Parents and students know them as Wednesday late starts. Teachers and staff members know them as PLCs – or Professional Learning Communities. Whatever you call them, they are having a profound impact on the way our district approaches teaching and learning.
Beginning in 2008, Yelm Community Schools began implementing the model known as Professional Learning Communities, using the one-hour late starts on Wednesday mornings to meet together. All PLCs follow the same processes and have certain elements in common. The bottom line is we want to make sure all students have access to powerful teaching and learning.
Critical questions our schools grapple with as they work to create coordinated action plans within professional learning communities are:
- What is it we want students to learn?
- How will we know if they have learned?
- What will we do if they have not learned?
- What will we do if they have learned?
These questions may seem pretty basic. However, we are striving to address them as a whole school community, rather than individual by individual.
It has been said that isolation is the enemy of improvement. In developing the Yelm Community Schools professional learning communities, we are using the model developed by Dr. Chuck Salina to create teams of teachers collaboratively seeking out best practices, then testing and evaluating those practices on the basis of results.
From this umbrella initiative, many other initiatives have taken root. Response to Intervention (RTI) and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports are just two examples.