Woodland High School (2023)

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

Woodland High School has undergone a profound culture shift over the past three years.  While enjoying a reputation as a school with high achievement for nearly two decades, Woodland’s graduation rate had fallen to the lowest in the Bartow County School System by 2019.  Barely half of special education students graduated within four years, and access to targeted support was spotty at best.  A deeply invested staff worked overtime to save students who were in danger of dropping out and retaining, but a consistent focus and commitment on what students were expected to learn and what to do when they did not was absent.

Following the lead of the Bartow County School System, Woodland opened the 2019-2020 with a commitment to the PLC process.  Several staff attended Solution Tree conferences that summer, a schedule was built that secured unobstructed team collaboration time twice weekly, and Woodland’s newly formed guided coalition immediately began reviewing policies and procedures to ensure that a focus on what was best for students was paramount.  

Woodland teachers, all of whom cared deeply about student outcomes, welcomed a paradigm that hinged on teacher efficacy and embraced the student-focus of our collaboration model.   Teacher teams established norms and protocols, and then unpacked curriculum by establishing essential standards during the fall of 2019.  That semester Woodland’s guiding coalition built a professional learning plan presented a laser-sharp focus on our commitments:  The teaching and assessing cycle, common formative assessments, common summative assessments, and a systematic response to the evidence of learning through a fresh perspective on RTI.   In the second and third year, PL focused on data literacy, data-driven instruction, and evaluation of instructional strategies through shared evidence.  During these years, the consistency of bi-weekly collaboration and student results monitoring allowed staff to focus on student learning throughout pandemic-impacted schedule changes, digital learning, and quarantines/illness.  In fact, Woodland emerged in 2021-22 with definitive improvements in overall achievement and the closing of significant student group gaps.  

Key to the transformation has been a deep commitment to teacher team efficacy.  We avoided universal templates in favor of suggestions from our system’s PLC Playbook and the advice of Solution Tree Associates we met with at conferences, coaching sessions, institutes and school system professional development.  Teams amended and adjusted as they saw fit to fully appreciate how best to monitor their students’ learning as well as their own efficacy. Throughout this shift, our teachers have continually been reminded that they are the experts in the learning.  Our role as guiding coalition members has been to provide the understandings needed to universally apply the Three Main Ideas of the PLC Process.  To support teacher team efficacy, the guiding coalition recommended, and we adopted several operational priorities to support their work:   

Heading into year three, our staff, now fully informed on the learning outcomes of Woodland student groups were asked how many of our students we should expect to graduate with high levels of learning and achievement in four years.  Unanimously our staff committed to ALL.  To this end, we rewrote our vision, mission, and collective commitments, and we adopted the mantra “All Means All”.  This lens applies to Woodland students as well as our staff, and once in place we were able to address even more obstacles to improved learning.   

We overhauled our scheduling process to prioritize “common learning time” where subject area teams teach at the same time (also affording them common planning to further collaborate as needed).  This has led our strongest teams to share students and target specific needs as a true team.  We have made the case to parents that inclusion environments are the best learning environments for their IEP students, and in so doing, we have eliminated small-group resource classrooms in favor of a guaranteed and viable curriculum for all Wildcats.   While singleton classes do still exist, all Exceptional Education co-teachers became imbedded into consistent teams, becoming equal partners in all facets of student learning, assessment, and achievement.   

Throughout this process, we have not eschewed the power of positive relationships.  We have maintained an understanding that our North Star remains our kids, and that the culture shift towards learning rings true and generates results when we stay focused on the students of our community whose futures we care so deeply for.  

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

The culture shift Woodland has undergone over the past three and a half years has moved the focus from what we teach to what students learn. Teacher teams have practiced and improved the art of identifying essential standards for ALL learners. This shift reflected consistent communication by school leadership and a commitment on the part of all school staff to improving the learning outcomes of our students. 

Starting in fall of 2019, school leadership provided targeted and ongoing professional learning into what an essential standard is, how to use the REAL acronym process, and the moral imperative of guaranteed learning outcomes for ALL students, regardless of which teacher a child ended up with, what service need a child requires or what socio-economic, racial, or linguistic experience a child may bring to Woodland each day.  Professional learning focused on data literacy, data-driven instruction, and data driven assessment (of learning and the instruction associated).   The guiding coalition set an expectation that all teams would implement common formative assessments by the spring of 2020, which allowed for a more consistent learning experience as Covid-19 forced closures later that spring.  When we returned in 2020, all WHS teams were fully implementing a teaching and assessment cycle and collectively reviewing student learning outcomes.  Common summative assessments were then built, and by spring of 2021, tier 2 interventions during a set 40-minute period during the day had been fully established.   As we moved forward, teachers who had long felt or believed that certain strategies, texts, resources, or assessments amounted to best practice often confronted data and evidence that showed otherwise. 

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

Our guaranteed and viable curriculum provides access to a set of essential standards for each course. That does not mean, however, that every student will show proficiency for every learning target at the same time. Knowing this, our guiding coalition established a dedicated intervention time within each school day, which we call Wildcat Period. Professional learning clarified interventions and how to implement them during instructional time.  After each common assessment, collaborative teams analyze the student data to determine which students have met proficiency on the assessed learning target or essential standard resulting in both data-driven tier 1response-days and tier 2 interventions following summatives.  This allows teachers to plan interventions for individual students based on their needs. This is the most effective tool we have to address the needs of diverse learners. Teams are also able to analyze data by class and by teacher, so that they can increase their collective teacher efficacy by learning which instructional methods worked well, and which did not. For every common assessment, each team makes a response plan to their student learning data. For formative assessments, this response plan is often carried out during regular tier 1 instructional time. The goal is to be preventative with our instruction so that we use the student performance data to address misconceptions and learning needs prior to the summative assessment. If a student has not demonstrated proficiency by the date of the summative assessment, they are scheduled to come in during Wildcat Period. Each academic course has two dedicated days for interventions and extensions, which allows students to attend interventions for their classes without worrying about getting behind in another course. During this intervention time, it is common practice for collaborative teams to divide students among the team teachers, regardless of which teacher a student is assigned to. For example, one teacher will take all the students who need intervention on a learning target and another teacher will take the students who are ready for extension. This helps reinforce the idea that the teacher teams are responsible for the learning of all students, not just the ones assigned to their classroom. All students are offered the opportunity re-assess on learning targets on which they did not meet proficiency.

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

In order for teachers to be a part of meaningful teams, we overhauled our master schedule.  Previously, the schedule was created with the adults in mind – the fewest number of preps, the most convenient planning period, and personal preference drove decision making.  However, after embracing the PLC process, we discovered the importance of high-functioning collaborative teams where every teacher had a stake in student outcomes.  This resulted in a complete overhaul of the scheduling process, including implementing common instructional time to allow teachers to share students.  This allowed teachers to learn the process by being active members of a team.  Leadership also committed to protected collaborative time two times per week for every team.  The school’s leadership team committed to building the staff’s knowledge of the process through job-embedded professional learning.  Teacher teams learn together during professional learning time to pinpoint needs in student learning and identify effective strategies.  The administrative team embedded into teams, providing feedback and supporting struggling teams.   

The guiding coalition identified a need for a common data tool in order to identify trends in student learning.  The administrative team and learning support specialist use this information to support teams in their work.  Teams were quick to learn that prevention in Tier I led to fewer students in need of Tier II interventions.  However, when students require interventions, the school has committed to providing time during the school day.  A daily 40-minute intervention block allows teachers to use student learning data to respond to students’ needs.  Finally, when students and teachers commit to the right work and teams see improvements in student learning, the school celebrates success, both with students and teachers.  The guiding coalition has tied celebrations to the right work and actively identifies students, teachers, and teams that are making a difference in student learning.  A result of these commitments has been the school’s adoption of the “our students” mentality.  Teachers and administrators have taken responsibility for student learning, regardless of their grade, course assignment, perceived ability, or past behavior.     

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

2021: Highest grad rate in school's history (95.4)

Increase of 12.3% in students with disabilities from 2020.

End of Course assessments improved relative to school system and state during pandemic. 

Highest number of AP exams taken and tests passed in school's history

--See WHS school Report on Academic Achievement for more details

  • Biology Team Recognized as A-Team
  • Historically high graduation rate
  • Collaborative Team of the Month
  • District Teacher of the Year / Georgia Teacher of the Year
  • National Model PLC District
  • Named AP Expansion School
  • Named AP Humanities School
  • Named AP STEM School
  • Hosted four school systems
  • 2022 Congressional Art Competition Winner
  • Highest District SAT Score
  • 37 AP Scholars
  • 9 AP Scholars with Honor
  • 9 AP Scholars with Distinction
  • 5 AP Teachers with Distinction