HOPE Principle E1 – Exemplify professionally-informed, growth-centered practice
As a personal, as well as school wide, desire to increase student learning, we, as a school, have embraced the process and principles of Professional Learning Communities (PLC). I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend the DuFour PLC conference with other key members of our school staff this past August, 2011. The main tenets of this type of “reform” is focusing on learning rather than teaching, regular collaboration and goal setting with others in the learning community, collecting and analyzing data, and creating and implementing a plan to address the needs of students who struggle or already know the material. The collaboration and data analysis pieces of this model are what I and my teammates wanted to focus on this year.
We all have had students who either fail to learn the teaching targets or know them before they have even been taught. Frequently, we have battled this discrepancy on our own and applied interventions retrieved from our own creative, yet limited, collection of strategies. One premise (out of several) the PLC model is based on is the idea that the collective knowledge of a group of professionals is more likely to result in greater academic gains than the ideas of one teacher working alone. This requires PLC groups to meet regularly to formulate goals, share data, and provide and receive feedback.
My teammates and I, along with other school staff, have worked hard to arrange and follow through with weekly PLC meetings this year. We also have committed to sharing assessment results and providing feedback to each other. While this process is not perfect, we have accomplished much during our protected PLC meeting time so far this year. We are ready to set new goals for ourselves which will include streamlining our methods for data collection.