Allatoona Elementary (2022)

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

Allatoona Elementary School is one of 12 schools located in Bartow County, Georgia. We are a Title I school with a  population comprised of 28.8% English Language Learners and 66% socioeconomically disadvantaged students. 14% of our students are students with disabilities. 4% of the students at Allatoona Elementary are served through the McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act. Allatoona Elementary also serves a very transient population and has a mobility rate of 29.5%. Despite the numerous challenges, many of our teachers have been here for more than ten years. Their dedication to the success of students and families of this community is evident through their volunteer hours with agencies such as the Allatoona Resource Center and local churches that pour into our school. Even with the dedication of staff and community members student achievement results have been inconsistent from year to year. 

Before 2018, our school community lacked a culture of collaboration. Classroom teachers kept to themselves and only worried about the successes of the students within the walls of their classrooms. There were many great teaching practices going on but not an organized way to share them. Many teachers did not know other teachers or students outside their grade level. In the summer of 2018, principals and central office instructional staff attended the Culture Keepers Conference.  The research and information gleaned from this conference was powerful, and a perfect fit for school improvement.   After attending this conference and reading Learning by Doing, Mr. Bishop, the principal, saw a need for a more collaborative culture. With the guidance of our newly appointed superintendent, Dr. Page, the Professional Learning Community (PLC) process was introduced. One of the first steps was to form a Guiding Coalition. This was comprised of teachers who were willing and able to share the PLC culture schoolwide. Knowing there would be challenges to face, they knew the shift was essential for schoolwide growth.  Under the guidance of this newly formed Guiding Coalition the school went to work to refine the school’s vision and mission.  Our mission statement became: We collaboratively engage, challenge, and empower all students and staff to succeed. After much research and many thought-provoking conversations, our vision statement became:  Allatoona’s vision is to be a result-oriented, high-achieving school that ensures five-star learning for all students and transitions them to the next level on target for college and career readiness.  

In 2019 when Mrs. Marley became principal, the momentum for change continued. The Guiding Coalition started with a book study of Solution Tree’s Taking Action. The Guiding Coalition delved into the text and spent time discussing the points of the program and how to successfully implement RTI at work. The Guiding Coalition then planned a roll-out of this initiative for the staff. Professional development was set aside to disseminate the information and establish a starting point for implementing the process. In a short amount of time, most teachers saw the benefits of the program and positive changes were made throughout the school.    Staff members realized we needed to move from just teaching to learning.  

We shifted our focus to the four critical questions:  

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

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

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

4.   What will we when students already know it? 

Using these four questions we were first able to identify our need for a master calendar with a dedicated time for tier 1, tier 2, and tier 3 instruction and intervention. We established essential standards using the R.E.A.L. (readiness, endurance, assessment, and leverage) method. Next, teams were able to create unit plans establishing a guaranteed and viable curriculum for all our students. Parts of these unit plans include establishing learning targets with a ladder of complexity for the chosen essential standard, creating a common summative assessment (CSA), common formative assessments (CFAs), establishing a SMART goal, and a protocol for tracking student proficiency.   Knowing that some students would need further support/tier 2 interventions even after a teaching and assessing cycle, we set up our master schedule to align with students' needs based on our school’s data. In our first year, we had two smaller “What I Need” (WIN) intervention times to help students master essential standards. After some reflection on student growth, we determined that one longer WIN time would benefit our students more. We also made this time universal throughout the school, which allowed all teachers and paraprofessionals to provide tier 2 interventions, continued learning, or rich extensions based on students’ needs.  To help plan and use our WIN time effectively, each grade level meets twice a week before school.   This collaborative time is used to address the four critical questions and plan interventions to use after CFA data is collected.  Plans are made to address student needs in response to the information gathered from assessments even before they are given. 

Along with CFA and CSA data, teachers use Acadience Reading benchmark data,  Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) data, Lexia data, Writescore and team-created assessments to help guide instruction. K-5 takes Acadience and MAP three times a year to see growth in reading fluency and accuracy, retell accuracy, reading comprehension, and math computation skills. MAP is an adaptable assessment that asks questions at their independent skill level. Reflecting and collaborating on these assessments gives teachers the ability to meet the students where they are and get them to where they need to be. Grades 2 – 5 take Writescore 3 times a year to assess writing skills. This assessment gives teachers data on how students respond to writing instruction. Teachers use all this data to guide instruction.  

We are now in our fourth year of PLC implementation and our staff is more dedicated than ever to ensuring all students learn at high levels. At the end of the 2020- 2021 school year, our Guiding Coalition reflected and decided that reading and writing would be our main focus for the 2021 –2022 school year. We made a school-wide plan to reflect our concerns and strategies on how to improve student achievement. We have received and utilized literacy training from Emily Feltner and rigor/vocabulary training from Rich Smith to help us hone our skills in those areas. Last summer our new Guiding Coalition members also attended Solution Tree training on assessment to help improve our understanding of why and how to use assessments in the classroom. For the 2022 – 2023 school year, our focus is going to be on grading practices. We will ask and answer the following questions about grading: 

  1. Why do we need it? 
  2. What do the grades mean? 
  3. What does it show the students, parents, and teachers? 
  4. Does it reflect their true understanding of the standards? 
  5. How do we use grades to guide our instruction? 

The process of continuous collaboration has created stronger teacher leaders. We will continue using the PLC process as we fulfill our commitments to our students, parents, and staff.  

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

At Allatoona Elementary School, we understand that collective teacher efficacy is at the top of John Hattie’s effect sizes. We have dedicated time within our school day that each of our PLC groups are expected to meet, twice a week for 45-minutes. During these collaborative meetings, the groups spend their time focusing on the four essential questions that guide the process. These questions are: 

     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 first step in the teaching assessing cycle within the PLC process is to select and unwrap essential student learning outcomes so that we can develop a unit plan. The teams begin this process by deconstructing the grade-level standards and then utilizing the REAL (readiness, endurance, assessment, leverage) criteria to decide which of these standards are essential and which are non-essential. The next step for the teams is to create learning targets for the essential standards and then decide how the students will progress through the targets by placing them on a ladder of complexity, increasing from least complex (background knowledge or knowledge from previous grade levels) to most complex (extension activities). It is important that the teams establish proficiency and explicitly plan extension targets ahead of time. 

Once the targets and ladder of complexity are determined, the teams will decide how the standards will fit within a yearly pacing guide that will be revisited, modified, and adjusted throughout the year. From here, the teams create unit plans for each of their essential standards that include SMART goals (strategic/specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, time-bound), common formative, and common summative assessmentsThis leads to the second guiding question, “How will we know when students have learned it? 

During this part of the process, teacher teams will dig more deeply into the learning targets so they can create a common summative assessment that will accurately assess the targets in the way in which they are written. Once the summative assessment is created, the teams can focus on creating common formative assessments that will guide student learning through the teaching/assessing cycle. During the tier one instruction, teachers will utilize prevention strategies to support students’ needs. After a few days of instruction, the teachers assess their students using the common formative assessment and then a response day will follow. The cycle continues until students are ready for a summative assessment. After the summative assessment, data is analyzed to set up tier two groups (intervention, continuation, and extension) where students will continue their learning in a more precisely differentiated way.  

Collaborative groups meet after the summative assessment is given to analyze the data and respond to the students’ learningThis is where guiding questions 3 and 4 join the process, “What will we do when students haven’t learned it?” and “What will we do when students have already learned it?”  Data will be collected and added to the common summative assessment protocol so that it can be reviewed again after students are given intervention strategies during tier two time. While reviewing data at collaborative team meetings, teams will group students based on their success on each learning targetThe teacher teams will discuss which teachers had the best results during the initial tier one instruction. These teachers will work with the group that struggled the most and share the strategies that they chose to use during their tier-one time. Teachers will compare data to their SMART goal and reflect on results. Students will be reassessed after a couple of weeks of continued instruction(or when they are ready). Students that had already shown proficiency after the initial common summative assessment will receive extension tasks. These students will work with the teachers who either have less experience in the subject or those that had lesser results from the initial assessment in tier one.  

By providing tier one preventions and assessing with common formative assessments, discussing data to make sure that we are using the most effective tier-one instructional strategies, responding immediately after a common summative assessment while providing feedback, and then providing the students who need a little more time to be proficient with tier two interventions after a summative assessment that is targeted to specific learning targets, we can ensure that all students are guaranteed a viable curriculum and all students can be successful in essential standards.  

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

A Response to Interventions (RTI) process is in place at Allatoona Elementary School to ensure that all students receive appropriate time and supports to learn at high levels. Allatoona Elementary is committed to being a high-performing, data-driven school. The school’s guiding coalition developed a pyramid of interventions, as modeled in Solution Tree manuals RTI At Work and Taking Action, as a guide for addressing students’ needs with research-based practices. Under this process, all students receive essential standards curricula during tier 1 instructional time. Throughout this tier 1 instruction, using the teaching/assessing cycle, teachers are formatively evaluating students’ understanding and providing differentiated instruction as indicated by their data. After a unit of instruction is complete, and students have been given a summative evaluation, teachers will use their data to identify students who need to have their learning extended, students who have met proficiency but may need further instruction, and students who are below proficiency and need to receive tier 2 supports. These extensions and interventions are then provided during a school-wide block of time we call WIN (What I Need). This block of time is built into Allatoona Elementary’s master schedule, from 8:15-8:50 daily. During this time, all staff members are working with grade levels to ensure that the individual needs of each student are being met. The team’s strongest member in the intervention area will provide interventions to struggling students. Other team members will support the students with continued instruction of the standard or extensions. The goal of this intervention block is to give students an opportunity to become proficient in grade-level, essential standards, and to give students opportunities to extend their learning through engaging activities. These groups are fluid and students will move in and out of them as their assessment data indicates.  

 Inevitably, there will be a small number of students who do not respond to tier 2 interventions. When this occurs, the School Intervention Team (SIT) meets to discuss the student's data and what research-based interventions may be most appropriate. The team will use universal screeners, benchmark assessments, as well as classroom assessments to determine the students’ intervention needs. This team is comprised of a group of educators who are experts in different areas of education. It includes the building principal and assistant principal, the school’s counselor, a math expert, a reading expert, our special education lead teacher, our school psychologist, an ESOL teacher, and our speech/language pathologist. This team has developed a specific set of criteria to determine and identify students in need of tier 3 interventions. The interventions this team recommends address gaps in foundational learning, concepts that may have been taught several grade levels prior to the student’s current grade level, or support a student attempting to become proficient on a grade-level standard on which they consistently are having difficulty becoming proficient. Students receive these tier 3 interventions during their instructional blocks. These interventions are monitored and will be continued, and eventually dropped, if they are successful or will be changed if unsuccessful. After several interventions have been implemented unsuccessfully, the SIT may refer a student for further evaluation. 

 Students who are determined to have “will” issues are referred to our school’s guiding coalition. This team will collectively offer ideas for interventions for these students. Teachers, working with the guiding coalition, will come up with an intervention plan. These plans may include counseling groups, behavior report cards, check in/check out, as well as other research-based strategies.  

 The RTI process in place at Allatoona Elementary School is additive. It enables all students to receive tier 1 essential instruction. The master schedule also provides time for tier 2 supports for those needing interventions for essential standards, and it builds in time to include tier 3 remediation as needed.  


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

In 2018, Allatoona Elementary began the process of establishing our Guiding Coalition (GC). The GC consisted of our Administrators, Instructional Lead Teacher, a Learning Support Specialist, a Reading Specialist, a member from each grade level, and the counselor. This group created our mission statement, vision statement, and our collective commitments. Since its inception, each member of the guiding coalition has had opportunities for Solution Tree training in implementing the PLC process. This training has fully supported Allatoona’s efforts to become a model PLCEquipped with this expertise, GC members serve as the facilitators of their grade-level collaborative teams. During the Summer of 2019, several of our teachers and Guiding Coalition members attended the Solution Tree Professional Learning CommitteeSummit in Atlanta. While at the summit, each member attended sessions on the use of assessments and data journals. This strengthened the PLC process at Allatoona Elementary. In July 2019, GC members redelivered the information gleaned from the Solution Tree Summit to the rest of the staff.  

Since that year, the Instructional Lead Teacher has continually worked with teacher teams and provided professional development and support for the first two guiding questions:

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

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


During the 2019/2020 school year, each grade level created one essential standard unit plan for math and one for reading. The Instructional Lead provided our teachers with several professional development training courses that supported this process. As grade-level teams developed their unit plans, they identified their learning targets, developed a ladder of complexity for each of the targets, created a common summative assessment, and common formative assessments, established proficiency levels, developed a SMART goal, and developed a pacing guide for the unit. As part of developing the unit, teams scheduled collaboration days to discuss the data from each common formative assessment and common summative assessment as it was administered.

A foundation was laid before us by creating the initial essential standard unit plans. Since then, grade levels have built upon the initial unit plans and created unit plans for each additional essential standard in reading, writing, math and even science. We have had and continue to have many professional development opportunities such as the Solution Tree Summer Achieve Institute and PLC at Work Institute in Orlando to help strengthen our knowledge of the teaching-assessing cycle.  Along with previously mentioned documents, teams use a protocol form to compile and organize each teacher’s data. Then teams use the data collected to guide instructional decisions. After a CSA, the team will examine their SMART goal and will determine what teacher provides further assistance for students who need to be retaught (strongest educator in the field), need extra time, or need an extension on response days. High-performing teams have their data entered before the meeting so that valuable collaborative team time can be devoted to analyzing results. This item-by-item analysis is used to determine, very specifically, what targets need to be retaught. After the tier 2 instructional cycle, students can retest to determine proficiency for that target. Students’ grades will be altered to reflect they are now proficient in that specific learning target. The retest score is recorded on the spreadsheet to track the effectiveness of Tier 2 interventions and used by the leadership team to celebrate success with teachers and studentsHigh impact students (those appearing in multiple subgroups) have been identified by the teachers at each grade level.  

In the 2020-2021 school year, Allatoona was afforded a new position. A Learning Support Specialist was assigned to each school in the district. This position was established to support the last two guiding questions:

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

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

 The person in this position works with administrators and teacher teams to develop and implement research-based interventions with fidelity. This person is also responsible for guiding teacher teams through the RTI (Response to Intervention) process and provides professional development and support in these areas. 

 At the start of the 2021-2022 school year, each school in the district hired a Reading Specialist. The person in this position works with leadership and grade-level teams to establish/plan good tier 1 instruction and prevention, as well as intervention and extension ideas for struggling readers and proficient learners. The role of this position also is to examine data from benchmarks and progress monitoring and make recommendations based on that data. During the 2021-2022 school year, grade-level teams continued to work with supporting staff to strengthen tier 1 instructional practices, revise CSAs, and examine data to ensure appropriate instruction for all students.  

At Allatoona Elementary, weekly grade-level meetings are held. The purpose of these meetings is to provide continuing education and professional development in all areas of education. Specifically, these sessions are developed based on the needs of our school. These topics may be chosen by data from a needs assessment, survey, or from school or district initiatives. Staff members at our school work collectively to improve student learning for all 

We continue to grow as a staff as we invite Solution Tree expert presenters to clarify and reinforce our understanding and implementation of the PLC process.  

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

The data included represents both achievement and growth and provides a picture of the growth shown by our students as our collaborative teams continue to work through the PLC process.

While Allatoona showed a dramatic decrease in achievement post Covid, the attached data shows a steady increase since return to “normalcy.”   For example, third graders in 2020-21 had only 48% of their students scoring developing or higher in ELA on state testing.   In 2021-22 those same students as 4th graders had 69% in the same category.   According to current fall data from Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) those same students as 5th graders have a projected proficiency of 89%.   Similarly in 2020-21,  57% of 4th graders were developing or above.  In 2021-22 those same students as 5th graders increased that percentage to 70%.

The Bartow County School System (BCSS) utilizes the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) as a universal screener. This assessment correlates with the Georgia Milestones Assessment System and is a valid indicator of student academic performance.  MAP is administered in the fall, winter, and spring.  When examining data from Fall 2021 to Fall 2022 the majority of students grew more than the projected growth for their grade level.

Our Tier 2 data shows that every grade level has increased the percentage of students demonstrating proficiency on essential standards in both reading and math after Tier 2 intervention.  This can be attributed to our collaborative teams identifying specific student needs for skill and will and working to meet those needs through the PLC process.    


  • 5-Star School Climate Award
  • Lego Robotics Team Award Winners
  • Beta Club
  • Exceptional Education Teacher 4 C's Awards
  • Bartow Education Foundation Teacher Grants