Tim Richard •
San Tan Foothills High School • San Tan Valley AZ
Sky is the limit at STFHS!
We are only in the 2nd year of our PLC Journey here at San Tan Foothills High School, but the results couldn’t be more profound. Prior to the start of our journey, teachers were working in isolation and many were relying on outdated “Factory Model of Education” approaches to working with students. Last school year we made a commitment to collaboration by modifying the school bell schedule to allow teachers an hour of collaboration time every Thursday morning. We also sent a team to the PLC Summit. We required PLC teams to produce a product at the end of each collaboration session. Before long, our teachers were creating norms, SMART Goals, Common Assessments, Data Analysis sheets, and common lesson plans. Our journey had begun!
We did have our struggles. We are a small and growing high school and we learned that it was difficult to have horizontally aligned PLCs because in some cases you only have 1 teacher teaching a subject. Collaboratively, our teachers solved this problem by looking at the research and agreeing to create common assessments that are skill-based and vertically aligned. Our staff also tackled the student failure rate and we created a team approach to surrounding students with support. In short, we have made it easier for kids to succeed than it is to fail.
At the end of the 2016-2017 school year, there was a feeling that we were moving in the right direction, but no one really expected significant results yet. To our pleasant surprise, our school showed higher academic growth on the state exam in ELA and Math than many of the other schools in our county. We are so excited and the results validate our work and the research behind PLC. In starting the 2017-2018 school year, there is a collective energy amongst our staff and a true feeling that because of PLC, Solutions Tree, and the legacy of Dr. Dufour; at San Tan Foothills High School, the sky is the limit!