Catoosa County Public Schools

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

Catoosa County Public Schools:  Every Child, Every Day, Without Exception!

In the summer of 2016, CCPS applied for and was approved as a Charter System.  School and district leaders were excited about the flexibility being granted with the new status but they also realized that the level of accountability was changing.  At the same time, the school district was notified that, due to the high number of students identified for special education services, it was being placed on the “Disproportionate List.”

Collaboration between district leaders began a new journey.  During the charter system application process, a strong strategic planning process had been completed but regular and special education leaders now needed to delve deeper into the data to determine immediate areas of concern.  While student achievement in ELA and math both needed attention, reading achievement, especially at the elementary level, surfaced as the top priority. The current understanding of the district’s “response to intervention” was evaluated and found to be ineffective.  Regular and special education leaders embarked on a search for proven, research-based practices. A team of four district-level leaders attended the RTI at Work Institute in Dallas where the application of using an effective PLC framework and the RTI at Work processes were united.  A new vision of effectively operating as a learning organization began to emerge.

After receiving approval to continue, the district-level team initiated a plan to develop a shared understanding of why the school district needed to operate differently.  The in-depth analysis of our current reality was articulated to school and district leaders in order to create a sense of urgency. Our understanding of RTI and PLC processes were reviewed and a commitment to “start over” began.  

Changes began immediately.  Administrator and academic coach meetings were redesigned to focus on building capacity among school and district leaders.  Learning about the Professional Learning Community at Work model of improving student achievement became a priority. Due to the problem of over-identifying students for special education services, school and district leaders were also required to quickly learn more about effective RTI practices.  CCPS made the decision to move away from using the traditional RTI model to using the RTI at Work process. 

District and school leaders spent the next year studying and discussing effective PLC and RTI practices through collaborative book studies.  A district-wide focus on the four guiding PLC questions became the driving force behind making changes. Emphasis on learning instead of teaching became the new filter.  A district-wide process of clarifying what students should learn at each grade or course was implemented, and essential standards were determined for all core academic areas.  RTI Tier 3 support systems were re-designed to ensure all students achieving below grade level in reading and math received targeted and monitored support.    

Our model for professional learning also changed.  District and school leaders discarded previous processes that promoted applying separate pieces of school improvement strategies and committed to keeping a laser-like focus on learning to operate as a PLC.  Sixty school and district leaders attended the PLC at Work Institute in Atlanta in the summer of 2017. Over the next three years, Dr. Austin Buffum provided training for school-level teams on the RTI at Work process; Cassandra Erkens taught school teams more about the use of common formative assessments and about becoming assessment literate; and Dr. Jasmine Kullar provided clarity on the role of a school's guiding coalition and trained teacher teams from each school.  

While outside expertise was an important part of helping our school district develop an understanding of implementing PLC and RTI at Work processes, the commitment of learning for ALL - students and adults - became a part of daily operations.  Teacher leaders began to emerge. School-level professional learning activities focused on developing strong collaborative teams and effective practices.  Support was given to teams in areas such as 1) clarifying learning standards and learning targets, 2)aligning instruction and assessment cognitive levels, 3)firmly establishing team practices such as using norms, 4) planning instructional units, and 5) developing, analyzing and using CFA’s for targeting learning needs. Our school-based academic coaching model also moved from focusing on assisting individual teachers to one of supporting collaborative teams.

A major aspect of the district-wide learning process was the cultural change from working in isolation to one of working in collaboration.  Initially, grade-alike school leaders began supporting each other by sharing ideas and effective practices. Effective practices were measured by changes in student learning and achievement levels.  Over the past three years, this support has moved from one of grade-alike or horizontal support (elementary supporting elementary, etc.) to one of vertical support. High school, middle school, and elementary school leaders are collaborating with each other to support changes in student learning from the day a student enters our school district until the day they graduate from high school.  District leaders, while still a major support system for operating as a PLC, are no longer driving the change. The PLC framework has become the way we operate as professional educators to ensure our students meet learning expectations.

Catoosa County Public Schools has embraced the belief in a continuous improvement process for many years.  The school district participates in a cycle of strategic planning, data review, goal setting, and goal monitoring.  School improvement plans are required and must be aligned to the district's strategic plan. The plan, do, check, act philosophy was incorporated over ten years ago.   Unfortunately, the previous improvement process was viewed more as a “requirement” rather than an actual improvement strategy. Our focus on operating as a PLC has clarified the purpose and role of improvement planning and evaluation.  The school district’s commitment to the three big ideas of the PLC process (Focus on Learning, Collaborative Culture and Collective Responsibility, and a Results Orientation) has fostered a strong culture of continuous improvement.  

School and district leader learning over the past three years has focused on understanding the “why” behind goal setting and improvement planning.  The district process for developing strong vision, mission, and belief statements had been completed but the school-level connection was not a part of the district culture.  Learning to operate within the PLC framework has made a significant difference. Actions and decisions are constantly reviewed using the district’s vision, mission, and beliefs.   School leaders strengthened their alignment to the district vision by leading their schools through deep, thought-provoking discussions and reviews of the school-level mission, vision, and beliefs.  School leaders understand the importance of collective commitments and are implementing annual or semi-annual review processes to ensure school-level commitments continue to provide motivation and focus for their staff.  School improvement plans have become working documents, with school profile data serving as a way for leadership teams to review the school’s current reality each year. Goal setting, while previously limited to district and school-level plans, is now incorporated into the work of collaborative teams.  Local school governance teams are involved in helping to support the vision and mission of their school and the district.  

In order to ensure continuous improvement for all students and adults, CCPS developed a District Intervention & Support Plan to identify schools needing additional assistance.  The plan follows a three-tiered framework of support and is based on student achievement and improvement levels. PLC and RTI at Work implementation is the focus. School and district leaders engage in additional learning sessions that support stronger understanding of implementing PLC practices.  Resources such as publications from the magazine, All Things PLC, and the book, School Improvement for All (Kramer & Schuhl, 2018), are used to assist school leaders in evaluating current practices and planning next steps.  Accountability results indicate that this process is proving to be effective. School leaders now volunteer to participate in the additional support.   



1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

The commitment to creating a guaranteed and viable curriculum began by developing an understanding of the terms and reflecting on current practices.  This reflection motivated teacher teams to participate in a collaborative review of state standards to determine which should be identified as essential. District leaders led teams through the essential standards identification process using the criteria of endurance, leverage, and readiness. Georgia curriculum and assessment resources were used to align state and local learning expectations.  The process was completed for all core academic subjects in Pre-K through twelfth grade in 2017-2018 and will continue to be reviewed and revised as needed, or as state standards change. Once district-level essential standards were identified, academic coaches led school teams through the process of unpacking standards and developing learning targets. Participation in this process allowed our teacher teams to determine what represents proficiency.  Collaboration allowed teams to develop a common understanding of the standard as well as agree on the level of rigor. Teams identified prerequisite skills and knowledge necessary for students to be successful. Working collaboratively, teams incorporated essential standards into pacing guides and instructional planning documents.    

The essential standard determination process also identified the need for vertical collaboration.  School leaders facilitated vertical discussions between teacher teams.  Our understanding of expected proficiency levels across the school district has become stronger.  State-level curriculum specialists provide additional support to our teachers, especially in the areas of science and social studies. This training focuses on a deeper understanding of learning expectations and proficiency requirements.  Through the alignment of essential knowledge and skills across district, a guaranteed and viable curriculum has become a reality.  

Monitoring student learning is now a common practice by district, school, and teacher teams. The data monitoring process has evolved from one of hope to one where we can ensure student learning.  Prior to our PLC commitment, student learning was monitored at the district level and shared with schools. It is now a part of collaborative teacher teams as they work to answer critical questions 3 and 4 of the PLC process. Monitoring student data is the heart and soul of our district becoming results oriented.  Both formal and informal assessments are used. CCPS administrators and teachers understand that providing timely and targeted intervention at Tiers 2 and 3 is essential for student success and requires a dedicated time in the school schedule. 

School-level collaborative teams use essential standards and learning targets to develop unit plans, CFA’s, and CSA’s.   This allows teacher teams to monitor and remediate student learning, skill by skill, and identify effective instructional practices.  Using data in this manner maintains our focus on student and adult learning.   

Tier 2 interventions target students not mastering essential standards. CCPS teams commonly refer to this as “Tier 2 Reteach.”  Teams use assessment results to group students for the purpose of reteaching grade level essential standards and extending or enriching the learning for those who previously demonstrated mastery.  

CCPS uses a proactive approach to identify students who need intensive interventions. Our district uses universal screeners in kindergarten through eighth grade and a targeted screening process in high school. In elementary, the results are recorded on an At-Risk Master List at each school.  The Academic School Intervention Team (ASIT) examines data student by student to determine individual academic interventions when students are not performing on grade level. The ASIT monitors the academic progress of all students needing Tier 3 support in reading and math.  

Behavior School Intervention Teams (BSITs) monitor student progress for those being supported with Tier 3 behavioral interventions through PBIS at the elementary level.  Plans are being made to expand this into our secondary schools in the future.

District-level leaders monitor the progress of students needing Tier 3 support using intervention and benchmark data.  When needed, additional implementation and training support is provided to teachers and schools. The district’s school improvement department leaders work with academic coaches and administrators to discuss student growth and provide support in areas not showing positive changes in student learning.    


Additional Information Requested:


 1. How often are CFAs and CSAs administered?  Is there an expectation around frequency in order to create consistency across the District or is the frequency of, and a calendar for, common formative and common summative assessment left up to the discretion of individual teams? Individual buildings? If the decision of how frequently to assess student progress is within the purview of collaborative teams (which most would argue reflects best practice),  how is the frequency of their administration monitored?  Who is monitoring the assessments? What guidance has the District provided around the frequency of the assessments? What systems are in place to provide information to the District level regarding best practices in assessment?


In October, 2017, Dr. Eaker spent a day with our school administrators discussing the PLC process and stressing the importance CFAs played in guiding the work of collaborative teams and changing the trajectory of student learning.  Following his advice, system-wide professional learning became focused on understanding the purpose of CFAs and developing skills for implementing and analyzing CFA and CSA data.  The District decided to build capacity among our teachers and leaders so they could apply the  learning to their individual school settings.  Collaborative teams and individual schools are given the flexibility to determine “how” many aspects are implemented but the system sets the expectation of the “what.”  We are a Professional Learning Community and certain practices are required.   Creating and using CFAs is a required practice.


School administrators and academic coaches participated in monthly collaborative learning sessions focused on the work of Jakicic and Bailey and that of Cassandra Erkens, Nicole Dimich  and Tom Schimmer.  District leaders lead monthly sessions where each collaborative learning team (principals, assistant principals, and academic coaches) discussed sections of their books, reviewed videos of their professional learning sessions and of effective teams in action, and developed individual plans to implement these practices back in their schools.  Academic coaches collaborated with their own school leaders to make sure they presented one  “next steps” plan at their school. Cassandra Erkens joined our school district to further develop our skill and understanding of CFAs.  Teams from each school participated in two-days of the Common Formative Assessment Workshop by Cassandra Erkens and then teams from each school participated in the Assessment Coaching Academy (which continues).  School leadership teams learned best practices in the design, implementation, and analysis of CFA and grading strategies.  Teams also left each training session with implementation assignments which were later reviewed.

 Because our learning focused on best practices regarding the development and use of CFAs, the District set the expectation that these practices are incorporated into the school level processes.  School-level implementation is monitored in a variety of ways by school and district administrators and academic coaches.  Monitoring procedures include:

  • School administrators and academic coaches join collaborative team meetings periodically to observe best practices in action and to provide feedback to the team.

  • Teams place evidence documents into a shared place for administrators, the academic coach, and other team members to see.  Some even allow school-wide access so all teams have access.

  • Schools have developed templates for unit planning which include sections for CFA and CSA development.  This helps to ensure that the assessments are being developed in the unit planning process.

  • District leaders conduct “pop-in” visits during collaboration time to observe teams in action and provide meaningful feedback.

  • District benchmark assessments are analyzed at the school and system level to determine whether our CFAs are making a difference.  This has promoted many discussions regarding CFA rigor and requires teams to revise their expectations.

  • District-level principal, assistant principal, and academic coach meetings are designed to promote the sharing of effective practices and for assisting those whose CFA practices need to improve.

  • Separate district-level learning sessions are conducted with school leaders where achievement levels are not demonstrating the implementation of best practices.  Knowing the impact of strong CFA practices requires discussions to center on their CFA implementation level.  

  • A system-wide shared drive is used and each school posts school-level PL agendas and artifacts which are reviewed by district and school administrators.

  • District-wide surveys are conducted to monitor school-established CFA frequency requirements, to determine school-level and district-wide support that may be needed, and to evaluate perceptions of district monitoring processes.

 CCPS uses a variety of tools to monitor growth and changes in PLC practices across the district.  At the beginning of our journey, the school district relied on the tools and rubrics shared as resources in the book Learning by Doing.  An example is the online PLC Self-Assessment we used in September 2017 (see Resources). At that time, 0% of our schools indicated that using common assessments were embedded into their school culture.  A recent district-wide survey completed by school principals and academic coaches found the following evidence of how strongly this practice is embedded into the school and district culture:

  • School administrators and academic coaches share the responsibility of monitoring how frequently teams administer CFA’s.

  • Most schools allow the individual collaborative teams to determine the frequency of using a CFA to assess learning but several have used their guiding coalition to lead the establishment of schoolwide expectation.  This varied even among the schools who have been designated as Model Schools.

  • Schools viewed district support as multi-faceted:  providing high quality professional learning and trainings both on site and in other areas of the country , providing opportunities to visit Model Schools, designing sharing sessions focused on best practices, visiting team meetings to observe best practices in action, and meeting frequently with school administrators and academic coaches to monitor implementation practices. 



2.  Data conversations:  A nearly identical set of questions would be asked about the frequency of data conversations and how the effectiveness of those data conversations is monitored.  Again, any artifacts would help clarify this question.

The past three years have shown tremendous changes in the frequency and types of conversations taking place after the implementation of a CFA or CSA.  School and district teams began learning about effective practices from other PLC Model Schools, by attending PLC  and RTI Institutes, from Cassandra Erkens in the CFA Workshop and Assessment Coaching Academy, and through Global PLC videos and book studies.  In a 2017 district self-assessment, no CCPS school indicated that the data conversation aspect of an effective PLC was  a strong part of the school culture.  Eight schools indicated that they had begun to do the work but it was mostly out of compliance rather than commitment and three schools said that support and enthusiasm was growing.  Data conversations were not a part of our culture.  

A recent self-assessment tells a different story:

  • One hundred percent (100%) of our schools described data conversations as being embedded into the culture of their school with timeline expectations set by each school.  

  • Eighty-two percent of the school leaders indicated that their collaborative teams are expected to discuss and analyze data within a week of giving the assessment.  Another 9% expect this to take place within ten days to two weeks.  All schools had an established expectation.  

  • Every school is using CFA to determine Tier 2, “Reteach,” groups.

  • Data analysis protocols include breaking down the data target-by-target,  determining proficiency levels, identifying groups for extension activities, discussing effective instructional strategies, and sharing the analysis with school leaders.

  • Most schools use a schoolwide common analysis template (modified from one received from a training) but some allow teams to make modifications or choose another format.

  • Data analysis is monitored by both school administrators and the academic coach.  Both attend collaborative team meetings throughout the year.

  • Most schools require the data analysis results to be placed into some type of shared drive or space for all team members and school leaders to review.

District leaders have been a major part of the changes in our culture and continue to monitor team progress and effectiveness.  Administrator and academic coach collaborative team discussions include sharing sessions designed to monitor school-level implementation.  In the beginning discussions focused on ways we could implement what we were learning.  Now the discussions center on ways to take team effectiveness to the next level.  District leaders also attend school-level collaborative teams to observe, offer recommendations, and to gather data on professional learning would be most useful to help teams improve. The effectiveness of our data analysis process is also evaluated through the monitoring of benchmark and intervention data.  The trend of positive changes in student achievement supports the conclusion that our data analysis process is getting stronger each year.   

Artifacts/Evidence: (In Resources tab)



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

Our Catoosa County PLC journey over the past three years has created a culture of collective responsibility where all means ALL.  Our formal screening process provides us with immediate information for identifying students that are a grade level or more behind.  This allows teachers to provide the correct intervention and decrease the learning gap for at-risk students. During the first year, special and regular education leaders collaborated to determine a common list of researched based interventions and then trained school teams on effective practices. Specific interventions and practices may vary but those applied at Tier 3 require district-level approval and monitoring.   

CCPS Tier 1:  Grade Level Core Curriculum

  • District collaborates by grade level and core content areas

  • Consistent protocol used to determine essential standards

  • Endurance, leverage, and readiness used to determine essential standards

  • Teams unpack essential standards and develop “I can” learning targets

  • Focuses on essentials and “nice to know” standards

  • Goal:  Mastery of grade-level learning requirements 

CCPS Tier 2:  Reteaching of the Essential Standards

  • Intervention based on the results of common formative and summative assessment

  • Delivered during an identified time during the school day and included in the instructional planning process (unit plan)

  • Flexible and fluid grouping based on CFA or CSA results

  • Students identified during data analysis

  • Designated Tier 2 time also used to enhance/enrich/accelerate the learning of students who demonstrate essential standard mastery on CFA/CSA

  • Goal:  Mastery of grade-level essential standards

CCPS TIER 3:  Interventions for students that are a grade level or more below 

  • Intervention time designated in daily schedule

  • Timely and targeted intervention based on a variety of factors but leans strongly on universal screener

  • Progress reviewed and monitored constantly

  • ASIT monitors progress at the elementary level

  • Goal:  Mastery of learning for gap closure


Additional Information Requested:

  1.  There is no mention of how frequently Tier 2 interventions are taking place.  Again, like assessment, is this a building or individual team decision?

  2. How are Tier 2 interventions delivered to students; within each individual classroom or across the grade level? If the decision of how and when to deliver Tier 2 interventions is a building or team decision, what guidance has the District provided and how does the District monitor a building or team’s response to the question above?

Our district’s journey in implementing PLC at Work processes began partially due to an over-identification problem in special education.  Being disproportionate in special education required us to re-evaluate our RTI implementation.  We soon realized that our current RTI practices were directly aligned to identifying students for special education services and this needed to change.  We immediately began our focus on the RTI at Work framework and committed to building capacity and understanding.  District leaders led professional learning sessions using the resources of Austin Buffum and Mike Mattos.  Dr. Buffum provided initial training on implementing RTI at Work strategies.  School and district administrators, as well as school leadership teams (later to be redesigned at guiding coalitions) participated in the two day workshop.  District-wide learning on effective RTI processes continued over the next year.  Each year the district established another implementation expectation.  Our data, especially at the elementary level indicated that strengthening Tier 3 support had to be the first priority.  At that point, all elementary schools were expected to show a designated Tier 3 time in their schedule.  Strengthening Tier 1 (core instruction) was happening about the same time.  As our understanding of the assessment aspect of Tier 1 changed, the focus expanded to include Tier 2.  

Because building leaders have been so involved in developing a stronger understanding of the importance of each tier in an effective RTI at Work process, they have also been given the flexibility to determine how Tier 2 intervention should be implemented in their individual school.  The school’s guiding coalition has played an important role in making this determination.  Teacher leaders have been included in many district and school-level professional opportunities so their understanding has expanded.  They participate in helping each school to determine what Tier 2 format works best for student learning in their individual building.  The examples presented in resources such as the books It’s About Time (both the elementary and secondary versions) by Austin Buffum and Mike Mattos provided many of these teams with ideas on how to effectively plan and use Tier 2 time during the instructional day and week.  Elementary schools establish a separate block of time carved from Tier 1 at least thirty minutes, two times per week.  Middle schools also carve a block of reteach time from core instruction but the length and number of times vary based on the need identified in the CFA analysis.  Most also use thirty minutes, two times per week.  All teachers regroup students based on the CFA analysis and most teams exchange students during Tier 2 time.  A couple of schools have teachers who are reteaching their own students but they preplan the reteach strategies together.  

Tier 2 support at the high school level is addressed in two ways.  Teachers collaboratively plan reteach activities for their students identified through the analysis of common formative assessments.  Each teacher then carves time from core instructional time once or twice a week and provides Tier 2 support within their own classroom.  (We are on a block schedule for high school.)  Our high schools also utilizes the “Flex Time” concept to provide an extra dose of Tier 2 support when needed and if a student is not receiving Tier 3 support.   Some refer to this as their WIN (What I Need) time since it also provides time for extension activities. 

District leaders monitor Tier 2 implementation in a variety of ways.  Schools must identify time on their bell or instructional schedule.  Discussions during collaborative learning sessions are designed to require school administrators and academic coaches to share strategies they are using.  District leaders coordinate “within system” learning by arranging visits to our own model schools.  Visits are required for schools needing additional support in implementing aspects of the PLC at Work process such as having an effective Tier 2 time.  Our work to Increase understanding of common formative assessments and their role in learning support also validated the need for a designated Tier 2 time.  School administrators, academic coaches, and teacher leaders began to expect, and practically demand, a designated time each week where they could focus on reteaching essential learning that had not been mastered.  Tier 2 implementation at each school is  no longer viewed as a district requirement but rather as an instructional tool for making sure all students were mastering essential learning.  Seeing student success through this process excited collaborative teams and solidified the implementation of Tier 2 time across the district.


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

CCPS is committed to the collaborative work of teachers and leaders.  Teachers meet in collaborative teams to analyze data and share resources,  ideas, and expertise.   The four critical questions of the PLC process guide this work. Collaborative learning teams are now a critical part of the CCPS culture.

 Collaborating in Professional Learning Communities means purposefully building interpersonal relationships based on trust.  PLC's focus on student and adult learning. CCPS teachers in elementary, middle and high school meet weekly in collaborative teams. Common planning is strategically placed into the schedule to provide time for teachers to meet. Elementary and middle school teachers have at least one designated collaborative team time in their weekly schedule.  High school students are dismissed an hour early every Wednesday to provide time for teacher teams to collaborate. The district protects school designated teacher in-service days to focus on PLC “next steps” implementation in order to strengthen their collaborative teams.

Over the last three years, CCPS has provided opportunities for district and school administrators, academic coaches, and teachers to attend PLC at Work Institutes, RTI at Work Institutes, PLC Summit, Culture Keepers, Common Formative Assessment Workshops, and PLC Math Summit.  We have eagerly welcomed Dr. Robert Eaker, Dr. Austin Buffum, Dr. Cassandra Erkins, Dr. Jasmine Kullar, Dr. Jamie Virga, and Nathaniel Provensio to train and support administrators and teachers. District and school administrators also use the Global PD resource to build foundational learning of PLC and RTI practices. 

Capacity building has been a collaborative effort between leaders in school improvement and special education.  These teams work with administrators and academic coaches through book studies, discussions, and school visits to support their knowledge and implementation of PLC and RTI practices.  School leadership and collaborative teams have established norms and collective commitments.  Schools have revisited their mission and vision statements. 

School-based academic coaches have been a strong leadership and support structure for building capacity in collaborative teams.  School administrators and academic coaches serve as lead learners in their schools. The academic coach model is moving away from one that only supports individual teachers to one that supports collaborative teams.  Two books, Instructional Agility (Erkens, Schimmer, Dimich-Vagle, 2018)  and Amplify Your Impact (Many, Maffoni, Sparks, & Thomas, 2018), have been the primary sources used to help make this change.  

Model school visits have provided clarity regarding the practices of effective teams.  School and district leaders and school leadership teams  visit Model PLC schools to observe teams in action.  Adlai E. Stevenson High School, Minnieville Elementary, and Mason Crest Elementary have each been visited at least one time by CCPS leaders.  School visits are included in the support strategies being used when schools need additional assistance in addressing student learning. Since we now have two Model PLC schools within the district, school teams are visiting and learning from colleagues in their own community.  


Additional Information Requested: 

1. How long are the weekly team meetings at the elementary and middle school levels?

 All elementary and middle schools provide one to two hours per week for their teams to collaborate.  While this is the minimum amount of time required, many school teams are meeting more frequently as they witness the positive impact their collaboration is having on student learning.  Schools are also scheduling vertical collaboration meetings periodically throughout the year.


2.  Who is responsible for monitoring team meetings: principals, team leaders, coaches? Does the District have any expectations or strategies in place that those who monitor team meetings might use?  Are the artifacts or products produced by teams during the course of their collaboration saved or shared in any public way?

Schools within the CCPS district monitor the effectiveness of team collaborations in a variety of ways.  In the recent self-assessment:

  • 84% of school leaders indicated they use some type of shared drive or electronic system to place team meeting evidence such as unit plans, CFA results, regrouping schedules, etc.

  • While most schools indicated that the academic coach is the primary person responsible for monitoring the work of the collaborative teams, school administrators also attend team meetings periodically or as needed.

  • Some schools also include a team sharing time in their large group or faculty meetings.

  • Team effectiveness and progress is also included in the guiding coalition meetings of some schools.

District leaders, especially school improvement specialists and the assistant superintendent, are responsible for establishing the expectations of collaborative teams and ensuring these expectations are met.  Professional learning activities for school leaders, academic coaches, and guiding coalition team members  have centered on the practices of an effective team.  During the early years the district focused on helping teams establish team structures and routines, such as setting norms and dealing with “off task” team members (training by Dr. Jasmine Kullar), and learning what an effective unit or instructional plan needed to include such as specific, measurable learning targets, Tier 2 plans, CFAs, and CSAs.  We reviewed and discussed examples in our collaborative learning sessions with principals, assistant principals, and academic coaches, watched examples in Global PD, and observed teams in action in our Model PLC School visits.

Now district leaders visit collaborative team meetings throughout the year and monitor academic progress on benchmark data.  The school district’s District Support Plan is used in situations where data indicates student learning and effect practices need additional support.  If a school is identified as needing additional district support, school improvement specialists and the assistant superintendent spend additional time observing and monitoring collaborative team practices.   School teams in a school needing strategic support visit and observe effective collaborative teams in our own PLC Model Schools in order to clearly understand the district, and PLC, expectations. District leaders also visit Academic School Intervention Team (A-SIT) meetings to observe the effective practices of Tier 3 monitoring.   Additionally, academic coaches and school leaders share effective practices, such as their own unit planning templates,  or CFA analysis templates, at collaborative meetings.  These examples are placed in a shared drive for all schools to access.


Artifacts/Evidence:  (In Resources tab)

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Additional Information Requested:

1. As reported, the data shows little change either up or down in the District student achievement levels over time.  Can the District provide any further explanation of this profile?

The 2015-2016 school year serves as the baseline year for measuring the impact of working as a Professional Learning Community. In the 2016-2017 school year, CCPS began building capacity in understanding and implementing the components of an effective PLC.  Several other statewide changes impacted proficiency levels during these same years:

  • Georgia’s statewide assessment changed from the CRCT to the Georgia Milestones or GMAS in 2014-2015.  For the first time, assessment items included selected-response, constructed-response, and extended-response items.

  • The rigor of assessment items drastically changed with the new GMAS.

  • Online assessment expectations changed with the GMAS.  100% of students were expected to use an online format by the 2018-2019 school year.

  • Next came new changes in learning expectations.  Georgia’s learning standards were revised due to concerns with rigor and the ability of Georgia students to compete with peers nationally and internationally.    (In 2013, 93% of Georgia Grade 4 students were proficient in Reading on the Georgia CRCT but only 34% were proficient on the NAEP.  The same pattern was found in other grades and subject areas.) The names for state standards changed from the Georgia Performance Standards to the Georgia Standards of Excellence.

  • In 2016-2017, the Georgia Standards of Excellence were implemented and assessed in ELA and Mathematics.

  • In 2017-2018, the Georgia Standards of Excellence were implemented and assessed in Science and Social Studies.

The Georgia Milestones Assessment System (GMAS) uses four levels to report proficiency rates.  These are:  Beginning Learner, Developing Learner, Proficient Learner, and Distinguished Learner. The general meaning of each of the four levels is provided below: 

LEVEL 1:  Beginning Learners do not yet demonstrate proficiency in the knowledge and skills necessary at this grade level/course of learning, as specified in Georgia’s content standards.  The students need substantial academic support to be prepared for the next grade level or course and to be on track forcollege and career readiness.

LEVEL 2:  Developing Learners demonstrate partial proficiency in the knowledge and skills necessary at this grade level/course of learning, as specified in Georgia’s content standards.  The students need additional academic support to ensure success in the next grade level or course and to be on track for college and career readiness.

LEVEL 3:  Proficient Learners demonstrate proficiency in the knowledge and skills necessary at this grade level/course of learning, as specified in Georgia’s content standards. The students are prepared for the next grade level or course and are on track for college and career readiness.

LEVEL 4:  Distinguished Learners demonstrate advanced proficiency in the knowledge and skills necessary at this grade level/course of learning, as specified in Georgia’s content standards. The students are well prepared for the next grade level or course and are well prepared for college and career readiness. 

Note:  Catoosa County Public Schools only include students who score at a Level 3 or 4 in our Meets and Exceeds proficiency calculation.   Level 2 Developing Learners are those who demonstrate partial proficiency and are not included in our calculation.  

Trend data analysis indicates that district-level proficiency rates for all four content areas have improved since the baseline year.   Prior to making the cultural change, student proficiency levels were in the late 30 and early 40 percent levels.  Trend data demonstrates steady proficiency increases which is indicative of a sustainable change.  Proficiency levels for the 2018-19 school year moved to the late 40 and early 50 percent levels in all content areas except Social Studies, which moved from 34% to 40% proficient.  Social Studies was the last content area to address essential standards and to change to the new standards. While Social Studies at the elementary level decreased 3% the first year of assessing the new standards, proficiency did increase in 2018, just not to “pre-Georgia Standards of Excellence” levels.  Social Studies is being removed from the elementary Georgia Milestones Assessment System in the 2020-2021 school year.  District trend data charts demonstrate our proficiency changes.

District Trend Data

Content Area

2015-16 % Proficient

2018-19 % Proficient














Social Studies





Proficiency Levels in 2015-2016 and 2018-2019




Middle School

High School





























Social St.








The change in Lexile scores also demonstrates a proficiency increase:

District Trend Data: Lexiles


2015-16 %

2018-19 %


At or Above

Lexile Midpoint





The Single State Accountability System in Georgia is the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI).  While there are several components to the index, the Content Mastery component measures the academic performance of students within a school district.  Just as state standards have made drastic changes in the past five years, so has Georgia’s accountability system.  Fortunately, we have access to reports that allow us to compare the years prior to the 2017-2018 CCRPI change to the most recent 2018-2019 Content Mastery calculation.  

Content Mastery is a weighted achievement level calculation.  Points are calculated based on levels of proficiency.  According to the calculation manual, “The achievement score utilizes weights based on achievement level, where Beginning learners earn 0 points, Developing Learners earn 0.5 points, Proficient Learners earn 1.0 points, and Distinguished Learners earn 1.5 points.”  This allows a school and school district to evaluate whether or not students are increasing their proficiency level and not just scoring at the expected proficiency bar.  All content areas are showing strong increases as our PLC practices improve.  

District Content Mastery Trend Data

Content Area

2015-16 Weighted Achievement Score

2018-19 Weighted Achievement Score














Social Studies




When you review the Content Mastery Calculation Charts (see Achievement Data Files), you will also notice that the percent of students receiving zero (0)  points (Beginning Learner) has decreased for each content area and the percent of students receiving 1.5 points (Distinguished Learner) has increased for each content area.


2. Is the achievement level consistent across the entire District? Are some schools higher performing than others?

CCPS includes 16 schools:  2 primary schools (grades K-2), 2 upper elementary schools (grade 3-5), 6 elementary schools (grades K-5), 3 middle schools (grades 6-8), and 3 high schools (grade 9-12).  Implementation levels of PLC practices does vary across the district.  All schools are strongly involved in improving their practices and leadership resistance does not exist.  The moral imperative is strong across our school district.  But some schools do have stronger practices than others and this is demonstrated by the discrepancies in their achievement levels.  Everyone understands the “why” and understands that the “why” discussion must be revisited every year.  District leaders are committed to supporting all schools and provide additional support services for those not showing strong academic achievement changes.  The District Support Plan (see Resources tab) identifies the schools as needing “Strategic Support.”  Schools which have some indicators, such as being below the state achievement level or not meeting growth targets, also receive “Proactive Support” with the intent that strategic support will be avoided.  When comparing the weighted achievement scores of all schools since 2015-2016, all schools improved their weighted achievement level (Content Mastery score), with one exception.  (See Content Mastery School Comparison chart in Achievement Data Files).   This school is a member of the Strategic Support group and is building capacity by using strategies learned from the book School Improvement for All by Sharon Kramer and Sarah Schuhl.  At the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, this school also provide on-site PLC Workshop training for all staff member by Dr. Jamie Virga.  





Awards and Recognitions

Model PLC Schools

  • 2019-2020: Heritage Middle School became the first middle school in Georgia
  • 2019-2020: Ringgold Middle School became the second middle school in Georgia
  • 2019-2020: Graysville Elementary School became the third elementary school in Georgia
School Climate
  • 2016: 1 of 16 Schools Achieved a Perfect 5 Star Rating
  • 2017: 5 of 16 Schools Achieved a Perfect 5 Star Rating
  • 2018: 11 of 16 Schools Achieved a Perfect 5 Star Rating
  • 2019: 16 of 16 Schools Achieved a Perfect 5 Star Rating
Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) School Awards
  • Greatest Gains Award: 2019-2020 - Ringgold Middle School (Platinum)
  • Beat the Odds Award:  2019-2020 - Boynton Elementary, Cloud Springs Elementary, Ringgold Middle School, Ringgold High School; 2018-2019 - Heritage Middle School, Ringgold High School
Title I
  • Title I Distinguished School: FY 20 - Ringgold Middle School; FY 18 - Ringgold Middle School
  •  Title I Reward School:  FY 20 - Cloud Springs Elementary School


  • Operational Schools:  2018-2019 - Cloud Springs Elementary School, Lakeview Middle School, Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe High School, Ringgold High School, West Side Elementary School, Woodstation Elementary School
  • Emerging Schools:  2018-2019 - Boynton Elementary School, Graysville Elementary School, Tiger Creek Elementary School
  • Installing Schools:  2018-2019 - Battlefield Elementary School, Battlefield Primary School, Heritage High School, Heritage Middle School, Performance Learning Center, Ringgold Elementary School, Ringgold Middle School, Ringgold Primary School
Technical Collge System of Georgia (TCSG) College and Career Academy Award
  • Awarded grant for a College & Career Academy:  $3,150,000
  • (Facility will open in 2022)