Adairsville Elementary School
- School District: Bartow County School
- School Address: 118 N. Franklin St. , Adairsville , GA 30103, US
- School Phone: 7706065840
- School Fax: 7706065165
- Principal: Melissa Zarefoss
- Contact E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Web Address: https://www.bartow.k12.ga.us/o/adairsville-elementary
- Number of Students: 830
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 43%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 3.3%
- Percent of Special Education: 14.4%
- White: 77%
- Black: 6.2%
- Hispanic: 9.2%
- Asian: 0%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0%
- Multiracial: 6.7%
- Other: 0.9%
Adairsville Elementary is in a rural area of Adairsville, GA which is 60 miles north of Atlanta. AES (Adairsville Elementary School) is one of 12 elementary schools in the BCSS (Bartow County School System). The school currently hosts 833 students, Pre-K to 5th grade. The staff consists of 65 certified and 33 classified faculty members. A replacement school was built in 2018 due to the previous school's age and lack of space for the growing student population. Adairsville Elementary feeds into Adairsville Middle and Adairsville High School. Adairsville Elementary is a Title 1 school with a large population of economically disadvantaged students and families. School demographic data for the 2021-2022 school year illustrates Adairsville's rural population: 77% White/Caucasian, 6.7% Multiracial, 9.2% Hispanic/Latino, 6.2% Black/African American, and 0.0036% Asian American (Power School). Of our total student body, 14.4% are Students with Disabilities, 8.2% Gifted, and 3.3% English Language Learners. After reviewing trends over the years, we realized our data was consistent but without much improvement. The PLC (Professional Learning Community) culture shift was what we needed to become more intentional in instructional practices and to see results in student achievement.
Our PLC journey initially began after the appointment of our new Superintendent of the Bartow County School System, Dr. Philip Page. In June of 2018, principals and key central office personnel received the book, Learning by Doing (Mattos, DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, & Many, 2016) to preview before attending the Culture Keeper conference in Atlanta, Georgia. While attending the conference, they focused on the right work, developed our system implementation timeline, and began creating the Bartow County PLC Playbook. This enabled principals to model essential best practices within the schools. Plans were also made to add the ILT (Instructional Lead Teacher) position to help guide and support implementing the new PLC culture. Throughout the year, our system-level meetings focused on building leadership capacity and clarity in the PLC process while also focusing on the Three Big Ideas: Focus on Learning, Collaboration, Results-Oriented.
In November 2018, Instructional Lead Teachers and Assistant Principals were invited to attend the PLC Institute in Atlanta, Ga; where they received the book Learning by Doing (Mattos, et.al.,2016). This prompted our leadership team to create a school-wide guiding coalition. Through an application process, we chose key players to build collective teacher efficacy within the PLC process. In December 2018, our guiding coalition revised the school's mission and vision and created a set of collective commitments that focused on the “right work”. Our guiding coalition utilized the BCSS (Bartow County School System) PLC Implementation Timeline (pp. 55-59), to plan strategically for teachers to receive training and support from the Instructional Lead Teacher on all things PLC. Next, we began deconstructing and choosing essential standards in grades K-5 using the R.E.A.L (Readiness, Endurance, Assessment, and Leverage) template. Once standards were chosen, vertical collaboration meetings took place to ensure consistency of instruction across grade levels.
In the summer of 2019, our guiding coalition attended the PLC Institute in Atlanta, GA. This conference was the turning point that created excitement among our team which led the way to building collective teacher efficacy (Hattie, 2008). During the 2019-2020 school year, our focus on learning led us to implement bi-weekly collaborative team meetings. Facilitators for the collaborative teams utilized the four guiding questions to build each agenda and drove the discussions for collaboration. The four guiding questions include:
What do we want students 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?
These four guiding questions aided teams in providing clarity when beginning to create a guaranteed and viable curriculum for ALL students. These questions continue to be the foundation of all collaborative meetings.
In the fall of 2019, the RTI (Response to Intervention) subcommittee had the opportunity to attend the Solution Tree conference, RTI at Work in Jacksonville, FL. This conference introduced us to the inverted pyramid and challenged our current knowledge of RTI. It opened our eyes to innovative ideas and allowed us to utilize the incredible strategies found in Taking Action (Buffum, Mattos, and Malone, 2018). This conference taught us that to truly be results-oriented, we must let the data drive all our decisions. Our newly acquired RTI knowledge prompted the county to establish a scheduling subcommittee dedicated to creating a master schedule that would allow for adequate daily Tier 2 and Tier 3 blocks. The subcommittee, which included an AES teacher leader and Assistant Principal, created elementary, middle, and high school county-wide master schedule options that would be implemented the following year. A school level scheduling committee was formed, and a master schedule was created for AES to include all tiers of instruction.
Prior to sharing the new schedule with the entire staff, our schools had to move to virtual learning due to COVID 19. However, this setback did not derail our progress. Because of the dedication and desire to move forward with the collaborative culture, Microsoft Teams allowed us to continue to create units, rigorous assessments, and improve Tier 1 instructional strategies while working remotely. We are also able to continue with professional development on the Design in Five process with our ILT.
Our journey continued with the addition of the LSS (Learning Support Specialist) position in the fall of 2020. The LSS position complimented the ILT position and further supported RTI. Our SIT (School Intervention Team) was established to help make decisions about students in need of additional support. The new position also allowed for monitoring the fidelity of interventions in Tiers 2 and 3. For the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, we put the new schedule into practice. The new schedule removed the barrier of not having enough time. Teachers were able to use CSA (Common Summative Assessment) data to meet students' needs in Tier 2 (Tiger Time) groups based on learning targets within essential standards.
As the school became more efficient with using assessment data to create our Tier 2 groups for academics (skill); we knew there was a need to tackle behaviors (will). In the spring of 2021, we were able to learn more about focusing on Will vs Skill through the guidance of professional development from Rich Smith and Behavior Solutions (Hannigan, Mattos, and Buffum, 2020).
During the Summer of 2021, our guiding coalition attended the Solution Tree Achievement Institute as well as Meaningful Assessment in Action (Stalets, 2021). We learned so much and were eager to dig deeper so we contacted Mandy Stalets for an additional virtual professional development based on the Feedback in Action session at the institute. Teachers realized the importance of feedback and learning progressions for the classroom. Currently, all grade levels have implemented the use of student data portfolios which allow for student accountability and self-reported grading.
Our current focus is to be more intentional in building and revising learning progressions to include pre-requisite and extension targets. In addition, we use behavior data to identify those students in need of more time and instruction through our social-emotional day to target Tier 2 behaviors.
Moving forward we are committed to fostering a dynamic PLC culture by utilizing the PLC playbook and helping to develop more A-Teams. We currently have two A-Teams at AES that serve as a resource to cultivating other highly effective teams throughout the building. We are dedicated to our mission; At AES, we work collaboratively to empower ALL students to SUCCEED!
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
Adairsville Elementary School is one of 12 elementary schools in Bartow County that has dedicated two days a week to collaboration. During this time, teacher teams use the four guiding questions to create a guaranteed and viable curriculum. This keeps teams focused on the “right work.” Over the last three years, we have supported teachers and embedded professional development to continue the ongoing process we are trying to perfect. The four guiding questions we focus on are:
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?
The first step in creating a guaranteed and viable curriculum for students is determining what the students need to know and be able to do. Teams deconstructed all standards and used the R.E.A.L (Readiness, Endurance, Assessment, and Leverage) criteria to identify essential standards (Many & Howell, 2014). Once collaborative teams identified their essential standards, they met vertically to ensure consistency of instruction. Teams came together and mapped out supporting standards then created learning targets based on the language of the standards. Learning targets were ordered in level of complexity and displayed for the students to track their proficiency.
To determine when the students have learned the curriculum, teachers created engaging CSAs (Common Summative Assessments) using Design in Five (Vagle, N.C., & Reeves, F. B. D. 2014). From there they built CFAs (Common Formative Assessments) to check student understanding along the way. This allows teachers to stop and prevent student educational gaps. We use response days, where teachers stop Tier 1 instruction, and all hands are on deck where reteaching occurs. By using backward by design, teachers have a clear path of what to teach during Tier 1 instruction. Teams use the essential unit plan to map out assessments, plan instructional strategies and pacing as well as track SMART goals. This entire process is managed through the Teaching and Assessing Cycle to proactively prevent misconceptions and respond before a summative assessment.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
Following a CSA (Common Summative Assessment), collaborative teams meet twice a week to analyze student data to address guiding questions 3 and 4. We have Tier 2 time built into our daily schedule to address student needs and we refer to this block as Tiger Time. Each week, two days are dedicated to reading, two days to math, and one day to SEL (Social Emotional Learning). We realize that not all students learn in the same way at the same time, so it is important to offer more time and instruction as well as extension when the need arises. Academic data is tracked by each learning target to ensure students are grouped appropriately. After re-teaching has occurred, students are reassessed and can exit Tier 2 when they show proficiency on the standards. This year we are focusing on extension targets and adding rigor to assessments. Using the Tier 1 and Tier 2 instructional time effectively ensures that ALL students learn at high levels.
In addition to re-teaching and extending math and reading during Tiger Time, we also focus our efforts on improving academic and social behaviors. PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) behavioral data is used to determine the need for SEL small groups. We teach SEL topics to everyone school-wide on Fridays. If data determines that more time and instruction is needed, small groups are formed. Led by a teacher expert, these small groups focus on a target behavior and continue weekly until improvement is made or further steps need to be taken.
In addition to Tier 1 and Tier 2, we have Tier 3 in which targeted students receive intensive support to master universal foundational skills. When a student is identified as being two or more grade levels behind in a foundational skill, intensive remediation at Tier 3 must occur. Like our Tier 2 time, our schedule allows for a Tier 3 block in reading and in math each day. To effectively identify and monitor students in need of Tier 3 support, our school has a SIT (School Intervention Team). The SIT is led by the LSS (Learning Support Specialist) and is composed of specialists in various areas, each role relating to our students in different ways. The SIT Team’s responsibility is to diagnose, target, prioritize, and monitor students in need of Tier 3 interventions.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
Adairsville Elementary School’s guiding coalition prides itself on building teacher capacity. The guiding coalition is a place where leaders come together to learn and serve high-functioning collaborative teams. This platform is a safe place where most of our onsite professional development occurs. Each member has a voice that is heard and respected. We are always checking in on the capacity of our guiding coalition to ensure teachers have the autonomy they need as well as the support for improvement. We complete surveys (team temperature checks) to identify where things are going well and where support is needed. The data from these surveys is used to develop school-based professional development.
To continue building the capacity of our collaborative teams and ensure they are working at high levels, AES uses the system-wide A-Team rating scale. Teams can focus on areas of improvement and set goals. AES is proud of our third-grade ELA and math teams, who have both received the A-Team Award, the county’s highest recognition for collaborative teams. We have utilized these teams as models for onsite as well as district professional development.
The leadership team supports the guiding coalition to develop teacher leaders who facilitate high functionating collaboration. The school leadership team includes the Principal, Assistant principal, ILT (Instructional Lead Teacher), LSS (Learning Support Specialist), and Reading Specialist. Together the ILT and LSS work to support collaborative teams. The ILT focuses on questions one and two, while the LSS focuses on questions three and four. The Principal, ILT, and LSS receive professional learning from the district. The leadership team redelivers information learned at these meetings to the school’s guiding coalition, building the leadership capacity of collaborative team facilitators. At AES, the leadership team is very intentional in redelivering professional learning and supporting teams at their level. The BCSS PLC Playbook also plays a key role in building teacher capacity to work as high functioning collaborative teams.
Achievement Data Files
Additional Achievement Data
2015 Title I High Progress School
2019 3rd-5th Grade majority of students proficient and above in Math on Georgia Milestones
2019 Math Trail Competition Over-All Winner
2019 5-Star School Climate Award
2019 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Education Recipient
2020-2021 Donors Choose Ambassador-over $110,000 in funding at Adairsville Elementary
2021 A-Team Award - Third Grade ELA (English Language Arts) Collaborative Team
2021 A-Team Award – Third Grade Math Collaborative Team
2021 Bartow STEM Teacher Champions
2021 GYSTC Award (Georgia Youth Science and Technology Centers)
Exceptional Education Teacher 4 C's Awards
Community Partnership Grants:
Bartow Education Foundation Teacher Grants
YSA (Youth Service America) Lead Agency Grant
Scott's Miracle Gro Foundation Gro More Good Grant
Walmart Community Grants (multiple)
Mary Pope Osborne's Gift of Books Grant
Shaw Community Grant (2020 & 2021)
3D Printing Grant
Clear the List Grants (numerous faculty)
First Book Grants
Publix Community Grants
3rd Grade Math Frax Program Grant