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Accountability and flexibility are hallmarks of Gwinnett County Public Schools' success. Key to that success is ensuring that each school community understands the progress being made by its schools, as well as what plans will drive improvement. Each school creates a collaborative Local School Plan for Improvement (LSPI) to increase student achievement results, with targeted goals based on the four strategic priorities within the district’s Blueprint for the Future: Empathy, Equity, Effectiveness, and Excellence. All schools across the district will focus on goals 2A- Multi-tiered Systems of Support and 2B- Opportunity and Access. Additionally, schools are required to select one goal from each of the other strategic priorities. LSPI goals are dynamic, like our schools, and are updated to reflect changes that occur in schools. Multiple data points are used to determine areas needing improvement and to identify specific, measurable, annual objectives. Schools then determine how to use research-based strategies to achieve these goals, using flexibility as needed. The LSPI development process involves teachers, parents, students, and community members, so the entire school community has the opportunity to be involved in conversations about school improvement.


2023 - 2024 Local School Plan for Improvement (LSPI)

School: JONES MIDDLE SCHOOL           Principal: Lin Thornton

District Strategic Priorities/Goals Rationale Action Steps
(Implementation Design)
How will you measure growth?
Growth Factors (Baseline & Targets)
Empathy 1.B - Staff and Student Well Being
  • In SY 22-23, we provided staff with training to meet the needs of a diverse student population which aligned with goal Empathy 1.A. To continue strengthening our learning, we will continue our Educational Equity and Responsiveness training this year. Simultaneously, we are going to be intentional about creating a culture that prioritizes staff and student well being. 
  • We believe that promoting student and staff wellbeing through prioritizing self-care, physical and mental health, and social emotional learning will increase students’ readiness to learn at high levels each day. 

  • We believe that providing social and emotional development for all students in classrooms involves teaching and modeling social and emotional skills, providing opportunities for students to practice and hone those skills, and giving students an opportunity to apply these skills in various situations. 

  • We believe that it is important for staff to model the social emotional learning skills they want to see in their students. We believe staff will increase their productivity, develop a growth mindset, and see themselves as lifelong educators. 

  • We believe that striving for greater self-awareness, as students and adults, also promotes a greater sense of purpose and maximizes our effectiveness in the classroom. 


  1. During homeroom, all students will participate in a Daily Huddle focused on strategies in the areas of (1) mindfulness (2) mindful movement, and (3) team building. 
  2. Tuesdays and Thursdays, teachers will present SEL lessons using the Character Strong curriculum. 
  3. Our weekly Principal Memo will include SEL strategies and Character Strong skill activities for staff.
  4. Monthly we will include a preview of the SEL skills students will be learning and provide Family Dares for families to engage in together. 
  5. Teacher leaders will facilitate Y’all Come Sessions for teachers who need support implementing SEL lessons with their students. 
  6. We will continue our partnership with the Staff Development office on Digital Learning Days and Teacher Work Days to deepen our self-awareness through activities/topics such as implicit bias, identity/talent mapping, and trust builders. 
  • Student Wellbeing - Student Survey (9 Characteristics of High Performing Schools)

    • Baseline: Supportive Learning Environment 60%

    • Goal: Supportive Learning Environment 62%
  • Staff Support - Staff Survey (9 Characteristics of High Performing Schools)
    • Baseline: Supportive Learning Environment 89%, Cultural Responsiveness 92%

    • Goal: Supportive Learning Environment 92%, Cultural Responsiveness 94%



Equity 2.A - Multi-tiered System of Supports
  • During the 2022-2023 school year we made great gains on this goal. We will continue setting up structures that allow us to implement a comprehensive framework to fully operationalize a multi-tiered system of supports addressing academic and non-academic students' needs to remove barriers to learning. 
  • We believe that non-academic tier I structures, processes, and resources will help students feel a sense of belonging, creating conditions for all students to achieve at high levels. 

  • We believe that formalizing the academic response to intervention (RTI) process will reduce variability and improve the fidelity of implementation across our school. 

  • We believe that high quality tier 1 instruction for all students, including small groups, grade-level curriculum, ongoing formative assessments, and progress monitoring, will increase academic success for all students, regardless of their program enrollment. 


  1. Use iReady  and EES screeners to identify academic and non-academic strengths and needs of each and every student. 
  2. Meet as needed for Kid Talks to analyze data, discuss tiered support, and create individualized plans of support for students (i.e. embed supports for MLLs and students with disabilities into grade-level instructional materials with appropriate scaffolding.
  3. Assistant Principals will conduct a weekly check in with each curriculum lead to ensure effective planning and provide instructional support using these guiding questions: 
    • Where are you now?
    • Where are you going?
    • What is your plan for this week's planning meeting?
    • How can I support you?
  4. SEL/Advisement lessons will occur 2 days/week during JAG time.
  5. Tiered interventions and supports will be offered 3 days/week during JAG time with a focus on small group instruction.
    • Reading - Achieve 3000

    • Math - iReady

    • Science/Social Studies - literacy through the content

    • Connections - AI extensions 

    • Individualized support for students with IEPs and ELPs

  6. Counselors will facilitate gender-based and interest-based small groups using the EES survey data.
  • MTSS Screening – Academic 

    • Baseline – 

      • Reading (Fall - 94%, Winter - 93%)

      • Math (Fall - 94%, Winter - 95%)

    • Target – 95% participation

  • MTSS Screening – Wellbeing

    • Baseline – 83%

    • Target – 95% participation

  • PBIS Implementation 

    • Baseline – Operational

    • Target – Operational (our school doesn't have the option of being distinguished this year based on the state guidelines and training requirements)

  • Student Improvement - % Beginning on Milestones 
    • Baseline - 13% of all students 6th - 8th 
    • Target - 10% of all students 6th - 8th
  • EL Progress Towards Language Proficiency
    • Baseline - 36.36%
    • Target - 40%


Equity 2.B - Opportunity and Access
  • We believe in increasing opportunities and pathways for all students to demonstrate eligibility for gifted/talented.
  • We believe that restorative practices strengthen students’ connections to both staff and other students and provide effective strategies to navigate conflict.

  • We will implement a mentoring program to link students with adults in the building to encourage positive rapport and establish meaningful adult connections.
  • We believe that explicitly teaching and modeling appropriate behavior while focusing on positive connections and supports will contribute to a positive school climate. 

  1. Using iReady academic screener data, any student scoring 90th percentile or higher on one/both tests, will be automatically offered the opportunity to be tested for eligibility for gifted services.
  2. We will facilitate a cluster gifted endorsement class to increase our number of gifted certified teachers in the building. 
  3. We will implement evidence-based strategies (e.g., restorative practices and PBIS) to minimize unwanted student behaviors and maximize student participation in daily instruction. 

  4. We will implement a mentoring program to link students with adults in the building to encourage positive rapport and establish meaningful adult connections.
  5. We will encourage all teachers/staff to sponsor/co-sponsor a club/activity to increase the variety of extra curricular activities offered for students. 
  6. PBIS Team and Student Influencers will create monthly newsletters highlighting discipline data and effective teacher interventions for behaviors. 

  7. We will recognize staff and students with behavior-specific praise related to PBIS expectations to increase staff involvement. 
  • Discipline Disproportionality

    • Number of all student groups that are overrepresented in ISS/OSS based on the Discipline Disproportionality Index. 

      • Baseline (White - 0.6, Asian - 0.4, Multiracial - 1.3, Black - 1.9, Hispanic - 0.9)

      • Target - Black and Multiracial students < 1
  • Gifted & Talented Representation
    • Gifted & Talented Representation - Number of Student Racial/Ethnic Groups Underrepresented in Gifted & Talented Programs 
    • Baseline: 
  American Indian   Asian   Black   Hispanic   Multi Racial   White   Total   Starting Gifted %
  Total   %   Total   %   Total   %   Total   %   Total   %   Total   %       25.77%
Gifted 0   0   138   30.6   57   12.64   55   12.20   26   5.76   175   38.80   451  
F/R 0   0   48   35.82   22   16.42   26   19.40   9   6.72   29   21.64   134  
School Wide 1   0.06   365   20.86   418   23.89   377   21.54   85   4.86   504   28.80   1,750  
F/R 1   0.12   147   17.73   252   30.40   246   29.67   38   4.58   145   17.49   829  
    • Target: Black and Hispanic gifted percent increase to 15%. 
Effectiveness 3.A - Results-Based Evaluation System
  • In 2022-2023, we made great strides in formalizing leadership opportunities for teacher leaders through clearer structures and professional learning. We want to use this same approach to set up structures that help us redefine inputs, behaviors, and outcomes to support school improvement and student growth. 
  • We believe that starting with a thorough understanding of our district's strategic priorities helps schools create local school improvement plans that are aligned. These local school improvement plans are used to help every staff member define their accountability and performance measure. 
  1. All teachers will use our school's LSPI to develop two goals: academic press and supportive community. 
  2. We will establish Behaviors for Effective Collaboration and revisit these behaviors throughout the school year. 
  3. We will use the PLC+ Framework when planning , which focuses on the student and the teacher:
    • Where are we going?
    • Where are we now?
    • How do we move learning forward?
    • What did we learn today?
    • Who benefited and who did not benefit?
  4. Transforming Instruction Leadership Team (TILT) will meet monthly to increase their capacity to lead their curriculum teams with these values at the center of teaching and learning:
    • Equity
    • High Expectations
    • Individual and Collective Efficacy
    • Activation
  5. Our Jones Mentor Committee will meet monthly to provide instructional support through a coaching cycle to reduce variability in the student and family experience. 
  6. Twice a year our new teachers will do instructional observations of highly effective veteran teachers alongside a mentor who will facilitate a debrief conversation about the Quality Plus Teaching Strategies observed and ways to implement best practices into their own classroom. 
  7. We will analyze benchmark data by AKS to determine mid-course corrections needed to minimize gaps in learning. 
  8. We will use naming conventions in gradebooks that align to the AKS that is being assessed as a way of helping students identify and strategically work towards skills they have not mastered. 
  • Improvement Progress - Benchmark Assessments
  • CCRPI Progress - Milestones/ACCESS Growth
    • Baseline - below

    • Target: 2023-2024 ranking in the top 4 for middle schools 


Excellence 4.B - Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness
  • In 2022-2023, we made great strides in improving our two-way communication, engagement, and outreach to connect with our community, cluster schools, and the district office. As we continue improving those efforts we will focus on preparing our students for their future by embedding our AI framework into our daily lessons.   
  • Jones Middle School will prepare each and every student for post-secondary and workforce readiness so that they have multiple pathways to success based on their demonstrated knowledge, skills, abilities.
  • Jones Middle School will be the bridge between Harmony, Ivy Creek, and Patrick Elementary schools and Seckinger High School to ensure students are prepared to explore their interests and pursue their passions when they start their 9th grade year. 
  • ALL students in 6-8th grade will engage in Naviance career lessons with the goal of 100% completion rate for engaging in interest inventory's, aptitude tests, Individual graduations plans and information about dual enrollment by the conclusion of May 2023. In addition, counselors will facilitate a career week March 25-29th to encourage career exploration among all grade levels.  



  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Learning Framework and Continuum

    • Embed AI learning and skill development throughout coursework with programming, data science, mathematical reasoning, creative problem solving, ethics, and applied experiences

  2. Each content area will implement weekly AI warmups for all students to complete during class. 
  3. Monthly, our AI Instructional Specialist and ITIC will facilitate bite-sized professional learning during grade level planning. 
  4. ALL students in 6-8th grade will engage in Naviance career lessons with the goal of 100% completion rate for engaging in interest inventory's, aptitude tests, Individual graduations plans and information about dual enrollment by the conclusion of May 2024. In addition, counselors will facilitate a career week March 25-29th to encourage career exploration among all grade levels.  
  5. On Digital Learning Days, one of our professional learning choice sessions will be Instructional Innovator where teachers will learn about new AI and technology tools to enhance their instructional practices. 
  6. AI extensions will be offered 3 days/week during JAG time. 
  • PSAT 8/9 on-track for College Readiness
    • Data Measures:  TBD
  • iReady Data to determine students who will participate in AI extensions during JAG time
    • Baseline:  n/a
    • Target:  TBD 
  • Science Fair Results
    • Number of projects represented in the cluster fair
      • baseline:  40-45, goal - 50 
    • Number of students that place in the Gwinnett Regional Science, Engineering, & Innovation Fair
      • baseline:
        • 4 students, 1st place
        • 14 students, 2nd place
        • 6 students, 3rd place
        • Total - 24 students
      • goal: 30 students
Family Engagement/Building Parent Capacity -
  • We believe a parent liaison plays a crucial role in facilitating communication, fostering parental involvement, and creating a supportive and inclusive school environment which leads to improved student outcomes and a stronger partnership between parents, teachers, and the school.
  1. We will facilitate 2 professional learning sessions for teachers designed to teach them strategies for building effective partnerships between home and school. 
  2. We will facilitate 2 parent sessions for families to build their capacity to support their child's learning at home. 
  3. We will build our community partnerships with local businesses in Buford, GA. 
  • # of session participants (families and teachers): 
    • Baseline:  0
    • Target:  TBD