Professional Learning Community (P.L.C.)
Mason Public Schools is committed to student learning. One way we are working to improve student learning is by having teachers work together in Professional Learning Communities (P.L.C.s.) through a dedicated 60-minute, late-start Wednesday. P.L.C.s. on late-start Wednesdays provide groups of teachers with sustained and uninterrupted collaborative time to focus on increasing student achievement by:
- Aligning curriculum to Michigan's standards
- Creating and revising common formative and summative assessments
- Developing common grading practices
- Analyzing students' assessment data and course work to determine goals to improve each student's learning
- Identifying students that need additional time and support to meet or exceed Michigan's standards
Why Not Early Releases?
Numerous Mason teachers are coaches, club advisors, or participate in other extracurricular programs. When teachers are missing from their P.L.C. group it hampers the group's ability to achieve the goals of the P.L.C., and ultimately diminishes the effectiveness of the P.L.C. time. At the secondary level, many students participate in extracurricular activities, and tend to remain in their school or loiter around town until practice, which may result in interruptions to P.L.C. groups and disruption to local businesses. Also, early releases still would cause childcare issues for working families.
Why Not Afternoon Half Days?
Afternoon half days may not provide the frequency of meetings needed to provide P.L.C. groups with the ability to meet the rapidly changing needs of students who need differentiation, remediation, or advancement. Adding half days for P.L.C.s. to those already scheduled would increase the number of half days to 15 for the elementary and middle schools, and to 17 for the high school. This large number of half days likely would cause problems for working families, and cause significant disruption to student learning. Also, half days tend to be disruptive to students with special needs who need routine schedules, students are not provided lunch on half days, and they cause hardship to families of students who participate in after-school extracurricular programs.
Why Can't Teachers Meet On Their Planning Time?
Teacher planning time varies from teacher to teacher, and groups of teachers from a grade level or department are unable to have the sustained and uninterrupted meeting time that is required for effective P.L.C.s.
Do Other Districts Have Late Starts or Early Releases?
Many nearby districts provide teachers with collaborative time through either late starts or early releases.
- Lansing Schools - Late start
- Leslie - Late start
- Stockbridge - Late start
- Holt - 7-12 late start and K-6 early release
- Okemos - Early release
- Eaton Rapids - Early release
- Northwest - Early release
- Grand Ledge - Early release
- Maple Valley - Early Release
Before-School Programing on P.L.C. Wednesdays
Based on survey responses from families, free morning programs for students will be available at Alaiedon, Steele, North Aurelius, and Mason Middle School on "delayed start" Wednesdays. The delayed starts will begin Wednesday, September 21 and will continue on each Wednesday until March 29, 2017.
Because morning buses will run one hour later on delayed start Wednesdays, families are provided with the opportunity to bring their student(s) to school between 7:30 am and 9:40 am or 8:30 am and 9:40 am (there is only a 7:30 am to 8:40 am option for the middle school). Registered students will participate in learning focused activities, under the supervision of paraprofessional staff. Learning focused activities will include Computer Lab Educational Support, Homework Help, Independent Reading, Story Time, Math Games, e.t.c.
Kids' Clubhouse on P.L.C. Wednesdays
On P.L.C. Wednesdays only, the 3 and 5 day Kids' Clubhouse morning program will be extended by 1 hour at no additional cost, and students will be transported to their buildings 1 hour later than the usual time. There isn't a Wednesday morning only option.
Transportation on P.L.C. Wednesdays
Buses will run one hour later on P.L.C. Wednesdays. These times will be reflected in the bus schedule that will be sent to parents prior to the beginning of the school year. If transporting your child to school, please make sure your student arrives at the later start time on P.L.C. Wednesdays, since the school will not provide supervision for children who arrive early unless registered for the before-school program.
P.L.C. Wednesday Schedules and Extracurricular Programs
Students at the secondary level will attend all of their classes, and elementary students will receive instruction in all core subjects on P.L.C. Wednesdays within the shortened day. Students will be released at the normal time, they will receive both breakfast and lunch, and all after-school extracurricular programs will run as normal.
Why Did the District's Calendar Change?
For the 2016-2017 school year, the State required school districts to increase the minimum number of days of student instruction from 175 days to 180 days. Now school districts are required to provide a minimum of 180 days and 1,098 hours of student instruction, and an additional 30 hours (5 days) of teacher professional development (P.D.) that's separate from student instructional days and hours. Moreover, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction issued a waiver to Mason Public Schools and other Ingham county districts to start prior to Labor Day to better match their calendars to the local college calendars, and to help reduce the “summer slide” learning loss that some students experience over a long break.
Why Didn't the District Release the Calendar Sooner?
In order to implement these calendar changes, Mason administration and teachers met collaboratively through contract negotiations, as required by State law, beginning Spring 2016 to discuss many options for how student instructional time and teacher P.D. would be spread across the school year in a way that focused on meeting all students' needs. In late May, the administration and teachers agreed on the August 29, 2016 pre-Labor Day start for students, and this information was released to parents on June 1st. After further negotiations took place over the summer, in which multiple options were considered, the administration and teachers agreed on the remainder of the 2016-2017 school calendar in late July. The tentative calendar was released to the community on July 27, 2016 one month prior to the start of school and approximately two months prior to the first P.L.C. Wednesday.
Where Can I learn More About P.L.C.s?
- All Things P.L.C.
- The Business of P.L.C.s.
- A New Way of Thinking: Schools as Professional Learning Communities
- A Big Picture Look at Professional Learning Communities
- What is a P.L.C.?
- P.L.C. Definition
- Best Practices for Professional Learning Communities
- P.L.C. Washington
- About Professional Learning Communities - Video