LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – As the state's largest school district, meeting every student's needs can be challenging. That's why JCPS said it wants the community's help to make sure there is success across the board.
The district hosts frequent sessions called Professional Learning Community Rounds, or PLCs. These meetings are open to everyone and hosted by different schools each time.
“This is not a dog and pony show. These teachers would be doing this anyway at this time, but we try to set up once or twice a month where the community can just come in and see what teachers are doing while they are helping all kids across the achievement line,” Chief Equity Officer for JCPS John Marshall said. “You really do have to celebrate all of those movements because it is a lot, and one of the things as we move forward and education evolves is it’s a team of teachers now. There was a time when one teacher would sit in a room with the door closed and talk about how to move you and I forward. Now, you’ll see that there’s a collective thinking about each child and how we’re going to move each child forward differently because we understand how they learn.”
Marshall said the district started these meetings a few years ago and considers them a great success.
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that the community wants to be involved. The community needs to know what’s going on, and we wish we could just fill up rooms to show this kind of work because it’s really about the teacher and the student, and of course the leadership. We really just want the community to know what’s going on and then say I can help in this way as we continue to move kids forward,” Marshall said. “It’s really more than ABCs and 123s. Sometimes, it’s a mentor. Sometimes, it’s that out of school support that we need, and PLC kind of catapults all of that, all the while focusing on instruction. The achievement gap is really something that we have to be unapologetic about when we approach it. We have to talk about race. We have to talk about inequities. We have to talk about expectations that teachers set or fail to set for our students. One of the things we do in PLCs, teachers will talk collectively about that gap and where students are and how we’re going to get them across to the other side.”
Bloom Elementary sponsored Tuesday’s group and gave guests insight into the fifth grade team's strategies. The teams meet after every assessment to talk about what went well, what didn't, and how they can help each student improve.
“As a teacher, I really feel like professional learning communities are effective because it gives us a chance to look at each child as an individual. It’s not really about data. It’s about their strengths and weaknesses and how we can help the child grow and to have celebrations when the child is successful,” fifth grade math teacher Amy Biggs said. “The PLCs can address the gap because we’re looking at each student, but we’re looking at the same standard. So, the expectations are still high, but it may be that we’ve got to maybe find a different way for the child to meet that expectation.”
There's a list of upcoming roundtables on the district's website.