Bartow County College and Career Academy

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

The Bartow County College and Career Academy (BCCCA) is a unique school with a structure that is quite different from a traditional high school. Our school works collaboratively with an industry-based Board of Directors and local post-secondary schools to offer broader learning options to students. The BCCCA currently pulls students from three county high schoolsA portion of the student population is made up of a morning group of students who attend the Academy for first and second blocks and then return to their base schools for afternoon classes. We then have third and fourth blocks with a new afternoon groupWhile at the Academy, students attend one academic course per semester in Social Studies or English. Many students take these courses at the college-level through dual enrollment programs or sign up for Advanced Placement coursesThe second course students take is a career pathway course. Many of these classes are offered through a local technical collegeSeveral of the high school-level courses enable students to sit for certification exams, allowing students to earn a credential. The structure of the BCCCA has posed unique challenges for the staff as we have endeavored to commit to the PLC at Work process. However, by thinking outside of the box and engaging in trial and error, the BCCCA has formed a strong collaborative culture with members who are dedicated to working together to improve student learning. 

During the 2018-2019 school year, the Bartow County School District began its commitment to the PLC at Work process.  In the spring of 2019, the administration of the BCCCA began choosing teachers they felt were “willing” and “able” to lead the Guiding Coalition.  This group of teachers went through a series of trainings and book studies to better understand the purpose and vocabulary of the PLC. The team was charged with leading the change and helping other members of the staff to understand the purpose of collaboration, the four guiding questions, and what it means to be focused on student learning. These initial leaders helped to lay the foundation for collaborative teams that would begin working together in the fall semester of 2019. 

The first challenge that the BCCCA had to overcome was in the creation of collaborative teams.  The school has four social studies teachers who teach five different courses, four English teachers who teach four different courses, three healthcare teachers who teach eight different courses, and four “singleton” CTAE teachers in the areas of cosmetology, public safety, audio/visual and animation, and engineering technology. Prior to beginning the PLC process, these teachers were highly specialized.  The administration felt that to grow a collaborative culture in our school, it was necessary for our teachers to serve on teams within our building. During the fall semester of 2019, all English teachers were required to teach and collaborate on American Literature.  The social studies team worked together on US History, although one member also served on a cross-school Economics team.  The healthcare teachers formed one collaborative team, and the CTAE teachers formedthe final team.  Each team began the process of establishing norms, team roles, SMART goals, and selecting essential standards.  Teams collaborated two mornings per week to develop learning targets, write common formative assessments, and analyze assessment data.  Collaboration was slow and uncomfortable for many of the more specialized teachers at first, but the teams persevered and learned the PLC at Work process. 

The BCCCA continued to implement the PLC process in the spring of 2020, when students and teachers were sent home due to Covid-19.  Teachers met regularly via Microsoft Teams throughout the week to continue to work on essential standards, learning targets and common assessments.  Every year going forward the teams have remained committed to collaboration. Teams and essential standards have changed over the last few years.  After working with Jack Baldermann, we began to focus on simplicity. The social studies department now has a US History team and a World History team.  The healthcare team expanded their focus from one course to vertically aligning essential standards to support advanced-level courses.  The CTAE team has moved from focusing on employability skills, to literacy skills, to general skill development.  All changes were made with a focus on improving learning for students. 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

The leadership of the BCCCA began implementing a guaranteed and viable curriculum by first educating teachers on the ideology of essential standardsTeachers worked in teams to select essential standards and develop common assessments that would measure whether a student was proficient in that standardDue to feedback from teachers across the district, the Bartow County School District pulled together teacher representatives from all schools in the fall of 2021 to discuss and develop a list of common essential standards for certain subjects to ensure that there is a guaranteed and viable curriculum across the districtCollaborative teams are allowed to add essential standards to this district list; however, these standards represent a minimum for those courses. 

To monitor student learning on a timely basis, teachers use various assessment tools to gather data quickly and effectively for analysisThe US History and World History teams avidly use a website called Formative that enables them to collect real-time data, respond to individual students, and find whole-class misconceptionsThe English and healthcare teams primarily use the learning management system called Schoology and its assessment features to collect assessment data on both common formative and summative assessments. The CTAE courses are more skills based and use rubrics and scoring guides to monitorproficiency. 

Working in collaborative teams, teachers complete CFA protocol data sheets that requirethem to trackstudents who have not met proficiency on essential standardsTeachers collaboratively plan a Tier 1 response that is built into their daily class schedule. Teams also share a common summative assessment data sheet that tracks every student by sub-group on every essential standard for the courseAll teachers on the team can see every student who has not met proficiency on the essential standard. They can use this sheet to plan Tier 2 interventions collaboratively and track when a student exits Tier 2The data sheet also provides an overview that allows teachers to see how exceptional education and English-language learner students are doing compared to their general education counterparts.  This document is shared between all team members, academic support specialists, and administrators and updated regularly to ensure that leaders have accurate and up-to-date information on which students are in Tier 2 and which students have exited. 

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

Tier 2 intervention and extension time posed a quandary for the teachers at the BCCCA when initiating the PLC at Work processOur students are only on campus for half of the dayFinding time for Tier 2 time was difficult, however, through trial and error we have found a system thatprovides ample support to our students. 

In the fall of 2020, the BCCCA attempted to implement a time called “Academy Hour” two days per weekThe Guiding Coalition decided to take ten minutes from each block, combined with the break period to carve out time for Tier 2 interventions.  After about two months, the Guiding Coalition, after looking at data and listening to teacher and student feedback, decided that the Academy Hour period was more confusing than helpfulCollaborative teams were not seeing the improvements in student performance that was expected, and it was leading to more frustration than benefit for our studentsThe Guiding Coalition put together a committee to develop a new plan.  

In November of 2020, the administration of the BCCCA met with Solution Tree consultant, Angie Freeze, who looked at our unique scheduleShe advised the team to have teachers to build Tier 2 time into their regular class timeTeams must now build Tier 2 interventions into their pacing guidePacing guides are shared with school administrators and academic support specialists so that they may monitor and assist with Tier 2 intervention and extension. This has proven to be a much more effective and less disruptive model for the school.   

In the fall of 2021, the BCCCA added a level of Tier 2 support for students called “Triple E Success Day.”  The phrase “Triple E” refers to the desire to haveall graduates “employed, enlisted, or enrolled” when they leave the BCCCATwo days during the semester, the BCCCA pauses Tier 1 instruction. Students who are not proficient in essential standards go to their regularly scheduled classes for intervention supportStudents who have met essential standards attend extension sessions that are planned and scheduled by the learning support specialistMany of the sessions are related directly to career pathways. For example, healthcare students had a nurse as a guest speakerThe public safety students were able to become “Stop the Bleed” certified as many of them hope to be first respondersUS History students were able to attend a session on Civil War medicine.  The use of “Triple E Success Day” has had positive results.  Around 40-45% of students in Tier 2 academic interventions moved back to Tier 1 by having one full class period of intervention on Success DayIn addition, teachers can schedule “rolling Triple E Success Days” with the academic support team to make more time for intervention and extensionThe final layer of Tier 2 is provided in the district-required, five-day period at the end of each semesterStudents still striving to reach proficiency on essential standards receive intensive intervention time during these daysExtensions are arranged by teams and academic support specialists for students who have already reached proficiency. 

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

BCCCA collaborative teams meet at least twice per week to focus on the four guiding questions to ensure improved student learning. One meeting day is tightly scheduledThe second meeting time is based upon where teams are in the teaching and learning cycleThis change was made because teams had to wait to analyze data and respond when they wanted to move more quicklyAs a result of this change, teams are collaborating more oftenWe found that each team has faced unique challenges in the PLC at Work process, but they have found ways to ensure that their efforts are centered upon data-driven decisions that improve student learning. 

 The BCCCA healthcare team consists of three educators who are also certified medical professionals. They have used their expertiseto merge eight different courses into a seamless progression of essential standards to ensure that students obtain proficiency in concepts that will support them in the advanced-level courses and in their post-secondary learning experiences. Rarely do all teachers have one course that they share at the same timeRealizing that traditional collaboration in one course would be a difficulty, the team selected essential standards in Introduction to Healthcare and Essentials of Healthcare based on the prerequisite knowledge and skills needed for the advanced-level courses.  

The healthcare team continues to collaborate to improve student learning through the teaching and assessing cycleThe team schedules prevention and intervention time regularly and will often swap students based on teacher expertise and ability to explain or demonstrate a particular concept or skillThe team is highly focused on “our kids.”  The team’s goal is to ensure that students obtain the basic knowledge they need in Introduction of Healthcare and Essentials of Healthcare so that they can be successful on their certification exam and graduate with a credential. 

The US History and World History teams are also high-performing teams that collaboratively strive to improve student learning. US History is the one social studies course in Georgia that has a state-administered End-of-Course assessment. The World History team chose to support the US History curriculum when choosing essential standards, ensuring that students had the prerequisite knowledge that would help them on their US History assessmentThe team continually uses CFA and CSA data to target students and actively work together to provide the interventions that students needThey also frequently use academic support specialists to provide extension and interventions when they think it is best for individual studentsThese team members have also supported singleton classes by collaborating to find time to offer Advanced Placement students a mock exam so that students would have a realistic testing experience prior to the test. Finally, this team likes to reflect on all data, including End-of-Course data and Advanced Placement data, holisticallyThey want data on all students in aggregate to see how “our kids” performed rather than focusing only on students in their classroom. 

The American Literature team began working with another high school team in the spring of 2022This team meets extensively using Microsoft Teams and has consistently worked to raise the expectation for proficiency. Whereas students initially struggled with the more complex assessments, through a system of interventions and using academic support specialists, all students were able to achieve proficiency on essential standards by the end of the spring semester. This team is just one more example of how collaboration is leading to greater student learning at the BCCCA. 

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

The BCCCA has overcome many challenges since beginning our commitment to the PLC at Work process. Our first year of working in collaborative teams was the 2019-2020 school year.  Our exam results from Fall of 2019 showed significant gains for our students on the US History EOC (End of Course). Once the Covid shutdown began in the spring of 2020, however, many of our students stopped engaging in class. EOC exams were cancelled for that spring.  While some students took the AP exam, few engaged in the instructional opportunities offered through the online format during the Covid shutdown. 2019-2020 was our first year offering AP courses at the BCCCA, and the results were disappointing.  

The 2020-2021 school year posed new challenges as teachers simultaneously taught students in-person and on Microsoft Teams. Teacher teams had to cope with a new instructional model while seeing a substantial decline in student attendance. In addition, the US History team experienced the unexpected and tragic death of a team member. While test scores were flat, teachers did continue to increase their proficiency in the teaching and learning cycle and worked to improve assessment design. The AP courses saw the largest increase in students meeting proficiency. Whereas fewer students took the classes, we did see an improvement in results. 

The most recent academic year also posed challenges for the BCCCA. The school had an entirely new administration and academic support team. In addition, 75% of the ELA team was new and 50% of the social studies team was new. Despite these changes, the teams persevered through collaboration and learning the PLC process. The US History team saw a 20% increase in students meeting and exceeding proficiency on the end-of-course assessment. ELA results remained flat; however, this was a rebuilding year for that team. The groundwork for collaboration was built among the new team members, and we feel certain that we will see results next year.  

A final area of gain in our End-of-Pathway Assessments for our healthcare classes. The team worked together to set proficiency for students at a much higher level. To test, students had to reach that level pre-determined and communicated by the teachers. More students are performing at that higher proficiency level so that they can have their assessments paid for by the school, and the pass results are extremely high. The healthcare team also faced the challenge of teaching an entirely new certified medical assisting course. The teachers credit collaboration and the PLC process with the extraordinary results of a 98% pass rate. 

We have not received any awards or recognitions for our commitment to the PLC process as of yetHowever, our healthcare, US History, World History, and American Literature teams are all working  toward becoming an A-TeamWe expect that all four of those teams will be designated A-Teams by the end of the 2023 school year, with some as early as the fall of 2022.

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