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Evidence of Excellence
Lindsey Elementary School

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Lindsey Elementary School was a Title I school located in Houston County School District just south of metropolitan Atlanta. It earned Model PLC at Work® school status in 2020. The school building now serves as a wraparound center for the district.

As principal of Lindsey Elementary, Dr. Anisa Baker-Busby led their journey to become a Model PLC at Work school. She is now principal of Shirley Hills Elementary, also located in Houston County School District, where she plans to further the PLC work initiated by the previous principal.

280 Students

  • 100% eligible for free and reduced lunch
  • 16.3% English learners
  • 17% Special education

Lindsey Elementary School's CHALLENGE

“When I became principal, Lindsey Elementary was identified as a priority school and one of the most underperforming schools in the district,” recalled former principal Dr. Anisa Baker-Busby. “Everyone knew Lindsey was struggling, but no one knew how to turn it around. Everyone had ideas, but no one had actually done this work in a priority school.”

In June 2017, Baker-Busby attended a PLC at Work Institute in Atlanta, Georgia, joined by two teachers. Their goal was to establish a guiding coalition to develop a guaranteed and viable curriculum for all students. This would mark the beginning of the school’s journey toward implementing a PLC at Work culture.


“Priority Schools in a PLC at Work concisely guided me on what we need to do, how to look at data and data pictures, and how to tuck it all in when you have so many students performing below grade level. School Improvement for All was my handbook for improving our school.”

Dr. Anisa Baker-Busby, principal, Lindsey Elementary School

Baker-Busby and her staff worked diligently to build a high-performing PLC, focusing on assessment and RTI at WorkTM practices. They studied books: Learning by Doing, 3rd ed; Design in Five; Make It Happen; Taking Action: A Handbook for RTI at Work™; and Best Practices at Tier 2. They attended other events, and Baker-Busby connected with Solution Tree authors and presenters on social media. All of this was establishing a solid foundation, but Lindsey Elementary had the additional challenges of a Priority School. That’s when Baker-Busby discovered the book School Improvement for All, by Sharon V. Kramer, and dove into learning about Priority Schools in a PLC at Work

“This brought the PLC at Work concepts down to a level of detail that I needed to access,” said Baker-Busby. “It concisely guided me on what we need to do, how to look at data and data pictures, and how to tuck it all in when you have so many students performing below grade level. This was my handbook for improving our school.”

Embracing Priority Schools in a PLC at Work, the staff worked from a strategic plan on how to move from one level to the next. They learned the importance of scooping up prerequisites, or teaching previous years’ essential standards to students in need and then connecting the learning back to the current grade-level standards. With so many students below grade level at Lindsey, the easy path would have been to water down standards and assessments. But they committed to the purpose of Priority Schools in a PLC at Work, which is to stay focused on grade level.

Just as results were affirming the efforts of Lindsey educators, the pandemic hit. But thanks to the collaborative culture created at Lindsey, staff were able to respond effectively.

“After a year of Covid, we came back and focused on what mattered most. We hit essential standards hard. We worked on common formative assessments, and we focused heavily on providing strategic and targeted interventions for students,” said Baker-Busby.


As in schools around the world, student achievement at Lindsey Elementary took a hit during the pandemic. The achievement scores, which were still not where teachers would like them to be, remained low or even decreased from 2020 to 2021. Conditional growth indicators painted an even more stark picture of how Covid affected student learning, plummeting for the most part from 2020 to 2021.

When educators and students returned in the 2021–2022 school year, Dr. Baker-Busby insisted that their mission had not changed. Every teacher, every support staff member, and every adult in the school was there to support all students learning at or on grade level. In the spring of 2022, the growth percentiles showed what that dedication meant for student success.

“The teachers would tell you,” said Dr. Baker-Busby, “this shifted the entire school culture. The work of PLC really does change the entire school mindset.” Not only that, but parent participation also improved. The entire community began to view the work being done at Lindsey with the attitude that learning is required for every student, and they supported that mission with their words and, more importantly, their actions.

Teacher reading to students

3rd–5th Grade MAP Math and Reading Achievement Percentiles

3rd–5th Grade MAP Math and Reading School Conditional Growth Percentiles

Why Priority Schools in a PLC at Work?

As an educator, you are an integral part of students’ lives. Your time with each child will impact their future, no matter what school or district you serve. Schools labeled as low-performing or high-priority struggle with many challenges, but we can help your staff work together to overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of student success.