Pine Log Elementary

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

Pine Log Elementary is in a predominately rural area of Bartow County in Rydal, Georgia serving approximately 400 students from Pre-K to 5th grade.  Pine Log’s PLC journey began with a self-analysis of our present school culture. “If you don't know where you've come from, you don't know where you're going” (Angelou, 2021).  Our moment of cultural shift began in June of 2018 when the district administrators connected with a professional learning community of leaders at the Culture Keepers Conference.  Following that event, Pine Log’s principal, Mrs. Tracey Alford and the other principals in the system began having discussions about changing the focus from individual efforts to a collaboration of teacher and student efficacy. This endeavor was solidified after attending the PLC Institute in Atlanta in November of 2018.  

At that point, we started the process of shifting our focus to the three big ideas, which are a Focus on Learning, Culture of Collaboration, and being Results Oriented. During the 2018-19 school year, our focus on learning was to establish our mission, vision, and collective commitments. For collaboration, we developed our guiding coalition.  Our emphasis on being results oriented involved continuing the administration of universal screeners three times per year. This data was utilized to guide instruction. 

During the 2019-20 school year, our focus on learning was to implement bi-weekly collaborative team meetings based on what students are required to learn and how to assess their learning by incorporating the four guiding questions.  Essential standards were then chosen by grade levels to establish a school-wide guaranteed and viable curriculum.  A pacing calendar was developed to create a big picture of each team's curriculum.  This is an everchanging document based on student needs.  A master schedule was created to set aside protected time for Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 instruction.  This process included developing unit plans with common summative assessments and strengthening the RTI pyramid. For collaboration, our teacher teams met twice weekly and were monitored for consistency by focusing on the four questions, utilizing common agendas, and ensuring that all teams have roles and norms in each meeting. Additionally, Pine Log created schoolwide, job embedded professional learning plans based on local and state data points. For results oriented, we established S.M.A.R.T goals within each teacher collaborative team, participated in multiple common formative assessment trainings which aligned to the established essential standards, and we monitored each team’s progress using formative data. 

Throughout the 2020-21 school year, our focus on learning was to execute a master schedule which included intervention and extension time, strengthen the RTI pyramid of interventions, and to carry out a guaranteed and viable curriculum.  We continued to analyze and revisit our schedule to ensure that the focus on learning supports our mission, vision, and collective commitments.  We also monitored the implementation of instruction based on essential and supporting standards. For collaboration, the leadership team embedded themselves in the weekly collaborative team meetings to support teachers on how to respond when students have not shown proficiency of the standards, and implemented school-wide, job-embedded professional learning plans.  The goal was for all collaborative teams to be high functioning by fully addressing the four guiding questions. To continue being results oriented, we utilized common formative and summative assessments, implemented common gradebooks, and executed quarterly collaborative team meetings with administration.  Additionally, grading practices were monitored for consistency among grade levels since grading was going to be our next focal point of the PLC process.    

In conclusion, the staff at Pine Log is dedicated to the continuous growth of our professional learning community, and we recognize that it is, indeed a process in which the collaborative teams work together for one common mission: to provide learning experiences to succeed. 


"Maya Angelou Quotes." BrainyMedia Inc, 2021. 9 September 2021. 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

As part of our PLC journey we first had to determine which elements were going to be loose and tight as it pertains to the teaching and assessing cycle. It was determined that one of our tights is that teams must have a common time to collaborate outside the instructional day and use the four guiding questions to guide the right work. 

  1. What do students need to know and be able to do? 

  2. How will we know when students have learned it? 

  3. What will we do when students haven't learned it? 

  4. What will we do when students already know it? 

Once this was established, the Instructional Lead Teacher (ILT) provided professional learning on the process and helped each team through the right work.  The Principal, Assistant Principal, ILT, and Learning Support Specialist (LSS) pushed into collaborative teams to help model and support the guiding coalition members as they led their teams.  After the collaborative teams agreed upon norms and violations, and each member had an assigned role, the teams began to focus on creating a guaranteed and viable curriculum. 

As a team, they deconstructed the state standards in each grade level in order to provide clarity and a cohesive mindset. The R.E.A.L criteria was used to determine the Essential Standards and supporting standards for each grade level. This allowed the teams to determine the standards where the majority of their instructional time should be spent and the level of proficiency that the students must meet in order to be determined "on-grade level."  This guarantees a viable curriculum for ALL students at Pine Log Elementary. 

The collaborative teams created unit plans based on the essential standards chosen.  Within those unit plans they created S.M.A.R.T goals to determine proficiency.  Collaborative teams organized learning targets on the ladder of complexity to scaffold or extend the learning for ALL students.  After the ladder of complexity was established, teams began to create Common Summative Assessments (CSAs).  Creating CSAs allowed for the rigor of the standard to be addressed and the level of teaching and scaffolding that needed to be attained for the students to be proficient on grade level essential standards. Common Formative Assessments (CFAs) were created to mimic the CSAs and give students opportunities to show progress toward proficiency of the learning target. CFA data guides instruction and pace learning throughout the units. This technique allows teachers to adjust instruction and insure students are receiving timely and targeted instructional feedback based on their individual needs.  At the end of each unit, students are assessed on essential standards for the unit using CSAs. After completing the common grading of the CSAs, students who did not meet proficiency on specific learning targets are identified and given intentional interventions based on misconceptions until they display proficiency.  

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

Creating a system of interventions for all students by providing additional time and support for learning at high levels is a continuous effort. After attending the RTI at Work Training and working through Taking Action, clarification of the “ALL” students’ approach was achieved. The RTI mindset as being the “road to special education” was replaced by “prevention.” This shift created a different perspective of the intervention process and the need for intentional extensions. The inverted pyramid also provided staff with a visual model of responsibilities within the RTI process.  

To provide students additional time and support for learning, Pine Log Elementary has protected tiered blocks during the school day.  Within the master schedule, additional time is set aside strictly for intervention/extension based on common summative assessment data.  Collaborative teams analyze data to determine groups and discuss strategies for proficiency. The teaching and assessing cycle along with the response to intervention (RTI) process has allowed collaborative teams to focus on explicit instruction, geared towards a guaranteed and viable curriculum. Our master schedule for Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 instruction has been organized in such a way to support every student's instructional needs. An uninterrupted Tier 1 instructional block for each subject is provided to all students. Collaborative teams agree on what students need to know and create rigorous assessments to show proficiency of essential standards. In addition to Tier 1 time, a 30 minute block of time during the instructional school day is set aside for Tier 2 to guarantee that all students meet proficiency on the selected essential standards. During this time, teachers use CSA data to intervene, continue or extend student learning.  These groups are fluid because they are developed for each student by standard, by learning target to provide additional instruction to meet proficiency. Additional support teachers and paraprofessionals are utilized to provide intervention support, grade level instruction and extensions.  

Furthermore, based on universal screeners, students who are deemed two or more years below grade level in foundational skills receive systematic interventions daily (Tier 3). For this reason, identified students may receive all three tiers based on individual needs. Progress monitoring for Tier 3 interventions is monitored by the School Intervention Team (SIT). This diverse team of school level experts analyzes student data from an outside perspective and makes recommendations for next steps. In 2021, through collective responsibility and implementing a multitiered system of supports, we reduced the number of Tier 3 students by 45%. Our belief is that "ALL" students are capable of learning at high levels with the right targeted instruction. 

To assist teachers with this process, Bartow County School System has provided each school with a Learning Support Specialist (LSS). The LSS helps teachers with questions three and four. What will we do when students haven't learned it? What will we do when students already know it? The position was created to help monitor student data and provide support for instructional interventions and extensions. 

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

Through extensive professional development on becoming a professional learning community, Pine Log Elementary saw that a cultural shift was necessary.  We have always been a family-oriented, multi-generational school where our greatest barrier was ensuring that all students' basics needs were met. Teachers at PLES worked in groups to plan lessons and teach their students, but the mind shift that needed to take place was from "teachers teaching" to "students learning."  Yes, teachers were teaching what they thought students should know, but were the students learning?  That was the question that was posed by the staff at Pine Log Elementary as capacity was built and as teachers began to learn more about building collective teacher efficacy through high-performing collaborative teams  

At that point, teachers began to meet in their collaborative teams with the 4 questions at the forefront of their discussions as they discovered what "the right work" looked like:  

  1. What do students need to know and be able to do?   

  2. How will we know when students have learned it?   

  3. What will we do when students haven’t learned it?   

  4. What will we do when students already know it?  

The need for a guaranteed and viable curriculum became evident.  Teachers were trained by our ILT on deconstructing standards in order to positively impact student learning.  The introduction of the teaching assessing cycle aided teachers in the shift from teaching to learning.  Through this process, collaboration became the foundation for building collective teacher efficacy and making the shift from "groups" to "teams." The School Guiding Coalition became the catalyst in the school by examining the strengths and weaknesses within each grade level collaborative team, as some members were further along in the process than others.  Our goal was to have high performing teams who worked interdependently for the benefit of our students' learning.  Professional development on how to handle resistors took place and those strategies were actively established.  Through this unified effort to overcome challenges and produce intended results, our teams have become stronger, more effective, and on the right track of doing the "right work" for all students.   

Several teams are working toward A-Team recognition at the district level.  The most successful see the teaching-assessing cycle as a journey, not a destination. Common formative assessments are temperature checks to ensure students are on the right track for proficiency and rigor required by the essential standard. Teachers routinely revisit and revise Tier 1 unit plans, Tier 2 interventions, and extensions to effectively meet student needs.  The shift has now been made by Pine Log Elementary from "teaching" to "learning."  Through continual professional development, collaborative teams will become secure in their practices to shift the culture, so high levels of learning will take place.   

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

See PLES Artifacts page for more data.

Greatest Academic Gain ELA 3rd Grade (2019)

Greatest Academic Gain Math 5th Grade (2019)

Greatest Academic Gain Social Studies 5th Grade (2019)

Greatest Academic Gain Math 3rd Grade (2019)

Highest Academic Achievement 5th Grade Science (2019)

5-star School Climate Rating (2019)

Bartow Education Foundation Grant Winners