Success Stories

Onalaska Hi

Grade Level: High
Region: West

Our Success Story

The staff of Onalaska High School began their journey toward implementing RtI by deciding they would do whatever it took to ensure the curriculum they offered allowed all of their students to succeed. They relied on the tenets of Professional Learning Communities (PLC) to guide change in their school. The work of their PLC teams is based on DuFour’s Four Big Questions to review their curriculum and the system in which this curriculum is offered:

  • What do you expect students to learn?
  • How will you know when they learn it?
  • What will do you do for students who don’t learn it?
  • What will you do with the students who have already learned it?

As they built their PLC teams, they worked on collecting evidence that demonstrated practices had changed. The staff, eager to change practices, came back to the administration requesting to review options for scheduling PLC meeting times in order for all staff to fully participate in the change process. Through this work, they looked not only at academics but at behavior as well. Although not a trained PBIS school, Onalaska High School reorganized its overall system to be proactive and positive in order to enhance academic performance. The staff put in place incentive programs that reward students with privileges when they achieve milestones such as good behavior and good grades. Incentives included parking passes, permission to use an iPod during study hour, and hall passes.

The staff of Onalaska High School continued to refine the overall system by looking at changing the class schedule and school start and end times. They now offer more options than the traditional school day. They built in supports for students who are excelling as well as those who are falling behind. The staff was cognizant of the need for students to have a feeling of belonging; by cutting the typical five minute pass time to three minutes, they were able to capture fourteen minutes each day during which seniors mentor freshmen and show them how to navigate high school. Onalaska High School is still on its journey toward creating a school system that is responsive to student needs.

Our School

School Website


700 Hilltopper Pl
Onalaska, WI 54650-3497