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PLCs and Continuous Improvement

Best educational practices

Best educational practices are most likely to be fostered and supported in the collaborative context of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). At their best, PLCs function as contexts for cultivating the synergy that can result when educators see themselves as sharing responsibility for student learning. Ultimately this responsibility is to ensure that all students are able to transfer learning from the classroom to the world of work and continuing education. However, in order to provide effective instruction, teachers need a deep understanding of the content and skills themselves, as well as experience of best practice pedagogy. PLCs function as 'learning labs' for educators; drawing upon the internal capacity of participants and mining their collective experience to develop effective lessons and to utilize student data to adapt instruction according to the needs of students.

Outmoded organizational structure

Schools have been hobbled by an outmoded organizational structure that tends to 'silo' teachers with little, if any shared time or contact with the principal as an instructional leader. Now the technology is available to circumvent that structure by enabling virtual collaboration for sharing lessons focused on the essential skills and knowledge, effective instructional practices, ongoing assessments, and student data. KW21’s multi-sided platform supports collaborative practices across grade levels and subject areas. As a tool it can increase the stability and efficiency of PLCs by systematizing ongoing review of student data as the metric for determining learning progress and responding in timely way when students are struggling.

Professional Leaning Communities (PLCs)

Making sure students are learning is a coordinated effort that requires the collaboration of many people. Students are better served when faculty members, school principals and district leaders collaborate with each other to share what they are doing and learning.

The Ontario Ministry of Education defines a PLC as 'a shared vision or running a school in which everyone can make a contribution, and staff are encouraged to collectively undertake activities and reflection in order to constantly improve their students’ performance'.
Learn more...

1. Plan

Standards based Education and Prioritized Learning Objectives

As a way to measure students the bell curve shows us how one compares to another. It is possible, using the bell curve to be above average and still know very little and be able to very little. It is also possible to be below average and be very competent. Standards change that. Learn more...

Relevant, Viable and Measured Curriculum (RVM-C)

In this day and age it is impossible to learn everything. Choices need to be made. Those choices should start with the inclusion of the most important knowledge and skills that will allow learners to have rich and productive lives.

One of the most significant factors that impacts student achievement is that teachers commit to implementing a relevant, guaranteed and viable curriculum (our RVM-C) to ensure no matter who teaches a given class, the curriculum will address certain essential content (Marzano, 2003). Learn more...

2. Do
Ongoing Monitoring of Student Learning

Being able to provide student profiles of strengths and challenges requires a system of assessments that covers and monitors what must be learned by all students. Learn more...

Ensuring Effective Instruction

Create units and lessons based on the priority standards. Access student specific proficiency profiles or whole class proficiency profiles on the priority standards before you even start teaching. Learn more...

3. Study and 4. Adjust
Responding When Students Don't Learn (RTI)

Response to intervention is the practice of providing high-quality instruction and intervention matched to student need, monitoring progress frequently to make decisions about changes in instruction or goals and applying student response data to important education decisions.

The imperative that all students learn requires an efficient means of figuring out in a very timely fashion the supplemental needs of the students. Those supplemental needs might be for interventions or for enrichment. Learn more...


References

Ministry of Education. (2005). Education for all: The report of the expert panel on literacy and numeracy instruction for students with special education needs, kindergarten to grade 6., Ontario Education, ISBN 0-7794-8060-0 Retrieved November 16, 2006

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