Cohorts 1-5 Overall         37.7% 42.5% 44.5% 45.5% 47.7% 48.2%

Table 6. Percent Change in English Language Arts Proficient Rate

Percent Change in English Language Arts Proficient Rate

SLT Cohort 2003-12 Percent Change 2004-12 Percent Change 2005-12 Percent Change 2006-12 Percent Change 2007-12 Percent Change
Cohort 1 (Served in 2003-05) 127.1% 118.5% 72.0% 59.5% 46.8%
Cohort 2 (Served in 2004-06)   59.2% 39.7% 33.7% 27.5%
Cohort 3 (Served in 2005-07)     71.5% 67.3% 62.1%
Cohort 4 (Served in 2006-08)       42.1% 35.4%
Cohort 5 (Served in 2007-09)         20.0%
Cohorts 1-5 Overall         36.6%
Riverside County 74.0% 69.9% 51.2% 42.9% 34.9%
State of CA 59.2% 55.3% 38.7% 29.7% 27.7%

Table 7. Percent Change in Mathematics Proficient Rate

Percent Change in Mathematics Proficient Rate

SLT Cohort 2003-12 Percent Change 2004-12 Percent Change 2005-12 Percent Change 2006-12 Percent Change 2007-12 Percent Change
Cohort 1 (Served in 2003-05) 103.2% 105.0% 52.4% 45.5% 40.1%
Cohort 2 (Served in 2004-06)   40.1% 25.5% 30.4% 15.8%
Cohort 3 (Served in 2005-07)     81.1% 66.0% 47.5%
Cohort 4 (Served in 2006-08)       10.9% 18.2%
Cohort 5 (Served in 2007-09)         25.6%
Cohorts 1-5 Overall         28.0%
Riverside County 63.7% 55.5% 39.1% 31.9% 28.3%
State of CA 53.4% 48.0% 32.2% 24.0% 22.7%

Table 8. 2007-12 Percent Change in English Language Arts Proficient Rate

2007-12 Percent Change in English Language Arts Proficient Rate

Subgroup SLT Schools Riverside County State of CA
All Students 36.6% 34.9% 27.7%
Hispanic 52.0% 56.3% 50.8%
White 20.4% 20.0% 15.1%
Socioeconomically Disadvantaged 54.8% 63.3% 52.3%
English Learners 62.7% 66.7% 57.4%
Students with Disabilities 99.9% 85.0% 72.5%

Table 9. 2007-12 Percent Change in Mathematics Proficient Rate

2007-12 Percent Change in Mathematics Proficient Rate

Subgroup SLT Schools Riverside County State of CA
All Students 28.0% 28.3% 22.7%
Hispanic 38.5% 39.5% 36.8%
White 16.8% 16.7% 13.4%
Socioeconomically Disadvantaged 42.4% 44.4% 36.8%
English Learners 38.5% 44.1% 38.3%
Students with Disabilities 92.8% 70.8% 54.4%

In addition to the comparatively larger gains of participating schools as compared to other schools in the county and state, evidence of sustainability is compelling. Schools that have completed the two-year program have continued to show significant gains in student achievement – up to six years later for the first cohort of 2003-05.

Overall, schools that have participated in the SLT program had significantly higher populations of at-risk students as compared to the representative districts and the state. Yet, SLT schools showed greater gains in almost all student subgroups for both English language arts and math standards proficiency. In addition, SLT schools had a significantly greater increase in California’s Academic Performance Index (a state-specific measure of academic performance and growth) as compared to similar schools in the county and state.

Cohort School District
1 Mountain View Middle School Moreno Valley Unified
1 Cloverdale Elementary Moreno Valley Unified
1 Mira Loma Middle School Jurupa Unified
1 Jurupa Middle School Jurupa Unified
1 San Jacinto Elementary School San Jacinto Unified
1 Terrace Elementary School Alvord Unified
1 Pinacate Middle School Perris Union High School District
2 Arlanza Elementary School Alvord Unified
2 Twinhill Elementary School Alvord Unified
2 Mission Middle School Jurupa Unified
2 Honey Hollow Elementary School Moreno Valley Unified
2 Canyon Springs High School Moreno Valley Unified
2 Palm Middle School Moreno Valley Unified
2 Moreno Elementary School Moreno Valley Unified
3 Canyon Lake Middle School Lake Elsinore Unified
3 Vista Heights Middle School Moreno Valley Unified
3 Butterfield Elementary School Moreno Valley Unified
3 Bear Valley Elementary School Moreno Valley Unified
3 Serrano Elementary School Moreno Valley Unified
3 Sunnymeadows Elementary School Moreno Valley Unified
4 Terra Cotta Middle School Lake Elsinore Unified
4 Lake Elsinore Elementary School Lake Elsinore Unified
4 Landmark Middle School Moreno Valley Unified
4 La Jolla Elementary School Moreno Valley Unified
4 Chaparral Hills Elementary School Moreno Valley Unified
4 Hendrick Ranch Elementary School Moreno Valley Unified
4 Sugar Hill Elementary School Moreno Valley Unified
4 Armada Elementary School Moreno Valley Unified
4 Box Springs Elementary School Moreno Valley Unified
5 Locust Elementary School Fontana Unified
5 Diamond Valley Elementary School Hemet Unified
5 Corona Fundamental Intermediate School Corona-Norco Unified
5 Butterfield Elementary School Lake Elsinore Unified
5 Lakeland Village Middle School Lake Elsinore Unified
5 Elsinore Middle School Lake Elsinore Unified
5 Lakeside High School Lake Elsinore Unified
5 Vista del Lago High School Moreno Valley Unified
5 Valley View High School Moreno Valley Unified
5 Moreno Valley High School Moreno Valley Unified
5 Machado Elementary School Lake Elsinore Unified
5 Ridgecrest Elementary School Moreno Valley Unified
6 Railroad Canyon Elementary School Lake Elsinore Unified
6 Elsinore Elementary School Lake Elsinore Unified
6 David Brown Middle School Lake Elsinore Unified
6 Terrace Elementary School Alvorde Unified
6 Woodruff Elementary School Bellflower Unified
6 Tahquitz High School Hemet Unified
6 Hemet High School Hemet Unified
6 Dartmouth Middle School Hemet Unified
6 Rancho Viejo Middle School Hemet Unified
6 Whittier Elementary School Hemet Unified
6 Valle Vista Elementary School Hemet Unified
6 Winchester Elementary School Hemet Unified
6 McSweeny Elementary School Hemet Unified
6 Jacob Wiens Elementary School Hemet Unified
6 Little Lake Elementary School Hemet Unified

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