In addition to providing training for our partners, The Budd Center is now offering coaching to help them implement what they learn. Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) are a fixture within PreK-12 education. Schools use them as a way for colleagues to learn from each other – sharing resources and data, problem solving and addressing shared issues as they emerge. In an effort to improve collaboration and data use within The School Zone, The Budd Center hired two coaches, adopted the PLC model and took an innovative approach to its use.
The School Zone’s PLCs are primarily composed of nonprofit program staff, with some participation by school leaders. By placing adult learners from mission-similar organizations in collaborative settings, participating nonprofits get to know each other (the foundation for all collaboration), they engage in idea-sharing, examine data and incorporate it into their daily practices, and tackle persistent and systemic challenges from a collaborative perspective.
To date, three PLCs have emerged – Early Childhood, Academic Support, and Social and Emotional Health. Each has developed or is developing its own leadership, mission, SMART goals, roles responsibilities and accountability structure. A fourth PLC, the CEO Council, is in formation and will serve the same purpose at the senior executive level of The School Zone.
Early Childhood PLC
Provide young children access to high quality early childhood education and support at home, in school and in the community. Families, schools, early childhood providers and community organizations who interact with families and young children will work together to meet a shared set of school readiness outcomes supported by the Early Childhood PLC.
Academic Support PLC
Bring together in-school and out-of-school educational nonprofits to address common issues and identify and implement solutions to better serve students and families in West Dallas. Schools and community organizations who interact with students, teachers and families will work together to help make sure students in The School Zone are performing at grade level across all age groups.
Social and Emotional Health PLC
Improve the social and emotional health of children by identifying, sharing, and engaging in best practices in order to improve the trajectory of children’s lives.
PLC SMART Goals
This year, each PLC will use its SMART goals to continue to develop structures and practices to support improved student outcomes.
- The Academic Support PLC’s SMART goal is: By the end of AY2016-2017, 75% of Tier 3 students (high-risk students in grades 1-3) will improve their ISIP scores by 10 points in reading.
- The Early Childhood PLC is working to establish an attendance goal (if parents don’t understand the importance of attendance, their children miss out on critical learning even in the first years of school).
- The Social and Emotional Health PLC is newly formed and is developing SMART goal .