Pasco County Schools

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

Developing a Shared Understanding 

As the 53rd largest school district in the country, true systems change in Pasco county has taken a number of years. During the 2011-2012 school year, Pasco County Schools began planning for its transformation into a district focused on continuous improvement centered around a Professional Learning Communities framework.  

Year 1 

The first year of implementation emphasized establishing what was termed “Step 0” processes which consisted of teams' structures, norms of engagement, and consensus on the focus of teacher teams being grounded in standards-based instruction and inquiry cycles.  Schools from the elementary, middle and high school levels joined the Solution Tree PLC conferences. Schools identified teacher leaders (PLC Facilitators) to support implementation at the school level. Hundreds of PLC Facilitators and administrators began learning about the 4 C’s: Collective Responsibility, Concentrated Instruction, Convergent Assessment, and Certain Access. In addition, PLC facilitators created implementation plans for their teacher team to get started. (Appendix D) 

Early systems change required that every teacher, administrator, and district staff would understand the basics of the 4 essential PLC questions. There was continued involvement in the Solution Tree conferences, regular district training for administrators and leadership teams at each level, and consultation from experts to guide the system-wide implementation of this large-scale change.  As we developed the compelling need for the PLC structure, staff learned a common language and we began to align our practices and curricular resources with our new understanding. 

Year 2 

During the first year of PLC implementation, our district added a question to PLC work “How do we design learning experience for students”.  Unfortunately, this led to teacher team meetings focused on planning.  As a result, many teams were not using data to drive the work.  This would lead to necessary adjustments moving into Year 2.  

The focus for the second year of PLC implementation was grounded in the guiding PLC questions, specifically around using common formative assessments.  This framed teacher team conversations on developing assessments aligned with grade/course standards and strategies to assist and accelerate students.   

Year 3 

During the second year of implementation, teacher teams were engaged in the PLC process; however, there were gaps in understanding of the grade and course level standards.  

For the third year of implementation, the district-wide targeted PLC implementation plan shifted focus on increasing PLC Facilitator knowledge of core content standards and how the standards support PLC questions 1-4.   

In addition, district-level teams were developed to support school implementation of PLC work. As district level teams coached and supported schools, variation in practices were identified. Pasco County Schools partnered with Solution Tree to continue to support district level PLC implementation. This included supports for school teams, and district teams. The support provided a refresh of practices for seasoned Pasco educators, and helped onboard new staff members and helped with consistent practices for all collaborative teams in the system.   

The present 

Pasco is continuing to build shared understanding of PLCs and collective commitments to ensure that each and every student learns at high levels. Teacher teams at all levels in Pasco operate using the PLC structure. There is weekly work to unpack what a student should be learning, selecting or developing common formative assessments to know when they learned it, and a regular use of the teaching assessing cycle to understand and strategically plan how to respond when students learned or had unfinished learning on essential standards.  Like most large school systems, this work has not marched forward in a linear developmental path.  It is a continuous effort of laying the foundation with new staff, monitoring and readjusting the work of established schools and teams. However, the vast majority of our schools are strongly implementing and demonstrate evidence of improvement. 

Facilitating a Culture of Continuous Improvement 

In a meeting with Mike Mattos and Austin Buffum, one of Pasco’s district leaders asked, “What is the number one move that a district can make to improve PLC work?” The answer: focus on products generated by PLCs. In addition to focusing on student learning and outcomes, Pasco’s latest move to curate a strong system involves the examination and coaching around the products generated by teacher teams. For each PLC question, there are key resources that support the work and a permanent product developed when the question is answered. Pasco not only trains around the four essential questions, but aligns their professional development to the resources and products. They collect evidence from the major products of a PLC; Essential Standards Charts (Appendix B), Student Intervention Plans (Appendix C), Pyramid Response to Interventions (Appendix E) Common Formative Assessments (Appendix G)according to thKey Priorities Guide (Appendix A). 

Pasco has created online learning modules supporting the work and products for each of the three teams: School Leadership Teams (SLTs)Collaborative Teacher Teams, and School Intervention Teams (SITs). These courses use text evidence from Taking Action and video support from Global PD to ensure that all staff continuously have access to the foundational concepts and grow their knowledge around the essential actions that each team must take to ensure productive work. These courses also provide forms and samples of resources and products, and each course concludes with quality indicators that are used to coach and evaluate the strength of the team products. 

These products are regularly referenced and collected. Pasco has administrators, district staff, teacher leaders, and school-based coaches share exemplars, strengthen their products, and grow their work through reflection and revision. Each year, the district finds more teams producing higher quality work. Pasco is seeing schools that fall in Florida’s Differential Accountability working their way into higher performance levels. In 2015-16, they had 23 schools falling at-risk in the Florida system. They reduced that number by 90% the following year. In 2018-19, they had 4 schools targeted for Differential Accountability and moved 75% off the list. Each year they have been able to drive improvement for their struggling schools, reduce the risk for their critical populations, and grow the prowess of Pasco County staff to provide a world-class education for ALL students.  

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

In order to create a guaranteed and viable curriculum for all students, school buildings are organized into meaningful teacher teams. Collaborative teacher teams identify essential standards and unwrap those standards into learning targets. The identified essentials standards become the teacher team’s collective learning commitment; all students will have access to these grade level standards, and students who need additional time and support with these standards will receive it.   

The district provides several resources to ensure a guaranteed and viable curriculum across schools. Suggested curriculum maps are provided for all content areas. Templates for unwrapping standards, unit plans, and common formative assessments are provided to teams, as well as completed samples. These resources are intended to support the school’s ongoing process to identify and unwrap their own essential standards.   

Student learning is monitored in Pasco County schools at all levels of the system through a balanced assessment system. Teachers utilize, as a part of the team-teaching assessing cycle, formative assessments to collect frequent examples of student learning. These assessments are used to give students feedback on learning goals and objectives and for students to set learning goals for themselves. These assessments for learning include exit-tickets, show what you know, checks for understanding, cross content writing journals, self-assessment using scales and rubrics, and other informal classroom assignments.   

Also, as a part of the team-teaching assessing cycle, collaborative teacher teams utilize common formative assessments to gather evidence of students’ learning for essential standards across the team. These assessments include comprehension checks, mid and end of module assessments, and unit assessments. Teachers use classroom formative data to respond to their students’ needs as part of a prevention loop, to prevent the need for interventions and improve the effectiveness of core instruction. Teacher teams will also standardize some formative assessments into common formative assessments based upon the standards that the team determined to be essential.  Teacher teams use the data from common formative assessments to develop intervention plans to reteach learning targets for essential standardsStudents who need extensions based on common formative assessment data are also identified and enrichment plans are create to extend their learning.  

The district provides school-generated exemplars for intervention plans with which schools are given flexibility to adapt these resources for their specific needs. These exemplars are updated yearly to reflect current curricula, standards, and assessments.  

Schools and the district will also collect quarterly data to determine if all students in the school are learning at high levels. These assessments include quarterly checks and benchmark assessments. District and school leaders will use this data for programmatic decision making and problem-solving.   

The district engages in continuous efforts to improve the quality of Pasco’s balanced assessment system. A district assessment committee including district leaders, school leaders, teachers and community stakeholders was formed in order to refine school assessment practices. The district provides online modules to support teacher teams in creating and interpreting the results of common formative assessments and collects school samples of common formative assessments to examine for training development purposes.  

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

Pasco County schools utilize district-wide multi-tiered systems of supports. Commitment for MTSS is communicated through the superintendent staff to all district and school staff. Each school works to implement three teams in their buildings to create systematic supports. These include a School Leadership Team (SLT)Collaborative Teacher Teams, and a School Intervention Team (SIT). Multi-year district-wide training and coaching support is provided to each of these teams. 

  1. School Leadership Teams (SLTs) in Pasco County schools create collective commitment for learning which includes a master schedule that includes built in flexible learning time that does not conflict with students learning new skills. This team also coordinates the school’s resources to support intervention, remediation, and extension for academics and social/emotional learning. The school leadership team sets expectations and monitors the implementation and effectiveness of  Collaborative Teacher Teams, and the School Intervention Team. 

  1. Collaborative Teacher Teams focus on answering four PLC guiding questions: 1.What do we want all students to learn?, 2. How will we know if and when they have learned it?, 3.What will we do when some students have not learned?, 4.What will we do when some students have already learned?. 

Collaborative Teacher Teams in Pasco County schools ensure that all students have access to grade level instruction and use a process to identify essential standards. These essential standards then set the focus of curriculum-based assessments teacher teams use to gather evidence of student learning. Teacher teams identify and provide extra time and support (Tier 2) to students based on the results of commoformative assessments. Students who need extensions are also identified and enrichment plans are created. Student progress is monitored by giving students additional opportunities to demonstrate mastery of the essential standards.  

PLC work on the guiding questions is a process in which teams work to improve. The district collects products of Collaborative Teacher Teams to give feedback and to determine training and support needs. 

  1. School Intervention Teams (SITs) in Pasco County schools create and monitor remediation supports and identify students who could need foundational gap remediation, listed as students in the 3rd Tier of the district’s intervention plans (Appendix F). The SIT identifies students who need remediation using universal academic, health and home, and social-emotional skill screeners multiple times per school year. In Pasco County schools, Tier 3 remediation is not contingent on Tier 1 or Tier 2 supports. Students who are identified as needing Tier 3 supports are provided remediation. The SIT, in conjunction with the School Leadership Team (SLT), creates time for students to receive remediation in addition to grade level instruction. Students who do not respond to Tier 3 remediation supports are referred for additional problem-solving to intensify and/or adjust the focus of universal skill supports.   

Sample team-created products are located in Appendix Hwhich include Team response to CFATier 2 intervention plan, a Tier 3 intervention plan, an Enrichment plan, PLC facilitator kick-off plan, and a Summative Discussion Protocol.  

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

Teachers in Pasco County schools have been provided with a variety of professional development opportunities to meet the goal of improved learning for all, including district-wide trainings, school-based trainings, online modules, and opportunities to attend PLC Conferences across the country. The focus of this work has been grounded in the PLC Guiding Questions and Teaching-Assessing-Cycle, while continuously highlighting our collective commitments, data-based decision making, and the power of sharing strategies and resources within and across teams. To build teacher capacity in this work, online modules have been developed for teachers and administrators in order to provide resources for each PLC Guiding Question that can guide them through the process during their already scheduled collaborative team time. In order to provide coaching, feedback, and resources when needed, school-based administrators, coaches, and support staff are a part of the teacher team meeting, in addition to district support specialists that schedule time for collaboration.   

Pasco County School’s PLC focus is around products that result from engaging in the four Guiding Questions. Specifically, these include the Essential Standards Chart, Team Response for Common Formative Assessment, and Team Action Plans that address intervention and enrichment. The district has developed quality indicators for each of these products to promote consistency in excellent practices and provide a tool for teachers to identify growth areas. Pasco County Schools is also working to identify exemplars at each level to share across the district, and provide coaching wherever needed to meet these indicators. Additionally, the district has identified further professional development opportunities around these products through work with all assistant principals in the county, where they are provided with the opportunity to bring in products, elicit feedback from peers, and identify next steps for improvement. The district is very excited to continue this focus and celebrate all the amazing work happening across Pasco County.  

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Achievement Data  

The Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) measures student achievement of the Florida Standards, which specify the challenging content Florida students are expected to know and perform.  The cut scores identify the performance levels 1-5. Proficiency is defined as scoring at levels 3, 4, or 5. Since 2014, students have been allowed to test above grade level to align with the student’s instruction (e.g., 7th grader receiving 8th grade instruction in math would take the Grade 8 FSA math assessment). Students in grade 10 must achieve an FSA English Language Arts (ELA) scale score in performance level 3 or higher to meet the graduation requirement. The student does have the opportunity to retake the test up to five times prior to graduation. Students in grade 3 must achieve an FSA ELA scale score in performance level 2 or higher, or show good cause, to be eligible for promotion.  Pasco’s percentage of students scoring 3 or higher on FSA has shown increases overtime in overall proficiency, learning gains, and lowest 25% in ELA and Math. Science and Social Studies scores have remained relatively consistent across 3 years.  

In addition from 2017-2019, Pasco’s percentage of students scoring 3 or higher on AP exams, as well as participation and success among traditionally underrepresented minority students has increased significantly. Resulting in more students, especially those from diverse backgrounds prepared for the rigor of AP and college courses. 

Overall, these data results reinforce that the PLC work that Pasco County schools have been engaged in for the past several years is making a significant difference in student proficiency, learning gains, and graduation and college readiness outcomes for our students.  Pasco County Schools graduation rate improved by 1.6% in 2019, rising to 88.3%. Pasco's graduation rate was well above the state average rate of 86.9%, and it marks an increase of nearly 10% since 2015.  

Additional Achievement Data   

In the Pasco County School District, several other additional meaningful data pieces were collected to drive the decision-making. As mentioned in the Monitoring for Student Learning on a Timely basis portion of this form, the district has a balanced assessment system. In grades K-2 IRLA is a tool that is used to identify reading risk levels and to monitor overall growth to meeting grade level standards. In secondary schoolsPasco County schools also use Achieve 3000 as an intensive reading supplemental curriculum and monitoring tool to ensure students are receiving the instruction needed to close their gaps. These data sources are used to ensure that students are receiving timely and targeted intervention supports. There are similar screenings and assessments used in math. There are also a few targeted schools who use the MAPs assessments to identify, monitor, and supports student growth and progress towards grade level standards.

 *District and Grade-level Achievement templates are attached in one file (Appendix H).

Pasco District Awards

  • College Board’s AP Large District of the Year award
  • College Board’s AP District Honor Roll
  • Cambridge Assessment International Education named Pasco Schools the Medium Size District of the Year
  • Pasco School District was 1 of 12 districts to receive The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Professional Learning Partnerships Grant
  • Pasco County Schools is ranked 42nd on the list of 2019 Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America, up from 71st place in 2018. Only one other Florida school district ranked among the top 100
  • 2018 – 2021 Florida Healthy School District Gold Award- awarded to less than 10% of Florida School Districts

Pasco Schools Awards

  • 2017-2018 Florida Virtual School of the Year (Pasco eSchool) among large-district franchises
  • Top 50 in the US - #14 of the Top 50 Blended Learning High Schools in the US 
  • 12 Florida PBIS Model Schools (6 Gold, 1 Silver, 5 Bronze)

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