Professional Learning Communities (PLC)
To provide educators an opportunity to collaborate, analyze data, and reflect on teaching strategies, the district incorporates professional development time into the academic calendar each school year. Each Monday, the district releases students at approximately 2:00pm in order for teachers to participate in various forms of professional development. Additionally, the academic calendar identifies several full-day professional development opportunities for new and returning educators.
Big Idea #1: Ensuring that students learn
- What do we expect students to learn? (Iowa Core)
- How will we know when they have learned it? (Assessment)
- How will we respond when some students do not learn? (Interventions)
- How will we respond when some students already know it? (Extensions)
Big Idea #2: A Culture of Collaboration
“Educators must work together to achieve their collective purpose” and Professional Learning Communities provide teachers the structure to create the collaborative culture needed to achieve a collective purpose. Curriculum, instruction and assessment are the focus and professional development, which is based upon theory, demonstration, practice and coaching. PLC’s support all four components through collaboration time. Collaboration leads to professional dialog when teachers work together to analyze and improve classroom practices.
Big Idea #3: Focus on Results
“Professional learning communities judge their effectiveness on the basis of results.” Every teacher participates in the continual process of identifying the current level of student achievement, establishing a goal to improve that level and checking progress.
Professional learning communities, implemented correctly, are hard work for teachers and administrators and principal leadership is a key factor in success. Principal leadership includes attending/participating in professional development, analyzing data, monitoring student learning and supervision of the effectiveness of PLC.