Kildeer Countryside School District 96

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

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

We use many forms of assessment to monitor student learning. We think of our assessment practices on a continuum ranging from most formative (daily) to most summative (annually). Our goal is to use a balanced and coherent system of assessment to guide our instruction.

Before we begin to design the assessments, teams of teachers representing every grade level assemble at the district level to work together and identify and prioritize the essential learning targets by grade level and by course. Teachers use the Common Core Standards as well as the national standards for specific curricular areas to guide the alignment of our local standards, which are published in a Board-approved document called the Curriculum Framework. To help our students reach the highest of academic standards, staff regularly differentiates the curricular objectives, assesses and monitors student learning, and provides interventions for those students who need extra time and support to succeed in their learning. In addition to frameworks, teachers collaboratively design grade-level pacing guides outlining the learning standards for each trimester. Likewise, they align common formative and summative assessments to the standards in the pacing guides and use the assessment data to guide instruction. The “unpacking, powering, and pacing” of the Common Core provided us the opportunity to scale each learning target using the Marzano & Kendall taxonomy. This allows deep levels of differentiation in the classroom as each teacher and team has the 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0 extension targets embedded in the pacing guide they use to drive their conversations and instruction.

In addition to the once-a-year, high stakes, state examinations which we define as an example of the “most summative” kind of assessment-teams of teachers work together to develop district (benchmark) assessments based on the essential learning targets found in the Curriculum Frameworks to monitor how groups of students are progressing through the curriculum. These benchmark assessments are given throughout each trimester and represent a “more summative” form of assessment.

While the faculty and staff determined that data from this type of “more summative” assessment was better than the once-a-year autopsy data the district receives from the state tests, the benchmark assessments were not frequent enough for teachers to use in guiding their instructional decision making so we began to develop more frequent and more formative common assessments at the building level.

These more frequent and more formative common assessments (or CFA’s) are designed by teams of teachers at the building level and represent a “more formative” type of assessment. Teachers also regularly use progress monitoring – one of the “most formative” assessment practices - to manage and monitor student learning in individual classrooms and in specific interventions.

Our goal is to be very knowledgeable about the most appropriate use of assessments and data and to consciously use all aspects of a balanced and coherent system of assessment to guide our instruction.

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

Schools in District 96 develop intervention plans based on specific, agreed-upon criteria. The intervention plans are systematic and school wide, and typically include both short-term intervention and longer-term remediation programs. We believe both intervention and remediation are necessary and appropriate responses when students demonstrate that they did not learn what was expected.

In District 96, we ask that the schools consider the SPEED (Systematic, Practical, Effective, Essential, and Directive) criteria as a guide when evaluating the appropriateness of an intervention strategy. Actual intervention plans may be slightly different from one school to the next, but each school designs a systematic and school-wide pyramid of interventions to provide more time and support for students that meets the SPEED criteria as closely as possible.

  • The “S” stands for systematic. The intervention plan is school-wide, independent of the individual teacher, and communicated in writing (who, why, how, where, and when) to everyone: staff, parents, and students
  • P” is for practical. The intervention plan is affordable with the school’s available resources (time, space, staff, and materials). The plan must be sustainable and replicable so that its programs and strategies can be used in other schools.
  • E” is for effective. The intervention plan must be effective, available, and operational early enough in the school year to make a difference for the student. It should have flexible entrance and exit criteria designed to respond to the ever-changing needs of students.
  • E” is for essential. The intervention plan should focus on agreed-upon standards and the essential outcomes of the district’s curriculum and be targeted to a student’s specific learning needs as determined by formative and summative assessments.
  • D” is for directive. The intervention plan should be directive. It should be mandatory–not invitational–and a part of the student’s regular school day. Students should not be able to opt out, and parents and teachers cannot waive the student’s participation in the intervention program (DuFour, DuFour, Eaker & Many, Learning By Doing, 2006, pp.84-85).

Teachers use their assessment results to provide an appropriate response. The CFA’s are shorter, more frequent assessments that serve to provide our teachers with continuous data to track the progress of their students. This data informs teachers about student proficiency levels on a given learning target. Teachers respond by planning appropriate instruction to meet individual learning needs. Response could include differentiating within the classroom instruction, as well as additional support or extension through the daily 30-minute intervention block at the elementary level. In the intervention block, grade-level teams share a daily common time where focused support and enrichment planning occurs. Teachers work together to identify trends in student proficiency to deliver group and individual Tier 1 intervention. As a result of this common intervention time and collaboration, teachers and specialists flexibly combine their efforts to meet the needs of all students. Teachers and specialists work collectively to design schedules where children can have access to target-based Tier 1 intervention as well as Tier 2 and 3 interventions. The Tier 2 and 3 interventions may focus on deficit areas in the subject area or content assessed on the more summative Benchmark assessments.

For example, a teacher might notice that, based on the results of a common assessment, a particular student was struggling with the consonant blends “pl” and “bl.” In this case we might prescribe an intervention: this student would participate in the intervention time provided during the school day for additional instruction and practice for this specific target.

Suppose that a second student in the same class is struggling with the same skill, but after reviewing data from the common assessments as well as other more formative assessments, the teacher concludes that, in addition to blends, the second student struggles with many other essential reading skills. To help this second student move forward, we might prescribe a long-term remediation within the school’s reading program as well as participation in a short-term targeted intervention on consonant blends.

At the middle school level, academic enrichment and academic intervention is provided during two 30- minute periods per week. Formative assessment data is used by each team to identify who will attend a target-based intervention each week. This time may also be used for Tier 2 and 3 intervention when appropriate.

For us, interventions are best described as short-term, skill-based experiences that are closely tied to the curriculum, more narrow in scope, and based on the results of our “more formative” common assessments. Remedial programs are described as longer-term, programmatic assignments that are broader in scope and based on the results of our “more summative” or benchmark assessments.

Depending on the needs of the student and based on the results of the “more formative” and “more summative” assessments, we will utilize a variety of different intervention and remedial strategies either alone or in combination to help students learn. The progression of interventions that are in place and the progress monitoring that takes place are in compliance with RTI legislation as well.

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

There is a conscious effort to organize a variety of opportunities for teachers to collaborate and be a part of collaborative teams. While there always is a focus on learning, there also is a focus on developing leadership skills in all teachers. Expertise is shared across the entire district. This collaborative spirit–known as “the 96 way”–contributes to the development of our high performing collaborative teacher teams.

At the elementary schools, teachers are organized as grade-level teams and meet a minimum of two times per week for 45 minutes of common planning time. At the middle schools, teachers are organized in traditional interdisciplinary and subject-specific teams. The teams meet daily, but alternate the organizational pattern between interdisciplinary and content-specific teams, depending on the specific requirements of the work at the time.

Teachers who demonstrate leadership skills are selected as “team leaders” and serve on building leadership teams. The leadership teams support the building principals and act as a guiding coalition at the building level. These teacher leaders receive additional professional development throughout the school year so they are effective in their buildings as they help to facilitate the work of our collaborative teams.

The District has also created vertical job-alike teams who meet once a month to discuss subject area and specific content. Vertical teams comprise one teacher representative from each grade in each subject area. For example, membership on the mathematics team includes a teacher representing each grade in kindergarten through eighth. It is the same in reading, writing, science, social studies, physical education and health, and the fine and applied arts. Special education teachers also meet once monthly by job assignment to share best practice. These job-alike teams collaborate on identifying the essential outcomes and developing better assessment instruments for each content area.

We are continuing with two initiatives to continue to develop capacity in our teachers. All second year, non-tenured teachers participate in the “Japanese Lesson Study” model. According to Catherine Lewis of Mills College, Japanese Lesson Study is a three-phase process in which a group of teachers collaboratively develop a lesson, teach or observe the lesson, and then discuss the lesson. We are also implementing a collaborative effort involving teams of teachers from one school visiting with teams of teachers from another school in the area to perform audits of each other’s PLC practices.

Learning Retreats are used to encourage collaboration and capacity building. These one- or two-day, in-depth training events are organized as trainer-of-trainer experiences and present our teachers with the opportunity to work with nationally recognized experts. Teacher leaders are regularly trained on the best ways to identify essential outcomes, analyze data, and design high-quality assessments.

Finally, in order to build lateral capacity members of teacher teams from each school have participated in a Sister School Exchange. Principals identified a partner school who had demonstrated excellence in an area that they had targeted for learning. For instance, one team focused on expanding upon student involvement in assessment and goal setting. The “sister school” wanted to become more proficient in using common formative assessment data. The paired schools made a site visit and spent the day observing, meeting with teams, and learning from each other. Teacher participants reported that it was one of the most powerful and immediately impactful professional learning opportunities they had ever participated in. Building upon the positive impact of learning from peers, District 96 engages in curricular work with surrounding districts who all feed into the same high school system in order to provide a guaranteed and viable curriculum for all of the students in our communities. This includes doing regular articulation and curriculum work vertically with the high school.

By participating in a variety of collaborative initiatives, teachers benefit from authentic, job-embedded staff development with their colleagues. We do not believe that it is enough to ask that teachers collaborate. Rather, we believe that collaboration is a learned skill that our teachers develop through training.

Additional Achievement Data

The state of Illinois requires schools to participate in the yearly state assessment for students in grades 3-8 for elementary districts. Until the 2014-15 school year, this state assessment was the Illinois Standards Achievement Test. This assessment included math and reading tests for all grades and additional science tests for students in grades 4 and 7. Illinois became a PARCC state (Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career) and implemented this test for the first during the 2014-15 school year. In order to prepare parents and teachers for the more rigorous expectations for the PARCC, Illinois changed the proficiency levels on the ISAT assessments. You will notice a drop in scores across the entire state beginning in the 2012-13 school year. It is not appropriate to compare data before and after this change. 

Data is provided in the attachments.  They include a history of District 96 ISAT and PARCC scores and state comparisons.  Also provided is details about the closing gap between all students and those with an IEP.  An ISAT Test Score Trend Report is also attached.

Data from the first PARCC administration was made available to schools/districts in late 2015. Decisions to modify the PARCC administration and test structures were made for the 2016 administration and comparisons between the 2015 and 2016 data were unable to be made.

The PARCC was administered again in April 2017 and results were provided in October 2017.  Comparisons between 2016 and 2017 indicate stable achievement levels from one year to the next.  District 96 continues to record higher achievement levels than that exhibited by the state of Illinois.  Attached you will find the most recent PARCC results.



  • Prairie Elementary School (Buffalo Grove, Illinois) was named a 2017 U.S. Department of Education National Blue Ribbon School for its students’ strong academic standing.
  • In 2016, Superintendent of Schools Julie A. Schmidt was named Lake County Illinois Superintendent of the Year by the Lake County Superintendent’s Association, and an Illinois Superintendent of Distinction by the Illinois Association of School Administrators.
  • In 2016, the Buffalo Grove Park District received the Best of the Best Intergovernmental Cooperation Award for their work with Kildeer Countryside CCSD 96 from the Illinois Association of Park Districts.
  • In 2016, Woodlawn Middle School (Long Grove, Illinois) won National Junior Level School of the Year by the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project.
  • Woodlawn Middle School (Long Grove, Illinois) was named a 2016 U.S. Department of Education National Blue Ribbon School for its students' strong academic standing, its second recognition in this category.
  • In 2016 Country Meadows Elementary School was ranked in the Top 10 Elementary Schools in Lake County by Chicago Magazine.
  • Kildeer Countryside CCSD 96 was named as an Apple Distinguished School District for 2015-2017, a two-year designation.
  • Twin Groves Middle School (Buffalo Grove, Illinois) teacher, Ben Leven, was named 2015-16 Health Education Teacher of the Year by the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Federation of Teachers
  • Twin Groves Middle School (Buffalo Grove, Illinois) received a 2013 U.S. Department of Education National Blue Ribbon School for its students' strong academic standing, its second recognition in this category.
  • Twin Groves Middle School (Buffalo Grove, Illinois) received a blue ribbon award from the Illinois Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (IAHPERD) for its health programs recognized as one of the three best middle school health programs in Illinois. Twin Groves received this same honor for the second time in 2013.
  • In 2009, the four Elementary Schools in District 96 (Ivy Hall and Prairie in Buffalo Grove, Illinois and Country Meadows and Kildeer in Long Grove, Illinois) reapplied and were awarded blue ribbon recognition for their physical education program for a second consecutive term by the Illinois Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (IAHPERD). Kildeer Elementary School was awarded blue ribbon recognition for the third time in 2013.
  • Kildeer Elementary School (Long Grove, Illinois) was named a 2012 U.S. Department of Education National Blue Ribbon School for high student academic achievement.
  • Woodlawn Middle School (Long Grove, Illinois) was named a 2009 U.S. Department of Education National Blue Ribbon School for its students’ strong academic standing.
  • Ivy Hall Elementary School (Buffalo Grove, Illinois) awarded 2008 No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School for high student academic achievement.
  • Twin Groves Middle School (Buffalo Grove, Illinois) received the 2007 No Child Left Behind blue ribbon recognition award for academic.
  • All District 96 schools for grades 1 through 8 have received consecutive Illinois Academic Excellence Awards from 2008 to 2012
  • Both District 96 middle schools named among Illinois Top 50 Middle Schools in the State of Illinois. Chicago Sun-Times posting of School Report Cards.
  • All four District 96 elementary schools named among Illinois Top 50 Elementary Schools in the State of Illinois. Chicago Magazine.
  • All four District 96 elementary schools named among Illinois Top 50 l Elementary Schools in suburban Chicago Illinois. Chicago Sun-Times posting of School Report Cards.
  • Chicago magazine (October 2006) names three District 96 elementary schools among the Top 15 Public Schools in Lake County, Illinois
  • In 2006, all four elementary schools (Country Meadows, Ivy Hall, Prairie and Kildeer Countryside Elementary Schools) were selected by the Illinois Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (IAHPERD) as blue ribbon schools and models of excellence for physical education programming in elementary schools.