Curriculum Spotlight

Presented to The Benton School Board-December 11, 2017

Professional Learning Communities at Work

The Professional Learning Community at Work model offers a systems approach to school improvement. Teachers are organized into grade level, course specific, or interdisciplinary collaborative teams in which educators work interdependently to achieve common goals for which members are mutually accountable. A process is put in place to ensure teams clarify the essential learning for each course;grade level, and unit of instruction; establish consistent pacing; create frequent common assessments to monitor student learning, and agree on the criteria they will use to judge the quality of student work. Each team then uses the evidence of student learning to identify individual students who need additional time and support, to discover problematic areas of the curriculum that require the attention of the team, and to help each member become aware of his or her instructional strengths and weaknesses.

The PLC concept also extends beyond the individual school when district leaders become emphatic about certain conditions that must be evident in all schools. Those conditions include: each school must demonstrate a commitment to high levels of learning for all students, teachers must be organized into teams and given time to collaborate, teams must provide students with a viable curriculum for every course and grade level, must develop common assessments, and use the evidence of learning to fuel improvement, the school must create a system of intervention, and the school must have a plan for enriching the learning of students who are proficient.

The Benton School District has trained all principals in the PLC process this last summer and brought in Eric Twadell with Solution Tree to help with implementation and scheduling of PLC's. We will continue to provide an ongoing system of training for continuous school improvement with Professional Learning Communities in our district.