Fossil Ridge Intermediate School

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

“It’s a Great Day to be a T-Rex! At Fossil Ridge Intermediate School we are passionately committed to the fundamentals and benefits of the Professional Learning Community process. We believe that our everyday focus should rely on our three pillars of success...PURPOSE (core beliefs), PASSION (relentless desire), and INTENTIONAL EXCELLENCE (continued growth and reflection)! Effective collaboration teams (through common preps), utilization of common formative assessments in the classroom, a fully functional RTI where students are provided with immediate and specific interventions, and school-wide celebrations of learning are practices that are embedded in the learning culture at Fossil Ridge. As a PLC, we are constantly looking for ways to improve our daily practices to enhance student achievement.  Our goal is to be “Better Tomorrow than We were Today" while we chase the process of perfection. This goal has required our teams to continually reflect as to what are the most effective strategies to improve instruction, assessment, collection of data, intervention, extensions, and ultimately create a culture where high levels of learning for ALL students is guaranteed.

For example, following the implementation of our school-wide RTI, we saw an increase in the academic achievement of our students. We know our relentless focus on student learning and intervention makes a huge difference in ensuring high levels of student learning (as demonstrated by both formative and summative assessments). As we are committed to continuous improvement, we have researched and implemented effective grading practices which are a much truer reflection of proficiency and student learning. By separating demonstrations of academic achievement (formative assessments, essays, labs, summative assessments, etc) from traditional effort activities (homework, behavior, effort, punctuality, compliance, etc.), grades are becoming a more accurate reflection of a student’s true learning, and academic successs.

Through the collection of data, research, experience, and risk taking, we have discovered the power of literacy across all curricular areas with consistent feedback to ensure greater success for our students in reading and writing. In addition, at Fossil Ridge we are offering new reading classes including Direct Reading Instruction, Lexia, Read 180, and Edgenuity (in addition to grade level LA class) to provide additional literacy instruction to our struggling readers and writers.  We are continually in the process of studying and modifying our approach to high levels of student learning through reading and writing. At Fossil Ridge our teams are committed to doing “whatever it takes” to ensure student success.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

At Fossil RIdge, teacher teams continually use common formative assessment strategies to check for student understanding in an effort to to effectively identify students who need intervention or extra opportunities to show proficiency. Our interventions have become targeted (student by standard), timely, and systematic to provide more effective support for each individual student. In addition, once a week our Leadership Team runs a list and discusses students who are “below proficiency”, identifying students who are most at-risk. Previous interventions are discussed and a decision is made as to the effectiveness of the current intervention. Additional interventions from our Pyramid of Interventions may be assigned to various members of the Leadership Team, and again monitored as to the effectiveness of each of these in regards to the identified student’s learning challenges. These interventions are “not-optional” and increase in intensity as a student moves through the Fossil Ridge Pyramid of Interventions (Tier I, Tier II, Tier III).


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


Our school is committed to the PLC question “How will we respond if students don’t learn it?” and has done significant research into effective intervention. We have utilized the research of Mike Mattos, Austin Buffum, and Chris Weber and their work in Pyramid Response to Intervention, Its About Time, and Making Time at Tier II to develop and guide our work of providing targeted, timely, and systematic intervention for our students. At the heart of this is our REACH Time, a daily school-wide intervention program where teacher teams provide interventions to students not yet proficient, as well as offering meaningful academic extension activities to students that remain proficient. This intervention time provides students with the opportunity to be re-taught specific learning targets, re-take assessments, and re-do assignments all tied to each team’s Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum.

Teams have created norms for collaboration, common pacing guides, and common formative assessments that are used to identify and monitor a student’s learning. In supporting collaboration efforts, Fossil Ridge has implemented common prep periods for all teams allowing for daily collaboration to be embedded during the school day.

As a result of the implementation of PLC process and our RTI model, we have become passionate in our approach to identifying student needs and intervening immediately. Consequently, end of level assessment scores have continued to increase over the past 4 years. Through the review of multiple survey results, teachers, parents, and students are confident in not only the learning that takes place, but the student support that is guaranteed at Fossil Ridge.


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

As stated previously, we are committed to moving from good to excellent by striving to be “Better Tomorrow than We were Today.” Teachers take part in team collaboration, various professional learning opportunities, and teacher observations to improve their capacity for growth and more effective practice. Student learning is celebrated in a variety of ways through numerous display cases in the entry of our school as well as school-wide academic assemblies at the end of each grading period where learning is recognized and certificates are plentiful. New teachers and staff members to Fossil Ridge receive training on the PLC process, effective collaboration, development of a guaranteed and viable curriculum, utilization of formative assessment data, interventions, extensions,and the culture unique to Fossil Ridge. New teachers are supported throughout the year by our own Professional Learning Coach and the Fossil Ridge Administration who visit classrooms frequently to support teachers in their ongoing growth as new teachers.

At Fossil Ridge, we have been able to provide common prep periods for teams to facilitate frequent collaboration embedded in the school day. Each of these teams meets collaboratively 1-2 times a week (formally) focusing on essential PLC and learning components of 1)What do we want our Students to learn/know/do? 2)How will we know if our Students learned it? 3)How will we use interventions to respond if Students don’t learn it? and 4)What extensions will we provide to Students that learned it? Teacher Teams are responsible for developing a guaranteed and viable curriculum, administering common formative assessments, analyzing results, and utilizing the results to provide timely, targeted and systematic intervention and extension activities. These common formative assessments and results are used as tools to evaluate individual and collective student learning. Teacher Teams collaboratively develop interventions and extensions that correlate with their guaranteed and viable curriculum and assessment data. It’s also worth note that an interesting by-product of a fully functioning RTI has made our collaboration efforts and use of data critical in identifying students in need of extra help. We have found that teams couldn’t identify students without frequently and effectively collaborating or using data that is available. As a school, we provide school-wide intervention on a daily basis by identifying specific students by concept, based on the common formative assessment data for REACH Time (intervention/extension period). Our Teacher Teams have also effectively shared their students, which has created a culture of “We/Ours/Us” at Fossil Ridge. If one teacher has demonstrated an expertise or has successfully used effective activities or instructional strategies, he or she may teach the other members of the team, or the students with the greatest need may be regrouped into that teacher’s class for intervention. Each day of the week various teams are given REACH Time priority (intervention/extension period) … Monday-CTE and Fine Arts, Tuesday-Science, Wednesday-Math, Thursday-Language Arts, and Friday Social Studies and PE.

At Fossil Ridge Intermediate School, we passionately believe that academically focused extra time is necessary for intervention to be successful for our students.  Fossil Ridge has practiced vertical teaming in core areas and recently began implementation of cross-curricular teaming in order to find commonalities in concepts that can be supported across all content areas. The collaborative teams use a basic meeting template that allows them to review their team norms, and to identify/ report on the focus and progress of the 4 critical PLC areas. Yearly SMART goals are developed by each team and documented as part of our digital CSIP (Comprehensive School Improvement Plan) with progress toward the achievement of these goals being evaluated and reported throughout the school year.

School-wide and team goals focusing on student learning and achievement are developed as part of our CSIP and monitored throughout the year. We are currently in the process of enhancing our extension offerings through increased differentiated instruction in each classroom which will complement our existing school-wide extension offerings. We are committed to the fundamentals of the Professional Learning Community process. As a result of this passionate commitment, student learning has increased as evidenced by our end of level assessments scores.


Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Comparison Data: Fossil Ridge Intermediate/State of Utah End of Level Assessment:




As a result of implementing PLC concepts with a clear focus on our school culture, collaboration, team created GVC's (Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum), common formative assessments, collection of data, and immediate and specific intervention; Fossil Ridge Intermediate School has emerged as one of the most successful schools in Washington County School District, and the entire state of Utah. In addition, the past three years Fossil Ridge has shown exceptional "growth" scores on end of level state testing. The "growth" score numbers are evidence that students are not only learning at high levels, but also showing substantial academic growth from one year to the next.

2007 WCSD Professional Learning Community Team of the Year – Fossil Ridge Fine Arts

2008 St. George City Beautification Award - Fossil Ridge Ambassadors (Leadership and Service)

2010 WCSD Professional Learning Community Team of the Year – Fossil Ridge Math 7 Team

2011 UASSP Principal of the Year – Mr. Bob Sonju

2011 Superintendent's Award of Excellence-Science 6 Team

2012 NASSP National Principal of the Year Finalist – Mr. Bob Sonju

2012 NASSP Breakthrough School

2012 Solution Tree Model PLC School

2013 NASSP Breakthrough School

2013 Solution Tree Model PLC School

2014 NASSP Breakthrough School

2014 WCSD Professional Learning Community Team of the Year-Fossil Ridge Math6

2014 Solution Tree Model PLC School

2014-2015 Top Science points on State End of Level Testing for Mid-Level schools in Utah (student proficiency and student growth).

2015 Solution Tree Model PLC School

2016 Solution Tree Model PLC School

2016 Utah Education Association Teacher of Excellence--Ric Jaggi (Science)

2017 NASSP Breakthrough School

2017 Solution Tree Model PLC School

2018 Solution Tree Model PLC School

2018 Utah Education Association Teacher of Excellence-Mrs. Jeannie Fernandez

2018 NASSP National Principal's Conference Speaker-Mr. Jonathan Howell