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The Ellis Edge

Ellis USD 388 Professional Learning Communities

“The most promising strategy for sustained, substantive school improvement is building the capacity of school personnel to function as a professional learning community.”
- Richard Dufour

The Ellis School District continues to make a commitment to utilize the Professional Learning Community (PLC) model for school improvement.  PLC’s are teams of education experts working toward a common focus, to reach the mission of vision of the school through collaboration with a focus on results.  These PLC’s provide a structure for school improvement.

Ongoing collaboration takes place among teachers through integrated and departmental teams.  These key discussions focus on four essential questions:

  • What do we want students to learn?
  • How will we know they are learning?
  • What are we going to do if they don’t learn?
  • What do we do if students already know it?

Administration will focus this time on collaborative learning team activities.  Specifically, this will include faculty meetings, integrated team meetings, departmental curriculum meetings, and professional staff development.  The result of this collaboration among educators creates ongoing opportunities to develop support for students who need to enhance or extend their learning.  Professionals across the school district will learn and think together about how to improve their practice in ways that lead to improved student achievement.


  • Personalizing Our School Environment
      • Personal Plans for Progress
      • Personal Adult Advocate
      • Building-wide pyramid of interventions – timely and directive
      • Focus on positive reinforcement of behavior
  • Collaborative School Culture
      • Time for Teachers to work together in teams – not in isolation
      • Collaborative conversations
      • Focus on learning for all
      • Integrated and Departmental Teaming
  • A Focus on Results - Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
      • Improving student achievement
      • Data is openly shared as a useful indicator of progress
      • SMART goals are established and monitored
      • Essential learnings aligned to standards/indicators
      • Integrated Curriculum
      • Meaningful daily instruction and assessment
      • Use of instructional technology


The Learning Teams will serve as a communication/collaboration tool in the school improvement process.  Team leaders will complete written reports of the meeting minutes for administrative review and discussion for the Curriculum Coordinating Council.  The primary function of the Learning Team will be to serve as a link to the CCC, communicating ideas and providing feedback from the staff.  The functions of these Learning Teams would include:

  • Monitoring student progress, discussing student needs, and beginning steps to the student assistance team process. 
  • Discuss school improvement issues and communicate back and forth with the CCC.
  • Focus upon professional development with exposure to new ideas concerning:  best instructional practice across the curriculum, formative assessment building, technology integration, etc.

Professional Learning Community Framework (Every Wednesday 7:35-8:35am)

1st Wed. of Month – Building-Level Team Meetings
Focus time upon:  building-level issues, staff sharing time, staff recognition, school improvement, data collection, student assistance/intervention, etc.  Time should not be spent communicating tasks or issues that can be communicated via email or weekly bulletin.

2nd, 3rd, 4th Wed. of Month – Department, Integrated and/or Grade-Level Team Meetings
Focus time upon:  instructional program planning, curriculum mapping, data collection, formative assessment analysis, instructional strategy research and discussion, instructional technology training, book study groups, best instructional practice across the curriculum, etc. 

Teachers will be allowed the professional flexibility to form their own integrated teams as deemed necessary to plan and prepare meaningful student projects.  Designated teacher leaders will be responsible for submitting written agendas in advance and meeting minutes following the meeting to their respective building principal.  All teachers will be required to utilize the time as a teaming opportunity which involves at least one or more fellow teachers.

5th Wed. of Month - (if applicable) – Administrative team decision (TBA)