Anderson School District One (2023)
- Number of Students: 10,864
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 50.54%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 8.91%
- Percent of Special Education: 19.03%
Schools in District
Cedar Grove Elementary School
Concrete Primary School
Hunt Meadows Elementary School
Palmetto Elementary School
Palmetto Middle School
Palmetto High School
Powdersville Elementary School
Powdersville Middle School
Powdersville High School
Spearman Elementary School
West Pelzer Elementary School
Wren Elementary School
Wren Middle School
Wren High School
- White: 75.43%
- Black: 7.46%
- Hispanic: 9.91%
- Asian: 1.49%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0.05%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.17%
- Multiracial: 5.49%
- Other: 0%
Get on the Bus: The Anderson One PLC Story
Anderson School District One (A1) is a suburban school district in the upstate of South Carolina. Serving approximately 10,000 students in 8 elementary, 3 middle, and 3 high schools. Anderson One has historically been an above-average school district as measured by state and national assessments, despite being one of the lowest funded districts in SC. Beginning in 2019, Anderson One’s newly appointed superintendent, Robbie Binnicker, was just getting familiar with his district administrative team. While working on a Sunday, Mr. Binnicker received a phone call from a team of Anderson One educators returning from a Solution Tree PLC Institute in Atlanta. The team was adamant that they needed to come to the district office and immediately meet with him. Not sure why the team could not wait until Monday, he agreed and met the bus in the parking lot later in the afternoon. Once aboard the bus, team members began describing their experiences at the PLC conference. Each advocated that the PLC process was the missing piece in taking Anderson One to the next level in student success, specifically, success for ALL students, not some students. “If excellence is our goal, PLCs are the path,” said Brad Moore, one of the team members. Over the next few days, Mr. Binnicker learned more and more about the power of teachers engaging in ongoing cycles of collaboration and the commitment to ALL students learning at high levels. With this small but dedicated team and the new superintendent on board, Anderson One’s journey through the PLC implementation process had begun.
Recruiting More Passengers
During the remainder of the 2019 year, A1 looked to expose more and more leaders and teachers to the PLC process. Every principal from all 14 schools attended a PLC Solution Tree Summit or Institute. Groups traveled all over the country including: Charlotte, Atlanta, Phoenix, and San Antonio. Enthusiasm grew as people began to learn what exactly working in a Professional Learning Community really entailed. Still, the buy-in at each school varied differently. The message was not consistent. In order to take the giant leap needed, every school needed a leadership team (lead teachers and administrators) to hear the SAME message at the SAME time. And that message needed to be, “Why PLCs?” The messenger was Luis Cruz. In the summer of 2019, Dr. Cruz came to Civic Center in Anderson where A1 leadership and teacher groups from all 14 schools gathered for a two-day workshop which began with an inspirational presentation in which A1 understood the moral imperative of “ALL students having access to a guaranteed and viable curriculum.” Following this two-day workshop, schools had a clear understanding of the four critical questions, the role of guiding coalitions in leading school level change, and, most importantly, an understanding that collaboration and common formative assessments were the key to improving instruction.
This initial district professional development was followed up later in the fall of 2019 in a return visit by Dr. Cruz. In this one-day workshop, schools again brought leadership teams for additional training and some one-on-one time with Dr. Cruz. As understanding grew, implementation at each school became the new focus. District leadership began to use administrative meetings to continue discussions on PLC implementation. As the spring of 2019 turned into the fall of 2020, A1 schools were all over the spectrum of PLC implementation. Even though A1 had taken significant steps along the PLC implementation journey, there was still a very long way to go.
In March of 2020, classes of students and teachers went home for the weekend and never returned face to face as a class again. Teaching and learning was now subordinate to the health and safety of our students. Teacher collaboration gave way to isolation and teaching became more counseling than curriculum.
A1 schools began the fall of 2020 with teachers simultaneously teaching students in their class as well as those joining virtually. Classrooms became cubicles of PPE and virtual students struggled to engage in classes on a screen. Teachers did their best to focus on essential standards and some schools continued their progress, but quarantines and infections made it a toss up of which students would be in class daily. PLC meetings too became a challenge. Meeting virtually or in a socially distanced setting changed the very essence of collaborating. Schools’ progress on PLC implementation varied widely and the social emotional health of teachers became a priority for A1 leadership.
Full Speed Ahead: A1 Establishes a Culture of Continuous Improvement
Summer 2021 saw a return to focusing on PLCs. A1 Superintendent Robbie Binnicker voiced a continued commitment to the PLC Process as the primary mechanism for the systematic increase in student achievement. Binnicker led a restructuring of A1’s Instructional team. A retiring Assistant Superintendent was replaced by a Director of Elementary Education and a Director of Secondary Education. Along with a Director of Testing & Accountability and a Coordinator of Digital Learning, this new instructional team had one mandate: lead PLC implementation across the district. The A1 Instructional team began this process by visiting a model PLC district in Catoosa Co., Georgia. By the end of fall, all A1 principals were able to visit two model PLC schools. They saw firsthand collaborative teams in action and learned new organizational and scheduling structures. A1 visited a total of three times and began a working relationship with Dr. Kim Nichols, current Solution Tree Associate.
Major changes took place as a result of the Catoosa visits. Here is a bulleted list of steps that demonstrate a culture of continuous improvement in A1:
The A1 instructional team led instructional meetings with all principals, assistant principals, and instructional coaches on Question 1: Identifying Essential Standards. Instruction focused on a common text: Learning By Doing.
Using the REAL acronym (Readiness, Endurance, Leverage, and Assessed), the collaborative teams in A1 schools developed essential standards to be implemented in 2022-23.
High schools adopted a Flex Time calendar and schedule, which releases students at 2:15 on Wednesdays. This change allows high school teachers to meet in collaborative teams and review Common Formative Assessments on a timely basis.
Elementary and middle schools adopted online platforms that measure student growth and progress (STAR and iReady).
The calendar for 2022-23 was adjusted to move two half-days from the end of the year to the first semester to give all schools time to collaborate and focus on Questions 1 and 2.
A1 committed resources to send 65 teachers to the Solution Tree event in Charlotte in the summer of 2022.
The A1 instructional team planned the District’s first ever PLC Summit at the start of the 2022-23 school year. For two days, EVERY teacher in our district received direct instruction on quality assessments from Solution Tree Associates Cassandra Erkens, Kim Nichols, and Pamela Liebenberg.
With a 2nd year focus on creating quality assessments, the A1 Instructional team continues to lead professional development for Principals and Assistant Principals. This year’s common curriculum is Simplifying Common Assessment.
During T.A.L.K (Teachers Advancing Learning for Kids) PD scheduled on the new ½ days, ALL District Office Leaders visited and encouraged every collaborative team in each of 14 schools.
Anderson One has committed additional time and financial resources to all 14 schools in order to create support both during and after school for students who need extra support and for students who are ready for extension.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
Instructional leaders from each school participated in training focused on establishing essential standards for the major content areas. Using the R.E.A.L. acronym, these instructional leaders became “experts” in the process of identifying essential standards and unwrapping these standards in order to create learning targets. Teacher teams were then trained in this process. Collaborative teams utilized this process in an ongoing effort to establish a guaranteed and viable curriculum at the individual school level. Once collaborative teams at the school level determined essential standards, groups of teachers from across grade levels and content areas were brought together to begin identifying Anderson One’s District-wide Essential Standards. Elementary grade levels identified ELA and Math essential standards. Middle school math grade levels created essential standards. Middle level ELA standards are currently being reviewed due to the state’s release of new standards for the 2023-24 school year. This step was a vital one in our attempt to create a Guaranteed Viable Curriculum across our District. High school content areas are currently in the process of creating district level essentials. Courses that have state level End of Course Exams have been prioritized. US History, for example, has created a list of the essential standards identified. These standards were created by a team of US History teachers from each of the three high schools. In short, Anderson One Essential Standards ensure that students across our district receive the same quality standards-based instruction no matter their teacher or school.
Solution Tree associate, Dr. Kim Nichols, introduced a unit plan template to school leaders in order to ensure that essentials were introduced and assessed in a logical sequence in order to provide ample time for appropriate interventions and extensions to be planned and implemented prior to the summative assessment. This experience assisted our district in solidifying the “prevention loop” and a strong Tier 1 core curriculum. Collaborative teams created common formative assessments using learning targets and success criteria in order to determine appropriate interventions and extensions. In January of 2023, Anderson One leadership reached a point in the PLC process where consistent and clear communication with stakeholders was needed. Anderson One created a District Guiding Coalition(DGC) composed of a representative of each of the following: teachers (k-12 and various content areas), counselors, reading coaches, school administrators and curriculum specialists, school psychologists, and district administration. Altogether, 20 of the 27 members are school level. The initial goal of this organization is to improve communication and feedback back and forth between the district’s guiding coalition and school guiding coalitions. Several task forces were created from the DGC to target areas of need in the PLC growth process. Moving forward, the DGC will play a vital role in planning the continuing professional development to support the implementation of PLCs.At the elementary level, individual schools have created schedules that provide tier one core instruction, tier two support of essential standards, and tier three intensive support for students who are multiple years below grade level proficiency. Grade level collaborative teams meet weekly at each school to address the four critical questions of a Professional Learning Community. These teams identify essential standards and supporting learning targets, create team-based common formative assessments, and utilize formative data from these assessments to plan for interventions and extensions for all students based on need. Specifically, teams utilize data protocol to monitor student achievement on grade level essential standards and plan interventions as part of the prevention loop at the tier one level. Students who do not master essential standards, based on summative assessments, are provided tier two support created by those same teacher teams. Students who are identified as being multiple grade levels behind are provided with intensive tier three support. Students have access to all three tiers during the instructional day.
Middle school teachers use two important methods for monitoring student learning. The first are the team-created common formative assessments. Collaborative teams at each grade level meet weekly to review the data and to make instructional adjustments to insure that students have mastered essential standards prior to taking summative assessments. Secondly, middle schools have used MAP and are now using iReady as a method to address individual deficits in student learning through the student’s personal pathway in both ELA and Math.
High School teachers have been afforded a schedule that now allows them to meet weekly during the T.A.L.K. time on Wednesday afternoons. Teachers evaluate data from common formative assessments and make instructional decisions. Teachers typically meet with groups that teach the same courses and levels. Singleton teachers are also now able to collaborate with teachers from other schools who teach the same courses. These teachers collaborate via on-line platforms like Zoom. They develop essential standards and then create common formative assessments to inform their instruction prior to summative assessments.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
At the elementary level, school-based collaborative teams focus their efforts on utilizing common formative assessment data to determine effective instructional responses to support students who did not master essential content and skills. Schools have created specific data protocol documents and use these to engage in deep discussions focused on instructional practices that are effective while also identifying instructional practices that need to be discarded due to ineffectiveness. A fundamental shift took place in the district as teams created time for “prevention” during the school day. This meant that teams provided support prior to the summative assessment. As previously stated, schools made specific changes to their master schedules to provide tier two support of essential standards. Collaborative teams take ownership of this process while planning interventions, sharing students, and consistently tracking progress of mastery after each cycle. Elementary schools provide more intensive tier three support for students who are identified as multiple grade levels behind via our universal screener. Additional support personnel and all certified teachers engage with students during this time to ensure the appropriate support is provided. Also during this time, students who have already mastered essential skills are supported through extensions. Teachers plan specific and engaging lessons for these extension students that include opportunities to collaborate, participate in problem-based learning activities, research, and utilize technology programs that provide individualized learning pathways.
At the middle school level, collaborative teams use common formative assessments to determine if students have mastered essential standards DURING instructional units. WIN time, which stands for “What I Need” provides time for teachers to intervene prior to unit assessments. Students are also assigned to Lab classes for intervention to address missing assignments and other issues. Although middle schools have used MAP testing in the past to gauge student progress at specific intervals, A1 has purchased the iReady program for this academic year. This program not only gives teachers a progress monitoring tool, but also creates personal pathways with which students can improve deficit areas on their own during their win time. Extension during win time includes. At the middle level, students have opportunities to attend STEMS/Robotics classes, Writing, Art, and more.
At the high school level, collaborative teams are developing essential standards and common formative assessments during T.A.L.K time (Teachers Advancing Learning for Kids). T.A.L.K time for high schools allows students to leave 1 hour early on Wednesday’s to create time for teachers to collaborate. On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, a 45 minute period called Flex time allows teachers to schedule students for interventions. Using a Flex time manager program, students who need intervention are the first priority with teachers. This time also allows students to receive extension in many areas, both academically and in the arts. Some examples of extensions available to high school students include extended time with AP classes, chorus and orchestra extensions, High school teachers are developing both common formative and common summative assessments.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
“Teachers working together, not in isolation, is the key to getting Anderson One to the next level,” said Robbie Binnicker, Superintendent of Anderson One. In 2018, A1 committed to getting school leadership and teachers on board with the PLC process. In addition to attending Solution Tree events in Atlanta and Charlotte, on two occasions, Luis Cruz came to Anderson One and worked directly with large groups from all 14 schools. Learning why a guaranteed and viable curriculum was important for ALL students, understanding the 4 questions, and seeing the value of an on-going collaborative process were the big takeaways. In the process, this step established the “why” of PLCs in A1. Everyone understood the importance. Implementation was beginning, but schools and collaborative teams were going in different directions. During the pandemic, PLC implementation crept forward slowly. Finally, in 2021, A1 began a more systematic approach to the implementation of PLCs. The focus was training our teachers to determine the guaranteed viable curriculum. A1 trained administrators who then trained their faculties in the process of determining what standards are essential. Using the R.E.A.L acronym teachers were taught how to determine essentials, and more importantly, A1 prioritized time during staff development days at all schools to do the work. In addition, A1 district and school leaders visited Model PLC districts. Here A1 leaders not only saw how collaborative teams functioned, but also how to schedule it. Middle and High schools were now armed with a plan for scheduling both collaboration and intervention time during the day. For the first time, collaborative times were built in so that teachers at all levels could collaborate regularly.
With a firm understanding of why PLCs were important, and armed with essential standards created by collaborative teams in 2021, teacher training in 2022 focused on assessment. A1 planned a two day summit at the start of the school year with the primary goal of helping teachers learn how to create quality CFAs and using the data from CFAs to drive their instruction in a timely manner. A1 scheduled a two-day Assessment Summit prior to the start of the school year. Nearly 1000 teachers in A1 gathered for training by Cassandra Erkins, Dr. Pam Liebenberg, and Dr. Kim Nichols. The focus on assessment for the 2022-23 academic year has continued following the summit.District and school level administrators as well as instructional coaches are attending PLC meetings to observe and aid teachers in using CFAs to drive instruction. With time scheduled to complete the work and training in how to do it, our collaborative teams have spent the first semester working through the process. Additional training in CFAs is scheduled for January 13, 2023 with a district wide PD led by Cassandra Erkins, which will focus on the practical aspect of creating effective assessments. Unlike the summer PD, collaborative teams will be given extensive time during the day to work together. Finally, all 14 A1 schools will receive a full-day visit from a Solution Tree PLC Coach during the winter session. Coaches are tasked with assessing the progress of collaborative teams and the overall implementation of the PLC process in each building and providing productive feedback to administrators who are leading the effort.
Achievement Data Files
Additional Achievement Data
While special education students in Anderson School District One perform consistently above the state average, our district has developed an intentional plan of action to address the achievement gap that remains between these students and their grade level peers.
3-5 Achievement Data SC-Ready
SC Ready is South Carolina’s state-wide assessment in ELA and Math given annually to students in grades 3 through 8. Student performance is scored in one of 4 categories: Does Not Meet Expectation, Approaches Expectations, Meets Expectations, and Exceeds Expectations.Schools and Districts set a goal to have all students score in the Meets or Exceeds Expectations category. The District Student Achievement Table for SC Ready shows the percentage of students in Anderson One who Meet or Exceed Expectations for the years 2017-2022 (Because of the pandemic, SC did not test students in 2020; therefore, no data is available at the district or state level.) Anderson One’s performance is compared to the percentage of students statewide who met or exceeded expectations.
Grade 3 ELA - Anderson One is consistently above the state average for Meets and Exceeds every year. In 2022, student performance returned to pre-pandemic levels, and 3rd graders achieved the highest percentage bove the state average (16.3%). South Carolina has less than half of 3rd graders that meet or exceed expectations whereas nearly 2 out of 3 (64.3%) meet or exceed expectations in ELA.
Grade 3 Math - Anderson One is consistently above the state average for Meets and Exceeds every year. In 2022, Anderson One 3rd graders had the highest percentage (22.2%) above the state average for meets or exceeds.. Whereas half of 3rd graders in the state met or exceeded expectations, nearly 3 out of 4 (73.2%) of Anderson One 3rd graders met or exceeded expectations in math on the SC Ready assessment.
Grade 4 ELA- Anderson One is consistently above the state average for Meets and Exceeds every year. In 2022, Anderson One 4th graders had the most successful year of the 5 with 73.2% of students either meeting or exceeding expectations in ELA on SC Ready. This score was 22.8 percentage points above the state average. Statewide about half of students met or exceeded expectations. In Anderson One nearly 3 out of 4 students (73.2%) met or exceeded expectations.
Grade 4 Math - Anderson One is consistently above the state average for Meets and Exceeds every year.In 2022, students performance remained near the 70% mark of students that meet or exceed expectations despite a state-wide decrease in students meeting or exceeding in 2021 and 2022. Anderson One 4th graders continued to score nearly 24 percentage points above the state average in 2021 and 2022.
Grade 5 ELA- Anderson One is consistently above the state average for Meets and Exceeds every year. In the 2021 and 2022 results for Anderson One 5th graders in ELA, there was a more than 10% increase in the number of students who met or exceeded expectations as compared to pre-pandemic results. These scores were also 27.1% above the state and 14.8% above the state for these two years.
Grade 5 Math - In 2022, 5th grade math scores in Anderson One included the highest percentage of students meeting or exceeding expectations since 2017-18. More than two out of three students (67.6%) met or exceeded expectations in math. This score was 24.3% above the state average in 2022.
6-8 Achievement Data SC-Ready
SC Ready is South Carolina’s state-wide assessment in ELA and Math given annually to students in grades 3 through 8. Student performance is scored in one of 4 categories: Does Not Meet Expectation, Approaches Expectations, Meets Expectations, and Exceeds Expectations.Schools and Districts set a goal to have all students score in the Meets or Exceeds Expectations category. The District Student Achievement Table for SC Ready shows the percentage of students in Anderson One who Meet or Exceed Expectations for the years 2017-2022 ( Because of the pandemic, SC did not test students in 2020; therefore, no data is available at the district or state level.) Anderson One’s performance is compared to the percentage of students statewide who met or exceeded expectations.
Grade 6 - ELA - Anderson One is consistently above the state average for Meets and Exceeds every year. In 2022, the percentage of Anderson One 6th graders who meet or exceed expectations was significantly higher than years past at 63.4%. This percentage was the highest of the 5 year data set and was 18.3 percentage points above the state average.
Grade 6 Math- Anderson One is consistently above the state average for Meets and Exceeds every year. Although 2021 and 2022 performance on the SC Ready Math section was lower across the state than in pre-pandemic years, the percentage of 6th graders in Anderson One who were above the state average in meets or exceeds expectations returned to pre-pandemic levels with 16.5 and 21 percentage points above the state average respectively.
Grade 7 ELA- Anderson One is consistently above the state average for Meets and Exceeds every year. In 2022, Anderson One had the highest percentage of 7th graders meeting or exceeding expectations over the 5 year period with 61.6% of students reaching this mark. This score was 18.4 percentage points above the state average.
Grade 7 Math - Anderson One is consistently above the state average for Meets and Exceeds every year.In 2021 and 2022, there was a state-wide decrease in the percentage of 7th graders who met or exceeded expectations on SC Ready Math. This trend was true for Anderson One 7th graders as well; however, in 2022 the percentage of Anderson One 7th graders meeting or exceeding expectations was the highest above the state average than in the previous years at 25.1%.
Grade 8 ELA - Anderson One is consistently above the state average for Meets and Exceeds every year. Anderson One 8th graders had the highest percentage of meets or exceeds expectations on SC Ready ELA in the past 5 years at 58%. This score was 12.1% above the state average, the largest margin over the past 5 years.
Grade 8 Math - Anderson One is consistently above the state average for Meets and Exceeds every year. Consistent with grades 6 and 7, 8th grade students across the state scored lower on SC Ready Math than in pre-pandemic years. This trend continued in Anderson One as well; however, despite the decrease in the percentage of students who meet or exceed expectations, Anderson One 8th graders still maintained a performance well above the state average.
ACT - 2018-19 - Composite scores for Anderson One was lower than the national average; however, from 2019 through 2022, Anderson One composite scores were above the national average. Anderson One composite scores are higher than the state average for the 4 years reported.
SAT - For the years 2018-19 and 2019-2020, Anderson One total SAT scores were below both the state and national average. In 2020-21 Anderson One total scores exceeded the national average. In 2021-22, Anderson One SAT total scores exceeded BOTH the state and national average.
Advanced Placement - The percentage of honor increased significantly from just over 50% in 2019 to 88.9% in 2022 in Biology. English Literature saw a similar increase from 55% in 2019 to 89% in 2022. With the exception of Chemistry, Anderson One’s %Honor was significantly higher in 2021 and 2022 compared to the pre-Covid year of 2019.
South Carolina assesses high school College and Career Ready Standards through End of Course Exams in the following courses: Algebra 1, English1, Biology, and US History. In 2022, South Carolina moved the End of Course exam from English 1 to English 2. Regardless of a student’s grade-level, he or she must take the End of Course exam at the completion of the associated course. The data table shows the percentage of students who passed End of Course exams with a grade of 60 or higher for both Anderson One students and all students in South Carolina from 2017-2022. (Because of the pandemic, SC did not test students in 2020; therefore, no data is available at the district or state level.) Since 2017-18, Anderson One has offered advanced students the opportunity to take Algebra 1 and English 1 in the 8th grade.
End of Course Student Performance - With the exception of Algebra 1 in 2018, Anderson One students have exceeded the percentage of students statewide who pass the End of Course Exam. Although the percentage of Anderson One students passing was not significantly higher than the state average in many areas, the percentage passing in most areas was nearly 3 out of 4 students.
2022 - Powdersville Elementary School named Model PLC at Work school
2022 - Palmetto Middle School names Model PLC at Work school
2022 - Elementary and middle schools recognized as top 5 performing district in South Carolina
2022 - Graduation rate over 90% for seventh straight year