PLC - Professional Learning Community

The BHS math department is a team.  Our goal is to maximize learning for all students at BHS, not just the students we may have in our class at the moment.  Our PLC time and processes are the vehicle we use to achieve this goal.  Here is a snapshot of some of the things we have done and continue to do during PLC time and why we do them:

YouTube Video

We agreed on a set of essential learner outcomes to define the content of the department’s three required courses (Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2); we started with the state standards and content covered on the ACT.  This was the first step to ensuring a common and purposeful experience for students regardless of which teacher they had.

Once we agreed on the list of topics, we came to a common understanding of what they meant by deciding on how they would be assessed.  Unit-by-unit, we modified our old assessments and unified them into a single set of finals and unit assessments that all students would take.  This was the basis for collecting common data that we could share and discuss as a team.

Data collection began after the first common assessments were in place.  Most course data includes grade distributions, proficiencies (how many students are 80% or better on a given assessment), and item analysis at the question level for most tests.  We also track some of this data on each quiz (which are also a set of common assessments across the department).  PLC time is used to talk about data on an individual level or a department level.  When there are discrepancies between two teachers with the same course, they can discuss the data to figure out what is going on and how to best troubleshoot the problem.  When scores on a particular topic are low, we can collectively brainstorm and develop a new set of materials or approaches to teach that content.  

Since technology is used whenever possible to help student learning, we often spend time in PLC sharing interesting new software tools, new ways to use existing tools and whether or not they were helpful.  With the use of Dropbox, technology has also allowed us to be more efficient in our sharing of materials.

PLC time is a chance to explore new ideas.  As we look into different forms of ongoing assessment, the flipped classroom and its effectiveness, and now project-based learning, there are a lot of ideas on the table.  During our time together, we share how things are going with our projects, get feedback from each other, and discuss the effectiveness of new ideas.

Finally, PLC time is a chance to look at how to share what we’re doing beyond our walls through conferences, written articles, and updates to our website.  When necessary, we use our time to rehearse presentations and give each other feedback.  We also look into grant and award opportunities to help fund new ideas, and we publish information to this website to share what we are currently doing.

For more information about PLCs and their purpose, see the video and website links below:
Solutions Tree YouTube channel
Solutions Tree web site