One of just 18 Districts in the Nation to Receive This Honor

Southeast Polk Community School District has been recognized by Solution Tree for its sustained success in raising student achievement. The district’s successful implementation of the Professional Learning Communities at Work™   (PLC) process was a major contributing factor in the improved achievement of its students. Solution Tree is one of the nation’s leading K-12 education professional development companies.

Follow this link to read Solution Tree’s article about our success story:

PLCs are schools and districts in which educators recognize the key to improved learning for students is ongoing, job-embedded learning for the adults who serve those students. The three big ideas of a PLC call upon educators to:

  1. Focus on learning.
  2. Build a collaborative culture.
  3. Create a results orientation.

Responding to news of the recognition, Superintendent Dirk Halupnik said,

“This recognition is the result of a lot of great work by our entire staff.  I am very happy for them to receive this honor because I have witnessed their passion and commitment to the PLC process.  This also underlines our District focus to put student learning first.”

Schools are recognized based on strict criteria, including demonstration of a commitment to PLC concepts, implementation of these concepts for at least three years, and clear evidence of improved student learning over that period. Once measurable results can be seen, the school must explain its practices, structures, and culture and submit its application for consideration by the PLC Review Committee.

According to the Champions of PLC at Work™, educators in the schools and districts selected for this recognition have shown “a sustained commitment to helping all of their students achieve at high levels. They have been willing to alter the structure and culture of the organization to reflect their commitment. We applaud them and congratulate them for achieving this very significant milestone on the never-ending PLC journey.”

Dr. Jo Ellen Latham, Southeast Polk’s Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, shared that this process started back in 2014 when staff from just a couple of buildings went to Minneapolis for a PLC at Work Institute. It started ramping up in 2018 and has remained consistent even during the COVID disruption. 

Recognized model PLC schools are listed on, where they share implementation strategies, structures, and performance with other educators interested in improving their schools. Tools for team collaboration, articles and research about PLCs, blog posts, and other related resources are also available on the site.