Glen Oaks Elementary School (2023)

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

Our first entry into the Professional Learning Community (PLC) process began in 2009.  At that time, School District 117 worked with consultants to build a PLC.  Time was carved out for data meetings, common formative assessments were used, and teams discussed data.  Over time, the Professional Learning Communities strengthened.  

In 2018, our Professional Learning Communities really began to take shape.  The Glen Oaks School Leadership team participated in a book study utilizing Learning by Doing (DuFour et al., 2006).  The learning from the book study was then brought back to our staff; the Glen Oaks Leadership Team gave a presentation reviewing with staff what a PLC is, why PLCs are effective, and the three big ideas and six characteristics of a PLC.  We then utilized the Laying the Foundation survey (DuFour et al., 2006, pgs. 47-50) to assess the current reality of Glen Oaks’ implementation of PLCs where it was determined that Glen Oaks fell under “initiating” and “implementing” in the majority of the indicators (shared mission, vision, collective commitments, and common school goals).  We created a plan to move forward, which included providing more training to our staff around effective PLC implementation and SMART goals, working with a consultant through Solution Tree, and improving our conversations and interventions based upon data to increase student performance.  

From 2019 through today, we have continued to utilize surveys to assess our implementation.  We are now functioning at the “sustaining” level in all indicators (shared mission, vision, collective commitments, and common school goals).  Additionally, in 2022, we worked with our PLC to assess where we were as a school in the Cultural Shifts in the Professional Learning Community (DuFour et al., 2006, pgs. 258-260).  We have successfully made the shifts in purpose, assessment, responding when students don’t learn, work of teachers, focus, school culture, and professional development.  

Glen Oaks School holds weekly Data Team Meetings where we use a tracker to ensure that at every meeting we discuss data, go student-by-student to ensure all students are accounted for, determine specific misconceptions, create interventions so that all students can be successful, and determine a common formative assessment to monitor progress toward our SMART goal.  These data monitor student progress and also the effectiveness of the interventions.  We celebrate every time we achieve our SMART goals and for every mini milestone we hit on the way.  At the end of each SMART goal cycle, the Professional Learning Community engages in reflection on what went well and what needs improvement before beginning the next cycle.  

Additionally, our teachers have become incredibly collaborative and experts in their grade level curriculum.  They openly share strategies and welcome each other into their classrooms with students being the primary focus.  

In addition to the weekly Data Team Meetings, each grade level/subject area team participates in quarterly planning days.  At the planning days, teams unpack the upcoming standards, take the upcoming unit assessment, and discuss the levels of cognitive demand needed for students to be successful during each day of the unit.  Teams then use that information to map out what instruction should look like for that quarter. At the district level, the building leadership team meets with the district leadership team three times a year to engage in a process called Quality Review.  During this process, the leadership team reflects on the most recent data and evaluates the effectiveness of the school improvement plan. 


1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

There is a district level and building level process that is used to ensure the implementation of a guaranteed and viable curriculum. At the district level, we begin by creating a committee of teachers who work along with the team leaders to create a curriculum.  Each grade level/subject area committee has developed a curriculum for teams of teachers to use.  The curriculum includes a scope and sequence, unit plan, assessments, common rubrics, and resources for the teachers to utilize.  Committees meet as needed to reflect upon the curriculum while reviewing instructional data to determine adjustments, updates, and revisions.  The district follows a curriculum cycle that includes:  research best practices, create a vision, develop/pilot, and implement with ongoing support. 

At the building level, grade level and subject area teams meet quarterly for planning days. Teams consist of general education teachers, English Language teachers, Special Education teachers, and administrators. At the planning days, teams unpack the upcoming standards, take the upcoming unit assessment, and discuss the levels of cognitive demand needed for students to be successful during each day of the unit.  On the math planning days, teachers also discuss the learning progression of the standards with an emphasis on priority standards. Teams then use that information to map out what instruction should look like for the quarter.  Teams also have weekly common planning time built into the schedule where they meet to look at the learning targets for the following week and plan a learning progression to ensure the success of all students. 

As a district, we shifted to using a co-teaching model in the majority of ELA classrooms where one teacher is the general education teacher, and the other teacher is the bilingual teacher. Administrators and team leaders do monthly classroom walk-throughs to collect observational data on how the co-teaching model is supporting the implementation of the curriculum. Team leaders also engage in coaching cycles to support the co-teaching model and curriculum implementation.

Student learning is something that is constantly monitored at Glen Oaks School.  Within the classrooms, our teachers utilize daily exit tickets.  The data from those exit tickets are then used to create small group intervention lessons for the following day.  Additionally, our teams meet weekly in a Data Team Meeting with their grade level and content area teams where formative assessment data in relation to the SMART goal are analyzed and then acted upon.  The grade level teams identify common misconceptions, look at data student by student, and then create specific interventions to address those misconceptions.  Teachers also identify students who fully understood the content and are in need of enrichment and plan small group instruction for those students as well. Formative data are entered into a shared spreadsheet so that the teams can monitor the students' growth toward the identified SMART goal. 

Furthermore, a norm for Glen Oaks is that at every Data Team Meeting, student data are analyzed and interventions are planned based upon those data.  At the end of each Data Team Meetings, the teams complete a checklist to ensure that the norms were met.  Glen Oaks School lives by the District 117 Core Values, and Management by Fact is one of them.  Data, analyzing data, and acting on data are an integral part of the culture of our school.   

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

Data are brought to every weekly Data Team Meeting throughout the school year.  At those Data Team Meetings, the data are analyzed as a whole and also on a student-by-student basis to determine areas of need.  Intervention lessons are then created to ensure the growth of all students.  

Two weekly intervention blocks have been built into the Glen Oaks School master schedule specifically for teachers to implement the interventions that are created during the Data Team Meetings.  In addition to the twice weekly intervention blocks, our teachers provide students with daily small group instruction to further address their needs (below level, on level, and above level).  After every intervention lesson, students are formatively assessed to determine their progress.  These data determine what the future interventions will look like for the students.  This process is continually repeated throughout the school year.  

Glen Oaks School also provides students with additional interventions and learning opportunities during the school day and after school.  These interventions include reading intervention, writing intervention, math intervention, EL intervention, and Language and Literacy intervention, which are all available during the school day for students whose data show they are needed.  Additionally, Glen Oaks School has after-school learning opportunities for students who are both below level and above level.  

The systems that Glen Oaks School has in place provide interventions and additional learning opportunities for all students.


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

Teachers at Glen Oaks are provided with a schedule that allows for daily collaboration with their grade level and subject area teams.  Teachers use that time to engage in professional learning, analyze data, plan for upcoming lessons, create intervention lessons, and monitor student progress.  Teachers also map out the progressions of each standard so they are aware of the skills that are necessary for students to successfully perform on grade level standards.  Our teachers fully understand on level, below level, and above level skills so they can provide students with necessary learning opportunities to ensure that each student grows.  

Once a week, our grade level and subject area teams meet to participate in a Data Team Meeting where data are reviewed and analyzed, and interventions are created to ensure that all students are successful.  

Additionally, our grade level teams across the school district meet before each unit to engage in professional learning around upcoming standards and teaching strategies.  They also take this opportunity to unpack standards, map out each unit, and discuss effective teaching strategies.  

All of our teams at Glen Oaks School have access to all of the planning folders, documents, and lesson plans through Google Drive.  

Data from formative and summative assessments are monitored and analyzed through every step of the way.  The data are our guide to determine areas of focus and progression toward the identified SMART goals.

Additionally, Glen Oaks School has one art teacher, one music teacher, and three P.E. teachers.  The art teacher meets weekly with the art teacher at another school in the district to discuss art standards, curriculum, and student data.  They consistently analyze how students are performing in art, how to intervene when students are in need of support, ways to show their work to the community, and how to provide more opportunities for students to engage in the artistic process.   The music teacher also meets with the band director from the junior high and the music teacher in another school in the district weekly in person and/or in an electronic format to discuss student data, teaching strategies, lesson planning, ways to recruit more students into the band program, and intervention lessons for students who need additional support in band and music.  Furthermore, the three P.E. teachers at Glen Oaks School share a common space, have an office together, and have common plan time.  The P.E. teachers work together daily to plan and to discuss students and how to best include all students in the physical educaiton classroom.  The PE teachers also meet a few times throughout the school year to plan with the other P.E. teachers throughout the district in regard to implementing more social-emotional practices within the P.E. classroom.  The P.E. teachers work dilligently to provide an inclusive environment for all students in the physical education classroom. 


Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

When looking at the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) scatterplots, Glen Oaks School stands out, performing much higher academically than schools with similar and lower low-income and English Learner percentages.  Less than one percent of the elementary schools in Illinois have more than 60% of their students living in economic poverty while also maintaining some of the highest IAR scores in Illinois.  Additionally, Glen Oaks School has consistently achieved an Exemplary rating, the highest ranking from the Illinois State Board of Education.  Much of that success is attributed to the cultivation and maintenance of strong Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). 

Glen Oaks School has been recognized for the following:

  • National Blue Ribbon Awards (2012 & 2019)

  • 2019-2020 Bilingual Education Award

  • Exemplary School Status through the Illinois State Board of Education (consistently each year)

  • Recognized by the Midwest PBIS Network in

    • Teaming and Leadership

    • Learning Expectations

    • Teaching Behaviors

    • Data Driven Decision Making 

  • Great Schools Rating of 10/10

  • Niche: Glen Oaks ranked #8 standout Elementary School in Illinois out of 203 Elementary Schools