Return to Headlines

Weekly Spotlight - LAE

Veronica McGilvery, Principal, Lake Arrowhead Elementary School

When students across the district get out of school early for a modified day, educators remain on campus to improve their practices. Each Wednesday, elementary sites in Rim of the World USD have early student release days that enable our teachers and support staff to engage in Professional Learning Communities (PLC). PLCs are a process. This is a valuable time for teams of committed educators to work together collaboratively in ongoing processes of collective inquiry and action research in order 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.” (Rick DuFour)The 3 Big Ideas of a PLC are: Ensuring that students learn; A culture of collaboration; A focus on results. There are 4 “Guiding Questions” that our PLCs operate under 1. What is it we expect students to learn? 2. How will we know when they have learned it? 3. How will we respond when they don’t learn? 4. How will we respond when they already know it? As our teacher teams come together on Wednesday early release days, they may be determining what essential standards and aligned curriculum should be a learning focus, designing common formative assessments for monitoring student learning, analyzing student data for improved learning outcomes, designing additional learning structures or interventions for students needing additional assistance or for those students needing challenge. In addition, teachers share best instructional practices with one another they have had positive learning results with, or perhaps a professional workshop attended.Our early release days assists each site with building capacity in areas that contribute to High Performing Schools—specifically clear vision, collaboration time, aligned curriculum, knowledge of best practices, high expectations, and frequent monitoring. So, when your students arrive home early on Wednesdays, keep in mind that teachers continue their own learning.Mr. Zaeske is teaching other teachers about the Google Classroom platform.