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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
AP 418 - Professional Learning Communities
Background

The Division supports the collaborative efforts of teachers as they work together in professional learning communities (PLC’s). PLC’s are a proven approach to improving the Division’s collective capacity for improvement.  A PLC is characterized by:
  • A shared mission, vision, and values;
  • Collective inquiry;
  • Collaborative teams;
  • An action orientation and experimentation;
  • Continuous improvement; and
  • A results orientation (DuFour & Eaker, 1998).   
The Division will provide support for both horizontal and vertical PLC’s. A horizontal PLC is one in which teachers who teach similar or close to similar grades will work together in a community. Members of a horizontal PLC often come together from different schools. A vertical PLC is one in which teachers who teach different grade levels will form a community, most often within one school staff.

The Division will provide teachers with up to four days in a school year to meet and work in horizontal PLC’s. Teachers in horizontal PLC’s will work collaboratively to improve student learning outcomes by identifying key learner outcomes, developing or identifying common assessments designed to measure such outcomes, collecting and analyzing data, and exploring and implementing research-proven best practices.

Vertical PLC’s will be implemented in the Division’s schools using structured meeting times arranged in consultation with the principal in addition to the eight common early dismissal days.

Procedures

1.  Horizontal PLC’s
1.1.  Teachers wishing to participate in a horizontal PLC are asked to apply to the designated Superintendent of Schools using an AF 418 - PLC Request Form Step 1.
1.2.  All applications will be processed by Learning Superintendent. Following initial approval by Learning Superintendent, an overview of the PLC’s planned work for the school year will be required before final approval is granted. Such an overview will be described using AF 418 - PLC Request Form Step 2. This form should be submitted to the designated Superintendent of Schools.
1.3.  A maximum of four days may be utilized by each PLC. Early dismissal days are not to be used for horizontal PLC work.
1.4.  A teacher may be a member of one horizontal PLC per year.
1.5.  Teachers are encouraged to use their participation in PLC’s as a tool in the implementation of their personal growth plans as described in AP 417 - Teachers' Professional Development.
1.6.  PLCs that have received approval will be posted on the Division conference. This will give other teachers within the Division the opportunity to join a PLC of their choice should they wish to apply to do so.
1.7.  Mileage will be paid to PLC members. PLC members are to carpool whenever possible as outlined in Procedure AP 571 - Carpooling. Forms will be submitted to the designated Superintendent of Schools.
1.8.  The use of Division meeting facilities for PLC meetings must be booked in advance.
1.9.  Horizontal PLCs will have a minimum of 4 members, with maximum membership of 8 teachers.
1.10.  Each PLC will focus upon one of the following areas:
    • Reading;
    • Writing;
    • Mathematics;
    • Science; or  
    • Other, as approved by the Learning Superintendent.
1.11.  PLC’s work will include:
1.11.1.  Identifying key learner outcomes;
1.11.2.  Establishing SMART goals;
1.11.3.  Developing or identifying common assessments that will measure progress on the established SMART goals;
1.11.4.  Collecting and analyzing student data from the administered common assessments;
1.11.5.  Developing, identifying and implementing possible interventions in order to improve student learning. Such interventions should be research-proven; and
1.11.6.  Regularly monitoring student progress using common assessments and altering plans if necessary in order to ensure improvement in student learning
2.  Vertical PLC’s
2.1.  A vertical PLC typically exists in one school and includes teachers who teach varying grade levels.
2.2.  Teachers who work in vertical PLC’s will work with their principal to establish common working times.  Such times may include time within the eight early dismissal days.
2.3.  Teachers are encouraged to use their participation in PLC’s as a tool in the implementation of their personal growth plans as described in AP 417 Teachers' Professional Development.
2.4.  Vertical PLC’s provide an excellent approach to the implementation of Division learning improvement initiatives and Ministry curricula.
2.5.  Vertical PLC’s work will include:
2.5.1.  Identifying key learner outcomes;
2.5.2.  Establishing SMART goals;
2.5.3.  Developing or identifying common assessments that will measure progress on the established SMART goals;
2.5.4.  Collecting and analyzing student data from the administered common assessments;
2.5.5.  Developing, identifying and implementing possible interventions in order to improve student learning. Such interventions should be research-proven; and
2.5.6.  Regularly monitoring student progress using common assessments and altering plans if necessary in order to ensure improvement in student learning.


Reference:  Sections 85, 109, 175, 231, 233, Education Act

March 10, 2011