Heritage High School

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

Heritage High School is a suburban school located in Littleton, Colorado.  Heritage has a student population of approximately 1,700 and is served by a faculty of about 100 members. Heritage is committed to equity, growth, and continuous improvement. For the past eight years, our PLC work has grown from groups of teachers doing “departmental work” to a fully integrated system of meaningful teams and school-wide supporting systems.  This work has taken time and sustained effort.

Currently, Professional Learning Teams (PLTs) in each department address every student by name and need in an effort to work toward our district goal of ensuring that 100% of our students graduate ready for meaningful post-secondary opportunities. This effort has grown over time as teachers’ understanding of the PLC model has increased and as staff has embraced it.  Commitment and fidelity to implementation from staff has been fueled by recognition of the positive impact PLC work has had on our students. Our Data Analysis section highlights significant growth indicators we have seen for students over the past few years and this success is highly motivating to our teachers.

Heritage has 21 PLTs that meet for an hour every Wednesday morning to discuss the achievement gaps and the needs of individual students based on measurable data from subject-area common assessments built by teachers (see attachment #1).  Teams also utilize information from other sources including MAPs tests, PSAT9 and 10, SAT, attendance, and grades. A variety of strategies evolves from these conversations, and teams regularly adapt classroom instruction based on their data conversations.  Teams also organize and plan which students and which needs will be met through the upcoming week’s intervention (Enrichment) time.

Dedicated intervention time is provided through thirty-five-minute class periods built into the school day four times a week (see attachment #2).  On Mondays and Fridays, students are organized into grade-level Advisory (homeroom) classes and work on social-emotional skill-building and relationships.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, through Enrichment periods, teachers pull students for instructional intervention, academic skill-building, and extended learning opportunities.  We use the term “Enrichment” because this is the name we started with many years ago. Enrichment class periods are targeted intervention and remediation services delivered school wide.

In addition to the four PLC critical questions of learning, each PLT at Heritage is responsible for answering the following six essential questions:

  • Please identify your students by name and need (kids who are struggling, showing insufficient growth or needing advancement) as discussed in your PLT.

  • What common assessments or tools are you and your PLT utilizing to identify students of need? How do you ensure validity?

  • How does a student’s social, emotional or behavioral concern impact your PLT? What does your PLT do with this information?

  • Please name the top 3 deficiencies, gaps or weaknesses your PLT is encountering based on data and standards. How have these been identified?

  • Please name 4 or 5 instructional strategies or instructional changes you have made to assist student growth.

  • What are the challenges and strengths your PLT has individually and as a team?

Heritage is proud of the PLC work we are doing and is committed to continuous improvement as we work to serve all students.

Tell us how you are facilitating a culture of continuous improvement in your school (district). (Recommended word count is 250–500.)

Systems Innovations

Mental Health provider to Professional Learning Teams

Heritage understands that systems within a building must align to support teachers’ important PLC work.  We recognized the need to provide additional support to teacher teams as they work to reduce barriers to learning, which are both non-academic and academic in nature.  For example, our teachers understand that substance abuse, poverty or mental health issues impact student learning. Therefore, we have added a building-level mental health provider (school psychologists, social workers, counselors) to each core PLT team to act as consultants and to help respond to these identified needs.  

Responsive Scheduling

Teachers also provided input that led to an innovative use of Infinite Campus called Responsive Scheduling.  Responsive Scheduling streamlines the process of calling students to Enrichment each week (see attachment #3).  Teachers create a roster of students that they want to pull into Enrichment, and Responsive Scheduling makes this information instantly available to students through their online class schedule.  The outcome for this is increased instructional time because transition into Enrichment classes is much more efficient.

Accommodations Room

Heritage has also developed a full-time Accommodations Room available to all students for interventions, such as extended testing time, scribing, reading tests aloud, and a quiet working environment.  Teachers can have any student (regular education, 504 or IEP) access the accommodations room any period of the day. This ties directly to PLC work because it helps meet individual needs identified by PLTs.

Professional Development

Nearly 40% of Heritage teachers and administrators have participated in district PLC staff development with an external consultant. Heritage teachers have worked through the three day training with Tom Many focused on the three big ideas that drive the work of a PLC: a focus on learning, a collaborative culture, and a results orientation.   In addition, teachers have engaged with advanced training on developing CFAs. This information has been brought back to the building and disseminated through staff development.  Heritage embeds PLC training through a Teacher-to-Teacher network where teachers visit each other’s classrooms (see attachment #4), Heritage Academies where teachers share an area of expertise with colleagues (ex: analyzing MAP data, differentiation, project-based learning) and a year-long faculty PD in which small cross-curricular teacher groups apply the MTSS model with at-risk eleventh graders who are in danger of not graduating. In these groups of cross-curricular teachers we also study the impact of grading practices and ways to support students through shared ownership of their learning. We have trained teachers to use data collection tools such as AssessTrack, Counseling Log and other Infinite Campus tabs.

Because Heritage has 21 PLTs, we continue to call on facilitators to lead their departments in our PLC work (see attachment #6).  Facilitators are not evaluators and everyone in the PLT has equal voice and worth. We have found that this teacher leadership increases effective communication and productivity.  It also provides a feedback loop to our Instructional Coach who coordinates PLC work building wide. Through monthly facilitator meetings and trainings, we have built capacity and shared leadership.  We have also developed school-wide committees of volunteer teachers to explore issues relating to gradebooks (see attachment #7), classroom late policies, and discipline practices because we understand that these have a direct impact on teaching and learning.  As PLTs grapple with intense student issues and work to meet a variety of needs, maintaining open and honest conversation about our professional practices and their impact on student learning has been an effective way to move our PLC towards an integrated model of service delivery.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Heritage works with our district, Littleton Public Schools, to maintain vertical and horizontal articulation between all high schools and between the high schools and the middle schools.  Core content areas work to ensure aligned curricula throughout all levels of courses taught within a subject area. The district has a process for textbook selection and Heritage administration and instructional coaching conversations regularly address issues like standards-based grade books. In addition, all PLTs develop SMART goals tied to content standards (see attachment #8). This is evidence that they are prioritizing standards down into learning targets for students.  For example, our Fine Arts team developed a standards-based, common rubric which identifies the most essential learnings (see attachment #9). Application of the rubric at regular intervals helps teachers measure students’ progress as they develop skills and move towards mastery. The essential learnings established by our teams ensure that a student in one teacher's class gets the same instruction as one in another class.

Each PLT establishes a SMART goal that is based on the district goal, the school goal, and the department’s content-area priority standards.  Teams work toward that goal through the administration of a minimum of eight common formative assessments over the course of a year. During their weekly PLT meetings, teams use the data from the common assessments to monitor student growth, adjust classroom instruction, and develop enrichment lessons.  Math and English departments have also worked with their colleagues across the district to form grade-level competency summative assessments which prove mastery of essential skills needed for graduation competency.

All teams enter their data on a Common Assessment Chart, which is shared within and between all PLTs in the building (see attachment #10).  On the chart, PLTs include their assessments and the student outcomes from those assessments. This accountability measure ensures that data from each teacher on each PLT is transparent and available throughout the building.  


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

Heritage has a collaborative school-wide intervention and enrichment system built into our schedule. Our extensive MTSS system has functioned effectively for several years.  Hallmark components include the following:

  • Four Student Intervention Teams, organized by counselor/alphabet, meet weekly and include a general education teacher, special education teacher, interventionist, administrator and mental health providers on each team

  • PLTs meet weekly and are focused on standards based SMART goals aligned to the school and district’s goal of having 100% of students will graduate prepared for a meaningful post secondary experience.  PLT facilitators coordinate work and maintain consistency and focus on our shared school goals.

  • Mental health professionals in the building are assigned as consultants to 9th and 10th grade content-area PLTs to help support teachers in addressing students’ social-emotional needs.  They meet with teams two out of every four PLC days.

  • Professional Development is embedded into the second staff meeting of the month.  Teachers meet in cross-curricular groups to learn and apply an MTSS model to current 11th graders identified as at risk because they have not yet met graduation competency.

  • An Accommodations Room is available every period of the day for all students for extra time and other accommodations (with a focus on SIT plans and 504’s)

  • Academic Workshop courses are available to any student with needs and provide tier-two academic support and access to skill-building opportunities.  National Honors Society peer tutors are available every day in Academic Workshop sections for students who want extra help (see attachment #11).

  • Eleven co-taught regular education classes led by both a general education and special education teacher which contain a majority of general education students.

  • Enrichment and Advisory classes are scheduled school wide four times per week.  Teachers call students for extended learning opportunities and are supported by the use of Responsive Scheduling in Infinite Campus.

  • Extended Algebra supports students in reaching graduation competencies and a reading class helps close reading gaps.

  • Sources of Strength implementation was successful. In its second eyar of development, we are now training more students and incorporating school-wide, student-led empowerment activities.

  • A school-wide Intervention Team comprised of administrators, teachers, instruction coach, mental health provider and academic interventionists meets weekly to provide vision and planning for intervention in the building.

Over half of the staff has served on a Student Intervention Team (RtI teams) in the past two years.  These teachers are now working in PLTs and within our monthly staff PD to export and apply their knowledge of the Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) model for all students in their classrooms.  Over 60% of Heritage students were called to at least one Enrichment period within the first semester. So far in the 2019-20 school year, over 78% of our teachers have called at least one student for Enrichment based on the conversations in the PLTs.   IXL, Khan Academy and Albert are used regularly by classroom teachers and during Enrichment periods to tailor learning to individual needs (see attachment #12).


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

Heritage staff understands and uses the integrated systems we have built to support all students. The strengths of the systems we have in place are supported by our collective effort to build meaningful, data-driven PLTs that work toward student growth.

Meaningful, Collaborative Teams:

Every educator at Heritage sits on a PLT that develops norms and builds purposeful communities to create meaningful teams that are mutually accountable for student growth.

Essential Curriculum and Unpacking the Standards:

At the beginning of each year, PLTs prioritize their content standards, develop their essential learnings, and build their SMART goals to begin their work toward helping all students grow.

Common Formative Assessments:

All PLTs create and administer at least eight common assessments during the course of the school year, based on their prioritized standards and essential learnings. Teams measure growth and develop instruction, enrichments, and interventions based on the results of these assessments.  For example, at the beginning of the year, our English 9 and 10 teams use initial MAPs data to identify lagging skills within student cohorts. The teams then group students according to proficiency level and develop Enrichment lessons aligned to standards that these identified students have not mastered (see example #13).  For these Enrichment periods, teachers organize students across the department so that all student needs are met. Teachers may cross-team students during Enrichment so that they end up working with students they don’t have in class, but who all need the same skill building. Teachers also revise their course lesson planning and classroom instruction based on the outcomes of these Enrichment interventions.  Teams progress monitor student growth through common assessments and continue the cycle of intervention by providing additional instruction until all students have mastered the identified skills (see attachment #14).

Data Conversations:

Following the administration of the common assessments, teams analyze the data and develop targeted skill-building Enrichment lessons for students below proficiency.  This responds to PLC question #3. For students who have reached proficiency, teachers develop differentiated strategies for classroom instruction and extending learning.  This responds to PLC question #4. Teachers continue to monitor student progress throughout the year and adjust their instruction based on common assessment data.


Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Data Analysis

The Colorado Department of Education’s requirements for standardized assessments for high schools has evolved over the last several years.  For example, in the past three years, high schools have transitioned from CMAS (a state produced assessment) to the ACT to the SAT suite of assessments.  The assessment process and tests themselves have also changed. For example, the SAT changed the way their scores are presented when Evidence-Based Reading and Writing replaced Critical Reading and Writing in 2017. We have reported three subgroups' data (Free/Reduced Lunch, Minority students and students with IEPs).  This data is spotty because of the transition in assessment and because our population size was often below a threshold which was needed for valid reporting. 

The variability in Colorado state assessment requirements impacts our ability to report consistent data across the last three years.  In order to supply our PLC Model School application, we have added other meaningful data points which we believe are evidence of the positive impact our PLC work is having on overall student achievement and growth.  Although the PSAT 9/10 and SAT data indicates growth, we felt it was important to include additional relevant information for the review committee to consider as they evaluate our application. We have created a spreadsheet which outlines our formal state required assessments.  It is accessible in the attachments section.



Data Source


Positive Trend Evidence

Algebra I - Percent of students meeting or exceeding grade level expectations


23% of students proficient


34% of students proficient (exceeds state standards)

Algebra II - Percent of students meeting or exceeding grade level expectations


43%  of students proficient (exceeds state standards)


95% of students proficient (exceeds state standards)

Geometry - Percent of students meeting or exceeding grade level expectations


37% of students proficient (exceeds state standards)


85% of students proficient (exceeds state standards)


Connection to PLC work:

  • LPS uses a Grade Level Proficiency matrix in order to measure student proficiency because of the switch by the Colorado Department of Education in state assessment requirements.  This matrix combines multiple measures of student achievement, including MAPs scores, curriculum benchmark assessments (based on standards), SAT suite information and gradebook input.  LPS Grade Level Proficiencies indicate significant growth from 2014-2016. Colorado began using SAT suite information in 2016.

  • At Heritage, our PLC work has driven these gains.  For example, our Geometry PLC team switched to standards-based gradebooks. Teachers aligned their gradebooks in order to consistently focus on guaranteed and viable curriculum.


Language Arts

Data Source


Positive Trend Evidence








560 (state average was 514)


560 (state average was 513)

PSAT/SAT Growth Data

2017 to 2018

All Students

Improved: 55 to 60

11th Graders

Improved:  55 to 58

Free and Reduced lunch

Improved: 47 to 57

Students with IEPs

Improved: 46.5 to 64



Other Data

AP Five Year School Score Summary 2014-2018

Total number of AP students

2014:  437

2018:  582

Note:  Heritage allows open access to AP classes.  Every student is allowed to take the AP course(s) of his or her choice.

Number of AP exams

2014:  900

2018:  1,172

AP students with scores of 3+

2014:  303

2018:  474

% of total AP students with scores of 3+

2014:  69%

2018:  81%

Number of AP scholars in 2018

AP Scholar:  86

AP Scholar with Honors:  58

National AP Scholar:  15

AP Capstone Diploma:  6

AP Seminar and Research Certificate:  5

Course Failure Rates (includes both fall and spring semester courses)

2016 to 2018








Connection to PLC work:

  • Our Language Arts scores have consistently exceeded state averages on standardized tests.  For example, on the PSAT 10 in 2015, Heritage’s average score was 520.6 while the state average was 475.6, a 45-point difference.  On the SAT in 2018, Heritage’s average was 560 while the state average was 513, a 47 point difference. We have been able to maintain high levels of performance in Language Arts across multiple measures and grade levels over time.  

  • Through PLC work, such as data analysis, targeted interventions for struggling students, and addressing the fourth PLC question to extend learning for students who have demonstrated mastery, we have even been able to increase student performance for all students, including those who are historically high achieving.  


School-Wide Interventions


Intervention Type

Positive Trend Evidence



Enrichment Class Participation


62% of Heritage students were called to Enrichment

Credit Recovery

128 Courses Completed

144 Courses Completed

Academic Workshop

231 Students Served

293 Students Served

IXL Math/Language Arts

7210 Proficiencies Achieved

7871 Proficiencies Achieved


In addition to the standards-based data that each team uses, all of our PLTs also use this school-wide data to address students by name and need, aiming to achieve the school and district goal of preparing 100% of our students for meaningful post-secondary opportunities.  Academic Workshop is a tier two support for students struggling with organization, communication and other access skills. IXL is a web-based program which builds math and language arts skills by individualizing standards based instruction in a progressive way.

Support Documents:  Attachment List


Attachment #

Item Description (referenced in the application narrative)


PLT list


HHS Daily Schedule


Responsive Scheduling Screenshot


Teacher to Teacher Network


MTSS Faculty PD Example


PLT Facilitators Meeting Agenda example


Gradebook Committee Artifacts




PLT Common Assessment Rubric Example - Fine Arts


Common Assessment Chart


Academic Workshop Data


IXL Intervention Data


Enrichment Lesson Example


Spanish PLT Student Growth Data


Additional Reference Material

Attachment #

Item Description (not referenced directly in application narrative)


August 2018 Faculty PLC presentation


Six Week PLC credit check (ongoing D/F lists)


Common Assessment example from Science


The Model PLC award is the first time we are seeking recognition specifically for our PLC work.  However, we believe that other forms of recognition support the conclusion that our PLC work has had a direct and substantial relationship to the student outcomes we strive to achieve as a model PLC school.  Our accomplishments include:

  • Being ranked as one of the top high schools in America by Newsweek Magazine.

  • Being acknowledged by 5280 magazine as one of the top schools in the Denver area.

  • Being ranked 1,993 out of 30,000 high school for STEM programming.

  • Having 29 students receive the prestigious merit-based Boettcher scholarship during our history. This scholarship provides a high school senior with a full-ride scholarship to any four-year Colorado institution.

  • Having 10 students recognized in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship program with one student achieving Finalist status, one student achieving Semi-Finalist status, and eight achieving Commended status. 

  • Having one student awarded the prestigious Boettcher Scholarship. 

  • Having 505 students take 967 AP exams with a 79% pass rate and two students acheiving perfect scores.

  • Having one Air Force appoinment and one Navy/ROTC Award.

  • Having graduating seniors offered nearly $15.6 million in scholarships and 19 students accepting NCAA athletic scholarships in the 2017-18 school year.

  • Raising over $171,000 in ten years during MAD (Make a Difference) Week with most of the money going to Sierra Leone where we have helped build our sister school in Kabala (in conjunction with Operation Classroom).

  • Increasing our composite score from 22.6 to 25.8 on the American College Tests (ACT) in one year.

  • Having an average SAT score of 1085. The national average is 968 and the state average is 1000.

  • Having 86% of our graduates go on to 2-year or 4-year colleges.