Woodlawn Middle School

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

The PLC journey at Woodlawn Middle School began in the fall of 2002 when the primary data sources used to drive instruction and increase student achievement were the state achievement and other standardized tests of student performance. Through a cycle of evaluating student achievement data, the strategies needed to improve student performance were determined, and the need for more formative data sources was identified. This began our work in the development of common formative assessments and benchmark assessments. Since then, student achievement has improved steadily and has remained stable since 2007. Generally speaking, approximately 97% of all students at Woodlawn Middle School either meet or exceeds state standards in all tested subjects. In addition, the interdependence of content and grade level team members has grown exponentially resulting in the implementation of more effective differentiated instructional practices, more target-aligned formative assessments, more skill-based interventions, and consistent, measurable student growth. At the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year, the district simultaneously implemented a standards-based reporting system and rolled out the new and exceedingly more rigorous Common Core Learning Standards. Both initiatives will carry over into other curricular content areas in the upcoming years.

As a district, we worked on developing a common mission, vision, values and goals to guide our work. A focus on the four critical questions led us to understand how important a guaranteed and viable curriculum was needed. District content teams worked to develop the common set of targets for each subject area in every grade. From these targets we understood the need to write appropriate assessments (formative and summative) to measure the attainment of the identified targets. From this data, we were prepared to identify students who needed extra support and those that needed opportunities for extension and/or acceleration. Over the years, we have continued to revise the expected targets as we have learned more,often adding rigor and higher expectations for our students. This revision has included the addition of leveled targets and the implementation of a standards based reporting system to provide specific, timely and accurate feedback to students and parents. 
Woodlawn created collaborative teams at each grade level or content team.  These teams review the upcoming targets, pacing guides and scoring rubrics. They develop common formative assessments to assess the unique needs of their students. Teams also meet regularly to review data (pre-test, common formative assessments and end of unit assessments) to design effective differentiated instruction. More recently, the district has provided staff members serving in a coaching role to provide support to teachers in the area of literacy, math, technology, science, extended services and informational literacy. 


1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

The second critical question for our work as a PLC says "How will you know if students have learned what you expect them to?" In District 96, we work hard at developing appropriate target-aligned assessments. These include formative and summative assessments that are used for different purposes. Formative assessments are used to determine a student's current level of understanding and knowledge of the targets. These formative assessments may include the use of observational checklists, exit slips, target aligned quizzes, individual conferences with students, or other means to gather student data. Feedback is provided to students to help them know where they are in their learning progression and what they need to do in order to show growth. Teachers use data from these assessments to guide their instruction through differentiation, identify small groups of students in their classroom who may benefit from additional instruction or those that are ready for enrichment. Grade level teams develop common formative assessments based on the needs of their students. These needs may be different at other schools based on the unique characteristics of students. The results of these assessments are reviewed by the entire grade level to make decisions about pacing, mix-up opportunities and to share instructional ideas to support all students.
We use a standards-based reporting system to provide feedback to students and parents about progress. Students understand that prior to instruction it may be that a student is not yet showing proficiency. With instruction, students see their growth. We have also developed above-level targets for students to work on after showing proficiency or mastery of the grade level expected targets. Students work hard to move towards these extension opportunities.

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

Collaboration is key to crearing systems of intervention. In District 96, our system of intervention begins with the robust assessment system based on our identified targets for each grade level course. We use Northwest Evaluation Assessment Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) for all students in grades K-7 three times a year for math and literacy. Eighth grade students are tested only in the Fall. This data is used as a data point for consideration for additional time and support. All students are also assessed using CBM's to gather additional data. Our district uses the benchmark assessment data as well. Each building has a Problem Solving Team made up of many individuals whose purpose is to provide support to the individual teachers to determine steps to be taken in the classroom in order to identify overall needs. This Problem Solving Team reviews progress monitoring data on a regular basis to determine if additional time and support is needed by moving up the pyramid of interventions.

Students are served through a variety of interventions including LEAP II literacy intervention, After School Assistance Program for Writing (ASAP Writing), Academic Intervention (target-based intervention within the school day designed to provide intensive, target-based instruction to students who perform below standards on common formative assessments).

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

A robust program of differentiated professional development has been a strong focus within our school and across the district. A highly competent team of coaches in the areas of technology, content, and literacy has been deployed to provide job-embedded learning experiences for teachers, provide access to tech-based online resources that can be utilized to enhance student engagement, and broaden the range of curricular resources available for shared use. The implementation of a coaching model has proven to be very successful, and expansion of the program is under consideration.  Woodlawn places an extremely high priority on our collaborative teams that lead to student learning.  

2015-2016 (PARCC) 60 62 29 77 76 35
2014-2015 (PARCC) 73 72 27 78 79 35
2013-2014 (ISAT) 90* 90* 60* 87* 87* 57*
2012-2013 (ISAT) 90* 90* 60* 91* 89* 59*
2011-2012 (ISAT) 96 96 85 96 97 82
2010-2011 (ISAT) 97 98 84 96 98 84
2015-2016 (PARCC) 66 66 27 79 80 37 Science Assessed in Grades 5 and 8
2014-2015 (PARCC) 61 64 28 75 78 39 No Science Assessment
2013-2014 (ISAT) 88* 90* 58* 89* 87* 59* 97 96 80
2012-2013 (ISAT) 90* 91* 59* 82* 85* 59* 96 96 79
2011-2012 (ISAT) 98 98 85 95 97 78 95 97 80
2010-2011 (ISAT) 99 99 84 97 95 79 94 95 82
2015-2016 (PARCC) 70 69 32 69 71 39
2014-2015 (PARCC) 72 73 32 85 83 40
2013-2014 (ISAT) 90* 90* 60* 85* 85* 56*
2012-2013 (ISAT) 86* 86* 59* 85* 86* 60*
2011-2012 (ISAT) 99 99 85 97 99 86
2010-2011 (ISAT) 98 98 86 98 98 85
*Indicates that these scores are based on the revised ISAT cut scores implemented by the state of Illinois. It is not appropriate to compare data before and after the change in cut scores.                                                                        

United States Department of Education Blue Ribbon School, 2009, 2016

Woodlawn Middle School was featured in the Journal of Staff Development in their winter, 2006 volume. The article, “A Steadily Flowing Stream of Information Gives Teacher Much-Needed Data”, describes the professional process of effectively writing and using common assessments both on a formative and summative level.