Red Top Middle School (2023)

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

Red Top Middle School (RTMS) began developing our collective vision of a professional learning community in 2018 when we were still known as South Central Middle School. Under the guidance of our previous principal and newly formed Guiding Coalition, we charged ourselves with redefining the definition of an educator. Our principal introduced us to the 3 Big Ideas, the teaching/learning cycle, and subsequent research-based applications, such as those described in “Visible Learning” by Stephen J. Hattie. During our faculty meetings, we created our mission, vision, and collective commitments to our students. Moreover, that year our school system implemented a new schedule allowing for shared collaborative time across all schools enabling even singletons to have collaborative partners to drive student success. 

Beginning in the spring of 2019 and into the 2019-2020 school year, we rebranded our school as Red Top, which more encompassed our surrounding areas and feeder schools. This revitalization, heralded by our new principal and staff, brought about several new changes to the teaching/learning process. Collaborative teams identifiedtheir essential standards and developed unit plans coinciding with our Instructional Lead Teacher (ILT) focusing our attention on questions 1 and 2: 

1.“What do we want all students to know and be able to do?” 

2. “How will we know if they learn it?” 

Despite challenges from the pandemic, RTMS continued to perfect the PLC process into the 2020-2021 school year. We were the first middle school to implement aFocus block into our schedule, which allowed intervention and extension of Essential Standards, as well as creating numerous enrichment opportunities for students. Professional learning was focused on assessment development, alignment to standards and rigor, and utilizing assessment data to guide instructional practices.It was also during the 2020-2021 school year that a recalibration was needed and executed for our Guiding Coalition as we came upon the realization that we were not focused on the right work. The entire staff completed the process to update and refine our mission, vision, and collective commitments for Red Top Middle. During this school year, Red Top also added a Learning Support Specialist position to help guide staff in questions 3 and 4: 

3. “How do we respond if some students do not learn?” 

4. “How will we extend the learning for students who are already proficient?”  

Our fourth year as PLC practitioners unveiled a new grading system centering on year-long averages rather than semester-based grades. This change allowed for a more comprehensivereflection of a student’s learning. RTMS reorganized our classroom locationsto place collaborative teams across the hallways from each othertoencourage teams to fully engage in shared response days During this school year, Red Top also added a Reading Interventionist to support literacy in all content areas. Upon receiving our Milestone testing data, a misalignment between rigor of classroom assessments and state testing became evident. As a result, the focus of our fifth year was alignment of classroom instruction and assessments to the rigor required by our state standards and standardized assessments. 

Our fifth year saw an increased focus on literacy strategies in the classroom. Our Reading Interventionist continued to support teachers through professional development on literacy strategies as well as working with collaborative teams to build unit plans and classroom activities to support literacy strategies. In addition, she modeled these strategies in content area classrooms to support literacy across the curriculum. In December, our Reading Interventionist coordinated a meeting between our leadership team and Elizabeth Walker from GaDOE to review Growth Measure data and its correlation with standards. In February, Elizabeth Walker was brought in to speak directly with classroom teachers about Growth Measure data and how they can continue to support literacy in all classrooms and subject areas. 

As we continued to focus on rigor, collaborative teams dedicated themselves to improving collaboration by utilizing the system A-Team application as a benchmark on their collective teacher efficacy. Common gradebooks were implemented by all collaborative teams with a continued emphasis on accurate reporting of student learning and progress. Collaborative teams and grade levels alike continued to include STEM learning as a foundation for instructional planning. 

Upon observations and recommendations from district level support staff, Guiding Coalition formed a sub-committee focused on skill and will students. The sub-committee was charged with defining will and skill as well as the creation of a process to identify and support this particular sub-group of students. The sub-committee created “Miners on a Mission,” a mentoring program focused on supporting will students as identified by our elementary feeder schools. 

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). Teachers also use progress monitoring Essential Standard tracking sheets, which allow students to notate their own progress as the unit progresses to take agency over their own learning cycle. This sheet is also sent home for parents to observe and have meaningful conversations with their students about their classroom learning. 

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 identify common misconceptions, patterns in incorrect responses, they will then place students accordingly into either intervention or extension focus. Focus is a block of time that we have allotted daily for responding to both gaps and strengths in student learningWe have adopted an online program, FlexTime Manager, which allows students to schedule their own extensions and the teachers to assign and adjust intervention rosters as needed to catch students before they become tier 2. 

Once the students have reached proficiency and above on their CFAs, they will attempt the CSA todetermine if they have reached the overall proficiency level expected for that standard. The level of proficiency is set by teams during their twice weekly collaboration times. 

Collaborative teams have dedicated themselves to reporting student learning more accuratelyQuarter and semester divisions were removed from the gradebook to create a year-long fluid reflection of learning for all students.  We have two staff members serving on the District Grading Subcommittee and have created a school-level grading subcommittee as well.  Several teachers have pioneered new practices in grading to reflect learning more accurately.  The focus is shifting from a number grade to the learning of academic standards as evidenced by the graphic in the artifacts and resources. 

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

A new master schedule was created that included a 30-minute intervention/extension time we call Focus, which began at the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Focus is a period for students who have not performed to the previously decided level of proficiency on their CSAs and CFAs.  

On Fridays during Focus, all students remain in Homeroom and receive PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) lessons, which are centered around one word in our PBIS mantra, G.O.L.D. (Give respect get respect; Own your actions; Lead by example;Determine your success). Students may also have counselor lessons, D.E.A.R. time (Drop Everything and Read) Time, conversations about their various test scores, or other lessons that target schoolwide deficits. PBIS lessons are planned and developed based on school-wide disciplinary data and redelivered to students during monthly Focusactivities. Students are actively and positively influenced by the strategies that are in place. 

A new master schedule was created that included a 30-minute intervention/extension time we call Focus, which began at the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Focus is a period for students who have not performed to the previously decided level of proficiency on their CSAs and CFAs.  

On Fridays during Focus, all students remain in Homeroom and receive PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) lessons, which are centered around one word in our PBIS mantra, G.O.L.D. (Give respect get respect; Own your actions; Lead by example;Determine your success). Students may also have counselor lessons, D.E.A.R. time (Drop Everything and Read) Time, conversations about their various test scores, or other lessons that target schoolwide deficits. PBIS lessons are planned and developed based on school-wide disciplinary data and redelivered to students during monthly Focusactivities. Students are actively and positively influenced by the strategies that are in place. 

Office Hours are offered twice weekly for each subject area. Students are encouraged to come in to work on any missing work or receive additionalsupport on Essential Standards. 

The Site Intervention Team (SIT)identifies studentstwo or more grade levels behind.Interventions are then chosen by SIT in collaboration with the classroom teachers to help meet these students' needs. Possible interventions include math and reading remediation classes which meet daily during connections.Theseremediation teachers collaborate with the grade level math or ELA team to provideadditional support to these students.Teachers progress monitor regularly and communicate these results with the Site Intervention Team. 

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


Teachers meet collaboratively as grade-level subject teams twice weeklyThey also meet vertically by subject as needed. Using the PLC framework, the Bartow County School System created a daily schedule that embedded collab time during the contracted workday. This is a protected time that cannot be interrupted by any other meetings. During this time, the administrators, the Instructional Lead Teacher, and the Learning Support Specialist have all embedded into collaborative teams to become practitionersof the PLC process.  


Collaboration at Red Top has further been strengthened as teachers have worked through the STEM certification processTeacher interactions and interdisciplinary collaboration has organically developed as STEM planning has taken place this yearWe leaned on experts from outside organizationsin the field of STEM education to enhance collaboration and to aid in brainstorming as different roadblocks and questions arose.  That type of interdependence was only made possible because of the collaborative culture developed within the PLC process.   


During the 2021-2022 school year, celebrating the right work was an increased focus. In March 2022, we began a competition focused on the fundamentals. Collaborative teams earned weekly points for tasks based on the PLC process. Prizes were awarded on a weekly basis and an overall collab team winner will be announced at the end of the month.This competition increased the excitement surrounding the teaching-learning cycle during a month which is traditionally a difficult month for teachers leading up to spring break and state testing.  Teachers also participated in district-wide horizontal and vertical collaboration to determine and identify Essential Standards for each subject and grade level.   


Since implementing the PLC process faculty and staff at Red Top Middle School have received an extensive amount of Professional Development and learning opportunities supporting the collaborative teaching-learning process.  Those include speakers, conferences, institutes, and workshops at both district and school-level.  Each year we have continued to build capacity in understanding and practicing the PLC process and further developing our practices within the process. 

2018 – 2019: 

  • South Central Middle School administration attended the first PLC at Work Institute. 

  • South Central assistant principal and faculty leaders attended PLC at Work institute 

  • Guiding Coalition Workshop on the phases of implementation with Janel Keeting 

  • PLC at Work Institute Breakout Conversation with Mike Mattos 

 2019 – 2020: 

  • New administrators and several faculty leaders attended a PLC at Work institute. 

  • Several members of the Guiding Coalition attended the Grading from the Inside Out workshop with Tom Schimmer. 

  • Administrators and faculty members attended a 3-part RTI at Work workshop. 

  • Faculty members sent to Mathematics at Work institute 

  • Assessment and Rigor training with Angie Freese 

 2020 – 2021:  

  • Grading and Assessment professional development with Nicole Dimitch and Casandra Erkens 

  • Assessment and Rigor training with Angie Freese 

  • RTI Audit with Nicole Dimich, Jack Balderman, and Rich Smith 

  • Achieve Institute with Nicole Dimitch, Mandy Stalets, and Cassandra Erkens 

  • Guiding Coalition workshop focused on GC efficacy, resistors and doubters, and grading with Eric Twadell 

 2021 – 2022: 

  • Mandy Stalets was brought in for staff professional development 

  • ILT and AP attended the Summit on K-12 Leadership 

  • Guiding Coalition members will attend a PLC at Work Institute 

  • Training on literacy support within the PLC process with Kathy Glass 

  • LeAnn Nicholson presented on the Instructional Cha-cha's 

  • AP and faculty leaders attended a PLC at Work institute during the summer of 2022 
  • Hector Montenegro presented on SEL strategies
  • Elizabeth Walker from GaDOE did a literacy data dig with admin and with staff
  • Staff representatives attended District Essential Standards collab
  • 2 math teachers attended RESA training on the new math standards
  • ILT and Reading Interventionist attended a SolutionTree Coaching Workshop
  • 3 teachers joined the Cobb STEM Innovation Academy
  • AP, ILT, and 2 teachers attended the Georgia STEM/STEAM Conference


Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Tier 2 Data (Focus Block)

Red Top has implemented a Focus period for academic remediation, extension, and enrichment for 30 minutes every morning from 8:35 to 9:05.  This time has been helpful to remediate our students that do not pass CSAs and need additional help to achieve proficiency. Students also track their progress through the PLC process to help with personal accountability and conscious ownership of their learning and goals.

In the 2021-2022 school year, we added targeted tracking of SWD and ELL identified students to ensure those subgroups are being served effectively and equitably.  The Tier 2 charts are attached for 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years for math and ELA. We show progress on Tier 2 ELA proficiency on essential standards at this same time from last year to the current year.  The chart below shows that currently (Spring 2022) every ELA classroom has fewer students remaining in Tier 2 than were previously in Tier 2 at the same point in the previous school year.

Prior to this new process, students were not properly identified and remained in Tier 2 for an extended period.  The new Tier 2 process allows for more precise identification and targeted interventions aimed at specific essential standards.  Not only has this been more effective in the instructional process, but we have a more precise identification procedure to determine whether the student continues to need interventions.  Our previous numbers in Tier 2 prove that we did not have the proper number of students identified nor did we target the interventions needed as we do currently.  (See Tier 2 charts linked here)

Number of students in Tier 2 in Spring 2022 versus Spring 2021:
















Map data – Student Growth Summary Report

Our school system began using MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) during the 2020-2021 school year.  This data is used to assist teachers in identifying weaknesses and strengths for individual students as well as classrooms, grade levels, subjects, etc. The attached chart shows how actual growth has exceeded projected growth for most of our grade levels and subjects from Fall 2020 to Fall 2021. (see data linked here)



Growth Measure (Reading) Data

The Growth Measure is a computer-adaptive benchmark test that gives insight into students’ reading performance compared to grade-level expectations and helps students and teachers visualize and respond to their growth over time. We have also added a Reading Interventionist who has provided literacy support for students and staff through small group lessons, professional development, and classroom assistance.  This data shows schoolwide growth in the areas of students performing on or above grade level from Fall 2021 to Spring 2022. It also shows significant growth in the number of students performing above grade level from the beginning of the year to the end. (see data linked here)


SWIS data:

Behavior plays a major role in our students’ academic success.  A decline in the number of negative behaviors in recent years has positively impacted both school climate and academic achievement.  Our school began using PBIS to support behavior in our schools by using “houses” to build community and collective responsibility along with adding a competitive element in the 2017-2018 school year.  We began awarding students and houses based on points received for doing the right things.  We have designated times to teach behaviors at the beginning and middle of the year as well as lessons each month based on schoolwide behavior data.  Reminder posters are also in place which state the expected behavior in that area of the building.  We have also put in additional behavior support systems for students such as counseling groups based on needs, GA Hope, Leadership, self-monitoring sheets, classroom progressive discipline step sheet, non-compliance support process (“will” behaviors), and extra-curricular opportunities to support teachers in the classroom. This has resulted in a steady decrease in discipline referrals.  Our referrals in 2018-2019 were 701, in 2019-2020 were 414, and in 2020-2021 were 297.  This is a decrease of 40.9% from 2018-2019 to 2019-2020 and a 28.3% decrease from 2019-2020 to 2020-2021.  The total decrease from 2018-2019 to 2020-2021 is 57.6%. (see data linked here)

School year




Total referrals




Percent decrease




Total decrease





Tier 3 dismissals:

Our school began the PLC process in 2018-2019 and it was implemented in phases.  The PLC process focuses on proficiency on essential standards and incorporates remediation during the teaching cycle, during Focus, and Tier 3 remediation during connection time.  In the 2020-2021 school year, we began Focus every morning to address Tier 2 needs with remediation scheduled two times each week for math and ELA as needed and science and social studies one to two times per week as available for the students not passing standards.   Teachers have been able to address deficits in a more immediate fashion with the designated Focus periods each morning.  The process has led to a steady decrease in Tier 3 student numbers and steady increase in dismissals from Tier 3 remediation.  In 2019-2020 we began with 48 students and dismissed 5 by the end of the year.   In 2020-2021 we began with 43 students and dismissed 12 by the end of the year.  In 2021-2022 we began with 25 and dismissed 17 by mid-year.


School year




Beginning #




Dismissed #



17 (mid-year)

Dismissed %





Milestone (EOG) data:

Despite a non-traditional school year, in 2020-2021 we saw an increase in 8th grade science, 8th grade math, and Algebra I Milestone assessment data from previous school years. We were unfortunately unable to test students during the 2019-2020 school year and therefore do not have data to compare from this year. (see data linked here)

% Proficient and Above on Milestone Assessments





8th Math




8th Science




Algebra I





Teacher retention:

South Central Middle School rebranded in the 2019-2020 school year to Red Top Middle School.  With the rebranding, we also welcomed a new Principal and a new Assistant Principal.  These changes along with the implementation of the PBIS program and PLC implementation process have brought positive changes to staff and students.  Our teacher retention percentage has increased because of these changes. 


ESOL data:

Our ESOL population has increased dramatically over the past 2 years.  We have shown significant growth in our ESOL students with ACCESS testing from 2020 to 2021 scores.  Our ESOL population has continued to grow rapidly for the last 3 years, which has also led to ESOL staff increases.  We began in the 2018-2019 school year with a ½ time ESOL teacher.  In the 2019-2020 school year our ESOL staff grew to 1 full time teacher.  In the 2020-2021 school year, our ESOL staff grew to 1 full-time and one half-time teacher.  We currently (2021-2022 school year) have a total of 60 ESOL students and 2 full-time ESOL teachers. (see data linked here)


Red Top Middle School has gained momentum every year since we started utilizing the PLC Process school-wide which has resulted in the following awards, recognitions, grants, and accomplishments. A culture shift such as this takes time and includes every aspect of what we do here every day (our Mission) as we work towards achieving what RTMS will be in 3-5 years (our Vision).  


District Academic Awards 2018-2019: 

  • Highest Academic Achievement - 6th Grade Math 

  • Greatest Academic Gain - 6th Grade Math 



  • Working towards GADOE “Operational” Recognition. 

  • 4 Levels: Installing / Emerging / Operational / Distinguished 

  • Moved from Installing (2019) to Emerging (2022) Level 


Grants Received Since 18-19 School Year: 

-18-19 to 22-23: 

  • Over the past four years over 67 Bartow Education Foundation Teacher Grants or Donor’s Choose Projects have been written/submitted by our staff. During this time, 49 teacher grants were awarded from the Bartow Education Foundation to support the PLC Process within our school. 

  • Magnolia Club and the Master Gardeners Organization Grants (every year) 


- 20-21: 

  • Shaw Grant for $1000 (Spring 2021) 

  • CEFGA Circle of Excellence Award Winner Re3Construction Grant for $5000 

  • Cobb EMC Education Mini Grant 


- 21-22: 

  • GYSTC STEM Grant 

  • All Girls Robotics Team sponsorship/grant from Northrup Grumman 

  • Shaw Grant for 3-D Printers & Weather Station ($1000) 

  • Society for Science Grant 

  • Construction Ready Foundation Grant for Tools & Resources 


- 22-23: 

  • Environmental Education Alliance Grant from the Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources for Wildlife Viewing Equipment. 



Individual Awards/Recognitions since 2018-2019 School Year: 

-18-19 to 22-23: 

  • Twelve staff members have been selected as the BCSS Employee-of-the-Month over the past 40 months of recognitions (30%). 

  • Four staff members have been awarded the Ms. Dot’s STARS District Recognition. 

  • Red Top’s Teacher-of-the-Year (TOTY) was also the BCSS Middle School TOTY for both the 19-20 and 21-22 school years (There was no TOTY selection for the 20-21 school per the GADOE due to Covid). 


- 20-21: 

  • Invited to present at Cobb STEMapalooza (Spring 2021). 

  •  First LEGO League - our Robotics Team took 1st place in Core Values for Bartow County. 

  • Six students performed virtually at Statewide Honor Chorus. 


- 21-22: 

  •  Invited to present at Bartow STEM Innovation Academy (Fall 2021). 

  •  Student Panel invited to present at Bartow STEM Innovation Meeting (Spring 2022). 

  •  Our Chorus program was chosen to sing the National Anthem at an Atlanta Braves game. 

  •  Two 7th graders will be attending All-State Chorus, 3 students will be attending 6th grade Statewide Honor Chorus. 


- 22-23: 

  • Our Chorus program was chosen to sing the National Anthem at an Atlanta Braves game. 

  • Twenty-five students performed as members of the Bartow County Honor Chorus. 

  • Twelve students performed with the GMEA District 7 Honor Chorus. 

  • Eight students performed at Disney’s Imagination Campus in a vocal workshop where they sightread music, performed sound effects, and had spoken dialoque. 

  • Three students attended the GMEA Sixth Grade Statewide Honor Chorus. 

  •  Our Treble Chorus received a rating of “Excellent” for their on-stage and sight-reading portions at LGPE this year. 

  • Our Mixed Chorus received an “Excellent” rating on-stage and a “Superior” rating for sight-reading at LGPE this year. 

  • Our Band program received an “Excellent” rating on-stage and a “Superior” rating for sight-reading at LGPE this year. 

  • Assistant Principal was recognized by the Construction Ready Foundation for Promoring Construction at the Middle School Level 


Accomplishments since 2018-2019 School Year: 

-18-19 to 22-23: 

  • Weekly Backpack Buddies 


- 20-21: 

  • Staff member was accepted into and completed the Aspiring Principals Leadership Academy. 

  • Exceptional Education Teacher 4-C’s Awards (every 9-week grading period). 

  •  STAMP Testing Native Language: 38 (18% of total population) of 8th grade students earned 80 credits of high school Spanish by exam. 

  • 55 students participated in the Construction Focus group and earned 110 industry credentials in tape measurement and ladder safety. 


- 21-22: 

  • Staff member was accepted into and completed the Aspiring Administrators Leadership Academy. 

  • Exceptional Education Teacher 4-C’s Awards (every 9-week grading period). 

  • Red Top Middle School currently has every academic collaborative team working towards A-Team status. Teachers in every collaborative team have set a Team SMART goal regarding when they expect to achieve a designated step towards FULL A-Team recognition (Team, Guiding Coalition, Central Office or Superintendent Level). 

  • We currently have 21 students actively participating in our Student Government Association. 

  • We currently have 25 students actively participating in our Student Honor Society Association. We had 41 students participate last school year (20-21). 

  • STAMP Testing Native Language: 41 (17% of total population) of 8th grade students earned 80 credits of high school Spanish by exam. 

  • We currently have 36 eighth grade students, 15% of the 8th grade class, enrolled in credit high school Spanish I. 

  • We currently have 59 seventh graders, 30% of the 7th grade class, who have taken one semester of Spanish. 

  • We currently have 71 sixth grad