Palmetto High School (2023)

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


Palmetto High School (PHS) is the heart of the rural community in Williamston, SC. We serve approximately 1,000 students, many of whom have parents and grandparents who attended PHS, from several small towns that surround the school. We know our community and the challenges it faces, many of which have worsened in the last several years. As poverty rates increased, graduation rates dwindled; when it hit 85.3% for the 2017-2018 school year, we knew we needed a better way to reach all of our students. We looked at our school’s mission to “Strive Ever Upward” and understood that this was not just for our students; it was for us as well. We needed something that would help us to grow better and stronger in what we do to serve our students. That was when the district sent a team of administrators to a Solution Tree conference—and we knew that the PLC process was exactly what we needed.

As the 2018-2019 school year began, the administration introduced the concept of PLCs as a way for teachers to work together continuously to improve the climate and culture of PHS and to increase the academic achievement of all learners. Our mission  to “Strive Ever Upward” was given a new vision to guide it: ensuring that all students are learning at high levels. We began by studying the Four PLC Guiding Questions and diving deep into what they really meant for our students: What do we expect students to learn? How will we know if students are learning? How will we respond when students do not learn? How will we respond when students learn?Almost immediately, it became apparent that we needed a guaranteed and viable curriculum in each discipline. Professional learning teams began the process of selecting essential standards, creating learning targets, discussing best practices, developing unit plans, creating common formative and summative assessments, and planning to intervene when students didn’t learn and extend when they did. We began to understand the importance of collecting common data from assessments and using it to assess learning, guide instruction, and identify strengths and weaknesses in teaching practices. It was a bumpy road, but we felt proud in having taken the first steps in a long journey that we believed would end in success.

In the summer of 2019, several staff members attended professional development led by Luis Cruz to learn more about the PLC process; they became the inaugural members of the school’s Guiding Coalition (GC). They returned excited and full of ideas about how PHS could build on what they had begun during the previous school year. The GC believed that we had a solid foundation on what we expected students to learn and how we would know if they were learning, so we needed to focus specifically on how to respond when they learned and when they did not. Another problem soon became apparent: the daily schedule did not include time for students to receive intervention and extension. We decided to move all students to one lunch, a “Stampede Hour” that would give us the time we needed, and we planned to implement that after Spring Break. Unfortunately, the school year was cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our PLC process mostly came to a halt. With the remainder of the school year hanging in the balance, teachers had to approach collaboration through phone calls and zoom meetings in order to guarantee that students were still receiving the best education possible. 

As the 2020-2021 school year began, teachers were energized to be back in the building with most of our students and were excited to get back to the PLC process as they worked in the “new normal” of teaching online and in person at the same time. 

While this year brought its own set of challenges through a hybrid teaching model with some students remaining at home and receiving instruction virtually, teachers again focused on the four PLC guiding questions with special emphasis on questions 3 and 4. While the school year looked different, teachers maintained the level of rigor in the classroom and found ways to intervene and extend learning despite the circumstances. 

With students and staff able to return to a sense of normalcy for the 2021-2022 school year, the goal became for teams to refine the guaranteed and viable curriculum through the development of unit plans based on the REAL criteria (Readiness, Endurance, Assessed, Leverage). We quickly discovered that our teams needed additional support in identifying essential versus supporting standards. Our Thriving Thursday faculty meetings were focused on helping teachers identify the non-negotiables in their curriculum and to begin forming common summative assessments (CSAs). As teams successfully developed unit plans and CSAs, the next step was to create common formative assessments (CFAs). This would be the focus of work done over the summer and into the next school year.

The 2022-2023 school year began strong with focused attention on collaborative practices, collective inquiry, and building shared knowledge. Our SMART Goals continued with creating our guaranteed and viable curriculum, but also expanded to include data-driven instruction and implementation of best practices for intervention and extension. The Guiding Coalition was revitalized and a new schedule was implemented to include TALK Time (Teachers Advancing Learning for Kids) which allows teachers to meet with their collaborative teams every Wednesday in order to compare data and determine what to do when students are learning, and what to do when they are not. This time is intentional and it is protected because we recognize the importance of providing teachers with this opportunity during the school day. For those teachers who do not have a curriculum partner in the building (singletons), they are able to meet with teachers at other schools within our district in order to engage in the professional learning team process. Additionally, we added a FLEX time on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday into our schedule so that all students have supplemental time with their teachers to receive the necessary intervention or to extend learning that has already occurred. The new schedule has allowed teachers unencumbered time to analyze data, plan for student outcomes and truly delve into the four PLC questions to ensure that all students are learning at the highest levels. 

As we look to the future, our staff is committed to the PLC process because we know that our students deserve our very best, and we are at our best when we are continuously working together to improve student learning. The PLC process has given us an avenue to continuously teach, evaluate student learning, intervene, and extend learning, which in turn allows us to strengthen our relationships because students know that their success is important to us and we refuse to let them fail. We believe that all students are capable and can succeed if they feel supported, which is why we focus on building relationships with our students, their families, and the community as a whole. We will continue to “Strive Ever Upward” as we enter the next phase of our PLC journey and we work to guarantee that all of our students are loved, supported, and are learning.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Monitoring of student learning at Palmetto High School occurs through Common Formative Assessments (CFA) and Common Summative Assessments (CSA) given within a teaching-assessing cycle. Collaborative teams establish learning targets from their essential standards that will be the focus of the CFA. After students are assessed, the collaborative team analyzes the data student-by-student as well as target-by-target. This enables teachers to see both common mistakes and individual needs. This is where teachers can decide how they should intervene or extend students’ learning. Teachers can use this information to adjust their unit pacing as well as their lesson plans to include response days, if necessary, or to drive how their FLEX Time will be used. FLEX Time is a 45 minute period built into our school day where students return to one of their classes for additional time with their teachers. This time can be used for Tier II Intervention or extension activities. There are many different ways in which teachers use data from CFAs to meet the needs of their students. Teachers can implement whole group instruction, small group instruction, or cooperative learning groups during class time while other students work on extension activities or additional practice. As CFAs can address one or multiple learning targets, teachers can have multiple CFAs throughout the course of a unit. Teachers can use data from the CFAs to establish readiness for the end of unit CSA. If proficiency is not met on CFAs, teachers will use intervention strategies to ensure proficiency is met before the end of unit CSA is given. 

At the end of each unit of study, collaborative teams give a CSA. The teams analyze the data from CSAs and those students who do not show proficiency are required to take part in Tier II intervention during FLEX Time. Students can also attend the After School Program to have concentrated time to study or complete reinforcement activities. The teaching-assessing cycle varies a bit by subject. Collaborative teams meet once a week for one hour to plan their units, review CFA data, and plan their interventions. This time is also used to align data to team’s SMART Goals. These goals are set by collaborative teams for their students, their curriculum team, and their courses. These goals are specific, measurable, and timely. As the year progresses, these goals allow for reflection on current practices, effectiveness of CFAs and CSAs, and are used to guide planning for future courses. 

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

When Palmetto High School’s Freshman Academy was created, their bell schedule allowed for a period of time in the school day to be devoted to intervention. This period was called Academic Enhancement, and this is where the majority of Tier II intervention took place. Due to conflicts with the Career Center, the main school was unable to build in such a period. This resulted in relying heavily on the After School Program, lunchtime, and before school hours to intervene with students. The need for a block of time built into the school day for intervention was evident, so in the 2019-2020 school year it was decided that the next year would include Stampede Hour. Stampede Hour was to be in the middle of the day and include lunch. Teachers could use this time to pull students for one-on-one intervention or small group instruction and  students could use this time to make up missing assignments or get extra help. Unfortunately, with the new protocols in place for COVID, it was not possible to implement Stampede Hour.

During the 2021-2022 school year, the need for time during the school day for focused intervention was glaring, paired with a need for dedicated, protected time for collaborative teams to work together. Through administration and the Guiding Coalition, it was decided that the next year’s schedule would include not only a FLEX Time, but also TALK Time. This change was approved by our district office, and the career center was able to change their schedule to accommodate this change as well. FLEX Time is a 45 minute period built into our school day where students return to one of their classes for additional time with their teachers. This time falls between 2nd and 3rd block, and students report to their 1st block class on Mondays, 2nd block on Tuesdays, 3rd block on Thursdays, and 4th block on Fridays. Teachers can request that students be sent to their class on other days as well, if there is a pressing need. To manage the movement of students between classes, PHS uses e-hallpass. This tool enables teachers to request students be sent to their rooms either by an Appointment Pass or Teacher Proxy pass. Students can also use this to request to go to teachers if they know they have missing work or need extra help in a subject. PHS has also moved to using e-hallpass as our bathroom pass manager. E-hallpass times students as they are moving, be it to another teacher or gone to the restroom. This has drastically cut down on students lingering in the hallways when they should be in class. Using this system, we can also see how many times a student has left classes all day long, and this allows us to track trends with students. 

There is no FLEX Time on Wednesdays which allows for an adjusted schedule that releases students at 2:25 instead of 3:15. This is our TALK Time (Teachers Advancing Learning for Kids) where collaborative teams have time to meet, work on CFAs and CSAs, and review student data in real time. Each department (Math, Science, English, Social Studies, Foreign Language, CATE, and Related Arts) all meet together to align vertically. After meeting as a whole, collaborative teams or partners all break off to discuss their classes and data. Teachers are expected to bring their data to each and every meeting so that collaborative partners can ensure that our guaranteed and viable curriculum is being implemented. These changes are brand new for the 2022-2023 school year, and while there are still some hiccups to work out, these times have radically changed how our teachers use collaborative data to plan their student interventions. 


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

At Palmetto High School, one of our collective commitments is to “work collaboratively in teams with collective responsibility for placing a high emphasis on student learning”. When the focus of PHS shifted to effective teacher collaboration, school leadership and teachers all saw the need for a shift from the traditional hierarchy to that of a Guiding Coalition (GC). Our GC is a team of stakeholders from each facet of our school who are committed to guiding the school’s work by leading the PLC process. A set of Collective Commitments was created through a subgroup of teachers and stakeholders.  These Collective Commitments align with our Mission and Vision and were approved by the GC. These collective commitments exemplify our school’s commitment to work collaboratively and to always place student learning at the forefront of all of our work and efforts. The Guiding Coalition currently meets a minimum of once a month to research best practices, create and implement school wide professional development, and to share and assist collaborative team successes and barriers. Our classroom teachers meet once a week during our TALK Time. This time is split between vertical alignment and collaborative team time. This time is protected after students are dismissed early on Wednesdays. During TALK Time, administrators, Interventionists, Instructional Technologists, and Instructional Coaches attend collaborative meetings to offer support and monitor the process. Our goal in everything we do is to further student learning by working collaboratively.


Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

Data Rationale:

Underclassmen - TAB

EOC Data

The End of Course Exam (EOC) is a statewide exam that is administered at the conclusion of specific courses throughout a student’s high school career. There is one test per content area, and the exam counts as 20% of a student’s overall grade for that course.

  • EOC grades did not count towards overall grades in the 2020-2021 school year and PHS saw a slight decline in grades for that year.

  • PHS moved to a 90 minute block (semester) schedule in the 2021-2022 school year from a AB year long schedule.

  • English EOC - The English EOC changed from English 1 to English 2 in the 2019-2020 school year. This would mean that the majority of students taking this exam were 10th graders instead of the English 1 group being 9th graders. The English 2 EOC is administered to 9th and 10th graders taking different levels of the course, such as Honors and CP. The English 2 EOC data shows growth from year to year and PHS scores were higher than the state average.

  • Math EOC - The Algebra 1 EOC is administered to 9th and 10th graders who take different levels of the course. The Algebra 1 EOC data shows growth from year to year with a dip in the mean scores after the 2020-2021 school year but rebounded in the 2021-2022 school year.

  • Science EOC - Biology 1 EOC is given to all 9th graders within the different levels of the course. The Biology 1 EOC data shows in 2017-2018 PHS exceeded district and state averages and in 2018-2019 PHS exceeded state averages. In 2020-2021 PHS saw a dip in the scores due to COVID protocol along with the district and state as well. In 2021-2022 the PHS scores exceeded district standards and during this school year this cohort of students missed part of their 7th grade year due to COVID which included pre-Biology standards. The decline in scores is a direct correlation to the lack of in-class instruction. 

  • History EOC - The US History EOC is given to all 11th graders within the different levels of the course. The US History EOC data shows growth from year to year with a dip after the 2020-2021 school year and it started to rebound in the 2021-2022 school year. The US History scores also exceeded district and state scores  for every year over the past 4 years with a slight dip within the district level in the 2021-2022 school year.


  • N/A means population tested was less than 10% and the data did not report.

  • For the 2019-2020 school year, all subgroups showed growth from the previous year’s scores. The subgroup that showed the most improvement was the African American subgroup.

  • For the 2020-2021 school year, the overall average score increased, and all reported subgroups exceeded the previous year’s scores. 

  • For the 2021-2022 school year, the Hispanic subgroup showed growth from the previous reported year. 

Career Readiness Assessment

For the Career Readiness Assessment, there are four levels of Career Readiness that students aim to achieve, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. To be Career Ready, students must achieve at least a Bronze Status. The overall level is determined by the lowest score in each category. For example, a student scores platinum in 2 categories and bronze in 1, the overall score is bronze. PHS strives to increase Career Readiness each year with all students by equipping them with the tools necessary to score a Silver or higher as these are the workers that companies and large corporations are looking to hire. 

  • The data shows that the Bronze levels decrease each year, while Silver, Gold and Platinum levels are increasing. 

  • The data also shows that PHS exceeded State levels each year in Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

  • PHS also shows comparable scores to the district in these categories, even exceeding in some years in some categories. 

  • Consistent with most testing data, there is no data for the 2019-2020 school year due to COVID protocols. 

Senior Data TAB

ACT (Graduating Senior Report)

Palmetto High School (PHS) administers the ACT during the third year, or 11th grade, of high school. The data represents when these students graduated. For example, during the 2019-20 school year Juniors took the ACT and the data shows in the 2020-21 data because they are seniors. Every third year student can opt to take the ACT, SAT or not to test. Parents and students make this decision at the beginning of their third year of high school.

  • All data boxes that are green represent that PHS is the same or higher than the district average or that PHS has grown from year to year.  The averages, in most cases, are higher than the State averages and match the National averages or are higher.

  • Growth is shown from year to year in each subject and PHS maintained this growth through the 2020-2021 year of COVID protocols.

SAT (Graduating Senior Report)

The same scenario applies to the SAT as the ACT. This test is given to students during their third year, as stated above in regard to the ACT. Every third year student can opt to take the ACT, SAT or not to test. Parents and students make this decision at the beginning of their third year of high school.

  • All green boxes represent when PHS mean scores grew from year to year and/or met or exceeded State and National averages. 

  • PHS maintained or increased test scores throughout the COVID protocols.

AP Scores

Students at PHS are given the opportunity to take AP classes and to test at the end of the year to earn college credit.

  • Students take Human Geography and Calculus in the Fall, and then take the exam in May of the school year. This factor may explain any drop in AP scores due to gaps in instructional time and testing.

  • Green boxes represent growth for percentage passing from year to year. 

Graduation Rate

The highest graduation rate PHS can attain is 93%.  Of the PHS population, 7% are self-contained special education students who will not earn a standard high school diploma, although the vast majority of these students earn an employability credential. In the state of SC, graduation rate must take into consideration how many students do not graduate with a standard diploma and those which gain employability credentials do not qualify as standard graduates.

  • PHS is the only high school of the three in the district that serves this population of self-contained students.

  • Green blocks represent growth year to year and PHS shows higher graduation rates than the State of SC average.

Graduation rates by Sub-groups

  • PHS’ graduation rate has grown in each sub-group except for one and in some groups such as African American the rate was 100% for the COVID year. 

  • Disabled student graduation rate exceeded the district and state average in 2021 and grew by nearly 39% from year to year. Most of our disabled population includes the self contained students that receive certificates and not full high school diplomas. This affects the rate negatively because, as stated in the previous section, certificate graduates do not count toward the school’s overall graduation rate.

  • All sub-groups except one exceeded state averages each year and in some cases exceeded in-state and district averages.


AAA Varsity Competitive Cheer State Runner-Up

1 student selected for Region Band

2 Students selected for All County Band

AFJROTC Distinguished Unit with Merit Award

AFJROTC Community Service Award

Southeast Region Cadet Leadership Course Unit of Excellence Award

Theatre Selected to represent SC for International Thespian Festival

SCTA High School Theatre Festival 10th in state

Varsity Concert Choir earns "Excellent" rating at State CPA

18 students selected for SC Western Region Choir

20 students selected for Anderson 1's All-District Choir



1 Student Earned the Gold Seal of Biliteracy

4 Students Earned the Bronze Seal of Biliteracy

Marching Band 3rd Place at Byrnes Tournament of Bands

Marching Band 2nd Place at Easley Tournament of Champions

Marching Band 1st Place at Pride of Pendleton Marching Classic

1 student selected for Region Band

8 students selcted for All County Band

AFJROTC Distinguished Unit Award

AFJROTC Community Service Award

Theatre Palmetto Dramatics Association Superior

SCTA High School Theatre Festival Best Set, Best Sound

Varsity Concert Choir earns "Excellent" rating at State CPA

18 students selected for SC Western Region Choir

20 students selected for Anderson 1's All-District Choir



3 Students selected for Region Band

6 Students selected for All County Band

State Champion FFA Creed Speaking

Region 1 Champion FFA Creed Speaking

Varsity Concert Choir earns "Superior" rating at virtual State CPA

Female State Champion in High and Long Jump



Wind Ensemble Excellent at CPA

3 Students selected for Region Band

5 Students Selected for All County Band

AFJROTC Distinguished Unit Award

AFJROTC Community Service Award

Southeast Region Cadet Leadership Course Unit of Excellence Award

State Champion SCFFA Prepared Public Speaking

Gold Emblem FFA Chapter (Top 12 in SCFFA)

National FFA Semi-Finalist in Creed Speaking

Region 1 Champion FFA Prepared Public Speaking

Region 1 Champion FFA Exptemporaneous Public Speaking

Region 1 3rd Place FFA Creed Speaking

4 Students Recieve the State FFA Degree

Top 10 - State FFA Horse Evaluation

Top 10 - State FFA Livestock Judging

Softball Coach selected to as North Coach in North/South All Star game

1 Baseball player selected for region 3A all star game 

2 Softball players selected for region 3A all star game

3 Track students represented Palmetto in the State Track Championship

Female State Champion in High Jump

Male 3rd place in state 100m/ Broke school record in 100m

Softball team District 2 Champions 

4 Students earned region champions in Wrestling 

Football teams earns bid to 3A tournament 

Varsity Concert Choir earns "Excellent" rating at State CPA

Varsity Concert Choir earns "Superior" rating on sight reading at State CPA

18 students selected for SC Western Region Choir

2 students selected for the 22 SC All-State Choir

20 students selected for Anderson 1's All-District Choir

Principal  named high school athletic Administrator of the Year 2022-2023



AAA Varsity Competitive Cheer State Runner-Up

2 Students selected for Region Band

4 Students Selcted for All County Band

Marching Band 3rd Place at WCU Tournament of Champions

Marching Band 2nd Place at Byrnes Tournament of Bands

1 cadet selected for the J-100 AFJROTC Character in Leadership scholarship

Three Star National FFA Chapter Award

2nd Place in SCFFA Region 1 Tractor Operations & Safety

SCTA High School Theatre Festival 6th in state

SCTA High School Theatre Festival Best Ensemble, Best Sound/foley

PHS received a $2000 grant from DHEC for Environmental science water quality studies 

Every year NHS students complete 25 community service hours. This has included a mentorship program with Palmetto elementary, community events like Boo in the Park, and collecting items for those in need in our community 

2 Football Players selected for 3A All Region 

4 Cheerleaders selected for 3A All Region 

Varsity Boys Basketball earned a bid for the tournament 

Varsity Girls Basketball won Mistletoe Mania Christmas Tournament 

18 students selected for SC Western Region Choir

2 students selected for the 23 SC All-State Choir

25 students selected for Anderson 1's All-District Choir

PE Teacher named state PE Teacher of the Year