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Professional Learning Communities being implemented across the district

Article Date: 
17 August, 2012 (All day)

With the commencement of the 2012-13 school year a rudimentary form of Professional Learning Communities  will be implemented in all schools within the district.  Presently, Morgan Elementary School, Mountain Green Elementary School, and Morgan Middle School employ basic models of PLCs.  Morgan High School has had periodic departmental planning sessions, but nothing continuous or direction focused.
Building administrators have designated Wednesdays as the common day for PLC implementation.  They have been interacting with each community council seeking input from parents and students on the day of the week and the time of the day.  Our goal is to have a consensus of the councils and broad support from parents and the community during the implementation process.
Morgan Middle School and Morgan High School will conduct PLCs in the mornings with their students. They will have a late start.  School will begin at 9:25 a.m.  Morgan Elementary School and Mountain Green Elementary School will have an early release with school being dismissed at 1:25 p.m. at Morgan Elementary School and 1:15 p.m. at Mountain Green Elementary School.
At the middle school and high school parents and students are encouraged to visit with particular teachers on Wednesdays between approximately 8:20 to 9:20 a.m. to discuss academic concerns, assistance with homework and assignments, etc.  This will replace the traditional parent/teacher conferences and will allow students and parents weekly access to teachers rather than waiting for the regular conferences.  
When fully implemented, these PLCs will allow teachers and administrators to coordinate their efforts on behalf of individual students, student groups, grade levels, and entire school populations.  For example, a fourth grade team in examination of the data discovers sub-scores in gathering and organizing information from the Language Arts core test have slowly declined over the past three years.  This might suggest that the team needs a professional development tune-up workshop on teaching students the skills necessary for effective gathering and organizing information.  It might also bring forward a discovery of a particular sub-set of students in need of Response to Intervention assistance.
With the implementation of these workable PLCs across the District, more attention can be given to meeting the needs of individual students.  Under the Response to Intervention model  (RTI) classroom teachers, specialists, special education teachers, and the administration will meet regularly, share student data and progress, and design tier level interventions and accommodations for specific students.
At the Tier 1 level the PLC can compare and share teaching strategies and lesson plans for the grade level, team or department.  The objective will be to align and establish benchmarks for whole-group learning.
In Tier 2 level applications supplemental interventions will be created for students at risk of missing a concept or principle of learning.  Specific assignments or strategies may be assigned to specific members of the PLC including classroom teachers, specialists and special educators.
High risk student needs will be addressed at Tier 3.  Intensive interventions will be designed and created with much of the direct service coming from specialists and special educators.  Inclusion students will receive supplemental assistance from the regular classroom teacher.
Total implementation of PLCs will not be accomplished until funding sources have increased and the district is in a position to monetarily support these programs.  Until that time, PLCs will be blended with common planning time, professional training, etc. that will create workable models for our staff and budget constraints.