Sheridan Elementary School was recently recognized by Solution Tree for its sustained success in raising student achievement. The school’s successful implementation of the Professional Learning Communities at Work® process was a significant contributing factor in the improved achievement of its students, according to SES Principal Lindsey Bohler. Fewer than 500 schools in the United States and Canada have achieved this distinction.
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:
1. Focus on learning.
2. Build a collaborative culture.
3. Create a results orientation.
“We are beyond excited to be recognized for our work in improving student achievement,” Bohler said. “We have worked as a team to ensure that all components of a PLC are evident in our school culture. Our staff looks forward to learning and growing together to improve our daily efforts to help all students be successful.”
As an example of improved achievement at SES, Bohler pointed to the school’s rise in NWEA standardized test scores. For instance, in Spring 2019, 37% of SES kindergarten students performed at or above the national average in math. In Spring 2022, that number had risen to 86%. Another example would be the rise in first grade reading scores. In Spring 2019, 29% of SES first-graders achieved at or above the national average in reading. In Spring 2022, that number had risen to 56%.
“Certainly, we’re proud of Sheridan Elementary School for implementing the PLC process successfully and, subsequently, seeing the rewards for their efforts,” said Dr. Karla Neathery, superintendent of the Sheridan School District. “I believe that following the PLC process is going to play a significant role in the rise of student achievement throughout our district. By continuing to work collaboratively and focus on learning, rather than teaching, I believe our district’s students are going to benefit and achieve outstanding results.”
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.
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. 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.