New Glarus High School (2023)

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


At New Glarus High School, our mission is “High Levels of Learning For All” and is the guiding statement around our school and our PLC work.  We have focused our work around continual growth and keeping a clear focus on learning for all, including staff.  A large part of this involves our collaborative teams and our PLC lifestyle.

The roots of the PLC process at New Glarus High School stem back to the 2011-2012 school year.  As a team, our AP scores were not where we wanted them so we assembled all the AP teachers for a meeting to share their practices and tricks for teaching Advanced Placement courses as well as getting their students to pass the AP test.  In that meeting and those that followed, teachers shared their professional development opportunities, their instructional techniques, and their testing procedures.  

In a short period of time, we saw dramatic improvements.  In 2010-2011, our Advanced Placement pass rate was around 50%.  At the end of the 2013-2014 school year, we were just short of 80% of students earning a 3 or higher on their Advanced Placement tests.  That initial meeting and those that followed helped to show the power of teacher collaboration and a commitment to continuous improvement.  

During that time, our administrative team started talking about professional learning communities and in the summer of 2013, all building administrators and our superintendent attended a PLC at Work Institute at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, IL.  We attended sessions and met as a team and decided this was the direction for our district.   After that experience, we started to implement professional learning communities at New Glarus High School and throughout the New Glarus School District.

Our first step at New Glarus High School was to assemble into collaborative teams and to add an intervention period at the end of our school day.  Teams initially met after school and our intervention period, called UP (unfinished or not proficient), mainly focused on completion of homework and missing assignments.  All staff and students met in our library and teachers answered questions and assisted students on work completion.  The collaborative meetings were led by the principal.  These first attempts at a PLC culture were small steps as the collaborative teams did not have full ownership and UP felt punitive to students.  Needless to say, we were PLC Lite!

As a school district, we made a commitment to take teacher teams to the PLC at Work Conference and started this in 2014.  Every summer, we would take a new group or department to the conference and would work with them to build effective collaborative teams.  We have continued this practice over the years and now it is an expectation that when you work at New Glarus School District, you will attend a PLC at Work Institute and you will be a part of a collaborative team.

In 2016, with guidance from our building leadership team, we started to change our intervention period.  We had teachers meet with students at the end of the day and teachers would meet with students in their classrooms.  This allowed teachers to provide individual instruction to students during the intervention period.  Additionally, we would use Mondays during our intervention time for team meetings.  This was a process we used from 2016-2020.  The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to once again rethink our processes.

From 2015-2019, we saw some growth as a school, particularly in achievement.  However, we were not seeing consistent growth, especially for our most vulnerable populations.  During this time, we continued to grow and made a commitment as a district to define our essential learning outcomes (ELOs) and to create common assessments.  In 2017, our district hosted Cassie Erkens, who was instrumental in helping us develop common formative assessments.  In addition, as a school we became clear on the power of formative assessment and how to effectively use formative assessment in the classroom.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, it was our PLC processes that helped us to be successful.  We had essential learning outcomes, which helped us narrow our focus, especially during online instruction.  We had multiple ways to assess and used those methods to find out what students learned.  Most importantly, we had collaborative teams that worked together to recreate classrooms virtually as well as a new schedule.  The collaborative teams were the glue that kept many of our teams together during this challenging time.

Following the global pandemic, we focused on our vision, which is to graduate all students college and career ready.  With that in mind, we needed to revise our daily schedule.  Instead of having our intervention period at the end of the day, it was moved to the middle of the day.  This was suggested by staff and this time was now called Tier 2.  During the 2021-2022 school year, we studied tier 2 practices using a book called Taking Action by Buffum, Malone, and Mattos.    Tier 2 became an instructional period, focused on essential learning outcomes.  As a district, we assembled benchmarks of quality or non-negotiables for Tier 1 and Tier 2 instruction and have continued to keep our eyes focused on meeting those benchmarks.  As a district, we have set a goal to have 100% of students be proficient or advanced on at least 80% of the ELOs.  Additionally, we have started to track the percentages of students that meet this goal.  In our first year of tracking this, roughly 80% of our students met this goal during the 2021-2022 school year.  Initial data collected during the 2022-2023 school year show that number has increased to 88% of students meeting that goal.

These changes have produced significant results and have helped to transform us from a PLC Lite school to a true collaborative PLC school.  The evidence is in the growth of our most vulnerable learners.  As a school, our achievement level has always been strong and we have been recognized multiple times for great achievement.  However, in the past our most vulnerable populations, especially low socioeconomic status and special education students have significantly lagged behind their high achieving peers.  When looking at our data over the past couple of years, it is our improvement in the growth category (year to year growth of all students) and the target group category (the performance of students with the lowest test scores) on the Wisconsin State Report Cards that has been the most impressive.  In the area of growth, we scored a 62.2 in 2018-2019 and improved to a 76.5 score in 2021-2022.  Our target group score improved from a 56.3 to a 74.2 score in 2021-2022.

Our collaborative team time has evolved following the pandemic as well.  Meetings at the end of the day always seemed to get interrupted by appointments, extra-curricular events, or other commitments that staff members have on a regular basis.  We have moved our team time to Mondays during Tier 2 and we have created a rotation of staff members to supervise and provide enrichment opportunities for students during Tier 2 and lunch.  This time has proved invaluable as our teams can meet without interruption.  Additionally, at the high school level, we do grade level meetings once per month during our staff meetings to make sure that all teachers who see the same grade level are on the same page and can share their instructional successes and practices.  Additionally, we have implemented learning walks where teachers regularly visit the classrooms of their colleagues, both inside and outside of their departments, to view and share instructional strategies.  


1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Our vision is to have 100% of our students be college and career ready using the AASA standards to determine college and career readiness.  In working towards that goal, we are continually monitoring student progress and there are multiple levels of monitoring.  The first level is at the classroom level with teachers monitoring the progress of each of their students.  We have defined essential learning outcomes (ELOs) for all courses and student progress is monitored through formative and summative assessments.  For ease, we use a learning management system called Canvas and a function called Learning Mastery.  This allows staff to grade students kid by kid and skill by skill.  Students who are not proficient or advanced on ELOs are referred to our Tier 2 time, which is Tuesday-Friday from 12:23-12:52 p.m.  Referrals are based on ELO proficiency and instruction is provided to students who are not proficient on ELOs.  Students are allowed to do retakes and complete assessments on non-proficient essential learning outcomes. 

At the beginning of every trimester, we utilize an Early Warning System to identify students that may need assistance throughout the trimester.  Students can either have an Academic Coach or an Attendance Coach, depending on what the data shows.  The coach serves in the role of mentor, cheerleader, and connector.  

From a grade perspective, student grades are monitored once per week by the high school principal and notices are sent to parents and students if performance slips.  Additionally, we meet on Tuesdays for a Building Consultation Team meeting and student performance and well-being is part of this meeting.  Our Director of Student Services, Superintendent, Guidance Counselor, School Psychologist, and School Nurse are a part of this meeting as well as members of our teaching staff and those who serve as academic coaches.  Student performance, both academically and behaviorally, is monitored and the team works to help and assist students to be successful at school.  This process, along with our other improvements, has helped to improve our overall student performance associated with grades.

Multiple times per trimester, grade level teams meet during our monthly staff meetings.  During this time, teachers share experiences, concerns, and methods of instruction around students that are struggling.  Additionally, they can make a referral to the BCT team and can share their concerns about students who are not performing academically in their classes.


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

New Glarus High School utilizes a trimester schedule with 6 periods per day and each class period is 62 minutes in length.  In regards to intervention, we have a period during our day that is called Tier 2.  Tier 2 time is daily from 12:23-12:52 p.m. and students can be requested by a teacher to participate in additional instruction around non-proficient course ELOs.  If a teacher requests a student, the student will be added to their attendance roster and must attend.  Students can also request to attend a classroom for additional instruction on their own.  This time can also be used for extension activities for students who have already mastered the essential learning outcomes.  Mondays are our organization day and students use a program called Flexisched to plan their week.  Students are supervised by non-instructional staff to allow for teacher collaboration time on Mondays.

Tuesday-Friday is Tier 2 time in the classroom.  Teachers organize their days by course and by ELO and a small number of students are typically working with a staff member to learn an essential learning outcome.  In addition, each department was assigned a student volunteer who is part of the Tier 2 time to work with students.  It is an "all hands on deck" approach to help students maximize their learning experience.

As a district, we have established Tier 2 non-negotiables, which are standards of quality for this time in our day.  Our Tier 2 non-negotiables are: 

  • Tier 2 instruction is scheduled for at least 4 days per week at the building level, and individual students needing Tier 2 instruction in reading and/or math receive Tier 2 instruction in that subject at least 2 times per week.  

  • Students that aren’t proficient on Essential Learning Outcomes (ELOs) are assigned to Tier 2. 

  • Tier 2 instruction is focused on the non-proficient ELOs. 

  • Assessments are given to monitor individual student progress on each non-proficient ELO.

  • Data is tracked on Tier 2 students and their progress towards proficiency on ELOs.

We spent the 2021-2022 school year reading Taking Action by Buffum, Malone and Mattos to use as a guide around our Tier 2 time.  As a staff and a building leadership team, we have worked together to implement strong practices for our intervention period.  

Students who are struggling academically are brought up during our BCT time and each trimester are paired with an Academic Coach.  The coach makes a connection with the student and the family and meets with their student at least twice per week to help them in areas in which they are struggling.  Academic Coaches communicate overall performance of the student back to the Building Consultation Team at least once per trimester.

Additionally, we have extended our non-traditional grading deadlines to provide students with extra time to work on essential learning outcomes.  We have created an incomplete process for students to extend their trimester to complete work that is essential and needs to be completed.  This “not-yet” process provides students with the time needed to complete what is essential.


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

Our mission is "High Levels of Learning for All" and our learning has evolved into a process where teachers meet every week in their collaborative teams.  Teachers meet on Mondays and the collaboration is focused on the four essential questions of learning.  In our most recent survey of our collaborative teams, the data revealed an estimate of the amount of time is spent on each of the essential questions:

We have tried to keep the focus on the 4 questions of learning and through a recent self analysis, we have recently identified that time in our meetings is typically spent on:

  • Question #1-  What do we want students to know?  (Staff estimated that 28% of our time is spent reviewing Question #1)

  • Question #2-  How will we know if they learned what we want them to know?  (Staff estimated that 21% of our time is spent reviewing Question #2)

  • Question #3-  What do we do if a student does not learn what we need them to learn? (Staff estimated that 21% of our time is spent reviewing Question #3)

  • Question #4-  What do we do if a student already knows the essential learning outcome? (Staff estimated that 12% of our time is spent on Question #4).

Each collaborative team has a representative that is part of the Building Leadership Team (BLT) that meets monthly with the principal.  The focus of the BLT is to build capacity within their own collaborative teams.  BLT members have engaged in a process of self-assessment and analyzing their current level of effectiveness with the goal of working with their team members to build their capacity and their instructional toolboxes.  As an administration, we have purchased Global PD for their assistance.  Within their teams, BLT representatives share their learnings and help to facilitate quality meetings.  Teachers share instructional practices with each other as part of their meetings. 

Additionally, each teacher is provided opportunities to visit other classrooms to watch other teachers in action and learn from each other.  Teachers visit the classrooms within their department, in other departments, and observe Tier 2 lessons.  The learning walks provide teachers the opportunity to see high quality instructional practices in a classroom setting.

During the 2022-2023 school year, Special Education staff has started to co-teach and co-plan with our content area teams to better serve all students. This helps to provide another resource for classroom teachers, especially in the area of differentiating instruction, which helps to ensure that all students are successful.  Special Education staff co-teach in foundation courses for English, Math, and Science.

Additionally, content teams meet in K-12 teams during our inservice days.  During this time, teachers review scope and sequence of courses, share best practices around Tier 1 and Tier 2, set and monitor goals, and reflect on their progress.  These teams will meet once per trimester.


Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Our vision is for all students to graduate college and career ready.  When we assemble data, we are continually examining to see if we are approaching that goal. 

When looking at our school data, there are several pieces to consider.  The first to consider is the Wisconsin State Report Card Data as every year, Wisconsin schools receive a report card grade.  There was not a report card during 2019-2020 due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. These scores exceed expectations in the State of Wisconsin.

New Glarus High School has traditionally been a school of high achievement.  The significant growth over the past several years has been in the categories of growth and target group outcomes.  Growth shows "how rapidly students are gaining knowledge of skills from year to year focusing on the pace of improvement in students' performance."  Target Group Outcomes refers to "students with the lowest test scores in their school." (Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, 2022).

For State assessments in Wisconsin, we do the ACT and the ACT Aspire.  For ACT, we test all students and prior to this year, we have not seen the growth that we have seen in other assessments.  With that being said, our most recent ACT scores, which are still embargoed, look to the best we have ever had since we started testing every student.  Over the years, we have seen significant growth in our ACT Aspire scores as those students have had a consistency in their experience over the past two years.  Please note that there was no ASPIRE testing in the spring of 2020.

At New Glarus High School, we track our college and career readiness off of the AASA standards and one of the criteria for students to be college ready is a 2.8 GPA or higher.  We have seen significant growth in the number of students over a 2.8 GPA as well as the number of students who are college ready by the AASA standards. 
Our first PLC group was our Advanced Placement teachers.  When we started, we had a very low number of students participating and a very low passing rate.  Because this was our starting point for PLCs, the Advanced Placement information from 2011 has been included to provide an overall snapshot of growth over time in this area.


  • 2 National Merit Scholar Finalists


  • U.S. News and World Report Best High School; Ranked #33 out of 514 high schools in Wisconsin; 1,244th best high school in the United States.
  • Math Team won the UW-Platteville Math Meet and were Capitol Conference-South Math Champions
  • #1 State Report Card in Green County, Wisconsin


  • Advanced Placement, Level II Pacesetter Award by CESA 9
  • #1 State Report Card in Green County, Wisconsin


  • Advanced Placement, Level II Pacesetter Award by CESA 9
  • Kohl Foundation Principal Award for our school
  • No State Report Cards in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic


  • Advanced Placement District Honor Roll by College Board.  This was awarded for increasing the number of students taking Advanced Placement while increasing the number of students earning an exam score of 3 or higher. In addition, to be recognized you have to increase the number of students in various subgroups who have earned a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam.
  • Newsweek Top STEM High Schools In America (#38 in Wis.)
  • Advanced Placement, Level II Pacesetter Award from CESA 9
  • Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction recognition for Career and Technical Education Success Stories