Mrs. Jenkins stated that, “Heading into the 2023-2024 school year, we felt that it was necessary to review and revitalize the PLC process at LMS, due to several factors, such as previous staff turnover and the need for a common language among our educators regarding the professional learning community process.”
Starting the school year on a high note, Principal Jenkins personally spearheaded the first three weeks of PLC meetings on her campus. This proactive initiative was more than just a managerial obligation; it was a testament to her commitment towards refining the teaching-learning ecosystem of the school.
Setting The Right Tone
Leading the PLCs wasn’t just about setting agendas and giving directives. Mrs. Jenkins wanted to set a clear tone for the year, emphasizing the essentials of instructional planning and imbibing the right practices amongst her staff. By doing so, she provided her educators a hands-on demonstration of what is expected and how best to achieve it.
Decoding the PLC Process
In her sessions, Principal Jenkins meticulously unfolded the 'Why', 'What', and 'How' of the PLC process. Addressing the 'Why' gave educators a clear purpose and insight into the significance of PLCs in student success. Exploring the 'What' laid out the road map, while diving into the 'How' provided actionable steps to make the process seamless and effective.
Catering to Individual Team Needs
Every teacher team at Lumberton Middle School has its unique strengths, challenges, and needs. Recognizing this, Mrs. Jenkins ensured that each session she led was tailored to cater to the specific requirements of the teacher teams. This personal touch not only amplified the relevance of these meetings but also fortified the bond between the administration and the teaching staff.
Instructional Strategy of the Month
Aligned with the district's monthly Instructional Focus, teams embark on an exploration of high-effect strategies designed to enhance student achievement. At the beginning of each month, teachers are challenged to incorporate one high-effect strategy into their classroom instruction, thereby strengthening both their skills as educators and the academic success of their students.
Topics That Made a Difference
During her leadership at the PLCs, Mrs. Jenkins navigated her teams through pivotal areas that are instrumental for an effective learning environment:
- Team Norms: Establishing a set of shared beliefs and behaviors to ensure efficient and collaborative functioning.
- Safe Learning Environment: Crafting spaces where students feel safe, both emotionally and physically, thereby promoting better learning outcomes.
- John Hattie’s Effect Size Research: Integrating insights from renowned education researcher John Hattie, emphasizing strategies that have a tangible positive impact on student learning.
- S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting: Helping teams frame Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals to drive success.
“Our staff have been very receptive and open to the process; often relaying to us that they were so grateful for the breakdown and the time spent learning with each other. Together, with the incredible help of Mrs. Lowe, we believe that we've created a solid PLC foundation for our staff. We will continue to provide structure and guidance throughout the year, and look forward to the many successes that are yet to come,” said Jenkins.
Lumberton Middle School has set an intentional tone for the rest of the year with its PLC Kick-Off. With leaders like Principal Amanda Jenkins at the helm, one can only foresee a year of profound growth, robust collaboration, and outstanding achievement for both educators and students. Here’s to a year of discovery, learning, and excellence!