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KL School Officials: PLCs Are Growing

Officials say the model calls for a shift, from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning.

A major goal for the Katonah-Lewisboro Schools is to have fully functioning, district-wide professional learning communities (PLCs) within the next five years, officials say.

The PLC model allows teachers in like age groups or subjects to collaborate during one period each week. It calls for a shift, from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning. 

Superintendent Dr. Paul Kreutzer met with reporters last week for an update on the implementation of the model, which has had teachers in the elementary and middle schools working together since the start of the school year. The program has not yet been fully implemented in the high school, largely because of scheduling conflicts.

Kreutzer said the goal right now is to get the program started slowly, and give it an opportunity to grow. 

"It's a process, not a product," he said.

For more on the implementation of the program, take a look at these updates, provided by the district:

  • First grade: PLC has developed "norms and protocols for decision making and the creation of SMART (Strategic, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time framed) Goals for specific units of study," including the completion of a written opinion piece on a chosen book. Upcoming work will focus on "unpacking the standards as they apply to future units of study, developing more authentic and open relationships with PLC members and more closely examining student work samples to gauge the success of PLC work."
  • Second grade: Developed "norms and protocols for productive weekly meetings." Some PLCs are zoning in on specific "text features as driven by the shift in the Common Core." Other recent focus points have included: establishing pre-assessments and using data/results to direct additional team collaboration, analyzing post-assessment data, piloting a reading unit and examining student progress. Upcoming plans include delving into standards and "the alignment of non-fiction units with the Common Core."
  • Third grade: Unpacking Common Core standards, "and deciding on units of study that need to be highlighted to accomplish those standards," is one of the major tasks at hand. PLCs have looked at ELA units and zoned in on strengthening sentences, as well as improving conventions and punctuation. Up next: "An exploration of the BOCES ELA/SS unit," writing curriculum and collaborating with other grade levels.
  • Fourth grade: Working on "how to move students from reading a text for meaning to reading a text on a variety of challenging levels." One of the SMART Goals is to "write an ELA unit that aligns with the CCLS and focuses on character development through writing a small moment in fiction using close reading strategies to examine the mentor text." Upcoming work includes tying ELA units to enrichment choices, creating improved rubrics and more.
  • Fifth grade: Focus on ELA units of study that include "...extrapolating resources to fortify units of study in non-fiction and informal texts." Inventories aimed at identifying future arenas that "need to be explored" as PLCs progress. Plans to "align a unit of study" to the Common Core will go hand-in-hand with this goal: At least 75 percent of fifth-graders will meet target score of 80 percent on a newly developed assessment.
  • Middle school: Agendas for meetings have been established, as well as schedules for different, rotating roles: facilitator, note-taker, timekeeper and process observer. Each team has established at least one SMART Goal, which were followed by appropriate strategies and actions. Progress is shared at monthly Building Council meetings, which follows PLC model.

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