In June, a group of 11 district administrators headed to San Antonio for the Professional Learning Communities at Work Institute. Administrators from elementary, intermediate, middle, high schools and central office from across the state spent three days learning about the Professional Learning Community process, which is recognized in research and practice as the most powerful strategy for sustained, substantive school improvement.
The Intitute is a national conference held annually and draws thousands of teachers and administrators to the event.
This process focuses on learning through a culture of collaboration where teams work interdependently to attain a common goal. The Institute was hosted by Solution Tree and featured speakers such as Rick and Rebecca DuFour and Mike Mattos, who are recognized widely in education for their work with PLCs. Keynotes, breakout sessions, a panel discussion and team work sessions were all built into the Institute.
“The PLC At Work Institute provided a foundation on which to bring learning communities to life in our district and on our campuses,” Johnson Elementary Principal Lori Allison. “The sound research used to shape the initiative, the expertise of the presenters and the firsthand experiences shared have provided us with the necessary tools to transform our schools into collaborative communities where the guiding question ‘Is it working to improve student learning?’ becomes our mantra.”
With the goal of implementing the PLC process in Carroll ISD in order to meet the needs of all of our Dragons, these administrators spent time learning specific, practical strategies and planning for the upcoming school year. Because of representation from schools throughout the district, PLCs will be a district-wide initiative developed over time through training and practice.
Carroll High School Principal, P.J. Giamanco was excited about the conference because it “…continued the idea of shared leadership in our district,” and because it provides the opportunity to guide “our academics in a small group setting and allowing all students to be considered will help our CISD innovation.”
Looking ahead to the 2013-14 school year, the Carroll ISD Administrative team is currently in the process of developing a system for deployment and developing ways to support teachers. By focusing on learning for all, Carroll ISD pursues the vision of creating an environment that fosters excellence not only for students but for faculty and staff as well.
“After attending the conference I am now convinced that developing PLCs in our schools will accomplish two equally important goals: providing individualized learning support to our students and developing our teachers to be the best teachers they can possibly be,” Carroll Assistant Principal Janice Rowlands said.
Carroll ISD administrators attending the conference included: Lori Allison, Stacy Wagnon, Debra Moore, Shawn Duhon, Dr. Rene’ Moses, Dr. Amy Ellis, Dr. Mary Pruitt, P.J. Giamanco, Janice Rowlands, Dr. Mary Johnston and Dr. JJ Villarreal.