Carterville Intermediate School

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

The Carterville Intermediate School PLC journey started in the summer of 2012 when the entire Carterville CUSD #5 administrative team went to the PLC at Work Institute in St. Louis.  Throughout the next school year, a team of district staff developed a common mission, vision, and structure to guide our PLC work. In the summer of 2013, the Intermediate School shifted to all self-contained homerooms and housed grades fourth through sixth.  With this transition, we were off to the races!

Beginning six years ago, all grade-level teams have an hour of time per week embedded into the instructional day.  The focus is on evidence of student learning and common formative assessments drive these discussions and adjustments to individual student's learning journey.  Each grade-level team structures all agenda items underneath one of the four essential questions in alignment with the PLC framework (see sample agendas under additional documentation). Meeting minutes are shared with action items that state who will do what by when.  These details are shared with all team members, other team leaders, and building administrators. The collaborative culture to meet the needs of ALL learners is here to stay.

As a building-wide team, we come to work each day, "To inspire all students to be their best selves so that they are compassionate and confident learners."  We accomplish this work by loving kids, creating opportunities, challenging students to persevere, advocating for all of their needs, and celebrating accomplishments.  The PLC framework has provided the collaborative structure needed to maximize the work we do on a daily basis.

Teachers and administrators have returned to the PLC Summit on three other occasions to strengthen the mindset of the PLC Model.  Principals hold monthly team leader meetings with professional development and benchmarks connected to year long SMART goals. Grade-level teams define proficiency targets to monitor student learning.  All teams reevaluate their norms and clarify growth targets on an annual basis connected to the model PLC standard through survey assessments (see example survey in additional documentation). When benchmarks and goals are reached, we celebrate!  Our three year goal was to become a Model PLC School by August of 2019!


1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Our implementation of the PLC model at Carterville Intermediate School is a very systematic approach in regards to monitoring student learning and achievement on a timely basis. We regularly use a variety of assessments and snapshots of student learning to guide and inform instruction.  These assessments are multi-faceted in that they provide a variety of layers of insights into our students’ learning.  To gain global insight, we use data through our State assessments and Universal Screening assessments to measure the success of our Tier I instruction.  This allows us to look at our student body as a whole and ensure that our lowest achieving students are placed into an appropriate intervention to meet their instructional needs.  We also use the global data to identify high achieving students that should be enriched and provided with learning opportunities that are beyond the grade-level content and skills.  Teachers have used this global data to create a Personalized Learner Profile for each student (see example PLP in additional documentation).  On this profile, teachers have compiled assessment scores to paint a picture of the student as a learner. Teachers use these scores to identify strengths and weaknesses and adjust instruction as needed.  The Universal Screening data is collected three times a year. After each benchmarking period, grade-level teachers use these snapshots of data in their PLCs to evaluate the WIN sessions and make necessary adjustments to the session topics and skills addressed.

Students are also assessed regularly in their classrooms through their daily learning. Teachers have spent an enormous amount of time identifying the skills and standards within each unit assessment in our ELA curriculum (see example ELA Mapping in additional documentation).  Teachers have also identified the essential standards within each unit of our math curriculum and designed thier instruction accordingly (see example Math Scope and Sequence in additional documentation).

We use a Backwards Design Model by Wiggins & McTighe of instruction in that learning targets are first identified and set; then teachers design the instruction to help students achieve those set targets. Within the PLC time, as grade-level teams, teachers determine which grade-level summative assessments are used to measure all student learning.  Before the units of instruction are given, teachers spend additional time analyzing the assessments as a grade-level team. They work to identify which essential standards should be taught throughout the unit, they set a tentative timeline of when the summative should be given, and discuss instructional strategies to ensure that all students are able to access the materials on the summative assessment. See the Geometry Unit Data Analysis document (in additional documents) for an example of grouping students within a unit based on student data. Special education teachers also participate in the PLC planning time to discuss necessary accommodations to ensure success of all students. Grade-level teams collaborate to share the types of formal and informal formative assessments that will be given to gain insight into the students’ learning on a daily basis.

Data-based decisions are made on a weekly basis deriving from all forms of assessments mentioned above. As a grade level team, teachers share student performance data on formative assessments, and proactive action plans are put into place using the “Here’s What, So What, Now What” strategy from the Learning by Doing handbook. The first PLC of the month is titled Data Discovery where progress monitoring information on all students receiving an intervention is provided to the classroom teacher by the interventionist. Through this data analysis process connected to formative assessment data during our PLCs, there is time and opportunity to modify the instructional plan for students and ensure their instruction is aligned to their needs.  Without our PLC model and embedded time built into our work week for this type of collective inquiry, our students wouldn't be able to reach their current levels of success.

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

All students in each grade level have a thirty-minute daily block of time called WIN time.  WIN stands for “What I Need” and targets exactly that. To facilitate this valuable piece of our day, we have seven homeroom teachers per grade level, two interventionists, two title teachers, special education teachers with aides, a music teacher for fine arts enrichment, and a counselor as needed.  Students are in fluid groupings with up to sixteen session options on a daily basis ranging from tier 2-3 intervention, to support or reteaching sessions, to enrichment opportunities. The number of session options reduces the number of students and allows for specific individualized instruction. These groupings are fluid, and weekly adjustments are made for students as needed in weekly PLC meetings.   Student performance data is used to make these decisions, allowing for opportunities ranging from re-teaching content to students who did not reach our proficiency target on the last assessment, to pre-teaching identified students who struggled the most with concepts identified on a pretest. WIN time also allows enrichment opportunities for students who have shown mastery on identified target areas.  The WIN time structure within the PLC Model allows these fluid groupings to be the most impactful instructional minutes of our school day.  It is within our weekly PLCs that collective inquiry regarding issues related to student learning can take place and adjustments can be made.


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

Building these high performing, collaborative teams focused on improved student learning starts with the building administration.  It is our responsibility to have a concrete understanding of the PLC Model and to build the culture and climate necessary for ALL staff to focus on the learning of ALL students.  Over the past six years within this self-contained learning environment, this has been a work in progress. The strong culture committed to excellence and student performance has defined how we behave in this school, and the relentless assurance to provide the professional development, resources, and support to staff is evident by how we feel about the work taking place in our school.  

Our building MTSS team meets monthly and we structure these meetings in the same manner of our grade level teams.  We focus on the school-wide systems of identification, within the RtI Framework providing academic assistance, to the PBIS framework to meet the social / emotional needs of our learners.

We also have an Action Team that meets monthly to discuss current levels of performance and to add a Tier 3 level of intervention or make decisions to move towards a possible special education evaluation.  This team is made up of with a teacher, interventionist, counselor, principal, parent, and a special education teacher.


Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

In Illinois, all students in grade 3-8 take the PARCC assessment which measures ELA and Math content and skills.  Fifth grade students also take the Illinois Science Assessment, but the state has only offered this assessment for the past two years. Our PARCC assessment scores demonstrate the effectiveness of our PLC Framework on a variety of levels. 

The School-Wide Achievement Data document (see attached) shows all three grade levels performing higher than the state in all three subjects. These scores demonstrate the impact of our PLCs and how our student performance is enhanced by CIS teachers working in collaborative teams and investing in collective inquiry compared to the state averages. 

The CIS School-Wide Growth Data document (see attached) displays how the growth of CIS students school-wide compares to the flat growth of our state. 

The document titled, CIS Longitudinal PARCC Data document (see attached), shows growth of the same group of students over time.  This document highlights the power of our collaborative teams and the systems of support and enrichment we have in place to maximize learning for all students.  On page 5 of this document, for comparison, the only group to enter Carterville Intermediate School with a baseline score from 3rd grade and to take the PARCC assessment for the past three years had amazing performance results.  The number of students in this group that met or exceeded state standards rose +17% in three years from 48% - 65% in ELA.  Statewide, the percentage of students that met and exceeded standards in ELA fell -1% over this same time period from 35% - 34%.  On the math assessment, CIS students that met and exceeded increased +4% from 44% - 48% while the statewide performance dropped -7% from 34% - 27%.  This is the most demonstrative piece of performance data that shows when the Carterville Intermediate School staff gets their hands on a group of students and is provided the opportunities of collaboration during PLC, academic performance is achieved!

During PLCs, our teachers collaborate with the Title I teachers, Interventionists, Special Education teachers, and ELL teacher to ensure there is an individualized plan in place for students that traditionally struggle in school.   Our goal is to ensure that students in various subgroups, (i.e., Low Income, English Learners, Special Education) receive the same high-quality learning opportunities as students not within those subgroups.  The document Subgroup Achievement Data (see attached) shows CIS students within these subgroups have performed higher than the students within these subgroups in the state.  This demonstrates that our teachers strive to meet the needs of all students that come to us from all different experiences and background.  These scores are in alignment with our CIS Why Statement, which states, “To inspire all students to be their best selves so that they are compassionate and confident learners.”  

The new federal ranking system, ESSA, has defined Carterville Intermediate School as Commendable for the 2017-2018 school year.  The Summative Designation rating of a Comendable School  is defined as school with no underperforming student groups, a graduation rate that is greater than 67%, and whose performance is not in the top 10% of Illinois Schools statewide.  Carterville Intermediate School had an all student Index Score of 78.22.  The threshhold for student performance to receive an Exemplary rating was 80.94.  We were 2.72 points away from perfoming in the top 10% of schools statewide.  Our PLC Teams have disected the ESSA Designation calculation methods and have determined that CIS met both ELA and Math profiecency targets.  Student Growth percentiles were also at the levels needed to score in the top 10% of schools, but it was a 10% chronic absentism figure that held back the overall school performance.  If students are not in school, they cannot learn and new attendance systems are already in place to ensure students come to school and allow us to place our learning hands over them.

CIS recently was recognized as one of thirteen exemplary and commendable schools as IL-Empower Peer Learning Partner across the state of Illinois.  ISBE used a comprehensive vetting process evaluating each applicant's evidence for: 1. Achieving historical success in identified school improvement efforts and sustaining this success over time. 2. Articulating a strong plan to support peers in designing, implementing and monitoring continuous school improvement strategies/programming over time; and 3. Current school achievement as measured against success indicators within the Illinois Every Student Succeeds Act Support and Accountability Plan. There is no doubt that CIS was recognized as a Peer Learning Partner due to the work that takes place within our PLC Framework.