Planning for PLCs: Connecting to Student Achievement - Steve Barkley

Planning for PLCs: Connecting to Student Achievement

I recently had the opportunity to work with the administrator and teacher leaders at Eustis Middle School looking to establish a plan for teachers to work in PLCs as professional development for the next school year.

We used a backwards planning process to establish a focus and a plan.

First, we identified the student performances, behaviors, and practices that would be critical in reaching the desired student achievement.

The list looked like this:
…take responsibility for their own learning and their classmates learning.
…have plans for their futures.
…show interest and engagement in learning.
…are thinkers.
…direct many learning activities.
…have active conversations in learning.
…are collaborative.

The following drawing by teacher Julia DeLaCruz illustrates.

The Ideal EMS Student:

Having decided upon the desired student performances, we then brainstormed
the teacher practices most likely to generate these student responses.
That list was then summarized into three focus areas:

Co-operative Learning
Motivating the Unmotivated
Higher Order Thinking

Teachers will have the opportunity to select one of these three areas for study in the coming school year. Initial professional development opportunities will be offered to the three groups. Then smaller PLCs will be formed in each of these three areas. Those PLCs will work together making specific applications of their studies with their students. It is expected that those learnings will follow back to the larger group and potentially back to the entire faculty.

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