The Pulaski Community School District was recently recognized by Solution Tree for its sustained success in raising student achievement. PCSD’s successful implementation of the Professional Learning Communities at Work® process was a major contributing factor in the improved achievement of its students.
PLCs are schools and districts in which educators recognize the key to improved learning for students is on-going, job-embedded learning for the adults who serve those students. The three big ideas of a PLC call upon educators to:
- Focus on learning.
- Build a collaborative culture.
- Create a results orientation.
The PLC journey has helped the district bring clarity to four critical questions and the work within the district through teacher collaboration teams, guiding coalitions (leadership teams), and school-wide intervention teams. The four critical PLC questions that focus our work of higher levels of learning for all students include:
- What do we want our students to learn? (Curriculum, Power Standards, Learning Targets)
- How will we know that they have learned it? (Assessment)
- How will we support students who haven’t learned it? (Instruction and Intervention)
- How will we support students who already learned it? (Instruction and Enrichment)
Responding to news of the recognition, PCSD Superintendent Allison Space said, “the distinction of Model District speaks to the intentional work done every day by our staff. We are honored to be part of this work ensuring students are learning at high levels at all times. Being on the PLC journey is definitely a marathon, we certainly have not completed it, but we know we are on the right track!”
During the award presentation held Tuesday during the Welcome Back to School Session for all staff in PCSD, Joe Cuddemi, Solution Tree Associate, shared, “The PLC at Work framework embraces the best practices in our profession, and while many districts across the country attempt to implement this process, it is very difficult to deal with distractions and remove excuses in order to focus on the right work and stay the course. Congratulations Pulaski community for being a beacon light of hope, modeling and inspiring our schools to continuously learn and grow!”
Schools are recognized based on strict criteria, including demonstration of a commitment to PLC concepts, implementation of these concepts for at least three years, and clear evidence of improved student learning over that period. Once measurable results can be seen, the school must explain its practices, structures, and culture and submit its application for consideration by the PLC Review Committee.
Cuddemi has worked with the district the past three years on its PLC journey supporting the learning leaders, guiding coalitions, school-wide intervention teams, and overall teaching staff at the seven schools and district-level. “Working with the Pulaski educators was truly an honor. From the boardroom to the classroom, Pulaski educators continuously demonstrated an unwavering commitment to work together in order to improve the results for the students they serve.”
According to the Champions of PLC at Work®, educators in the schools and districts selected for this recognition have shown “a sustained commitment to helping all of their students achieve at high levels. They have been willing to alter the structure and culture of the organization to reflect their commitment. We applaud them and congratulate them for achieving this very significant milestone on the never-ending PLC journey.”
Recognized model PLC schools are listed on allthingsplc.info, where they share implementation strategies, structures, and performance with other educators interested in improving their schools. (To see the PCSD page, select this link.) Tools for team collaboration, articles and research about PLCs, blog posts, and other related resources are also available on the site. The site was developed and is maintained by Solution Tree, a leading provider of educational strategies and tools that improve staff and student performance. For more than 20 years, Solution Tree resources have helped K–12 teachers and administrators create schools where all children succeed.