Channahon Junior High School (2023)

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

The Channahon Junior High School PLC journey began in the spring of 2018. The administrative team of Channahon School District #17 read the book Learning by Doing and became motivated to bring the PLC process to our respective schools.  We started by creating a shared understanding with all teachers and administrators through deep and ongoing professional development.  We had a motivational PLC guest speaker at the opening institute of 2018 and then sent all teachers during 2018 and 2019 to Kildeer School District to learn and observe from their PLC experience and expertise.  During the 2018-2019 school year we met as a school team for five professional development sessions at Channahon Junior High School, where our teacher leaders (guiding coalition members) led us through a thorough understanding of all four of the guiding questions.  We sent the vast majority of our teachers to the summer Solution Tree Conferences in 2019 and 2020 and even hosted our own Solution Tree conference in 2021.  This commitment to PLC professional development has remained constant and ongoing throughout our first five years of the PLC process. 

In addition to professional development and ongoing learning, we created a leadership partnership with our teachers through the formation of a guiding coalition (spring 2018) at Channahon Junior High School and CSD#17.  This coalition still meets regularly in both the building and district levels.  Teachers have had input in every decision that has been made in our PLC process.  Of course there are some things considered “tight” or non-negotiable, but as for the other items, our educators are empowered to make decisions that benefit the learning of their students.  

Maintaining the integrity of our PLC process, in order to create and sustain a culture of continuous improvement is of utmost importance at Channahon Junior High School.  We made the main PLC shift from doing a great deal of our tasks alone, to now working collaboratively.  Our primary focus in all decisions is student learning.  We then study the results, learn from it and make the necessary improvements.  To help our teams maintain this, we have accepted a culture of accountability and collective responsibility.  We were observed and received coaching feedback through a partnership with the CEC from 2020-2022.  As building principal, I observe our Professional Learning Teams multiple times a year and give ongoing feedback.  And finally, our Professional Learning Teams are asked to set SMART goals each school year and share annual successes that have come from their PLC work.  I think you will find that our data is in the top percentiles of the state and trending upward in all areas.  The PLC Process is working at Channahon Junior High School!


1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

CJHS has created a guaranteed and viable curriculum for all subject areas.  This was not the case before PLC's.  Prior to PLC's most of our teachers "lived on an island" and definitely did not share or learn from their respective student achievement data.  Pre-PLC, the focus was not always on what students needed to know, but rather we probably spent too much time on school issues of lesser importance.  PLC's empowered our teachers, under a clear process and plan, to work together to create a guaranteed and viable curriculum.  Our curriculum maps were redesigned during the last few years and posted on our website for the public to see.  We revise them weekly (if needed), but definitely in an ongoing fashion through the school year.  It no longer matters at CJHS what teacher a student has, because you are guaranteed to receive the same great education!  

Student learning is monitored in two ways.  First, our teachers create data walls based off of their common assessments.  They are open and vulnerable in their discussions.  This is possible because they have built trust with one another.  We are continuing to build upon our use of common assessment data each and every year.  We use an agenda template titled TURBO to student data (the administrative team uses it too).  In addition, by mid-October each year, I provide our teachers with our state (IAR/ISA) and local assessment (MAP) data.  They receive school-wide data and teacher-specific data.  This is all provided in a safe and trusting way.  As Mike Mattos says, "data is just information, not condemnation".  Besides the teacher-specific data, anything that informs our instruction by being standard-specific is broken down and analyzed for improvement (the evidence statement analysis from IAR is the best example).  I will share samples of these data documents.

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

One of Channahon's greatest strengths has always been how we support our students with interventions and academic support services.  Our special and regular education teachers work as true "co-teachers" in every sense of the word.  Our special ed teachers are weekly participants in our math and reading PLC's.  They are equal members of the team, analyzing data, writing curriculum and planning.  Our MTSS interventionist progress monitors the students on her caseload and we meet regularly to discuss their progress.  Our district just added a new MTSS Coordinator and we are excited to work with her on ways to continue to build on our PLC momentum.

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

The most important thing our district did in our PLC rollout was to commit an entire year (2018-2019) to PLC professional development.  Our teachers learned what PLC's were and why they made a difference.  They all observed high-performing PLC schools, such as Blue-ribbon winning Woodlawn Middle School in the Kildeer School District.  As our teachers later began to meet together in their PLT's, we provided coaching and mentoring through the CEC.  I really must give our superintendent, Dr. Nick Henkle, the full credit for this two-phase rollout process.  It really did make the difference.  Form that time forward, meeting by meeting, our teachers built a collaborative trust with one another.  As principal, I lay out the yearly plan and expectations for our PLC's (I'll share that information), as well as follow-up by observing each PLC at least twice during the school year.  We all hold each other accountable to maintain the fidelity of the PLC process. 

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Please take note how the PLC Process has allowed CJHS IAR data to trend upwards, where the State of illinois is trending downward during the same time period.

This is the first award I have applied for at CJHS that comes to mind.  I feel like our teachers and students have been deserving in the past, but in our field you usually have to apply to win something.  We have always been a school that was flexible and supporting, so our student-parent satisfaction numbers were always very high.  However, I felt our data could always be better.  The missing piece was the PLC's!

I have always taken pride in knowing where we stand as a school (in comparison to other middle schools).  We finished with the 6th best Junior High School 5Essentials data (school culture survey) during a recent school year.  Our IAR scores last year averaged in the top tenth percentile in the State of illinois.  In 2023, I forecast based on our preliminary scores that were just released, we will be even higher.  I believe our 8th grade ELA will be one of the very top schools in the state!  I have said so many times the last few years, and I'll say it once again in this statement, but the PLC's were the missing piece at CJHS!  I just love what the PLC's have brought to CJHS!!