Faculty members focus on Professional Learning Communities concept
Posted July 6, 2012
Nine faculty members of The Webb School attended a Professional Learning Communities at Work™ Institute during summer. Angela Rasnick, director of studies; Kay Young, dean of faculty; Pam Sexton, science department chair; Shelley Akers, English teacher; and Karla Vogt, math teacher; attended the July 25-27 session in Orlando, Fla. Lea Anne Windham, math department chair; Jacquelyn Boyanton, English department chair; Kelly Northrup, foreign language teacher; and Amanda Mallory, history teacher; traveled to Hartford, Conn., for the Aug. 1-3 session.
“The Professional Learning Communities at Work™ process is increasingly recognized as the most powerful strategy for sustained, substantive school improvement. This institute gave us the knowledge and tools to implement this powerful process at Webb,” said Rasnick. “We already focus on students at Webb, but now we will all be asking the same three questions in everything we do:
- What is it we want our students to learn?
- How will we know when each student has learned it?
- How can we improve on current levels of student achievement?”
The conferences were sponsored by Solution Tree, a professional development firm. The company’s website notes that Solution Tree is “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 students succeed.”
“We believe that collaboration between teachers will improve student learning, as well as improve teacher learning,” said Kay Young, dean of faculty. “Novice teachers will have the interaction with seasoned teachers to learn ‘tricks of the trade,’ and seasoned teachers will be able to have exposure to new ideas.” She added that the collaborative time will enable departments to consider particular lessons, ways to teach different concepts, and to offer ideas and get feedback. “We believe that all members of these learning communities will benefit.”
Rasnick added that by attending this conference, Webb faculty members learned first-hand from the architects of the Professional Learning Community how to collaborate with peers in a way that will push every student at Webb to learn at a high level. “The conference gave us the tools necessary to begin the collaboration process in a more intentional way.”