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    Teaching at a PLC school
    By johabella

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    I currently teach 5th grade at a public school that has embodied the PLC philosophy. It's definitely been a lot more work, but has given me great rewards.

    This PLC journey is a shift in thinking. There is a shift from a focus on teaching, to a focus on learning. Instead of emphasizing what was taught, we fixate on what students have learned. Coverage of content now takes a backseat to students demonstrating proficiency on essential standards. Teachers work collaboratively and hold each other accountable for the results.

    As part of a Professional Learning Community (PLC) every educator strives to answer the following questions:

    1. What is it we expect students to learn?

    2. How will we know when they have learned it?

    3. How will we respond when they don't learn?

    4. How will we respond when they already know it?

    As educators answer these questions, we have a pyramid of interventions in place to meet every student's individual needs. There is a plan for every child's learning! We are reteaching to the students that can't get it the first time, and enriching our students that always get it the first time. It has allowed me to "deepen" the learning of those "high" kids that almost always get forgotten.

    As we focus on essential standards, we expect that every child will learn! We will not let students off the hook. Students are expected to meet proficiency on identified skills and concepts for every grade level. A student will be deemed proficient in these areas when they have a score of 70% or above. If a child has not yet met proficiency on grade level skills and concepts, they will be awarded an "I". This "I" reflects "in progress toward grade level skills and concepts". This "I" will be reported on class work, as well as report cards. Once a child has demonstrated proficiency, the grade will then be changed to reflect this achievement. We are the first elementary school in the county to assume such an undertaking and change in practice in our district and are quickly becoming a "model" school for this.

    As we continue on our PLC journey, we continue to grow as educators and help all students learn!

    I was very skeptical at first, but after doing it this year, I can see my students "moving" and meeting benchmarks that may have been unatainable before. It truly works and I am proud to say that I believe in PLC.

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