Ivy Hall Elementary School (2023)

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

The PLC journey began over a decade ago in all of the District 96 schools. District leadership began researching and learning about the components of effective practices and components of systems operating as a professional learning community. The district worked on developing a common mission, vision, values, and goals to guide our work. A focus on the four critical questions led us to understand how important a guaranteed and viable curriculum was needed. District content teams worked to develop the common set of targets for each subject area in every grade. From these targets, we understood the need to write appropriate assessments (formative and summative) to measure the attainment of the identified targets. From this data, we were more prepared to identify students who needed extra support and those that needed opportunities for extension and/or acceleration. Over the years, we have continued to revise the expected targets as we have learned more, often adding rigor and higher expectations for our students. This revision has included the addition of leveled targets and the implementation of a standards-based reporting system to provide specific, timely, and accurate feedback to students and parents. The district also modified its calendar to include early releases on a regular basis to allow time for district content area teams and/or grade levels to meet together for consistency between and collaboration among all staff members.

Ivy Hall School created collaborative teams at each grade level or content team. The principal, assistant principal, and school team developed a master schedule that provides common planning time for these teams to meet. These teams developed norms for working together productively. An agenda is developed for each team collaborative meeting time and is shared with all team members. The principal and assistant principal regularly attend the grade-level teams to provide support and encouragement. These teams review the upcoming targets, pacing guides, and scoring rubrics. They develop common formative assessments to assess the unique needs of their students. These teams meet regularly to review data (pre-test, common formative assessments, and end-of-unit assessments) to design effective differentiated instruction. When reviewing data, teams will create SMART goals to increase levels of student achievement. More recently, the district has developed an instructional coaching program to provide job-embedded learning focused on best implementing instructional practices, supporting language development, and building capacity in specific content areas.

To support new teachers in our system, the district provides five days of new teacher training prior to the start of school each August. During these days, new staff are provided an overview of the District 96 Professional Learning Communities work. The district has a two-year mentor program in order to continue to develop the capacity of the new staff.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

The second critical question for our work as a PLC says "How will you know if students have learned what you expect them to?" In District 96, we work hard at developing appropriate target-aligned assessments. These include formative and summative assessments that are used for different purposes. Formative assessments are used to determine a student's current level of understanding and knowledge of the targets. These formative assessments may include the use of observational checklists, exit slips, target-aligned quizzes, individual conferences with students, or other means to gather student data. Feedback is provided to students to help them know where they are in their learning progression and what they need to do in order to show growth. Teachers use data from these assessments to guide their instruction through differentiation and identify small groups of students in their classroom who may benefit from additional instruction or those that are ready for enrichment. 

Grade-level teams develop common formative assessments based on the needs of their students. These needs may be different at other schools based on the unique characteristics of students. The results of these assessments are reviewed by the entire grade level to make decisions about pacing, differentiation opportunities, and to share instructional ideas to support all students.

We use a standards-based reporting system to provide feedback to students and parents about progress. Students understand that prior to instruction it may be that a student is not yet showing proficiency. With instruction, students see their growth. We have also developed above-level targets for students to work on after showing proficiency or mastery of the grade-level expected targets. Students work hard to move towards these extension opportunities.   


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

Collaboration is key to creating systems of intervention. In District 96, our system of intervention begins with the robust assessment system based on our identified targets for each grade level course, in addition to nationally normed universal screeners. For example, we use Northwest Evaluation Assessment Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) for all students in grades K-5 three times a year for math and reading. This data is used for consideration for additional time and support. Additional assessments are used to triangulate data using FASTBridge, especially for students scoring below the 25th percentile on NWEA MAP. Ivy Hall has a Problem-Solving Team made up of specialists whose purpose is to develop a plan of support for students needing additional instructional time and strategies. This Problem-Solving Team, including the classroom teacher, reviews progress monitoring data on a regular basis to match support to student needs. Students also have the ability to accelerate in math and/or reading to the next grade level or potentially two grade levels. A student also has the opportunity to advance a grade level if the data supports it.

Ivy Hall adheres to an MTSS model with Tier 1 making up 80% of the population, Tier 2 making up 15% of the population, and Tier 3 making up 5% of the population. Tier 1 is an intervention or acceleration that takes place inside the classroom. Teachers provide Tier 1 intervention or acceleration by analyzing data from formative assessments, including common assessments, in order to ascertain areas where student learning can be improved. Students in Tiers 2 and 3 are tracked via our watch list or our acceleration list. Intervention students are progress monitored weekly to track the progress of interventions. Students can receive intervention in math, literacy, or both. 

At Ivy Hall, every grade has 40 minutes of common intervention time daily. Students can be pulled for Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3 intervention during this time. In addition, intervention time is also used to extend the thinking of all students that have already mastered grade-level targets. 


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

Building high-performing teams is essential throughout our professional learning community, to ensure students are reaching their maximum potential. Each grade level and specialist team has an identified team leader that works closely with the principal. These leaders provide an additional layer of support to all teachers in working towards the district and school goals. All team leaders go through extensive professional development around facilitation skills. The Leadership Team meets weekly with the principal and assistant principal, where they work collaboratively around the goals, identifying needed supports and developing targeted plans to reach goals. These weekly meetings also serve as a place to celebrate successes and problem-solve across grade levels.

Team meeting time is built into our master schedule. At the grade levels, the teams meet for 2-3 hours per week to discuss math, literacy, social studies, and science instruction. The teams meet during times that students attend specials. Students in grades K-5 have a 1-hour block that is comprised of PE, Art, Music, Learning Center, and Exploration Lab. In addition to our grade levels meeting, our specials teachers meet 1-2 times per week to engage in a "critical friends" process. Our coaches also have a weekly meeting where they meet and discuss coaching. 

Ivy Hall School has one instructional coach at each grade level. Coaches meet weekly with teams and as needed with individual teachers. This includes the review of student data, best practices supporting students' mastery of learning targets, additional techniques for assessment of student learning to refine instruction, and collaborative planning for instruction, including intervention and extension. Our coaching model provides teams and teachers with opportunities for modeling, co-teaching, observation, and collaboration around best practices. Coaches participate in extensive training and development and also meet weekly with the principal.

Our Problem-Solving Team includes the Principal, Assistant Principal, School Psychologist, Literacy Differentiation Specialist, School Social Worker, Special Education Teachers, Occupational Therapist, and Speech & Language-Pathologists. This team meets weekly to regularly review student data for students qualifying for Tier 2 and 3 interventions, as well as for those students already eligible for special education. Review of this data guides further decisions and planning for students to close instructional gaps. The Problem Solving Team also provides Tier 1 support to teachers. The Problem-Solving Team works with teachers to support student learning needs and align specific data collection tools to monitor progress.


Achievement Data Files

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 time during the 2014-15 school year. In 2019-2020 the PARCC assessment was changed to the Illinois Assessment of Readiness or IAR. In order to prepare parents and teachers for the more rigorous expectations for the PARCC/IAR, 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.


Awards & Recognition 

2021 US News & World Report Top 100 Elementary Schools in Illinois

2020 Featured on NPR News Service for Common Core Standards 

2019 ISBE Those Who Excel Award to Hanna Lee, Classroom Teacher, & Head Custodian Team

2018/19 IL Empower Exemplary Summative Designation 

2015-2017 Apple Distinguished District

2010 Chicago Magazine Top 50 Schools in Lake County

2008-2012 ISBE Academic Excellence Award  

2008 and  2019 USDE Blue Ribbon Award

2006 IAHPERD Physical Education Blue Ribbon