Waukee Schools Named First District PLC National Model in Iowa

Waukee Community School District has been recognized by AllThingsPLC as the first District PLC National Model in the state of Iowa. Only 19 school districts in the US have earned this honor.

A Professional Learning Community (PLC) is a collaboration of teachers, administrators, parents, and students who work together to seek out best practices, test them in the classroom, continuously improve processes, and focus on student learning.

This recognition reflects the collaborative culture and commitment to Professional Learning Communities in the District. The Professional Learning Community Model serves as the vision for school improvement.

“As a district, we recognize the role of collaborative teams in implementing best practice and meeting the needs of all learners,” Lindsay Law, Curriculum Facilitator, said.  “The submission process allowed us to reflect on the last five years of growth, analyze achievement data, consider professional learning opportunities and evaluate efforts to support student success.”

WCSD student enrollment increased from 2,768 in 2001 to 7,611 in 2012.  During this time of exponential growth, the District continued to surpass the state and national academic averages while increasing the number of students performing at advanced levels. Much of this success can be attributed to the District’s collaborative culture and commitment to PLCs.

To help support the collaborative teams and provide support for continued academic success, more than 250 teachers and administrators have attended the PLC Institute over the last five years. Waukee educators have also attended the Assessment Institute to increase understanding of assessment within collaborative teams.
Waukee administrators have been participating in Instructional Rounds as defined by City, Elmore, Fiarman and Teitel (2011) since 2009. Administrators engage in professional dialogue and collaboration to develop a shared understanding of high quality instruction. This professional learning supports the work of administrators as they engage in collaborative teams throughout their buildings. Instructional coaches, teacher leaders and building leadership teams work with administrators to strengthen the support systems of instructional improvement and build capacity across the district.

Through the work of Professional Learning Communities WSCD has focused on the following areas:

  1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis. Collaborative teams meet weekly to clarify the essential skills and knowledge that all students must know, understand and be able to do. Developing a shared understanding of proficiency and common formative assessments, teachers align instruction and assessment with the curriculum and proficiency goals in which all students will secure.
  2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning. Waukee Community School District believes all students can achieve at high levels. We strive to differentiate effectively in order to meet the diverse needs of our students. Interventions are provided in addition to core instruction, and PLC teams meet regularly to review data, analyze the effectiveness of the intervention, and make adjustments to instruction.
  3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students. More than 45% of the teaching staff have a master’s degree or higher. Teachers are supported at the district level in obtaining higher degrees and have many opportunities to enhance their practice collaboratively within their teams.

“Solution Tree© and All Things PLC continue to provide district support for collaboration and learning. This recognition is a celebration of Waukee’s journey and the collaborative efforts of many educators who contributed to the vision,” Michelle Hurlburt, Curriculum Facilitator, said.

AllThingsPLC is a website built and maintained by Solution Tree to provide research, articles, data and tools to educators who seek information about the Professional Learning Communities at Work™ process.

More information can be found at the following links:




560 Southeast University Avenue
Waukee, Iowa 50263
Phone 515.987.5161
Fax 515.987.2701