HOPE principle E2, Exemplify Collaboration Within the School, focuses on how educators work collaboratively on a professional level within their school community. I am currently serving my second year on our Building Leadership Team, or BLT. This group consists of representatives from each grade level, one from the specialist team, and our principal. We systematically collect input from and relay information to our grade level teams in a “Professional Learning Community” manner in order to evaluate school systems and make decisions based on improving student learning.
Our BLT, along with other leadership groups within the district, attended the DuFour conference on Professional Learning Communities (PLC) in Seattle this past summer 2011. We were eager to apply what we learned to our learning community within our school as well as to the learning community within our section of the district. We gained much insight into the steps we must take to implement the big ideas of the “professional learning community”. The initial phase of this implementation focused on math enrichment support for students who, according to our school data, already knew the material being taught. This data also drove the development of our school Continuous Improvement Plan, or CIP, which addressed curriculum enrichment as well.
While the conference was excellent, our BLT was motivated, and my grade level team was committed, consistent adherence to PLC tenets is sometimes a struggle. We are more adept at it this year than last year and will probably be even better next year if we follow this trend. We consider our efforts time well spent as we know that it is what is best for students.