The More You Know: Professional Learning Communities at Work in Our Schools
January 5, 2022
Student achievement is always a top priority at the Cabot School District. The district continually focuses on investing in new opportunities to aid in the advancement of our educators and students.
This focus includes establishing Professional Learning Communities, or PLCs, in our schools. PLCs are groups of educators that work to empower each other and share expertise to promote teacher collaboration and increase the academic performance of students.
Always excited to learn and grow, last spring, Stagecoach Elementary and Cabot Junior High South (CJHS) applied and were honored to be selected as members of PLCs at Work Regional Network. Administrators have been working closely with individuals at the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education and Solution Tree.
Stagecoach Elementary Principal Carol Skiba shared that Kelli Fuller, a Solution Tree PLC Coach for Arkansas, helped survey their teachers with the continuums provided to determine their “current reality and find a place to start.” Mrs. Skiba went on to say “the first time Mrs. Fuller met with our teams she gave an overview of the PLC process. We started by creating collective commitments and then grade level teams selected and unpacked the essential standards that we were guaranteeing that our students will learn. We also created common formative assessments for the selected essential standards.”
This partnership has already proven successful! The Arkansas Department of Education recently awarded Stagecoach Elementary nearly $50,000 for achieving high student performance and student academic growth.
CJHS Principal Dr. John West feels that “teaching requires skilled masters of content and relationship. The PLC system does not limit creativity or personality of staff. It clarifies the goal of learning, improves instruction, and identifies mastery and learning struggle quickly.”
Coach Reed Fisher, a CJHS science teacher, also shared his school’s experience. He says that “going through the PLC training and learning the PLC process has helped me to become a more focused teacher and created an environment of individual student learning in my classroom, which is different from before when I had more of a focus on which material needed to be taught to students.”
Our administrators and staff are grateful for the support from DESE and Solution Tree in helping them better develop PLCs in their buildings. We are extremely proud of our schools for constantly striving to be the best, embracing new opportunities, and doing what is best for our students. Afterall, It’s about KIDS!