Concrete Primary School (2023)

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

In 2018, Concrete Primary School’s (CPS) journey with Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) began when our principal attended a Solution Tree Institute in Phoenix, and returned with a renewed sense of energy and purpose. The administrative team began to initiate practices that would enable an effective and successful implementation of the PLC process. This endeavor began with a focus on the four main PLC questions in an effort to gain a clear understanding of effectively implementing routine collaboration among teachers.

In the spring of 2019, CPS established a Guiding Coalition (GC) composed of teachers, teaching assistants, administrators, and the literacy coach. This team attended a two-day training led by Solution Tree expert, Dr. Luis Cruz. Attendees left with a clearer understanding and drive to implement the PLC process at CPS.

During the summer, the newly established GC collaborated, created, and shared our plan for continued implementation of the PLC model to all staff and to build excitement for the process. The team focused on redefining the mission and vision for CPS.

In the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, Anderson School District One provided professional development (PD) for all staff. During this PD session, CPS faculty gained a deeper understanding of the PLC process and how it could transform our student learning outcomes. Faculty members collaborated to develop collective commitments and norms for their collaborative teams.

CPS teachers analyzed state standards using the REAL (Rigor, Endurance, Assessment, Leverage) method to determine essential standards for each grade level. This was the first step in our commitment to ensuring a guaranteed and viable curriculum for all students. After essential standards were identified, collaborative time centered around the four critical questions to foster successful student learning outcomes. Agendas were developed around the four questions and utilized by all collaborative teams. 

Administration created a master schedule that adjusted teachers’ afternoon duties to ensure meeting time for weekly collaboration was protected. During collaborative meetings, homeroom teachers began to create common formative assessments (CFAs). Teachers evaluated CFA data and used it to drive instruction, interventions, and extensions in their classrooms.

The GC began meeting monthly to continually reflect and gain more knowledge on the PLC process. Guiding Coalition members attended a follow-up PD session with Dr. Luis Cruz to identify next steps for Concrete’s PLC journey.

During the 2019-2020 school year, the master schedule was further modified to include an embedded Tier 2 time, What I Need (WIN), for each homeroom class. Teachers with common planning shared a common WIN time to efficiently facilitate changing student WIN groups. Teachers provided Tier 2 support for students within their own classroom during the beginning phase of implementation. In February, second grade homerooms began switching classes for WIN time. Unfortunately, our school was closed in March of 2020 due to the global COVID pandemic, and PLC work was halted as instruction moved to asynchronous learning. 

At the start of the 2020-2021 school year, many COVID restrictions were implemented as CPS welcomed students back for in-person instruction. Social distancing restrictions prevented WIN time students from changing classrooms. Despite this, WIN time continued daily within each homeroom. Collaborative teams met in a socially-distanced setting with a focus on developing CFAs and tracking student data. Teachers utilized data to adjust instruction to meet the needs of all learners. Data was also used to create appropriate interventions and enrichments for daily WIN time. 

In 2021-2022, CPS experienced a renewed focus on PLC implementation. With fewer COVID restrictions, teachers were able to more efficiently collaborate. Teachers revisited essential standards and continued to focus on planning targeted instruction around student data. Collaborative teams’ agendas were revised to include a reflection component to self-evaluate their work. Administration met with Solution Tree expert, Dr. Kim Nichols, to gain more knowledge on unit planning and proficiency mapping. School administrators then guided teachers through the development of unit plans and proficiency maps. Additionally, a group of teachers attended the PLC At Work Institute in Charlotte.

Currently in the 2022-2023 school year, CPS continues to strengthen and grow as a PLC. Within our PLC, each collaborative team has a strong commitment to ensuring the continued development of the PLC process. All teachers and staff have attended PLC PD sessions with Solution Tree experts. Our current PLC focus is proficiency mapping, unit planning, and providing data-driven instruction. More focused Tier 2 support has resumed as groups of students are identified and switch classes twice a week for  targeted instruction. Collaborative teams continually meet to develop units, analyze data, and create lessons to meet the needs of all learners.

This year, Concrete’s master schedule was modified to ensure protected blocks of time for Tier 1, 2, and 3 instruction. All students are guaranteed uninterrupted Tier 1 instruction in all core subject areas. Tier 2 instruction is also guaranteed for all students. Analysis of summative assessment data determines the instructional groupings of students during this time. WIN groups are created for students needing more intensive intervention, students approaching mastery, and students ready for extension activities. Teachers collaborate to create instructional plans for each group of students. Tier 3 instruction is provided for all students who are performing more than one grade level behind. This instructional time does not conflict with scheduled Tier 1 and Tier 2 instruction.

Collaboration is at the forefront of all planning. Teachers work together to examine student work, plan effective instruction, and make adjustments that meet learners’ needs.Recently, interventionists and specialists who solely provide Tier 2 and Tier 3 instruction have become more involved in the collaborative process and have committed to joining each Professional Learning Team’s meetings.

Teachers continue to become more efficient and adept at using assessment data to form Tier 2 groups. This year, CPS implemented the use of data walls to track student progress towards mastery of essential standards. Once a Tier 2 focus has been identified, teachers use data to place students into one of three groups: red, green, or blue. Students in the red group have been identified as not yet mastering the essential standard or learning target. Students in the green group exhibit partial mastery of the standard. Students in the blue group have shown mastery and are ready to engage in extension activities. In our collaborative meeting room, index cards with student names are placed into red, green, or blue pocket charts to provide a visual representation of overall grade level mastery. After Tier 2 intervention is provided and students are reassessed, groupings change. Collaborative teams celebrate as students show progress towards the mastery of standards.

Recently, Guiding Coalition (GC) meetings have centered around providing professional learning with the goal of building leadership capacity for GC members. Each monthly meeting includes time to read and discuss pertinent professional articles to strengthen and advance the PLC process at CPS. These meetings are facilitated in the same way as grade level collaborative meetings to include an agenda with norms, desired meeting outcomes, a plan for the next meeting, and reflection components. The GC also completes the Critical Issues for Team Consideration survey yearly. Completion of the survey, along with feedback from team facilitators, helps the school administrative team identify growth and the next steps needed to advance our PLC work.

Each school administrator, as well as the literacy coach, have attended a PLC at Work Institute. A group of teachers attended in the summer of 2022, and another group is scheduled to attend in June of 2023. This institute has been valuable in building capacity around our PLC work, and we are committed to sending as many of our teachers as possible. 

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Critical Question 1: What do we want students to learn and be able to do? 

  • Grade level teams collaborate each school year to develop and/or review essential standards using the REAL method, which is a process in which standards are evaluated based on four criterion:
    • Readiness: Is the standard necessary for student success in the following grade?
    • Endurance: Will the standard last beyond the class or course?
    • Assessment: Does the standard show up on district, state, or national assessments?
    • Leverage: Will the standard show up in other domains of learning?
  • Standards deemed essential are aligned to the grade level’s scope and sequence to create a proficiency map. The proficiency map identifies when students are expected to show mastery of the standard. Mastery levels are determined for each essential standard. 
  • Collaborative teams use a backwards design process to create and revise unit plans centered around essential standards, which are broken into learning targets.
  • Unit plans provide a timeline for teaching learning targets and outline assessments, while allowing teachers to use instructional strategies that best meet the needs of their learners.

Critical Question 2: How will we know if they learn it?

  • A pretest, CFAs, and a summative assessment are created for each unit.  These assessments provide data that is used to inform teachers of student progress and allows for analysis of effective teaching strategies.
    • Pretests are given at the beginning of each unit with the dual purpose of guiding instruction and showing growth during the unit. 
    • CFAs are administered throughout each unit to monitor progress and check student mastery of learning targets. 
    • Summative assessments for each unit are created prior to the start of instruction. They measure student mastery of all learning targets and essential standards taught throughout each unit. 
  • STAR Reading/Early Literacy and STAR Math assessments are given three times per school year and serve as a universal screener. Since South Carolina does not have an accountability measure for primary schools, we use this data to measure student growth and achievement levels. 
  • Fountas and Pinnell (F&P) Benchmark Assessments are administered to all students three times per year. These assessments are dually used as a benchmark and as a way to track student reading progress.
  • Once assessments are given, data is analyzed at the student, class, and grade level.
    • Individual student data is analyzed for mastery of the overall essential standard and learning targets.
    • Overall class results are analyzed to determine the percentage of students that have shown mastery of learning targets and to identify the most effective instructional strategies used.
    • Grade level data is studied to determine the overall mastery level of each essential. If less than 80% of the grade level shows mastery of an essential, then additional Tier 1 instruction is provided.

Critical Questions 3 and 4: How will we respond when some students do not learn? How will we extend the learning for students who are already proficient?

  • Each collaborative team has pocket charts that are color coded to represent student mastery levels of each essential. Student name cards are placed in the appropriate pocket chart: red, green, or blue. Students in the red chart need intensive intervention, students in the green chart are grasping the concept but need more practice, and students in the blue group have mastered all learning targets and are ready for extension activities.  
  • Once data has been analyzed and student mastery levels determined, the team decides which teachers will work with each group of students based on their class’ overall success with the content. 
  • After each administration of the STAR assessment, student data is analyzed and action plans are created for all students who show low growth or low proficiency. These action plans are implemented during our Tier 2 WIN time. 
  • After each F&P benchmark window is complete, student data is used to change guided reading groupings and instructional reading levels. These changes impact guided reading instruction that all students receive.

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

Tier 1: 

  • Homeroom teachers have uninterrupted, protected time built into their daily schedule to ensure all students receive Tier 1 core instruction in all subject areas.

  • Collaborative teams meet weekly to discuss the 4 critical questions. 

  • Teachers work collaboratively to: 

    • Identify essential standards, learning targets, and mastery levels for each standard.

    • Develop pretests, CFAs, and summative assessments for each unit prior to instruction. This guarantees a common understanding of mastery prior to instruction.  

    • Design Tier 1 instruction and prevention loop strategies to help students reach standards mastery. CFA results are analyzed and used to plan prevention loop instruction. 

    • Develop Tier 2 interventions for WIN time instruction. Interventions are based on student data from end-of-unit summative assessments.

    • Plan Tier 2 extension activities to deepen the knowledge of students who have shown mastery of essential standards

Tier 2:

  • All homeroom teachers have Tier 2 WIN time built into their daily schedule to ensure that all students have access to Tier 2 instruction. During Tier 2 WIN time, students will receive interventions or enrichments aligned to essential standards. 

  • Teachers analyze data to identify students who need additional practice (green), those ready for extension (blue), and those who need reteaching (red). Teachers with the highest student achievement within each unit collaborate to plan and provide instruction for students in the red group.

  • Teachers collaborate with administrators, literacy coach, interventionists, resource, ESOL, and speech teachers to develop WIN time intervention plans.

  • Tier 2 instruction occurs daily during WIN time. All students receive targeted instruction based on their identified needs. Three days each week, students receive this instruction in their homerooms. Twice a week, students change classrooms to receive instruction with students across their grade level. Data is collected and closely monitored to adjust student groupings as needed. 

  • Teachers administer STAR testing to all students a minimum of three times per year. This data is analyzed and used to create intervention action plans for students who are showing low growth or low proficiency levels. Action plans are implemented during WIN time.  

  • Teachers use the F&P Benchmark Assessment System three times per year to conduct formal running records and determine student instructional reading levels. The information provided by these assessments is used to differentiate small group reading instruction. 

Tier 3:

  • Each homeroom class has a block of time designated for Tier 3 instruction for students who need it. During this time, when only some students are receiving Tier 3 instruction, there is no Tier 1 instruction taking place. 

  • Data collected from STAR, F&P, and classroom assessments is used to identify students who are significantly behind for pull-out reading intervention. The primary intervention framework used is the RISE model. Intervention groups are updated approximately every 6-8 weeks.

  • Students not mastering grade level standards and who are more than one grade level behind receive additional intervention support. This may be provided in the form of targeted skills-based reading intervention, resource, or ESOL services based on each student’s needs.

  • Students who have received interventions in Tier 1, 2, and 3 blocks but continue to not meet grade level standards are referred to the school’s Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) team. This team meets monthly and takes a team approach to discussing student progress, developing an intervention plan for those students, and progress-monitoring growth towards goals. 

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

Team Meetings

  • Time to participate in weekly collaborative team meetings within the contract day is protected for homeroom teachers. Assistants and non-homeroom staff provide student supervision to ensure this time. All faculty members have received professional development (PD) on PLCs, the PLC process, and the role they play in Concrete’s PLC process.

  • Agendas ensure meetings are collaborative, efficient, and focused on student learning. Norms are reviewed, student data is analyzed, teams collaborate on CFAs, create/revise unit plans, and plan for Tier 2 WIN time instruction. Meetings conclude with a reflection component which identifies if norms were followed, what went well, what areas to improve, and outline the next meeting.

  • Tier 2 and Tier 3 teachers (Reading Intervention, Speech, Resource, and ESOL teachers) attend weekly meetings. They collaborate with teams to implement best practices to support student growth and ensure learning at high levels for all students.

Guiding Coalition

  • The Guiding Coalition (GC) meets monthly and  consists of team facilitators, a teacher assistant, two related arts teachers, the literacy coach, and school administrators.

  • Members review and revise the school mission, vision, and belief statements yearly.

  • In December 2022, GC members determined additional time was needed for collaborative meetings each month. Professional Learning Teams began meeting weekly instead of three weeks out of each month. 

  • A portion of each GC meeting is devoted to professional learning. GC members review and discuss Solution Tree resources relevant to our PLC journey. These resources are used to strengthen our facilitators and collaborative teams.

Continued Learning and Professional Development

  • Solution Tree experts have provided various professional development (PD) sessions for our school and district. These PD sessions have addressed the beginning implementation of PLCs, the development of proficiency maps and unit plans, and the use of assessments in the PLC process.

    • 2018-2019: 

      • Principal attended The Summit on PLC at Work. Concrete’s collaborative team meetings began to meet weekly with a focus centered around the four questions.

    • 2019-2020: 

      • Dr. Luis Cruz trained GC members on PLCs and their impact on student learning. GC members revised Concrete’s mission, vision, and beliefs to better reflect PLC practices. 

      • School administrators led faculty and established Concrete’s collective commitments, norms, and non-negotiables. Collaborative teams used the REAL method to identify essential standards. 

      • The Assistant Principal attended a PLC at Work Institute. 

    • 2020-2021: 

      • Collaborative teams continued to meet under COVID-19 safety protocols. Concrete’s focus was on creating Common Formative Assessments (CFAs).

    • 2021-2022: 

      • Concrete’s administrators attended PD from Solution Tree consultant, Dr. Kim Nichols on Rebooting PLCs: Moving from Lite to Right. The administrative team then led collaborative teams through the process of revisiting essential standards, identifying learning targets, creating proficiency maps, and developing unit plans. 

      • Concrete’s principal visited Model PLC School West Side Elementary in Rossville, Georgia. 

      • A team of teachers attended a PLC at Work Institute. 

    • 2022-2023: 

      • Teachers attended PD from Solution Tree experts Dr. Kim Nichols, Dr. Pamela Liebenberg, and Mrs. Cassandra Erkins centered around assessments. Teams became more adept at creating quality assessments and analyzing the data to plan instruction and interventions. 

      • Solution Tree consultant, Dr. Jasmine Kullar, attended Concrete’s collaborative team meetings and provided feedback for each team.

      • A team of teachers visited Model PLC School White Elementary in White, Georgia and shared observations upon their return.

      • Teachers were provided with two half days of school to participate in TALK (Teachers Advancing Learning for Kids) PD. This time was used to continue work on proficiency maps, unit plans, and CFAs.

Achievement Data Files

Additional Achievement Data

The state of South Carolina does not require standardized state testing for grades K-2. Concrete Primary’s benchmark assessment data comes from MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) testing was given three times a year as a district formative benchmark until the 2021-2022 school year. Beginning in the 2022-2023 school year, our district has replaced MAP testing with STAR (Standardized Testing and Reporting) testing which is also given three times a year. Data from both benchmark assessments is used to track student progress and inform instructional decisions. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting school closures in March, data from the 2019-2020 school year is limited. 

Annually, our MAP data shows that student achievement maintains growth or exceeds our district average. When taking a closer look at each school year, students are consistently moving into higher percentile ranges with each test administration. More students perform in the highest quintile in the spring. The percentage of students scoring in the highest quintile has also increased each year. We will continue to analyze STAR data in the same way to identify student growth and movement across percentile ranges. These student gains can largely be attributed to our ongoing commitment to collaboration and focus on all students learning at high levels. 

Throughout the school year, collaborative teams closely monitor student mastery of essential standards. Each team agrees upon a system of collecting and analyzing student data to determine mastery of grade level essential standards. Teams track mastery of learning targets, assessed through CFAs, along with the mastery of overarching essential standards, through summative assessments. Once summative assessments are given, any students not yet showing mastery of an essential standard continue to receive intervention in these areas. Recheck assessments are given in an ongoing manner to check for progress towards mastery. 

As a PLC, we continuously track student growth through team developed assessments (pretests, CFAs, postests, and rechecks) as well as through district required benchmark assessments. As shown in the data provided, our student achievement has been positively impacted through our commitment to the PLC process and reaching all learners.


SC Report Card ratings and accompanying awards reflect state standardized test scores. Since Concrete Primary does not serve state tested grades, we do not receive report card ratings or awards based on these ratings. 

The student population of Powdersville Elementary School comes exclusively from Concrete Primary, as we are a closed feeder system. The instruction provided to our students while at Concrete has enabled them to begin their academic career at Powdersville Elementary with a firm understanding of our essential standards. Their success, along with the collaboration of administrators and teachers at each school has helped Powdersville Elementary gain Model PLC status.

  • 2022 Cognia accreditation

  • 2022 Team Nutrition School

  • 2021-2022 Kids Heart Challenge - District Winner