Marshall Primary School (2023)
- Number of Students: 457
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 73%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 2%
- Percent of Special Education: 21%
- White: 63%
- Black: 16%
- Hispanic: 9%
- Asian: 0%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.2%
- Multiracial: 11%
- Other: 0.8%
The Marshall Primary PLC Story
Marshall Primary School is a small primary school district in Anderson County, South Carolina. With a student population of approximately 450, Marshall Primary serves three year olds through second grader students. In 2021, under the leadership of new Superintendent Jason Johns, Marshall Primary supported the implementation of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). This district-wide initiative shifted from a teacher-focused to learner-focused culture and ensured learning for all students. Through this journey, our school realized there is a distinct value of communities of practice to organizations. The worth of interaction between people encourages the growth of the individual and enhances the ability to learn. New ways to manage problems are developed when a community collaborates and shares information. Sharing ideas that involve a solution to a common issue enhances the ability to explore new concepts. Sharing ideas is essential to success. We understood that creating communities of practice in areas that are practical to manage knowledge can be beneficial to our organization.
Moreover, learning communities help connect ideas from different areas within an organization. The community can learn from members of the entire system. Learning communities can define and solve problems.
The transition to PLC was much easier because our principal, Shelly Blalock attended the Culture Keepers: Principal Leadership in a PLC at Work Institute in Atlanta in 2019. This opportunity to participate in this conference provided a foundation for the work to begin. Mrs. Blalock left the conference with knowledge and excitement about developing professional learning communities at Marshall Primary School. The conference was the catalyst to spark the invitation needed for real change. Following this conference, Mrs. Blalock began implementing some of the PLC practices at Marshall Primary School while the district leadership planned to move forward with PD from Solution Tree. However, the global pandemic suspended this work. After successfully navigating Covid, the district moved forward with this initiative under the leadership of Superintendent Jason Johns, who had prior training and fully supported the standard practices of Professional learning communities.
In early 2020, our principal and other leaders attended the Summit on PLC at Work. Following the pandemic, in August 2021, the district initiated the efforts to establish a strong foundation for the PLC at Work process. All teachers at Marshall Primary School received copies of Learning by Doing (DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, Many, & Mattos, 2016) and participated in a book study, which further enabled the groundwork for the transition to PLCs district-wide. The learning-by-doing model is now in practice at our school.
As we returned to 100% face to face learning, it was time to fully implement Professional Learning Communities in our school. All staff participated in a Two Day Solution Tree Workshop on August 12-13, 2021. Led by Dr. Jamie Virga, the workshop aimed to introduce the key concepts and principles of the PLC framework to all educators within our district. This workshop allowed our teachers and staff to understand the big picture and the “why” of PLCs. It explained effective strategies and the importance of collaborative teams. Marshall Primary School came away from this conference with next steps, specifically creating essential standards, assessments and unit planning.
Following the workshop, we recognized the importance of ongoing support and collaboration for successful implementation of Professional Learning Communities. Substitute teachers were provided to ensure grade-level and departmental district-wide collaboration throughout the year. This allowed teachers to engage in meaningful discussions, share best practices, and deepen their understanding of the PLC process.
Marshall Primary School took ownership of the PLC process by developing Collective Commitments and Team Norms. We decided that PLCs would be most successful by having a protected time to meet each Thursday during their common planning time. By establishing these shared agreements, educators created a sense of collective responsibility and commitment to the PLC journey. Moreover, the schools collaborated to identify the Essential Standards that would guide their instructional focus. This also led us to revisit and rewrite the Mission and Vision for our school. Our mission statement reads, “High levels of learning for ALL students” and our vision states that we aim “To Prepare Students so that they are College and Career Ready.”
Collaboration and support among teachers is crucial at our school. To achieve this, our principal determined that it is important to set aside dedicated time during the school day for team collaboration and analysis of student data. This helped our teachers create tailored interventions for students who are facing difficulties in mastering certain standards. Ultimately, this approach benefited all students and ensured their success in the classroom.
Recognizing the need for strong leadership and guidance, Grade Level Team Leads were selected from each school in August 2021. Teachers, as these leads, played a crucial role in forming the District PLC Guiding Coalition, which served as a driving force behind the PLC implementation process. The Team Leads met regularly in monthly district-wide meetings where they discussed PLC practices, shared experiences, and received support and training.
To further enhance their understanding of effective PLC practices, several staff members visited Catoosa County, Georgia. They observed the PLC practices implemented in the Model PLC District and learned valuable insights from their experiences, which they brought back to Marshall Primary School.
In February 2022, the district funded for two staff members from Marshall Primary School to attend The Summit on PLC at Work in Phoenix. This national conference provided an opportunity to learn from renowned PLC experts, engage in meaningful discussions, and gather innovative ideas to implement in their respective schools, energizing the initiative. Following the conference, the district organized the first Anderson Two PLC Summit in March 2022. This event took place during an in-service day. Staff that attended the Summit presented their key takeaways and insights to colleagues from around the district. This internal summit served as a platform for educators to exchange ideas, celebrate successes, and learn best practices. Teachers gleaned from the event clarity of the district's vision of PLCs and more enthusiasm for the process with a focus on the Four Critical Questions of PLCs.
In spring of 2022, Mrs. Blalock and other school administrators attended a two day workshop, “RTI at Work” led by Mike Mattos and John Hannigan. The greatest takeaway from this time was understanding the importance of school wide scheduling to increase student success. Protecting essential times and carving out best times for interventions also allowed for more effective PLC scheduling and targeted intervention practices.
Moving into year two, the district continued to support and offer professional development for staff through Solution Tree. Marshall Primary was able to use Title One funding to continue to provide professional development opportunities for teachers and staff in our school. In September 2022, Julie Schmidt was invited to present her "Yes We Can" workshop, which focused on building a positive and empowering culture within PLC teams. This process empowered our special education teachers to understand they were integral in our PLCs.
In November 2022, the district sent our principal, Mrs. Blalock and the Reading Coach to the "Amplify your Impact" conference in Charleston, SC. This provided a platform for our school leadership to explore leadership strategies, gain insights from other successful PLC districts, and bring back valuable knowledge to guide their schools' Collaborative PLC teams in their work. And lastly, to strengthen subject-specific expertise and collaboration, two second grade teachers from Marshall Primary School attended the Math PLC at Work conference in Houston in December 2022. These teachers returned with important takeaways from this conference to close the achievement gap in math in our school.
On April 3-4, 2023 the assistant principal and two other staff members participated in a new workshop. Solution Tree’s Behavior Solutions: A Practical Road Map for Social Emotional (SEL) success in all Tiers. This conference allowed Marshall Primary to think through the creation and implementation of behavior management strategies and teams in addition to current academic teams. We look forward to the implementation of what we learned here, district wide.
Through these concerted efforts and a shared commitment to the PLC at Work process, Anderson School District Two built a strong foundation of shared understanding and commitment among educators. The ongoing collaboration, professional development opportunities, and exposure to successful PLC models have empowered teachers and administrators to work together towards a common goal of improving student learning and achievement for All.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
Marshall Primary School has a process in place to create and implement a guaranteed and viable curriculum. This process ensures that all students have access to a high-quality curriculum that is aligned with standards and designed to promote their learning and achievement. Additionally, we have strategies in place to monitor student learning on a timely basis, allowing us to identify areas of strength and areas in need of improvement.
To create a guaranteed and viable curriculum, our district follows a systematic approach that involves collaboration, alignment, and ongoing review. Here is an overview of our process:
Collaborative Curriculum Development: Teachers and administrators from each school within the district come together to collaborate on curriculum development. This collaborative approach ensures that the expertise and perspectives of educators across grade levels and subjects are taken into account. It fosters a sense of ownership and shared responsibility for the curriculum.
Alignment with Standards: Our curriculum is aligned with state standards, district expectations, and learning goals. We carefully examine the standards and identify the essential knowledge and skills that students need to acquire at each grade level. This alignment helps us ensure that our curriculum is comprehensive and focused on key learning outcomes.
Curriculum Mapping: We use curriculum mapping tools and resources to document and organize our curriculum. This includes outlining the scope and sequence of content, identifying instructional resources and strategies, and mapping out assessments. Curriculum maps serve as a roadmap for teachers, providing a clear overview of what needs to be taught and when.
Ongoing Review and Reflection: We regularly review and reflect on our curriculum to ensure its effectiveness and relevance. This includes gathering feedback from teachers, analyzing student performance data, and seeking input from stakeholders. We use this feedback to make adjustments and improvements to the curriculum as needed.
To monitor student learning on a timely basis, we employ several strategies to gather data and assess student progress:
Formative Assessments: Teachers use formative assessments throughout the learning process to gather evidence of student understanding and skill development. These assessments are designed to provide immediate feedback to both teachers and students, allowing for timely adjustments to instruction.
Common Assessments: We implement common assessments across grade levels and subjects to ensure consistency and comparability. Common assessments allow us to monitor student learning on a larger scale and identify trends and patterns that inform instructional decisions.
Data Analysis: We analyze student performance data from assessments to identify areas of strength and areas in need of improvement. This analysis helps us identify individual student needs, instructional gaps, and areas where interventions may be necessary.
Intervention and Differentiation: Based on the data analysis, we provide targeted interventions and differentiated instruction to students who require additional support or enrichment. This ensures that every student receives the necessary resources and strategies to meet their learning needs.
Progress Monitoring: We regularly track and monitor student progress to assess the effectiveness of instructional strategies and interventions. This includes monitoring individual student growth over time and adjusting interventions as needed. Grade level teams use specific data collection and we display our results in a data wall. This physical reminder increases accountability for teachers and increases individual student achievement.
Overall, we follow our district plan, which uses a collaborative approach to develop a guaranteed and viable curriculum that is aligned with standards. We employ various strategies to monitor student learning on a timely basis, allowing us to make data-informed instructional decisions and provide targeted support to students. Through this process, we strive to ensure that all students have access to a high-quality education and are supported in their learning and achievement.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
Marshall Primary School is committed to providing students with additional time and support for learning through systems of intervention and extension. These systems are designed to address the diverse needs of our students, ensuring that every learner receives the necessary resources and opportunities to succeed. Below are the ways in which we create these opportunities.
Data-Driven Decision Making: We use a data-driven approach to identify students who may require intervention or extension. This includes analyzing student performance data from formative and summative assessments, benchmark assessments, and other sources. By examining data, we can identify students who may be struggling or excelling in specific areas and determine the appropriate level of support needed.
Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS): We have implemented a Multi-Tiered System of Support framework to provide targeted interventions and extensions. This framework consists of three tiers:
a. Tier 1: Universal Instruction: All students receive high-quality instruction aligned with grade-level standards and best practices. Teachers use research-based instructional strategies and differentiation to meet the diverse needs of students in the general education classroom.
b. Tier 2: Targeted Intervention: Students who require additional support beyond the core instruction receive targeted interventions in small groups. These interventions are designed to address specific skill gaps or provide additional practice and reinforcement. Teachers use evidence-based interventions and progress monitoring to track student growth and make instructional adjustments.
c. Tier 3: Intensive Intervention: Students who require more intensive support receive individualized interventions tailored to their specific needs. These interventions may involve more frequent and intense instruction, personalized learning plans, or specialized programs. Intensive interventions are provided by intervention specialists or other trained personnel.
Response to Intervention (RTI) Teams: We have established Response to Intervention (RTI) teams. The first team is A-SIT, which is an Academic School Intervention Team. The other is B-SIT, a Behavior Intervention team. Both of these teams consist of educators, administrators, and support staff who collaborate to develop intervention and enrichment plans for students. Our teams meet regularly to review student data, assess progress, and make decisions regarding appropriate interventions or extensions.
Flexible Grouping and Scheduling: We utilize flexible grouping and scheduling to maximize instructional time and provide targeted support. Students are grouped based on their specific needs, allowing for differentiated instruction and targeted interventions. This may involve regrouping students for specific subjects or skills, providing additional time for intervention during the school day, or offering extended learning opportunities beyond regular classroom hours.
Collaboration and Professional Learning: Teachers collaborate within their grade-level teams to share strategies, resources, and best practices for intervention and extension. Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) provide a forum for teachers to discuss student needs, analyze data, and develop instructional plans. Additionally, ongoing professional development opportunities are provided to equip educators with the knowledge and skills necessary for effective intervention and extension practices.
Family and Community Engagement: We involve families and the community in supporting student learning through intervention and enrichment opportunities, communicate regularly with parents/guardians to keep them informed about their child's progress and provide resources for supporting learning at home. We also collaborate with community organizations and partners to offer additional resources and opportunities for students.
By creating and implementing systems of intervention and extension, we ensure that students receive the necessary time and support for learning. Through data-driven decision making, a multi-tiered system of support, collaboration, and family engagement, we strive to meet the unique needs of every student and help them reach their full potential.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
At Marshall Primary School, we place a strong emphasis on building teacher capacity to work as members of high-performing collaborative teams. These teams play a critical role in our efforts to improve student learning. Here's how our high-performing collaborative teams focus their efforts on improved student learning:
Shared Vision and Goals: Our school has a shared vision and set clear goals for student learning. We align our efforts with the district's mission and vision, as well as the goals outlined in the school improvement plan. This shared understanding ensures that all team members are working towards a common purpose and are committed to improving student outcomes.
Data-Informed Decision Making: Marshall Primary School uses a data-informed approach to drive decision making. They analyze various forms of data, such as student assessments, classroom observations, and progress monitoring, to identify areas of strength and areas in need of improvement. By examining data, teams can identify trends, patterns, and individual student needs, which inform their instructional practices and interventions.
Collaborative Planning: We engage in collaborative planning to design instructional strategies and interventions that meet the diverse needs of our students. We work together to develop common formative assessments, aligned with the curriculum and standards, to assess student progress and adjust instruction accordingly. Collaborative planning allows for the sharing of expertise, brainstorming of ideas, and the development of cohesive instructional plans.
Professional Learning Communities (PLCs): Our collaborative teams function as Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) where teachers engage in ongoing professional development and learning. PLCs provide a structured framework for collaboration, reflection, and continuous improvement. Teachers participate in protected time each Thursday during their common planning time to discuss student data, instructional strategies, and best practices. These meetings foster a culture of shared responsibility and professional growth.
Differentiated Instruction and Interventions: Our collaborative teams prioritize differentiated instruction and interventions to address the unique needs of each student. We analyze student data to identify students who require additional support or enrichment. Based on this analysis, our teams develop targeted interventions and extension activities to address individual student needs. Differentiated instruction ensures that every student receives the appropriate level of challenge and support to maximize their learning.
Ongoing Reflection and Assessment: Our collaborative teams engage in continuous reflection and assessment of their practices. We reflect on the impact of their instructional strategies and interventions on student learning outcomes. This reflective practice allows our teams to make data-driven adjustments, share successes and challenges, and refine our approaches to better meet the needs of their students.
Supportive Team Environment: Our collaborative teams foster a supportive and positive team environment. We value open communication, trust, and respect among team members. This environment encourages collaboration, risk-taking, and the sharing of ideas. Teachers feel supported and empowered to contribute their expertise and learn from their colleagues, ultimately leading to improved student learning.
By focusing our efforts on a shared vision, data-informed decision making, collaborative planning, differentiated instruction, ongoing reflection, and a supportive team environment, our high-performing collaborative teams work together to improve student learning. Through our collective expertise and commitment, we create a culture of continuous improvement and ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed.
Achievement Data Files
As a K-2 Primary School, we do not receive a report card rating nor state standardized test scores.
We have three years of sustained academic growth. Our acheivements have supported the success of Belton Elementary School, our feeder elementary school, which has been awarded Palmetto Silver in 2021-2022.
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