Adairsville Middle School

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

Our moment of opportunity to change Adairsville Middle School’s culture occurred in June 2018 during the Culture Keepers conference is Atlanta, GA. For many in our group, 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 (Professional Learning Community) 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.  

Once the System Guiding Coalition was established, work on a timeline for BCSS PLC Implementation Guide: Year 1-3 began.  As the district rolled out their plan, our principal established a Guiding Coalition to begin the process at the school level. In Fall of 2018, the school Guiding Coalition working as the voice of Adairsville Middle School and established our mission, vision, and collective commitments. It was important to our team that everything we did moving forward be tied to our Mission:  As a team, we will collaboratively work to ensure that all students grow.  To be able to follow the districts timeline, our Guiding Coalition developed an Adairsville Middle School PLC Implementation guideline. Professional learning led by our Instructional Lead Teacher established expectations for a guaranteed and viable curriculum and the deconstruction of standards using the district template.  We also decided to meet vertically within each department at the end of the 2017-2018 school year to collaboratively prioritize standards. We established essential standards by subject and grade level and developed pacing guides, which was crucial for STEM, based on the essential standards. 

In year two, the school and the district moved forward simultaneously with our timelines. The District Guiding Coalition subcommittees began working towards our BCSS (Bartow County School System) Playbook as a guideline and resource. At the school level, we created a schedule which provided two days a week for collaborative teams to work togethertwo days a week that collaborative teams had office hours to work with students that were not meeting proficiency, and one day a week collaborative teams had a duty station. We focused our work in our collaborative teams on Questions 1 and 2: What do the students need to know and be able to do? and How will we know when students have learned it? During pre-planning, collaborative teams established norms, SMART Goals, and learning targets for their first unit of study. We used grade level times throughout the year for professional learning and feedback on the process. As collaborative teams began working together, the Instructional Lead Teacher and the Admin team sat in collaboratives to help guide them in the process. We made a goal for each collaborative to develop a common formative assessment based on their first Essential Standard during the 1st nine weeks.  

We also established a Site Intervention Team (SIT) to begin researching interventions so that we could answer question 3: What will we do when student have not learned it? This team reported back to the Guiding Coalition any/all information based on research from schools that had implemented an intervention program, with recommendations on the development of a schoolwide intervention/enrichment time to start in year three (2020-2021.)  This team was also scheduled to attend the Solution Tree RTI (Response to Intervention) Conference in Kentucky in the Spring of 2020; however, it was cancelled due to COVID-19. 

In the Spring of 2020, our Guiding Coalition developed master schedule to include intervention and extension time to begin in August of the 2020-2021 school year. The Guiding Coalition also worked to develop a strong and accurate Pyramid of Interventions.  The District added the position of Learning Support Specialist to begin in the Fall of 2020. This position was designed to work closely with the Instructional Lead Teacher and to help teachers with Questions 3 and 4: What do we do when students have not learned it? and What will we do when students already know it? The Guiding Coalition, Instructional Lead Teacher and Learning Support Specialist, started the 2020-2021 school year by leading Professional Learning during pre-planning and throughout the year, to strengthen the understanding of what the intervention/extension period would look like and how we would collect the data of students showing proficiency on the Essential Standards.This group was scheduled to attend the Solution Tree Conference in California during the Summer of 2020, in hopes of gaining more knowledge to pass on to the staff during pre-planning; however, this conference was also cancelled due to COVID-19. 

In Fall of 2020, we fully implemented our intervention/extension period that we called Focus Time. Collaborative teams analyzed Common Summative Assessments during collaboration time to identify students who neededTier II instruction on the Essential StandardThen they worked collaboratively to split the students into small groups, to develop strategies to reteach and assess the intervention, as well as, to decide which teacher would be best to do the interventions based.  Collaboratives began to transform their mindset from my students to our students. During this time, collaboratives implemented a common grade book and began using common formative assessments and common summative assessments. During this school year, the admin team, the Instructional Lead Teacher, and the Learning Support Specialist monitored collaborative teams for evidence of how they would respond when students had not shown proficiency on the Essential Standards. 

The District Guiding Coalition and Adairsville Middle School Guiding Coalition work together towards continuous improvement at the district and school level. We have an A Team designation that is given to collaborative teams after a vetting process to prove that they are the best. This is the highest honor a collaborative team can get in the Bartow County School System. We have two teams who will be applying for the honor as we go into the 2021-2022 school year. At the school and district level, we engage in continuous Professional Learning looking at our data and how we can improve. Our collaborative teams continuously work to improve their Essential Standards by using the R.E.A.L Criteria to determine if the standards they have chosen are essentialThey are also using data, student feedback, and The Ladder of Complexity to ensure their Common Formative and Summative Assessments are rigorous (Nicole Dimich led a virtual PD on Design in Five during our September TWD.) We also have our Guiding Coalition members lead training and continually work with collaborative teams to ensure that we all have a collective understanding of the Adairsville Middle School Professional Learning Community. 

We have worked together to ensure that all students are proficient on their Essential Standards by providing a guaranteed viable curriculumStudents who have not demonstrated proficiency will be given an opportunity to attend a summer intervention this year (2021) to become proficient. Teachers have worked together with their collaboratives to give every student the opportunity to show proficiency. The commitment to the process is evident in the work the teachers are doing. As we move forward, the Guiding Coalition will attend two different trainings and will lead the faculty at Adairsville Middle in a two-day School Improvement Planning Session during the summer. Led by the Guiding Coalition, decisions will be made about the intervention schedule for the 2021-2022 school year, about monitoring collaboratives, and collecting meaningful data. The Guiding Coalition will also attend a three-day Solution Tree Conference from July 12—14th in Cartersville to strengthen their understanding of the process and to learn more about moving forward with grading. The goal we have for the 2021-2022 school year is to begin the process of aligning our grading practices with proficiency-based grading and developing an implementation timeline for grading.  

 

 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

The source for monitoring student learning is through Common Formative Assessments (CFA) and Common Summative Assessments (CSA). Collaborative teams determine which learning targets will be the focus of the Common Formative Assessment. After students are assessed, the collaborative team will analyze the data to see if there are common mistakes, such as frequently chosen incorrect answers, then they will begin to set up preventions during the next class. Once they determine the students needs, the collab team must decide how to deliver the information to students during the response days, which are built into their unit plans.  There are many ways to differentiate to meet these needs: it could be changing teachers to get a different strategy, station work, or the teacher working with a small group during class time while other students work on an extension or additional practice based on their needs. Teachers may have several CFA’s during a unit of study the Teaching and Assessing Cycle (TA). 

At the end of the unit, collaborative teams give a CSA. The teams analyze the data and students who did not show proficiency on an essential standard go to Tier II instructionThis is a 30-minute period built into the day called Focus Time. Students receive more instruction in their deficient areas, then they are reassessed to determine if they can now reach proficiency. The typical TA Cycle lasts twenty days and collaborative teams can plan out the cycle during their collaborative meetings, which are designated twice a week for 45 minutes before the start of the school day (collaborative schedule.) 

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

      At the end of 2019-2020 school year, during the COVID-19 quarantine, our Guiding Coalition continued to meet via Microsoft Teams because we knew it was important to the PLC process to work on a schedule which would have built in remediation or extension time the following school year.  We created a new master schedule that included a 30-minute intervention/extension time we call Focus Timewhich began at the start of the 2020-2021 school year. During Focus Time, students that need remediation, based on CSA results, work with an ELA or Math teacher to become proficient on Essential Standards (data provided in Achievement Data section of application.) Students who did not need an intervention were able to have an extended lesson. It was important to our collaborative teams that the extension lessons really extended the depth and knowledge of the Essential Standard. It has been a priority and we plan to keep refining lessons and researching and sharing information to be able to provide students with the best instruction possible. Across the district, the same concern seemed to resurface; therefore, they provided a PD session with Solution Tree in January 2021, which helped address extension. 

       On Fridays during Focus Time, all students remain in Homeroom and receive PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) lessons.  These lessons are monthly lessons, which are centered around one word in our PBIS mantra, P.R.I.D.E (Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Dedication, Excellence.)  We began PBIS three years ago as a pilot year, and this year was our first full year of implementation.  Our focus was not on the behavior but focusing on the correct behavior and what it looks like.  We also use a rewards APP, PBIS Rewards, to award students points when they exhibit P.R.I.D.E. The student may then use their points to purchase items from our PBIS Student Menuas well as attend quarterly celebrations. We are incredibly pleased with our PBIS progress, and we feel addressing it every Friday has helped contribute to our success.  We have seen a substantial drop in office referrals in the past 3 years (data provided in Achievement Data section of application.) 

Some students struggle and are more than two or three grade levels behind their classmates. These students need more than the 30 minutes of Focus time to be proficient. These students are identified and receive Tier III instruction during the school day as a Connections class. This class meets daily for 45 minutes. These teachers collaborate with the grade level math or ELA team to provide support to these students in areas they show gaps, as well as current Essential Standards. Teachers progress monitor regularly and move students into and out of the class as needed (data provided in Achievement Data section of the application.) 

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

Teachers at AMS believe that the most important thing that they can do for student achievement is to work collaboratively using data to determine proficiency and next steps. This process is not only research based but has become embedded in the culture of the school. Teachers meet collaboratively by subject area and grade level twice weekly.  They also meet vertically by subject monthly. This is protected time before the school day, and it cannot be interrupted by any other meetings. During this time, administrators, the Instructional Lead Teacher, and the Learning Support Specialist attend collaborative team meetings regularly to monitor the process and to offer feedback. Going into next school year, the Guiding Coalition will be doing this as well. 

Collaboration is also an important part of our STEM PLC. As we began work on our PLC Timeline, we also began the process of gaining system anstate STEM Certification in 2018. This process requires collaboration as a grade level, to design an interdisciplinary unit that is in line with each subjects current Essential Standards. Our teachers were committed to keeping the process authentic and only teaching lessons that supported the Essential Standards. The amount of collaboration it takes from each teacher in the grade level to execute STEM activities at the highest level possible is a testament to our teachers’ commitment to the process Our STEM PLC process proved to be successful with our teachers and students earning both BCSS (Bartow County School System) and GA State STEM Certification (November 2020) in just 2 ½ yearsThis was 2 ½ years earlier than our anticipated goal of five years for State Certification. 

 

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

The attached SWIS PDF is the PBIS data mentioned in our PLC Practices, which shows a decline in office referrals over the past three years.

Also, I have attached our Tier II and Tier II interventions data, which shows student progress after attending Focus Time.  We were suprised at how much success students had in our first year of implementation, especially considering the pandemic.  We look forward to more sucess next year, since all students will be in the building from day one.

 

Awards and Recognitions:

  • 2017-2018, GADOE 4 Star Climate Rating  

  • September 2018, All Subjects: Highest Achievement on 2017-2018 End of Grade Assessment in BCSS 

  • September 2018, 8th Grade Math: Highest Number of Proficient and Distinguished Students on 2017-2018 End of Grade Assessment in BCSS 

  • September 2018, 8th Grade: Highest Student Growth on 2017-2018 End of Grade Assessment in BCSS 

  • September 2018, 6th Grade Math: Highest Number of Proficient and Distinguished Students on 2017-2018 End of Grade Assessment in BCSS 

  • May 2019, Along with CCES, AMS became the first Bartow County STEM Certified School 

  • September 2019, 8th Grade Math: Highest Academic Achievement on 2018-2019 EOG Assessment in BCSS 

  • September 2019, 6th Grade English Language Arts: Greatest Academic Gain on 2018-2019 EOG Assessment in BCSS 

  • September 2019, 6th Grade English Language Arts: Highest Academic Performance on 2018-2019 EOG Assessment in BCSS 

  • September 2019, 8th Physical Science: Greatest Academic Gain on 2018-2019 EOG Assessment in BCSS 

  • September 2019, 8th Physical Science: Highest Academic Achievement on 2018-2019 EOG Assessment in BCSS 

  • 2018-2019GADOE 4 Star Climate Rating 

  • January 2020, Georgia FBLA, 3rd Place Largest Local Chapter Membership 

  • November 2020, 16th Middle School in State of Georgia, out of over 600, to become State STEM Certified 

  • January 2021, Highest 8th Grade PSAT Average Score in BCSS  

  • May 2021, Had the highest number of Proficient and Distinguished scores in 6 out of 9 of the EOG and EOC assessments in BCSS (**Will not be official until July, due to embargoed data)  

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