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Professional Learning Communities

Professional Learning Communities

From right: Alfredo Vela, Talia Reyes, Maria Carrillo, Rachel Quinones, Claudia Morales, Aurora Melendez

SAN ELIZARIO – TEXAS, Teachers at Lorenzo G. Alarcon utilize the Professional Learning Communities (PLC) concept to make adjustments and improve student learning. An integral part of student achievement has teachers obtain professional development to have the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed. This learning comes in various opportunities, including weekly one-day support through a PLC. The PLC is a forum of teachers focusing on what is being taught within the classroom and providing that if their students are having difficulties, they can help them. 

Teachers at Lorenzo G. Alarcon meet every Thursday to work within their grade levels through a PLC. Students during that time receive enrichment courses that include reading, counselor classes, technology, and math. Teachers often meet in one location area and are given time to have conversations that help them support instruction and understand what students will be learning according to state standards. Teachers also look at data for reflective practice and identify hotspots that may affect a student in their learning. Examining data helps teachers know how to help their students and if they need to reteach a concept for student mastery. 

PLC work takes dedication, hard work, and commitment from our teachers. Teachers work hard every week to support their instruction and ensure that their students learn. Therefore, they convene regularly and frequently to engage in collaborative professional learning that strengthens their practice to increase student achievement. The PLC supports teachers' accountability in helping one another achieve shared goals of the school and school system and work in transparent, authentic settings that sustain their improvement. 

These intensive collaborative professional development opportunities include giving teachers an hour and a half every week to understand how students learn, analyze data, and adjust instructional strategies. This type of behind-the-scenes is fundamental for teachers to improve their effectiveness for student learning through their continuous improvement as teachers. 

Ms. Rachel Quinones, a fourth-grade teacher at Alarcon, shared, "It's our opportunity to meet as a grade level and learn from each other; it supports me as an educator within my classroom. I can see what other teachers are doing and take it back to my classroom to support my students." Teachers learn to have essential conversations built from trust and prioritize academic rigor so all students can experience equity and excellence in learning. Effective professional learning removes inequities in students' access to meaningful learning, ensuring a pathway to success for each student. When all educators engage in high-quality professional education, all students experience equity and excellence in teaching and learning.