Session 3, Reflection #3, and Chapter#3-4, Lindsey
In the third chapter of the Lindsey book, the history of the evolution of Learning Communities is covered. I can relate to the statement that, “too often, these learning communities are random and informal, rather than formal, structured and systematic”(Lindsey, 34). Random communities are formed out of need, and may lose steam when problems go away or people move on. Learning communities need structure and direction to be efficient and last over time.
I liked how the authors put a spin on Hord’s 5 tenets, and looked at them from a Culturally Proficient lens. In this perspectives, the focus of structured PLCs is to examine various tenets. I appreciated the use of the word “examine”, because in my experience many PLCs are used for operational things, rather than an engaging conversation about our practice. I think all teachers are eager for this, but there are immediate concerns that may not be being addressed properly, that bleed into time that should be used for growth.
In what ways do you, as a community, collaboratively learn about your students? (pg.53-54)
In a very informal way. Most of us have limited time with each student, but collectively they are transferred in and out of our classes. By having conversations at lunch, meetings, through emails, etc, we communicate about student issues and help each other when possible. Some teachers are very good about building relationships with students, while other teachers are data-driven and use the records we have heavily. Unfortunately there is no structured time or methods to share this.
Reflection (pg 59): Using table 4.1 as a lend to view your school, what language do you hear at your school? etc...
Right now we hear a mix of language. The new leadership we have had in the last 2 years has preached a more collaborative model, and we've heard a lot about a "shared commitment", our "personal and professional responsibilities" to student learning, and asking us to "trust in the ongoing processes." However in actual practice things haven't been so neat. Despite what is said aloud, in practice we are dealing with "superficial praise of few" and the majority opinions are overlooked if management feels differently. They have made changes that bombed and then resorted to "immediate solutions and quick fixes." I have hope that we are moving in the right direction as certain leaders are weeded out and more support leadership strives for a truly collaborative model.
Going Deeper: 3 Keys (pg.59-60)
1. "business owners perceive Maple View as a prosperous community partly because of the community's master plan for development."
After hearing about internships and apprenticeship programs, this seems like the perfect oppotunity to build community connections. Even though one side of town might need some work, if the community has a positive perception then it is easier to get things done. If businesses come to town, not only will adults have more job opportunity but the youth have more chances for apprenticeships or maybe locally sponsored projects or contests.
2. I wonder about the staffing of schools in Maple View. If the East side school is being converted into a multi-use educational facility, where are those teachers going? If there is money to save them from a lay-off, can they serve as coaches and extra support in the alternative program? Or even better, create another high quality school on that side of town?
3. The language of Culturally Proficient PLCs is really interesting and something that I will keep in mind at my own site and my own sphere of influence.