Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Professional Learning Communities “Think Tanks”

Today I am going to discuss “think tanks”. In the elementary school, think tanks are grade level teams of teachers who meet every six weeks. Think tanks are a time when a group of teachers come together for a day to accomplish three things: 1. Set goals for their classrooms 2. Set goals for themselves 3. Discuss students who may need help and develop a plan to address these needs. Think tanks are a form of a “professional learning community” (PLC). PLC’s are a powerful tool in education because it allows for collaboration among colleagues. PLC’s are a form of adult professional development that builds the skills and learning capital of the teachers. This in turn benefits the students as the focus of teacher attention becomes specific students and specific learning outcomes. All schools within RASD have some form of a PLC operating. PLC's are another example of how the school district has incorporated cutting edge initiatives to benefit students.

When I listen to politicians bash public education and public educators, I wish they would come and spend some time in one of RASD’s think tanks. Teachers spend their time in think tanks intensely focused on students and student achievement outcomes. The teachers will focus on individual students and what their needs as well as what the group of students collectively need. The passion to help kids is evident during these meetings and politicians and other public education naysayers need to see this.

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