"A Professional Learning Community (PLC) is educators committed to working collaboratively in ongoing processes of collective inquiry and action
 research to achieve better results for the students they serve. PLCs operate under the assumption that the key to improved learning for students is continuous, job-embedded learning for educators.”
—adapted from Learning by Doing


BUILD A COLLABORATIVE CULTURE
No school can help all students achieve at high levels if teachers work in isolation. Schools improve when teachers are given the time and support to work together to clarify essential student learning, develop common assessments for learning, analyze evidence of student learning, and use that evidence to learn from one another.


GOALS
  • To provide a format and process for Professional Learning Communities within the Gateway Group Schools.
  • To establish professional development that improves the learning of all students, provides educators with the knowledge/skills to engage in collegial collaboration and learning that is job-embedded and supported by sufficient time.
  • To provide staff development that reflects current research on teacher efficacy, best practices and N.J.A.C. 6A:9-1

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS 

1. Why are we doing PLCs? Research in staff development practices indicates that the best staff development occurs over time, is teacher-directed, and allows teachers to focus on instructional strategies that directly impact their teaching and their students’ learning. Professional Learning Communities provide this kind of staff development. 


2. When do PLCs start? How often would they meet? During the Spring/Summer of 2010, Group-Wide PLC groups will be formed, and PLC Teacher Leaders will be determined. These Teacher Leaders will be trained during the summer of 2010.  

PLCs will meet during Gateway Group-Wide Professional Development days.  A PLC group will stay together for the entire year, and members will determine and work on similar goals.


3. How were PLC Modules developed?
A Group-Wide PLC Modules Menu was developed by the Gateway Group Professional Development Committee.  8 PLC Modules are being offered during the 2010 – 2011 school year. The 8 module topics focus on improving the learning of all students while reflecting the diversity of staff. (Content, grade level, etc.) Module topics reflect the work of the individual district Professional Development Plans and goals determined within that process. 


4. How will PLCs be formed? All staff members will choose their 1st and 2nd choice of PLC modules. Staff should choose PLC modules with people of like interests, grade levels, and/or teaching areas.  

They will then be placed in a module group. It will be important to have enough members on a PLC to facilitate the sharing of new ideas and the promoting of new teaching techniques and strategies.  Groups will be limited to a predetermined number. (Aprox. 15 per module) 


5. What resources will be provided to PLC members?  All PLC members will receive a professional development book related to their topic.  Books will be purchased by the districts for each member of their staff.  Books will be distributed in September.

Members will also have access to additional resources such as videos, articles, and the curriculum office professional library.  


6.  Who runs the PLC Module?  Each PLC will have a PLC Teacher Leader. The Leader will organize and plan PLC meetings. They will also be responsible for recording attendance at meetings, maintaining meeting notes, and completing other required staff development documentation.


7. How many PD hours will teachers receive for PLC? PLC members will receive hours for each of the Group-Wide professional development days attended.  Members will also keep a log of outside hours devoted to the PLC to share with their school administrator.