Prospect School (2023)

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

During the 2018-2019 school year, District 181 welcomed a new Superintendent, Dr. Hector Garcia. Dr. Garcia brought a wealth of knowledge to our district about implementing effective Professional Learning Communities (PLC) in schools.  His background and work in training administrators across the country on how to implement effective Professional Learning Communities in schools were essential in moving our district practices forward.

During our weekly administrative meetings, it was clear that the vision of the district was to ensure that all students learn at high levels, that our educators work collaboratively, take collective responsibility for the success of each child, and remain results-oriented.  Throughout the school year, the District Leadership team engaged in on-site professional development with a focus on continuous improvement.  Our district leadership team read the book “Learning by Doing: A Handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work" and participated in ongoing training by two educational consultants, Sharon Kramer and Chris Jakicic, which provided strategies to help move our teams forward and begin our journey to implementing effective PLCs in our schools.  

In previous years, Prospect’s grade-level teams had collaborative time built into the day for an hour a week to meet.  The team conversations were focused mostly on teaching: looking at district pacing guides, and assessment dates, discussing resources to use for the next unit, gathering/copying materials, and scheduling grade-level events/field trips. During this meeting, only grade-level representatives participated in the collaborative meetings.  School specialists (Differentiated Specialists, Reading Specialists, English Language Learner Teachers, and Resource Teachers) would touch base if their schedule allowed during the day or if the team asked them to stop by their meeting.

Through the work of the building principal and Prospect’s Building Leadership Team, a building schedule (see Prospect Schedule) was created for the 2019-2020 school year (and continues to the present year) that designates an hour a week for teams to collaborate about student learning during the school day as well as an additional hour during the week for teams meet to discuss additional topics.  In addition to the collaborative meeting added to the schedule, a 30-minute block called “What I Need” (WIN time) was added to the daily schedule.  During WIN time, students receive targeted academic support from teachers to help reinforce, reteach, or enrich learned content. The teaching may be led by the classroom teacher or “support” staff, emphasizing that it is crucial that all staff members take part in collaborative conversations about students’ needs during the meetings. In order for that to happen, support staff were asked to prioritize time in their schedules to attend the weekly grade-level meetings, and to be a part of the guiding coalition to ensure high levels of learning for ALL students!

Once the logistics of schedules were created, staff development was the next high priority in order to shift weekly team meetings to a “focus on learning” rather than “teaching”.  Over the last four years, Prospect School staff have participated in professional development after school at weekly staff meetings, and on-site training with a PLC author and educational consultant, Chris Jakicic, during their collaborative meetings with the building principal, as well as with the Building Leadership Team.  The staff development has ranged from; staff understanding their role as a member of the guiding coalition, the purpose of collaborative time, utilizing student learning targets, unpacking standards, developing success criteria, creating and analyzing common formative assessments to determine the next steps in instruction, comparing students’ results, determining the most effective practices, analyzing the Measures of Academic Performance (MAP) Assessment data and aligning it to grade-level-priority standards, and identifying team professional development needs.

During weekly meetings, teams follow an agenda (see Collaborative Team Agendas) that utilizes the four critical questions to drive collaborative conversations.  

  • What do we want students to learn?

  • How will we know if they have learned?

  • What will we do if they don’t learn?

  • What will we do if they already know it?

During their first meeting, they also establish their purpose, norms, and roles every year. Priority standards and pacing guides have been developed by district committees and are a part of the agenda to help guide teams through this process.  Collaborative teams work together to unpack the grade-level priority standards (see standard breakdown document) to ensure a common understanding of the learning progressions and then develop success criteria.  They use both common formative assessments (CFAs) and summative assessments to determine if students are meeting the grade-level SMART goals (see CFA by standard and NF Text Features).  The collaborative teams analyze data, monitor student progress in learning, and foster changes in instruction to address student needs. The assessment information is also used for planning for differentiated instruction and tier 2 and tier 3 interventions. 

The Prospect Building Leadership Team meets monthly and continues to reflect and brainstorm the next steps for the school, so we can continue to refine our practices.  Over the last four years since starting our Professional Learning Community journey as a school, the team meetings have evolved into “student-focused” meetings.  The teams have a collaborative culture focusing on student learning and ALL staff members take a collective responsibility to ensure all students learn at a high level.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Collaborative teams meet weekly to review district pacing guides created by District 181's Subject Area Committees (SACs). SAC committees set priority standards at each grade level for a consistent curriculum. During collaborative meetings, teams analyze grade-level priority standards, develop learning progressions, and agree on success criteria (see priority standards document). Teams follow the Teaching-Assessing-Learning Cycle, starting with a common formative assessment (CFA) to gauge student knowledge. Additional CFAs are given to monitor progress and adjust instruction. Teams create their own CFAs and review student data to determine SMART goals. Collaboration with support staff helps determine the next steps and intervention/enrichment opportunities. The right staff is needed to review assessment data and contribute to strategies during daily WIN time. MAP tests are given three times a year to assess student performance aligned with priority standards. The team uses MAP data along with pre-assessment data to develop instructional plans (see RIT band growth document). Winter and spring MAP data are used to assess student growth throughout the year.


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

Prospect School prioritizes high-quality instruction to support all learners in an inclusive environment. Core instruction in language arts and mathematics is protected to ensure students receive valuable instruction from their general education teachers and peers. Additional services and interventions are provided during a daily 30-minute block called "What I Need" (WIN) time, without affecting the core curriculum.

Benchmark and data review meetings are held every six weeks, where a team of teachers, specialists, administrators, and the psychologist discuss student progress and determine the need for interventions and enrichment.

Students below the 40th percentile on benchmark assessments receive targeted interventions for up to 30 minutes, 4-5 times per week in small groups or one-on-one. Progress is monitored and assessments are reviewed every six weeks to decide if interventions should continue or be modified. If additional support is needed, an Individual Problem Solving (IPS) meeting is scheduled to discuss classroom data, performance, and behavioral needs.

Students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) have targeted data reviews at the end of each trimester to monitor growth and adjust plans as necessary. Related services use rubrics to determine the level of support required.

To ensure consistency, teachers co-plan and align special education instruction and related services with grade-level curriculum and standards. Flexible grouping, creative scheduling, and professional development opportunities are provided to meet the needs of all learners.

For students meeting or exceeding learning standards, weekly meetings are held to analyze performance on assessments. Those performing above the grade level mean receive instruction that enriches, advances or accelerates the core curriculum. Differentiation specialists support teachers in differentiating instruction and providing additional small group sessions in language arts and math. Also, after every MAP assessment window, the school reviews the performance of students scoring in the 90th percentile to determine their progress and look for additional ways to increase the number of students in each grade level. These comprehensive efforts have resulted in over a third of students (42% in reading and 54% in math) performing at the 90th percentile in MAP last spring.


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

Creating a collaborative culture among teachers is vital for the success of educators and students. Collaboration allows for the exchange of ideas, best practices, and collective problem-solving. Each member of the Building Leadership Team at Prospect helps facilitate weekly grade-level meetings. Norms are established, successes are celebrated, and time is set aside for connecting with one another.

The grade-level teams are scheduled during the school day, allowing teachers to collaborate on curriculum, assessments, and instructional strategies. This collaboration contributes to achieving the grade level's overall school improvement goal. Teams share resources, grade assessments together for consistency, and acknowledge the efforts of all members. It is essential for support staff to attend these meetings to contribute their knowledge and expertise, benefiting all students' learning and success. The Building Leadership Team meets monthly to discuss the implementation of PLCs and identify additional support needed for each grade level's success. Cross-grade level articulation meetings are held during after-school staff meetings.


Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

  • District 181's Superintendent and Assessment Director set the Reading and Math School Improvement Goals: 80% of students meeting or exceeding the 69th percentile on the spring Reading/Math MAP. The Prospect Longitudinal Data document demonstrates impressive growth in proficiency and students reaching their growth targets in reading and math since Spring 2019.  Our collaborative efforts have paid off, as Prospect has moved closer to meeting the reading and math school improvement goals each year. With hard work and dedication, Prospect met both reading and math school improvement goals in Spring 2022.
  • On the Illinois Assessment of Readiness 3-year trend document, Prospect lacks sufficient students in a grade level to be considered a sub-group, except in 2019. However, we internally track this data for benchmark meetings and student growth monitoring throughout the year. Please refer to the Sub-group Growth and MTSS Progress documents. We utilize the NWEA Quadrant Report as a data point to monitor student interventions at our Winter and Spring Benchmark meetings.  

US Department of Education National Blue Ribbon School 2021

Illinois Report Card Exemplary School Designation: 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 

IAHPERD Blue Ribbon: 2012-2017, 2018-2023, 2024-2029

2022 Best Elementary Schools by US News and World Report

Rated #1 Elementary School in DuPage County, Chicago Magazine 2019