MISSOURI PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES PROJECT
WHEN DID PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES BEGIN IN MISSOURI?
This Missouri Professional Learning Communities Project, a state-sponsored initiative for school-improvement, began during the 2003-2004 school year. This PLC Project evolved from the Missouri Accelerated Schools Project which had served as a school reform initiative for many years. During the 2007-2008 school year, the professional learning communities state-wide staff nearly doubled in number and is currently serving schools in all parts of the state.
WHAT IS A PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITY?
Professional learning communities see student learning, not teaching, as their mission. The policies, instruction, curriculum, programs, professional development, and other functions of the school all support student learning. In maintaining this constant focus on learning, four questions become paramount:
1. What should students know and be able to do?
2. How will the school determine that students have learned the essential
knowledge and skills?
3. How will the school respond when students do not learn?
4. How will the school respond when they already know it?
The state PLC school-improvement model focuses on increasing student achievement by building the capacity of school personnel to create and sustain the conditions that promote high levels of student and adult learning.
WHAT DOES A SCHOOL THAT IS A PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITY LOOK LIKE?
- The daily work of the school is driven by common purpose, shared vision and collective commitments.
- There are high expectations regarding student achievement and a commitment on the part of staff to accept responsibility for student learning.
- The learning of each student is monitored on a timely basis using common core curriculum and common assessments aligned with state standards.
- School structures support student learning and provide additional time and support for students who initially do not achieve intended outcomes.
- Job-embedded professional development leads to the collective identification of, reflection about, and implementation of “best practices” for improved student achievement.
- Staff members work collaboratively in processes that foster continuous improvement in all indicators of student achievement.
- The use of data promotes an action orientation and focus on results.
- Leadership of school improvement processes is widely dispersed and helps sustain a culture of continuous improvement.
WHAT TRAINING IS AVAILABLE FOR SCHOOLS IN THE MISSOURI PLC PROJECT?
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education offers comprehensive ongoing training, technical assistance, and support through the Professional Learning Communities Project. (See PLC Essential Curriculum Graphic)
HOW CAN MY SCHOOL BECOME A PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITY?
For more information, contact the MO DESE Professional Learning Communities Project Director, listed below, or the regional professional deveopment center in which your district resides.
Mary Ann Burns, Director
School Improvement Initiatives
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
PO Box 480
Jefferson City, MO 65102