Bartow County Schools
- Number of Students: 13,339
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 57%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 5%
- Percent of Special Education: 13%
Schools in District
Adairsville Elementary School
Allatoona Elementary School
Clear Creek Elementary School
Cloverleaf Elementary School
Emerson Elementary School
Euharlee Elementary School
Hamilton Crossing Elementary School
Kingston Elementary School
Mission Road Elementary School
Pine Log Elementary School
Taylorsville Elementary School
White Elementary School
Adairsville Middle School
Cass Middle School
Red Top Middle School
Woodland Middle School
Adairsville High School
Bartow College and Career Academy
Cass High School
Woodland High School
- White: 71.23%
- Black: 10.45%
- Hispanic: 13.04%
- Asian: 0.93%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0.12%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.24%
- Multiracial: 3.99%
- Other: 0%
Tell us how you built shared understanding and commitment to the PLC at Work Process:
Our moment of opportunity to change our school system’s culture occurred in June 2018 during the Culture Keepers conference is Atlanta, GA. For many in our group, including principals and central office instructional staff, this was the first exposure to the work of Richard DuFour, Rebecca DuFour, Robert Eaker, Thomas Many, and Mike Mattos. With our Learning by Doing (DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, Many, & Mattos, 2016) book in hand, we were able to begin the groundwork for the PLC culture shift and to create the necessary collective efficacy. This group of leaders would soon become our inaugural System Guiding Coalition necessary for our continual success.
As the conference progressed, it was encouraging to see the excitement build within the leaders of our system and the eagerness in which the collective group wanted to learn more and begin the necessary discussions toward initiating the culture shift from teaching to learning and from working independently to interdependently. Our discussions immediately led to how our System Guiding Coalition could begin leading the system in the new school year and how we could begin building collective teacher efficacy throughout each school. At the end of the conference, it was evident our principals and system leaders were beginning to see the need for an “ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve” (DuFour et al., 2016, p.10). Our leaders were energized to learn more about the culture shift and how it could directly impact our teacher professional development and our student achievement. They began to realize that a PLC is not a meeting, or a program, or any one thing you do, but it is instead a process to perfect. This mindset allowed our system leaders to begin asking the question of how the PLC process can look in the Bartow County School System.
As indicated in Learning by Doing, “those who hope to lead the PLC process must begin by acknowledging that no one person will have the energy, expertise, and influence to lead a complex change process until it becomes anchored in the organization’s culture” (DuFour et al., 2016, p.27). To ensure credibility and ownership in the PLC process, we identified the essential staff throughout the school system necessary for the collective inquiry into best practices and who in turn, would have influence within our schools to begin the change process. Using John Kotter’s (2012) description of a leadership team as a “Guiding Coalition”, we established our System Guiding Coalition which included our 20 principals, instructional support leaders within the central office, and every member of the Executive Cabinet.
Our System Guiding Coalition of 32 members worked as a team to research, discuss, and debate the current reality of our school system and what was needed to have a clear focus on learning and expectations grounded in the best practices of a PLC culture. Our System Guiding Coalition consisted of the 32 most influential members of our school system. With their collective ownership in the culture shift, we were creating the gateway for the process to become the fabric of every school.
Understanding the endurance of a culture shift depends on building the necessary leadership capacity throughout our school system and within each school, all our initial System Leadership and Guiding Coalition meetings were focused on building our “collective leader efficacy”. Our goal was to provide clarity through professional development that could easily be modified for each principal to re-deliver to his or her staff. During each of our meetings, we focused on understanding the seven Cultural Shifts in a Professional Learning Community (DuFour, et al., 2016, p.258-260).
The exciting work of our System Guiding Coalition led to a three-year implementation timeline and a PLC Playbook based on research and best practices. This Playbook was our guide to ensure a successful PLC culture shift throughout our school system and at the local school level. With continual and intentional professional development and with the PLC Playbook as a guide, each school established a guiding collation and in turn, started the local school PLC culture shift by building collective teacher efficacy with a focus on learning, collaboration, and results.
Since it makes no sense to argue with Collins and Porras (1994) or Hatti (2009), we embraced the “Genius of And” by building our collective teacher efficacy through strong effective leadership and empowered teachers!
Tell us how you are facilitating a culture of continuous improvement in your district:
The catalyst for continuous improvement throughout our system and schools is the empowerment of our system and local school guiding coalitions. By following the PLC process described in Learning by Doing (DuFour, et al., 2016), our guiding coalitions became the leaders of our school system and in our schools. Their collective efficacy in the PLC process led to the development of a common PLC language throughout our school system, a revised mission and vision focused on facts and not assumptions, and a shift from beliefs to commitments. This foundational work allowed our school system and all 20 schools to stay focused on the “right work” relating to our fundamental purpose of ensuring that all students learn at high levels.
Using Learning by Doing (DuFour et al., 2016), Visible Learning (Hatti, 2009), Taking Action, (Buffum, Mattos, and Malone, 2018) Design in 5 (Vagle, 2015) and Grading From the Inside Out (Schimmer, 2016) as guides, our guiding coalitions stay focused on our one basic question: What does the right work look like for teachers to ensure all students learn at high levels? Using our system and school norms, mission, vision, collective commitments, values, and goals as our compass, the guiding coalitions continually identify the barriers to overcome in the implementation process and the necessary essential steps in monitoring the PLC culture in each of our schools.
In January 2019, we held a School Board retreat in which we discussed the PLC framework and the current barriers preventing our school system and schools from focusing on the three big ideas of learning, collaboration, and results. Immediately, our Board members realized certain changes were necessary to create the collective teacher efficacy required to ensure a guaranteed and viable curriculum for all students. Working through our System Guiding Coalition and with our parent and teacher advisory committees, we implemented a change to our 2019-2020 bell schedule that provided two days of collaboration and two days of office hours during the contractual day. The collaboration gave our teachers the necessary time to focus on the four questions and develop S.M.A.R.T. goals while providing interventions and extensions during the office hours.
With dedicated and protected time to collaborate, teachers continue to see an improvement in their instructional strategies and in student achievement by identifying the essential standards and learning targets, building common formative and summative assessments to measure what students have learned, and by using Tier 2 time built into the daily schedule to provide interventions or extensions to students. Through high functioning guiding coalitions leading our system and schools, we monitor improvement by focusing on the foundational pieces of the PLC framework and continuing to improve our execution of these practices. Evidence of our improvement is monitored through Academic/Collaboration Impact Checks, Guiding Coalition Leadership Efficacy Analysis, and system STEM Walks. As stated in Learning by Doing (DuFour et al., 2016), PLC’s are not a program to complete but a process to perfect. Our school system is dedicated to perfecting the process by staying focused on a culture of continuous improvement where there are no excuses to move forward. This mindset and culture shift occurred in collaboration with many Solution Tree Associates and we look forward to continuing our journey with their support in the right work. We are very grateful for: Jack Balderman, Nicole Dimich, Casandra Erkens, Angie Freese, Janel Keating, Jasmine Kullar, Mike Mattos, Rich Smith, Mandy Stalets, and Eric Twadell.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
Our system journey began with ensuring our teachers had dedicated time for collaboration. Once that was established, it was essential that our collaborative teams were crystal clear about the “right work”. Clarity of the “right work” started as collaborative teams worked collectively to answer, “Learn what?”. Based on evidence from practitioners in Learning by Doing, the question “Learn what?” is one of the most significant questions the members of a PLC will consider (DuFour et al., 2016).
Collaboration focuses on the 4 guiding questions:
What do students need to know and be able to do?
How will we know when students have learned it?
What will we do when students haven’t learned it?
What will we do when students already know it?
To begin, collaborative teams deconstructed standards to gain collective understanding of what was required by the standard. This collective understanding aided teams in the process of determining which standards they deemed essential. Collaborative teams used the R.E.A.L (readiness, endurance, assessment, and leverage) criteria when identifying essential standards (Many, T. W, Horrell, T., 2014). The essential standards represent what teams guarantee for all students to learn at high levels.
Unit plans and learning targets were written for each essential standard. The learning targets drive the creation of collaborative common assessments and are analyzed through a student by student and target by target analysis. This analysis process targets what specific skills students are missing so teams can respond and plan what next steps students need to show proficiency. Once teams shifted to a focus on results, they became laser focused and intentional about how to respond to student learning.
The execution of the teaching assessing cycle ensures all students have enough time to learn the essential standards. There is dedicated time for Tier 1 and utilization of common formative assessments allows collaborative teams to monitor and respond to students learning in a timely basis. As shown in the unit plan flowchart this process of prevention before the common summative assessment is essential within the pacing of an essential unit.
Through deconstructing standards and collaboratively establishing essential standards with learning targets, a guaranteed and viable curriculum is a promise kept to all students across the system. Essential standards in all grade levels and courses are revisited to ensure gaps in learning do not occur. Once in place, a vital step in the teaching and assessing cycle is monitoring student learning. This is crucial so that a knowing doing gap does not become a barrier that prevents all students from learning at high levels.
Prior to our system’s PLC journey, monitoring student learning was an idea often spoken about and approached with a hit or miss philosophy. Inconsistent data from the system level was shared with individual schools causing local schools to function as an independent group of schools within the system. Monitoring student learning through targeted meaningful data is now embedded in collaborative teams both at the system and school level.
Instructional Lead Teachers (ILT’s) in elementary and middle schools and Instructional Assistant Principals at the high school level work with school level teacher teams to address questions one and two. Learning Support Specialists (LSS’s) at all schools in the system work with collaborative teacher teams to answer questions three and four. In addition, our Barriers Subcommittee through our System Guiding Coalition worked through scheduling barriers to ensure our singletons were provided the same level of support. Singleton teachers from different local schools connect as a collaborative team through Microsoft Teams and follow the same schedule as all our collaborative teams. Instructional Assistant Principals, ILT’s, and LSS’s work as liaisons with the local schools and the system to continuously and consistently monitor Tier one, Tier two, and Tier three instruction. This has aided our system in becoming results oriented with a laser focus. Through this continuous monitoring, patterns, strengths, and deficits become apparent through intense disaggregation. The system then employs helpful strategies like “The 5 Whys” and Affinity Diagrams to uncover and address root causes. The use of common summative assessments allows Tier 2 interventions to be used to further guarantee our curriculum. Universal screener results identifying deficits in foundational skills, are used to appropriately place students into Tier 3 remediation instruction. Both Tiers 2 and 3 have dedicated time in each of the local schools’ schedule and allows timely targeted instruction for each student based on data. The tiers are cumulative and are essential for student success.
Teacher teams utilize data from common formative assessments to address instructional needs and plan preventions and extensions for that specific learning target or essential standard. Analyzing results skill by skill allows teams to identify effective instructional practices. Teams utilize common summative assessment results in need of targeted, specific Tier 2 interventions to teach proficiency in essential standards. Students are grouped in order to reteach missing skills or extend the current standard.
Universal screeners are administered in kindergarten through eighth grades and a targeted screening process in high school. Students who show deficits, specifically two or more grade levels below a student’s current grade level, in foundational skills receive Tier 3 remediation. These students’ data is examined and monitored by each schools’ site intervention team (SIT). The SIT analyzes data student by student individually to determine research, evidence -based remediation.
Behavior data is analyzed as well. Tier I instruction occurs through PBIS in all Bartow County schools. Will and skill concerns are addressed both at Tiers 2 and 3. The Guiding Coalition addresses intervention scheduling and resource needs at Tier 2 focusing on a macroview level. The SIT takes a microview approach and identifies individual behavioral needs. Academic and social behaviors are addressed at Tier 3. Progress is monitored through discipline referrals, attendance data, and teacher observation.
The system monitors Tiers 1, 2, and 3 data during assessment windows during the year. Surveys are also given to groups of stakeholders specifically collaborative teams, ILT’s, and LSS’s. All data is analyzed by the system to determine needed professional development to further enhance the PLC process and continue our upward trend in student learning.
Collective teacher efficacy has grown throughout this process of creating and implementing a guaranteed and viable curriculum and monitoring student learning on a timely basis. The system processes and strategies as illustrated in the BCSS Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum Flowchart, have shifted the culture of our schools, from some students learning to ALL students learning at high levels.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
The Bartow County School System previously viewed Response to Intervention as a road map to exceptional education. This was a major factor why our system labeled too many students and taught to those labels. The process was burdensome and inconsistent from school to school despite system level training. There was no fundamental purpose that all students can learn at high levels and certainly no collective efficacy.
After the foundational understanding and building essential components of our PLC, we saw the need collectively for the RTI process to change. There became a sense of urgency. The purpose became clear. Clarity preceded competency. As a system, we began the right work with Taking Action (Buffum et al., 2017). System leaders led and modeled professional development sessions. They also attended RTI at Work conferences and redelivered the necessary learning for fellow administrators, Instructional Lead Teachers (ILT’s), and Instructional Assistant Principals. Our System Guiding Coalition presented research and resources which was incorporated into our system playbook. Our system’s learning continued over the school year and slowly we implemented the necessary first steps. The Bartow County School System created the Learning Support Specialist (LSS) position at each school. The LSS would focus specifically on questions 3 and 4. They monitor Tier 2 data and Tier 3 data. Additionally, they help collaborative teacher teams plan extensions for students who have already shown proficiency on an essential standard. During this time, the system’s Guiding Coalition RTI subcommittee presented options of how to establish a schoolwide schedule where dedicated Tier 2 and Tier 3 time is set aside ensuring all tiers are value added. Each school developed a pyramid of interventions. The LSS used this tool to help train teachers not only how the process now points to the individual student as opposed to exceptional education services, but specifically which research-based interventions are available in their building and who is responsible for implementing them. The pyramid of interventions serves as a visual reminder that aids all stakeholders in seeing the big picture. Teachers are no longer expected to do it all. The Guiding Coalition, Site Intervention Team, and Collaborative Teacher Team all work together to do everything possible to keep students out of exceptional education and help all students learn at high levels.
Since teacher teams have collaboratively chosen essential standards and developed learning targets, they use these to write common summative assessments (CSA) and develop unit plans. Students travel through the Teaching Assessing Cycle. Teachers administer common formative assessments (CFA) and provide preventions based on those CFA results. Once a student does not show proficiency on an essential standard on a CSA, they enter Tier 2 interventions for that essential standard. Tier 2 instruction occurs, and students are reassessed again within at least three weeks. Students who then show proficiency move out of Tier 2 interventions. Tier 2 interventions are delivered one of three ways. Schools can have a common Tier 2 time across the school where students move as needed based on common learning targets. Schools also have the option of a common K-2 and 3-5 Tier 2 time or a common grade level time. This is at the principal’s discretion. The system is loose on the schedule but tight on Tier 2 systematic interventions and extensions occurring with fidelity.
Based on feedback from our system Guiding Coalition, the Bartow County School System is implementing an inaugural 2021 K-12 Summer Intervention program that will provide added time and support for students who have not mastered essential standards to receive additional Tier 2 instruction.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
In the Fall of 2018, our System Guiding Coalition was created and began fostering the leadership capacity in the PLC process across our school system. As we built our PLC Playbook through our System Guiding Coalition subcommittees, our local school and system leaders grew in their clarity of the three big ideas of the PLC process and how the focus on learning, collaboration, and results would permeate through the local schools. Following our PLC Implementation plan, each school formed a Local School Guiding Coalition in the Spring of 2019. The System and local school guiding coalitions were the engines that drove the PLC process, breaking down barriers, and creating a common language as a foundation for Professional Learning Communities.
As we progress through the first three years of our PLC journey, we continue our effort to perfect the process and strengthen our collective teacher capacity. To assist our efforts, we created the Guiding Coalition Leadership Efficacy Analysis to monitor the effectiveness of the local school guiding coalitions. This analysis provides insight into leadership, learning, collaboration, and results. Through this anonymous process, the principal and guiding coalition members receive valuable feedback to strengthen their role in the PLC culture shift. In May, these results will be part of our post-planning Local School Guiding Coalition workshop. During this time, each coalition will discuss results, implement strategies to improve collective efficacy, and develop next year’s action plan.
Through the collective leader efficacy of our local school guiding coalitions, we are building teacher capacity to work as members of high-performing collaborative teams focused on improving learning for all students. Our guiding coalition members serve as experts in “the right work” and provide professional development within each collaborative team. To celebrate the right work, our school system established an A-Team award to build collective teacher efficacy and recognize how high-performing collaborative teams focus their efforts on improved student learning.
As we left an A-Team review of a high functioning collaborative team, our excitement was palpable. We barely got to the next hallway before we started expressing our enthusiasm of this team seeking our school system’s most coveted award, A-Team. Inspired by Mike Mattos (Are We a Group or a Team?), our A-Team award process designed by our system Guiding Coalition outlines how we define a high performing collaborative team. For a team to be considered an A-Team high performing, they must meet rigorous expectations in the areas of a focus on learning, collaboration, data analysis, and improved student learning.
To accomplish a focus on learning, our collaborative teams begin with deconstructing the standards. This process provides the team with a thorough understanding of the expectations and learning targets of each standard. Once deconstruction is complete, the team works through the R.E.A.L. process (Many, T. et al., 2014) to identify the essential standards that we as a system guarantee our students meet proficiency before the next grade or subject. The conversation is rich with discussion as the team works to ensure the proper standards are identified as essential. Once selected, the team builds in a strategic pacing guide for addressing each essential standard and they complete SMART goals to set the direction for the team to improve student achievement.
Collaboration is the fundamental backbone of our instructional process. Outlined in Taking Action (Buffum et al., 2017), our teams work through the teaching assessing cycle collaborating twice per week for 45 minutes each. Beginning with the end in mind, they build their common summative assessment (CSA) identifying proficiency for each learning target. The team schedules the common formative assessments (CFA) and corresponding prevention days as directed by the results. At each collaboration meeting, the team refines their instructional approach ensuring the highest number of students meeting proficiency on the CSA. As each summative assessment is analyzed, Tier 2 interventions and extensions related to the essential standard are collectively created for implementation during Tier 2 time that occurs outside of Tier 1 instruction. With the goal of less than 10 percent not meeting proficiency on the CSA, our high achieving teams strengthen their craft with each unit often decreasing the number of students needing Tier 2 intervention. Our high functioning teams continue to reduce the number of students not meeting proficiency following Tier 2 intervention. Working in concert with the Site Intervention Team (SIT), “will” and “skill” students are supported by the collaborative team. For more intense “will” student issues, a strategically identified SIT team member provides intensive support. For our Tier 3 students, the collaborative team provides remediation to master universal foundational skills outside of Tier 1 instruction.
Our high functioning teams get results through a focus on student learning data. Analysis of results is a continuous part of the collaborative process. Our teams readily share their student scores on common CFAs and CSAs. In areas where their instructional techniques fall short, they embrace their teammates more successful strategies in the over aching effort to ensure success for “all” students. Working through the Design in 5 (Vagle, 2015) process, the team creates assessments that are valid, rigorous, and relevant.
Dufour (2004) considers collaboration “powerful” once it becomes systematic and focuses on the analysis of data to improve classroom practice. Through our A- Team process, we are continually identifying teams that meet the definition of what the Bartow County School System Guiding Coalition defines as a high functioning collaborative team. In addition, the energy from our A-Team award recipients is raising the bar for our other teams as they are consulting with current A-Teams to improve their level of collaboration and student achievement. Going into next year, our award-winning teams will help lead our New Teacher Orientation. Their high level of teacher efficacy will enlighten our new Bartow County School System employees about the “Right Work” through the PLC Process.
In addition to building leader efficacy in our guiding coalition, we also build leadership capacity using our Aspiring Principal Profile. This tool was developed to address the deficits observed during our interview process for new principal openings. During our interviews with aspiring principals, we recognized a significant gap in what we expected in new principals and what our principal candidates demonstrated in experiences. From this frustration grew our effort to clearly articulate what we value as essential to be a principal in a Professional Learning Communities school system. As evident from the Aspiring Principal Profile, it is important to have the traditional operational experiences, but it is critical to be a practitioner in the PLC process. To be a principal in the Bartow County School System, a principal candidate must demonstrate a depth of understanding in learning, collaboration, and results and show evidence of working as a team member to produce learning at high levels for all students.
The use of our Aspiring Principal Profile provides clarity for what is valued as a principal in our school system, it is the foundation for our principal interviews, and it is part of the professional development we provide members of our Aspiring Principals Leadership Academy. The feedback received from our assistant principals validate this tool as a blueprint for the intentionality necessary for an assistant principal to become a practitioner of the PLC process and in turn, adequately prepare to be a principal in the Bartow County School System. Using the Aspiring Principal Profile as a monitoring tool, we can recognize possible gaps from an experience highlighted in blue. This may indicate part of our Playbook has not been implemented.
Achievement Data Files
Additional Achievement Data
See Achievement Data section under BCSS PLC Artifacts
Achievement Data Narrative:
As we continue building a collaborative culture within our system, our implementation timeline is key in telling the story of our data over the past three years. According to PLC practitioners, "a process to perfect, not a program to complete" is continuously evident in our achievement data and throughout our PLC journey. As we embarked on this ongoing PLC process, we knew the right work wouldn’t be a sprint but a marathon. Our timeline and data reflect this marathon as we continue to increase the learning for ALL students.
2017 – 2018: Baseline Year
Summer 2018: Building Leadership Efficacy
Culture Keepers Conference in Atlanta
System leadership and support
System Summit: Introduction of Professional Learning Community
Principals, Assistant Principals, and Central Office Staff
System and Local School Guiding Coalitions established
Mission, Vision, SMART Goals, Norms, Essential Standards Action Research, Subcommittee work
Local Guiding Coalition System Workshop
PLC at Work Institute (All Local school GC’s)
System Professional Learning Community Kick Off (all instructional staff)
Collaboration schedule, RTI Action Research
Essential Standards and CFA Protocol roll out
Design in 5
Grading from the Inside Out
System Student Achievement
BCSS identifies the 2017- 2018 school year as our baseline for monitoring the effectiveness of our PLC Culture. As we compare this year's System Student Achievement Data to our 2018- 2019 reports, the majority of our core academic areas show low growth. However, the growth in our achievement data is attributed to the PLC foundational work as explained above in our timeline.
Furthering our look into state testing results we have seen areas of minimal growth within our subgroups as well; Economically Disadvantaged, Exceptional Education Students, and English Language Learners. Growth for these subgroups is being compared as a cohort (ex: 2017- 2018 6th grade ELA is compared with 2018 – 2019 7th grade ELA). Our Economically Disadvantaged students show an upward trend in Georgia Milestones Math and ELA for most grade levels between the 2016- 2017 school year through 2018- 2019. Based on GA Milestones results, our ELL subgroup has seen a 22% decrease in the number of students identified as a Developing Learner and an 11% increase in those moving to Proficiency Learners in the past two school years. There has been an upward trend in Exceptional Education Student
The System 4-Year Cohort Graduation Rate reached a historic milestone showing above the 90% mark of students graduating in 2020, which was a 2% increase over our 2019 rate. Our Exceptional Education graduation rate has increased from 55.34 % in 2016 – 2017 to 71.43% in 2019 – 2020. In addition to celebrating our growth, we must recognize that our 91.2% graduation rate for 2020 is above the state average. Additionally, the System ACT score showed a slight increase from 2019 to 2020.
Skill vs Will Achievement
Each of our 20 schools successfully implemented PBIS and received a 4+ Star Rating in 18 out of 19 Schools (Bartow County College and Career Academy was not rated). As we continue identifying and implementing interventions to help support our skill and will students, we have seen a decrease in discipline referrals at the system level. Starting from our baseline year of 2017 our overall percentage of reported incidences of discipline dropped 49% with the 2020 – 2021 school year being our largest percentage drop. Subgroup data also shows a 50% decrease since starting our PLC Journey. As stated in the timeline, RTI was implemented during this year and fully supports the PLC culture embedded in the Bartow County School System.
Advanced Learner Achievement
There has been significant growth in our advanced learning achievement. Continuous collaboration with the high school principals, counselors and AP Coordinators helped build capacity with AP teachers through collaboration. We started to see results in response to the right work. There was a 61.2% increase in the number of students taking exams from 2018-2020, a 68.6% increase in the number of students enrolled in an AP course, and a 27.1% increase in the number of students scoring a 3 or higher on the exam. The STAMP 4S assessment administered to native Spanish speaking students offers the opportunity to advance into higher level Spanish courses. Through this screening, 91% of the 129 students taking STAMP were able to exempt at least one Spanish course level and 34% were placed into AP Spanish. The need for extension opportunities for our advanced learners was identified through collaboration. Each BCSS high school created magnet programs through the diligent work of their guiding coalition and magnet coordinators.
Our K-2 collaborative teams determined which Reading Foundational Standards are essentials. These essential standards are pivotal in all students reading development. It is crucial to monitor the alignment between collaborative common assessments and Acadience subtests. With support from our ILT's and LSS's, collaborative teams understand foundational skills in the primary grades assessed on the CFA’s and CSA's should align with outcome benchmarks given throughout the year. Prior to the PLC process, our data was not showing an alignment between teacher assessments and outcomes on state and system benchmark assessments. The PLC process ensures collaborative teams use evidence of student learning to inform instructional decisions. Now that we have a systematic process, our Acadience data will reflect the execution of the teaching assessing cycle for those Reading Foundational essential standards.
Lexia Power Up data reflects our collaborative efforts are producing significant sustained improvement in student's achievement. Lexia Core 5 data shows K-5 students moving from 45% to 59% on or above grade level. All 6-12 ESOL students have progressed from 9% to 66% reaching the Advanced Placement Zone. In 2019, elementary, middle and high school ELs met their improvement target in English Language Arts and elementary and middle school ELs met their improvement target in Math.
Our achievement narrative cannot be told solely focusing on comparable data. A variety of assessment measures communicate positive growth that can be attributed to the ongoing work of our professional learning community. We will use non-comparable data including Tier 2, Tier 3, and the Measurement of Academic Progress Assessment (MAP) to illustrate the continued progression of our PLC culture.
The Bartow County School System first implemented MAP assessment during the 2020 - 2021 school year. Our current system MAP data illustrates we are breaking the pattern of low growth from previous years. The majority of our grade levels are not only meeting but exceeding projected growth. In turn we observed an overall increase in achievement represented in the comparison between our Fall to Spring percentiles. This increase is a direct result of the work our teachers are doing not only within Tier 1 instruction, but also the effectiveness of our targeted Tier 2 interventions.
Tier 2 and Tier 3
As represented in our Tier 2 data chart, more students are showing proficiency following Tier 2. Due to implementation of our system wide RTI schedule, we are shifting from coverage of content to demonstration of proficiency. A shift in our fundamental purpose (LBD 258). Utilizing Tier 3 supports throughout the year, allowed 209 students to be dismissed from Tier 3. Entering the 2020 school year 209 students were multiple years below grade level and through the PLC process these students will complete the school year performing on grade level. Many of these students have never felt that feeling of accomplishment. Our system now has 823 students in Tier 3 remediation which is 6.2% of our total enrollment. Our elementary schools serve 412 students which is 7.1% of the enrollment in grade kindergarten through fifth. Our middle schools serve 250 students or 7.9% in Tier 3 and our high schools serve 161 students or 3.7% in Tier 3. Due to our focus on results, we continuously monitor the progress of our Tier 2 and 3 students and the effectiveness of our intervention and remediation instruction.
Our system guiding coalition created System SMART Goals for the 2019 – 2020 school year, which have continued through 2020 – 2021.
Elementary K – 2
Goal: During the 2019-2020 school year, the percentage of students in 2nd grade scoring at or above benchmark on Oral Reading Fluency (Words Correct), as measured by Acadience (DIBELS), will increase from 53% to 58%.
Results: During the 2019-2020 school year, 57% of students in 2nd grade scored at or above benchmark on ORF (WC) on the mid-year Acadience assessment. Based on these mid-year results, we are confident we would have increased from 53% to 58% by the end of the school year.
Elementary 3 – 5
Goal 1: For the 2019-2020 school year the percentage of students in grades 3rd - 5th scoring at proficient and distinguished on the Georgia Milestones: ELA will increase from 40.9% in 2018-2019 to 43.9% at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
Results: Unavailable due to the cancelation of Georgia Milestones.
Goal 2: For the 2019-2020 school year the percentage of students in grades 3rd – 5th scoring at proficient and distinguished on the Georgia Milestones mathematics will increase from 49.5% in 2018-2019 to 52.5% at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
Results: Unavailable due to the cancelation of Georgia Milestones.
Goal 1: The percentage of students in grades 6th-8th scoring at proficient and distinguished on the Georgia Milestones: ELA will increase from 40.29% in 2018-2019 to 42% at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
Results: Unavailable due to the cancelation of Georgia Milestones.
Goal 2: The percentage of students in grades 6th- 8th scoring at proficient and distinguished on the Georgia Milestones: Math will increase from 34.4% in 2018-2019 to 36% at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
Results: Unavailable due to the cancelation of Georgia Milestones.
Goal 1: The percentage of students graduating from high school will increase from 89.2% in 2018-2019 to 90% in 2019-2020.
Results: 91.2% graduation rate (highest in system history)
Goal 2: The percentage of students in American Literature scoring 1285 on the Lexile score measured on the End of Course: American Literature will increase from 57.76% to 60% at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
Results: Unavailable due to the cancelation of Georgia Milestones.
As our culture shift begins with grading practices, our system grading subcommittee recommended a change in our board policy on grading. It was necessary to take the totality verbiage out of the policy so our collaborative teams could conduct action research around methods of grading. Through our research from Grading From the Inside Out (Schimmer 2016) and professional learning with Cassandra Erkens, our future practices in grading will reflect evidence of student learning and increase hope, efficacy, and learning for all students.
See Awards and Recognition section in BCSS PLC Artifacts
School Climate Ratings
3 out of 3 High Schools received 4 or above Star Climate Rating
Leading Edge Award: Read to Grow
AP Scholars (2019 and 2020)
2021 AP Honors STEM Schools
2019-2020 Title I Reward School: Euharlee Elementary
2019 - 2020 Platinum Greatest Gains Award: White Elementary
Adairsville Middle School State STEM Certification
System STEM Certified Schools (CCES, WES, CMS, WMS)
2019 Golden Radish Award
2020 Vision for School Nutrition Recognition
Bartow Education Foundation Teacher Grants