During the 2011-12 school year, the Leadership Team of Morgan County Schools began an extended study of the concept of Professional Learning Communities with the goal of enhancing continuous school improvement. During this year of study and planning, the Leadership Team (consisting of district- and school-level administrators and academic coaches) reviewed literature, attended workshops, and practiced the basic skills needed and used for successful PLCs.
The calendar for the 2012-13 school year has included 2 full days (four half days throughout the year) for every teacher to work with colleagues in their area of expertise at either the grade level (elementary) or content area (high school). These meetings are providing teams to discuss, plan, and coordinate instruction to ensure consistency and accountability.
With the award of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) grant, in 2013-14 the PLCs in Morgan County Schools will be modified more to the local school level. Each school will establish Cluster Meetings, which will bring together teachers who are focused on the same area of instruction or group of students. These Cluster Meetings will provide teachers with time during their school day to plan and coordinate instruction to provide continuous learning.
The overall goal of the Cluster Meetings remains basically the same as those identified for professional learning communities:
- A Focus on Learning
- A Collaborative Culture with a Focus on Learning for All
- A Collective Inquiry into Best Practices
- Action Orientation: Learning by Doing
- A Commitment to Continuous Improvement
- Results Orientation