Polk Elementary Named a National Model Professional Learning Community

Polk Elementary Named a National Model Professional Learning Community
Posted on 10/06/2017
This is the image for the news article titled Polk Elementary Named a National Model Professional Learning CommunityCongratulations to the staff and students of Polk Elementary for being named as one of only 15 schools in the state of Texas and one of only 130 in the nation as a model Professional Learning Community (PLC). This distinction is bestowed to schools who demonstrate a commitment to the professional learning community concepts, implement those concepts for at least three years, and present clear evidence of improved learning for students. “Polk has proven that courageous leadership and a committed staff truly has improved student learning,” said BISD Superintendent Danny Massey.

Polk Elementary began the PLC journey after not meeting standard on the state accountability system for three years. Through weekly collaboration meetings and implementing best practices the campus achieved the state standard, however they still had areas that needed improvement.

In the summer of 2016, Polk Elementary Principal Tara Fulton and a team of teachers attended training at the Professional Learning Community Institute in San Antonio, which began the process of true transformation for the campus. They learned that a PLC is not a meeting, but instead it is a campus culture and way of doing business. The team returned to train staff and revise their mission and vision to align with the PLC beliefs.

Staff identified essential learning outcomes for each grade level and subject area, revamped the campus master schedule to include an hour long common intervention time for each grade level and a common PLC collaborative meeting time for teachers and support staff. Vertical PLC meetings were implemented to allow grade level teachers time to collaborate across grade levels. The special education instructional delivery was revised from a pull-out resource to full inclusion, with intervention and in-class support, which had never been done before at this campus.

It was after these changes were made that Polk saw tremendous growth on their state accountability report.  Not only did they meet standard on the state of Texas accountability, but they met standard with a distinction in closing achievement gaps. And to top it off, the campus had the highest achievement data for special education students in the district. Fulton then submitted an application to a panel of PLC practitioners who utilized a rigorous criteria for selection and Polk Elementary was selected based on their commitment to teamwork, or as they say, “our culture of collaboration,” and their shared commitment to the learning of all students as evidenced by their student results.

Building High Levels of Learning Together at Polk Teachers at Polk

For more information about PLC visit:
PLC- See the Evidence
What is a Professional Learning Community?
About PLCs
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