The Professional Learning Community (PLC) model provides a daily “blanket of academic support” for first year 9th graders. Learning is the central focus of this model, and multiple learning strategies interplay within our system to assure maximum learning success for all students (PLC Strategies Diagram). A brief description of each of these learning strategies is included and can be accessed at the following link--PLC Strategies. It is important to note that full effectiveness of this Learning Initiative is contingent on all strategies working together.
Today, an exponentially growing number of students in our community experience social, economic, and psychological sources of adversity that reduce their chances of being successful in school. Dr. Abraham Maslow, a renowned psychologist, theorized that a specific series of needs must be met before any child can learn. According to Maslow, a child who is hungry or stressed will experience learning difficulties. Additionally, Dr. Maslow states, "the brain of a child who feels emotionally or physically threatened produces chemicals that actually inhibit learning." We believe that the PLC model gives the students who are at-risk of failing the best opportunity to succeed in school by attending to academic needs and building their self-concept of ability to learn. Our PLC staff understands the importance of their interpersonal relationship with each student. Our PLC Team makes every effort to be encouraging and supportive. We also attempt to keep our learning environment safe, orderly, and pleasant.
PLC Initiative provides educators with a process to identify first year 9th graders experiencing academic problems and a plan to guide students through a period when learning is difficult. Support strategies are specifically designed to restore student confidence and address specific learning difficulties.
Early this school year, Dr. O’Shields emphasized to school administrators the importance of believing that “failure is not an option”. Dr. O’Shields presented each member of the District Leadership Team with a book, Failure is not an Option (Blankstein), to read and study during the summer and first part of this school year. During recent District Leadership Team meetings, we analyzed the important points in this book. PLC was a featured topic in several chapters. The PLC message was to use our professional expertise and experience to identify, develop, and institute plans that lead to a healthy level of student learning which would eventually improve our District 56 graduation rates.