Fulton High School

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

Fulton High School did not move quickly nor easily toward the concept of professional learning communities. Our teachers struggled to see the benefits of collaboration and truly felt robbed of the time spent attempting to collaborate; each teacher had his or her own “stuff” and was quite happy to continue using it. The Leadership Team struggled as well. It seemed that everyone felt that working as part of a data team was one more required serving added to our already heaping plates. Still, many of us knew there was much to be gained from Professional Learning Community work and that it was going to take some creative thinking to find a way to take something else “off our plates” to make room for what mattered--the success of our students--and we all agreed we had some work to do in that area.

Our biggest breakthrough came in the form of an in-house professional development session that demonstrated the way all of our “requirements” fit together. This PD session also created an opportunity for the Leadership Team to make our vision of becoming a PLC school a reality. We began to examine the various tasks required of our teachers. At that time, every faculty member had to write an annual Professional Development Plan, prepare a Unit of Instruction, work toward achieving a building SMART Goal, and participate in regular professional development, department meetings, etc. All this already seemed overwhelming on top of our regular teaching load. Our Leadership Team thought, “What if we found a way to pull all those requirements together into one common focus, and what if that focus was improving student learning?” The Leadership Team began to align all our expectations to fit that common focus. We built common plan time into our schedules whenever possible so that instructional collaborative data teams would be able to meet during the school day, we wrote PD Plan options that centered around the work of the data teams, we created building SMART Goals that tied into the data team work, and, in doing so, we earned the trust of our faculty members as we made a concentrated effort to show them how collaboration could work to their benefit rather than become additional work for them. We provided PD support to inform and demonstrate how to work together in data teams and how to complete data cycles. Then, we asked our staff to commit to weekly data team meetings and soon requested that each data team complete two data cycles per semester. We battled and successfully overcame some common stumbling blocks: dysfunctional teams, unwilling participants, and singletons. One of our proudest moments was when we realized our teams had started meeting at the beginning of the school year without our reminding them.

In order to further provide support to our instructional data teams, we also created the Fulton High School Professional Learning Community (FHSPLC) website (fhsplc.weebly.com). The FHSPLC gives teachers access to our Mission, Vision, and Common Commitments as well as providing a place to share the products of our collaboration--data cycles, common assessments, priority standards, etc. The FHSPLC Resources page links all past PD documents as well as websites that detail the various aspects of PLC work. We believe that we built understanding and commitment to the PLC process by embracing change for the common good and designing a system that allowed that change to become part of what we do rather than something else to do.

FHS has worked hard to support PLC work in our schedules. Most faculty members have a common plan time during which they can carry out their Professional Learning Communities’ work. We have worked to improve seminar time for our students. Students report to their academic advisor’s classroom to check grades, troubleshoot problem areas and brainstorm solutions. Students can also meet with any of their teachers to obtain additional help, make up assessments or re-assess, etc. 

The Leadership Team continues to strive for improvement and to focus its goals and PD around our next steps--we started with the data team process, moved into weekly data team meetings, revisited the process of identifying priority standards, and requested the documentation of regular data cycles. This year, as we continue to evolve in our focus on improving student learning through the PLC model, we are working on developing better grading practices, creating common assessments, and developing systems within which students learn to peer- and self-assess.

Additionally, our Leadership Team is committed to providing feedback to our collaborative data teams. Each semester during our weekly team meeting, a different department shares with us their most recent data cycle experience, allowing us to learn and grow together. We also communicate with our teams by posting the agendas for our Leadership Team meetings on the Leadership page of our FHSPLC website.

In the spirit of ongoing improvement, many of our teachers seek professional development and then share what they’ve learned with our staff. Many of our Professional Development days incorporate one or more of our teachers presenting to small groups of faculty members. Our Fulton High School Leadership Team has continued to educate themselves by not only sending representatives to the Missouri Powerful Learning Conference each year, but by also branching out and sending a team to the Solution Tree Conference in St. Charles, MO. Additionally, our Leadership Team has presented two sessions at our most recent Missouri Powerful Learning Conferences, and our principal is currently planning a proposal to present at the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals conference.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Fulton High School has made a concentrated effort to monitor student learning. We believe this commitment is evidenced through our drastically increased graduation rate--our graduation rate has increased from 70% in 2011 to 90% in 2018, where it remains. Additionally, we have substantially reduced our dropout rate, which was 8.8% and is now 1.7%. We attribute our improvement in student success to our concentrated efforts in building relationships with our students and in improving student engagement through our use of instructional strategies, which are fueled by our data cycle work.

Our “Intensive Care Unit” (ICU) program is an assignment recovery system that joins together teachers, staff, parents, and students in the common goal of every student completing every assignment while producing quality work. The ICU database lists assignments that need to be recovered because they are essential to student practice or demonstration. This is an immediate intervention to ensure that students are completing the practice necessary to guide them toward success. In addition to being a recovery system, ICU reinforces the need for all assignments to align with our curricular standards. As our staff works with students to be sure assignments are submitted, we are examining the value and focus of each assignment thereby monitoring student learning from the design level as well.

Another way that FHS is monitoring our student learning is by providing daily seminar time. Oftentimes teachers request that a given student attend his or her seminar to make up tests, complete missing assignments, obtain additional assistance, or complete additional practice in preparation for assessment. Our teachers do an exceptional job of reaching out to students during our daily seminar time. 

Our advisory program guarantees that all students have an advisor checking in with them and watching their success in each of their classes, providing another layer of monitoring. Each student in our building is assigned to a grade-level advisor and every Tuesday our seminar time is devoted to advisory. Students conference with their advisors regarding low grades, missing assignments, and difficulty with the content. The advisor assists the student in seeking any necessary assistance and/or guiding the student to remedy any lapse in learning. At the same time the advisor is assisting the student, he or she is also modeling problem-solving and positive communication behaviors. Relationship building is a large part of our seminar design, as students remain with their advisor throughout their four years of high school.

Students who are recognized as being particularly high-risk students are paired with a graduation coach who checks in with them daily during seminar time and helps them complete work and/or communicate with their other teachers, serving much like an additional parent in terms of support.

FHS recognizes that ALL students are truly “all our students” and our seminar is one way that we demonstrate that commitment to each one of them.

Our departments work with our assistant superintendent on a rotating basis to update and re-check our curricular alignment, providing continual monitoring to ensure that our curriculum remains aligned to our state standards. We have focused building-wide on identifying priority standards, which are also linked to our FHSPLC website’s individual team pages. In addition, we are currently working on developing common assessments and improving our grading practices, both of which will support and improve our monitoring of student learning.

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

Teachers in our building will accept late work, because they recognize that some students need extra time, and because they know the assigned practice is essential to mastering the concepts of their courses. Our ICU assignment recovery system (detailed above) is an immediate intervention that supports students in completing their assigned work--the practice necessary to guide them toward success. The ICU system is designed to join together teachers, staff, parents, and students in the common goal of every student completing every assignment while producing quality work. Without this system, some students would fall through the cracks because they lack the necessary support at home for completing homework. The ICU system is centered around a database into which each teacher enters missing assignments. The entry process generates a digital message to parents, notifying them early in the process that an assignment needs to be recovered. Dedicated staff members process the list and follow specific, escalating steps to recover the missing work. If necessary, students are pulled into the ICU classroom to complete the work under supervision.

In addition to utilizing the ICU system, our teachers reach out to students who need additional help and bring them into their classrooms during our daily seminar time in order to provide support or additional instruction in areas where students are not yet demonstrating mastery. Students can attend by appointment a seminar in a given teacher’s room because he or she needs assistance in that teacher’s class and teachers can request that a given student attend his or her seminar to make up tests, complete missing assignments, obtain additional assistance, or complete additional practice in preparation for assessment. 

In addition, we have begun to focus as a faculty on better using grading to provide feedback that supports learning. Within this study, we are examining the purpose of grades (to inform students and parents of the individual student’s progress toward mastery of standards) and the impact of grades on learning (reporting academic progress, not behavior). We are providing support to teachers for eliminating zeros, recording only grades that indicate progress toward mastery, using grading to provide feedback for growth, and examining other methods of tracking progress and communicating to students their strengths and areas of concern.

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

All of our data teams are now working toward improving student learning. Each of our teams report their progress in various instructional areas using our Data Cycle Report Form, which is on our FHSPLC website team pages. Completed Data Cycle Reports are accessible to all of our staff members from their team pages and can be used by each team as a record of their work or for inspiration to their colleagues; samples are available here: Earth Science, English 3 Honors, Performing Arts - Band.

We are currently focusing on providing regular teacher-led professional development sessions that spotlight the successful practices our teachers have adopted for both providing improved instructional strategies and for improving student learning and/or relationships. It is our priority to share these best practices so ALL our students are provided with the best possible instruction. These resources are then added to the Resources page of our FHSPLC website.

In addition to improving instructional practices, our teams are utilizing common assessments and initiating common scoring to ensure that we are providing a guaranteed viable curriculum. All data teams complete and submit the results of data cycles on a regular basis. This core practice of the PLC process is providing our teams with the opportunity to examine their curriculum, their instructional practices, their intervention practices, and their assessment results. As we monitor our teams and their progress, it is clear that instruction is improving, students are feeling valued, and building culture is strengthening.

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Statewide assessment in Missouri is evolving and our state standards have been revised. These changes have caused our test reliability and validity to be skewed for several years. We also had a period of time during which there were testing inconsistencies that rendered our data invalid. In addition, the cut scores have changed over time as well. On top of that, there was some disruption in testing due to COVID. Because it takes two years (per state law) for our scores to be considered for evaluation purposes, it is recommended that we track these scores and use them to improve instruction, but NOT as comparison data. Therefore, we have had some trouble establishing valid scores to use for our planning purposes.

COVID not only disrupted state testing. Fulton High School and Fulton Public Schools took major steps to offset the impacts the state-wide school closure would have on our students and to plan for a school year that might face further disruptions. At the high school level, departments met to identify gaps in the standards that would exist due to the closure so that those gaps could be filled this current year. Throughout the summer, a district-wide task force met multiple times to study our situation and prepare for the unknown factors facing us, ultimately creating our District Return to Learn Plan in preparation for reopening our schools. We trained all of our teachers in the use of Google Classroom and requested that all teachers use Google Classroom for all courses in order to prepare students for distance learning in the event the school closed again or that individual students were quarantined. To support our use of Google Classroom, all teachers completed Catlin Tucker’s course about online learning. Another major change in anticipation of possibly pivoting to distance learning was to implement a block schedule for the year. This would ensure that students only focused on half their classes on a given day when learning through online means. In order to assess our students’ performance, Fulton High School has been tracking data based on the number of courses passed by our students. This was particularly helpful this year and last year due to the impact of COVID on our school. And COVID had an impact. Our students passed 95% of attempted courses in the first semester of the 2019-2020 school year (pre-COVID), but only passed 90% of their first semester courses this year (2020-2021) in the midst of multiple changes and disruptions due to scheduling, quarantines, and the ongoing threat of school-wide distance learning. Many of these failing grades can be attributed to students who, due to COVID, chose to enroll in the Launch program during the first semester and study solely at home rather than attend school. Many of these students were unable to keep up with and complete these courses. Our first response to those failed courses was to require these students to attend in-person classes for the second semester. We’ll be able to compare the data on our number of courses passed at the end of second semester to ensure that we are back on track.

Our graduation rate has increased dramatically from 70% in 2011 to over 90% in 2020--an improvement of which we are especially proud. Additionally, we have substantially reduced our dropout rate, which was 8.8% and is now 1.7%. We attribute our marked improvement in student success to our concentrated efforts in building relationships with our students and in improving student engagement through our use of instructional strategies, which is fueled by our PLC data cycle work.

Fulton’s ACT scores have historically fallen 1 to 1.5 points below the state and national averages despite varied and ongoing efforts to improve these scores. We believe that there are several reasons for these lower scores, and we will continue to address improving our ACT scores, which did improve in 2018-19, during which our students’ scores exceeded that of the state and national averages.

When Missouri required all students to take the ACT, we saw a drop in both the state scores and our school’s scores. The first reason we believe our scores are typically lower than desired is that as a rural school we see a high percentage of our students bypass college in favor of moving straight into the workforce, the military, or a trade school. Those students who are opting for trade schools are entering welding school (Nevada, MO), boat mechanic school (Lake of the Ozarks, MO), or State Technical College of Missouri (Linn, MO). These schools place much less emphasis on the ACT, so these students, who are now required to take the test, have no real investment in preparing for it, as they do not need specific scores to realize their educational goals. It is our understanding that many rural districts in Missouri experience scores that are lower than their larger neighboring districts, which see far more of their students preparing for college. Many of our students find the ACT irrelevant to their needs and choose not to prepare for the exam; when these students were then required to take the exam, their scores ended up pulling down our average.

The second reason that we believe our scores are low is that we have seen the number of students who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches increase dramatically in the last few years, which speaks to a higher level of poverty in our community. Many of our students are living the reality of poverty every day and feel as if they don’t have the funds or ability to pay for college. These students have been entering the military or workforce in hopes of saving up money to attend college. In their current situation, the ACT test score is secondary or irrelevant to their immediate needs.

Finally, we as a district recently graduated a group of students who historically struggled with testing. These students have scored low on state tests since they were in elementary school, and two of our three elementary schools were deemed unsatisfactory based on the scores of these students. These schools were placed in the school choice category by the state of Missouri as a result. When these same students reached middle school, our middle school was one step away from being taken over by the state of Missouri due to low test scores. At the high school, we have been preparing for the best way to increase the performance of these students both in the classroom and on standardized tests for some time. We believe that the multiple steps we have taken--matching at-risk students with faculty coaches, improving our intervention procedures, implementing advisory sessions, and adopting the Intensive Care Unit for missing assignments--to provide supports for these students, in addition to the focus we have placed on intentionally improving instruction through the renewed implementation of Professional Learning Communities and targeted, teacher-driven professional development, has truly prepared us to support and guide these students in particular as well as to improve our instruction for all students.

In addition to the strategies noted above, we are continuing to plan for increasing our students’ scores on the ACT. We have intentionally embedded ACT preparation and practice into the curriculum beginning with the 9th grade, in hopes that the skills and material necessary for success on the exam will be familiar and understood at a deeper level by the time they are juniors and begin ACT testing. We will continue to work with our students and staff to further develop our plans to help each student attain success no matter their future plans; we are confident that this focused preparation will result in higher ACT scores for all.

Looking back at the achievement level of these students on previous state and national standardized tests, we feel that we have made progress. We knew, given the circumstances outlined above, that we would see a negative impact on our ACT scores for a while, but our students are progressing and closing the gap. We hope to continue this trend and continue to surpass the state and national averages.


  • Principal Kati Boland selected to present at the 2020 Powerful Learning Conference, "How Shared Leadership Produces Forward Momentum” - 2020

  • Leadership Team selected to present at the 2019 Missouri Powerful Learning Conference, “PLC - Succeeding at the Secondary Level” - 2019

  • Dollar General Community Outreach $10,000 Literacy Initiative Grant Recipient - 2018

  • Missouri Professional Learning Communities - FHS is currently a Candidate for Exemplary PLC Status (our “Missouri PLC Rubric Artifact Collection Tool” is available here and includes links to our artifacts) - 2018

  • Fulton Foundation Grant Recipients - 2022, 2021

  • Community Garden $500 Foundation Grant Recipient - 2018

  • Missouri Department of Conservation $500 and $250 Discover Nature Unbound Grant Recipient - 2017


  • Missouri WIRPO Science Education Fellowship Participants (2) - 2021

  • Sectional Assistant Coaching Staff of the Year - 2021

  • Sectional Coach of the Year - 2021

  • Northeast District Advisor of the Year Award - 2021, 2020

  • David W. White Outstanding Service in Education Award Winner - 2021

  • National Speech and Debate Association Eastern Missouri District Committee - 2021

  • Missouri Association of Student Councils Principal of the Year - 2018

  • District Teacher of the Year - 2017, 2000, 2008, 2006, 2004

  • District Stellar Staff of the Quarter Recognition - 2016 (2), 2015 (2), 2014 (2), 2013 (3)

  • Missouri Business Education Association - President

  • Missouri Association of Career and Technical Education - President

  • Missouri FBLA Foundation Board - President

  • State Personal Finance Curriculum Team Member

  • National Speech and Debate Association - Two-Diamond Coach


Senior Award Night Slide Show

State End of Course Exams

  • 2 students earned perfect scores - 2018 (partial results)

  • 7 students earned perfect scores - 2017

  • 3 students earned perfect scores - 2016

  • 6 students earned perfect scores - 2015

  • 16 students earned perfect scores - 2014

Graduation Rate

  • 90.42% Graduation Rate - 2020

  • 90.17% Graduation Rate - 2019

  • 90% Graduation Rate - 2018

  • 70% Graduation Rate - 2011

Dropout Rate 

  • 1.7% - 2020

  • 2.2% - 2019

  • 1.3% - 2018

  • 3.3% - 2017

  • 8.8% - 2011

Cumulative Scholarship earnings for the Class of 2018 - over $877,388

STUDENT AWARDS - Activities:

Future Business Leaders of America

  • State Gold Chapter of the Year Award - 2019

  • National Finalists - 2018

  • National Qualifiers - 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016

  • State Finalists - 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017

  • Outstanding Chapter Award - 2017, 2016

  • State Gold Chapter of the Year Award - 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014

Callaway County Chamber of Commerce Allen L. Conner Youth Award

  • 2018 - National Honor Society and International Thespian Troupe 4565

  • 2017 - Student Council

Missouri Association of Student Councils (MASC)

  • Honor Council Recognition - 2021

  • Distinguished Senior Leaders - 2021 (4), 2018 (3), 2017 (4)

National Speech and Debate Association

  • National Speech & Debate Association’s Academic All American Award

  • 2021 - 27 current members and degrees

    • 4th Place US Extemporaneous Speaking - District Tournament

    • 4th Place Lincoln Douglas Debate - District Tournament 

    • 6th Place Prose Reading - District Tournament 

    • 5th Place International Extemporaneous Speaking - District Tournament

    • 6th Place Poetry Reading - District Tournament

International Thespian Society - 2018

  • 14 active members

  • 9 Two-Star Scholar Thespians


Large Ensemble State Music Festival - 2018

  • I - Superior (Combined Choirs)

Large Ensemble State Music Festival - 2016, 2018, 2019, 2021

  • I - Superior (Chamber Singers)

Large Ensemble State Music Festival - 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2021

  • II - Outstanding (Combined Choirs)

Large Ensemble State Music Festival - 2015, 2017

  • II - Outstanding (Chamber Singers)

All State Choir - 2015, 2016, 2017

  • One All-State Student

All State Choir - 2018

  • 4 All-State Students

All State Choir - 2019

  • 2 All-State Students

All-District Choir

  • 8 Students -2015     

  • 15 Students - 2016

  • 11 Students - 2017

  • 9 Students - 2018

  • 11 Students - 2019

  • 6 Students - 2020

Chamber Singers auditioned and selected to perform National Anthem for State Wrestling - 2018

Worlds of Fun Music Festival- Overall Grand Champions & 2018 1st Place Mixed Choir - 2018

District Music Festival - 2015

  • I - Superior - 2 events; II - Outstanding - 9 events; III - Satisfactory - 3 events

District Music Festival - 2016

  • I - Superior - 3 events; II - Outstanding - 12 events; III - Satisfactory - 7 events

District Music Festival - 2017

  • I - Superior - 7 events; II - Outstanding - 14 events; III - Satisfactory - 4 events

District Music Festival - 2018

  • I - Superior - 9 events; II - Outstanding - 12 events; III - Satisfactory - 2 events

District Music Festival - 2019

  • I - Superior - 16 events; II - Outstanding - 9 events; III - Satisfactory - 4 events

State Music Festival - 2015

  • II - Outstanding - 2 events

State Music Festival 2016

  • II - Outstanding - 3 events

State Music Festival - 2017  

  • I - Superior - 4 events; II - Outstanding - 3 events

State Music Festival - 2018

  • Gold - 6 events; Silver - 1 event; Bronze - 2 events

State Music Festival - 2019

  • Gold - 6 events; Silver - 6 events; Bronze - 3 events

State Music Festival - 2021

  • Gold - 4 events; Silver - 5 events; Bronze 3 events


Central Methodist University Music Festival - 2020

  • I - Superior - 3 events

Central Methodist University Music Festival - 2021

  • I - Exemplary - 3 events ; II - Outstanding - 5 events


Marching Band: Parade - 2018

  • 2nd Place; 3rd Place

Marching Band: Indoor Color Guard - 2018

  • 1st Place

Marching Band: Indoor Drumline - 2018

  • 1st Place (twice)

Marching Band: Parade - 2018

  • 1st Place (twice); Outstanding Guard (twice); Outstanding Percussion; Outstanding Music (twice); Outstanding Visual

Marching Band: Field - 2018

  • Grand Champion; 1st Place; 2nd Place; Outstanding Music; Outstanding Percussion

Marching Band: Indoor Drumline - 2017

  • 3rd Place; 4th Place

Marching Band: Field - 2017

  • 2nd Place

Marching Band:  Indoor Color Guard - 2016

  • 1st Place; 2nd Place

Marching Band:  Parade - 2016

  • Outstanding Guard; Outstanding Drumline; 1st Place (twice); 3rd Place

Marching Band: Field - 2016

  • Outstanding Guard (three times); 2nd Place (three times)

Marching Band: Indoor Color Guard - 2015

  • 1st Place; 2nd Place (twice)

Marching Band: Parade - 2015

  • Division Champion; Parade Grand Champion; 1st Place (twice); 2nd Place; Outstanding Guard; Outstanding Visual

Marching Band:  Field - 2015

  • 2nd Place (four times); 4th Place (in a different division)

State Music Festival - 2018

  • 1 - Superior Large Ensemble

State Music Festival - 2018

  • Bronze - 2 events; Silver - 1 event; Gold - 6 events

State Music Festival - 2018

  • Bronze - 6 events; Silver - 5 events

State Music Festival - 2016

  • 2 - Outstanding rating

State Music Festival - 2017

  • II - Outstanding - 2 events; I - Exemplary - 2 events

State Music Festival - 2017

  • II - Outstanding - 3 events; I - Superior - 4 events

State Music Festival - 2016

  • II - Outstanding - 2 events; I - Exemplary - 2 events

State Music Festival - 2015

  • II - Outstanding, 2 events; I - Exemplary, 2 events

District Music Festival - 2018

  • III - Satisfactory, 1 events; II - Outstanding, 14 events; I - Superior, 11 events

District Music Festival - 2016  

  • III - Satisfactory, events; II - Outstanding, 15 events; I - Superior, 4 events

District Music Festival - 2015  

  • I - Superior - 4 events; II - Outstanding - 12 events

Northeast All-District Honorable Mention Band, 1 student - 2017-2018

Northeast All-District Band, 2 students - 2017-2018

Northeast District Jazz Band Alternate, 1 student - 2017-2018

Missouri All-State Honorable Mention Band, 1 student - 2017-2018

Northeast All-District Honorable Mention Band, 1 student - 2016-2017

Northeast All-District Band, 2 students - 2016-2017

Northeast All-District Honorable Mention Band, 1 student - 2015-2016

Northeast All-District Band, 2 students - 2015-2016

Northeast All-District Honorable Mention Band, 1 student - 2014-2015

Northeast All-District Band, 3 students - 2014-2015

Missouri All-State Band, 1 student - 2014-2015


  • Wrestling State Finalists (3) - 2021

  • Sectional Wrestler of the Year - 2021

  • Track State Finalist - 2018

  • Cross Country District Finalists - 2018, 2017 (team), 2016 (team)

  • Cross Country State Finalists - 2017

  • Cross Country District Championship - 2016

  • Boy's Basketball Conference Champions - 2018, 2021

  • Boy's Basketball Conference, 2nd Place - 2017

  • Wrestling State Finalists - 2017