Woodland Middle School becomes the 18th Bartow County school to be named a Model Professional Learning Community for its sustained success in raising student achievement!

“I was elated,” said WMS Principal Michael Blankenship. “I was on vacation when I received the email. I just sat back and thought, ‘wow...we finally did it.’ We've been working diligently towards this for several years.”

The school’s successful implementation of PLC’s was a major contributing factor in the improved achievement of its students. PLC’s are schools and districts in which educators recognize the key to improved learning for students is on-going, job-embedded learning for the adults who serve those students. The three big ideas of a PLC call upon educators to:

1. Focus on learning.
2. Build a collaborative culture.
3. Create a results orientation.

“Our staff has stayed focused,” said Principal Blankenship. “We've been focused on learning, collaboration and results. Our collaboration teams have done the work with fidelity all year and for several years now. The steps we took specifically this year started with pre-planning. We focused on doing professional development to help foster an A-Team environment. We set a goal to get two more A-teams this year. We provided PD in pre-planning and throughout the school year to help our teachers with collaboration. Another step we took is that we, as a leadership team, also embedded ourselves in collaboration teams all year. We each moved to a different team every nine weeks, and we did so with intent and purpose. A third step we took is that we became more intentional and focused on disaggregating and using data in real time. We used Milestones data, MAP data, benchmark data, and CSA data to drive instruction in real time. Our teachers consistently used the data and allowed it to drive them in instructional planning. Perhaps the most important step we took was to have a laser-like focus all year on the three big ideas. In the midst of some difficult circumstances and events this year, our teachers stayed focused on the task at hand. They were driven by our mission. That focus and drive got us to the destination.”

Schools are recognized based on strict criteria, including demonstration of a commitment to PLC concepts, implementation of these concepts for at least three years, and clear evidence of improved student learning over that period. Once measurable results can be seen, the school must explain its practices, structures, and culture, and then submit its application for consideration by the PLC Review Committee.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg for us,” said Principal Blankenship. “There is no magic here. The magic is the process itself. If you do the PLC process with fidelity and let it drive everything you do, it works and pays off. Where do we go from here? We keep going in the right direction and moving upward. Our next steps are to continue finding what the greatest needs our teachers have in the way of professional development and respond to those needs ASAP. We must also continue to dive into our data, learn what our needs are, and address those immediately. Our basic goal as a leadership team is to remove barriers to success for our teachers and staff. Achieving Model PLC School status is an amazing accomplishment, but it is just the beginning. We have a long way to go yet and many goals and steps before us. We want to continue integrating STEM and problem-based learning into our learning environment, as we know this has had a major impact on student learning. We definitely know that this is not a program to complete but a process to perfect. We want to continue taking specific steps to perfect the process and practice it with fidelity day in and day out.”

WMC, Bartow County College and Career Academy, Red Top Middle School, Cass High School, Woodland High School, Adairsville High School, Allatoona Elementary School, Kingston Elementary School, Mission Road Elementary School, Adairsville Elementary School, Euharlee Elementary School, Clear Creek Elementary School, Pine Log Elementary School, Emerson Elementary School, Cass Middle School, Adairsville Middle School, Cloverleaf Elementary School, and White Elementary School now join the Bartow County School System as they celebrate Model PLC School and Model PLC District status.