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Professional Learning Communities

The Corvallis School District is invested in moving from a traditional school structure to the Professional Learning Community (PLC) model. At the core of this transformation is our mission to assure that all students learn at high levels. 

An important shift is from a focus on teaching to a primary focus on learning.  High-quality teaching remains critical, but our teaching strategy revolves around these four critical questions:

1. Exactly what do we expect students to learn?
2. How will we know when they have learned it?
3. How will we respond when they do not learn it?
4. How will we respond when they have already learned it? 

The PLC strategy is based on three fundamental assumptions: 

1. We can make a difference. Our schools can be more effective.
2. Improving our people is the key to improving our schools.
3. Significant school improvement will impact teaching and learning.

Using the PLC model, our teachers have formed collaborative teams who meet regularly to address these questions and to work together to serve the learning needs of their students. These teams are now meeting once a week as a result of changes made to school calendars and schedules at every level in 2011-2012.  

They have identified the essential core state standards that all students must master to be successful at the next level. They also have created and are expanding on writing and giving common assessments to regularly monitor students to see if they are struggling to learn the material, if they have mastered the curriculum, or if they need to be challenged even more. 

PLCs are not a magic bullet. It will take the combination of PLCs. proven intervention systems, staff development and support, better assessments, the continued hiring of quality staff, plus parental involvement and support to achieve the kind of learning gains we're seeking. But over time, we expect to see significant growth and already are seeing positive outcomes.

Celebrating Success
Our district is focused on results, not intentions.  Learning results -- revealed by assessment data, student work, and teacher observation -- have become our measure of success and cause for celebration as we see results across the district. 

Both Corvallis and Crescent Valley high schools reported significant gains in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding state reading and math standards in 2010-2011, compared to 2009-2010. At CHS, the percentage of students who met or exceeded state reading standards grew from 79 percent to 94 percent and at Crescent Valley, the percentage grew from 72 percent to 92 percent.

When it comes to math, 81 percent of CHS students met or exceeded state standards in 2010-2011 compared to 63 percent the year before, and at Crescent Valley, the percentage grew from 61 percent to 79 percent. Both high schools also saw double-digit gains in the academic performance of all subgroups including Hispanic students, students with disabilities and economically disadvantaged students.

At Lincoln Elementary School where the staff has been committed to PLCs and a robust behavioral intervention system, 91 percent of the students met the reading benchmark in 2010-2011, an 18 percent increase over 2009-2010. Students with disabilities increased by 44 percent in reading and 47 percent in mathematics. Other subgroups including Limited English Proficient and economically disadvantaged students also saw significant gains.

    The Research Says . . .

    The following links to various Web sites, published articles and research testify to the proven effectiveness of Professional Learning Communities:

    All Things PLC -- A Comprehensive Summary

    Advocates for PLCs

    The Key to Improved Teaching and Learning

    What's on Your Refrigerator Door? Clarifying What Really Matters in Your School

    Proof of How Well PLCs are Working Nationwide

    Contact Us

    Instructional Services
    Phone: 541-766-4857
    Address: 1555 S.W. 35th St., Corvallis, OR 97333
    Staff:    Kevin Bogatin, Assistant Superintendent, 541-766-4857 
      Sally McAfee, Secondary Curriculum Coordinator, 541-757-4433
      Amy Lesan, Elementary Curriculum Coordinator, 541-757-5863

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