Examples of Professional Learning Communities include a group of teachers engaging one another for the purpose of creating a more consistent curriculum, a group of computer instructors collaborating and discussing which software applications to purchase and a team of administrators coming together to support one another with regard to implementing state standards. However, it is important to note that an effective PLC is not limited to grade level or school hierarchy. An effective PLC welcomes a feedback loop between school board officials, system and building administrators, the teaching staff, facilitators, community members, students and other school personal. In other words, PLCs are best exemplified as an attitude of shared leadership and team effort, of trust and cooperation, of open and honest discourse - and debate if and when necessary. A PLC is a bottom up approach rather than a trickle down system in which administrators rule with perceived omniscience.
Some examples of current PLCs in the district are the following:
- In the elementary schools, PLCs meet regularly at grade level to discuss various topics such as lesson plans, standards and initiatives such as Go Math and Being a Writer.
- The Kennedy School Technology PLC meets in the morning before school on Wednesdays. Teachers share ideas for effectively using technology in the curriculum.
- The Roosevelt School Common Core PLC meets in the morning before school on Thursdays. Teachers share what they are learning about the ELA Common Core State Standards and the changes that will be taking place in the curriculum in the fall.
- The District Assistive Technology PLC, comprised of special ed teachers from each school in the district, was started last summer in response to the influx of technology purchased through ARRA funds for special needs students. These teachers focus on the use of technology with students in the inclusion classroom.
- The South Plainfield Middle School has taken an active role in implementing Professional Learning Communities within the structure of the building. After the revision of the building schedule this year, each staff member has been working as a PLC member within the confines of interdisciplinary teams. Each department functions as a Professional Learning Community through weekly meetings.