FAQs with black background and question mark graphics

What will teachers do during this time?

During PLC designated times, teachers will collaborate in grade-level or content area teams. Not only will they work with their school peers, but with peers in other buildings. For example, fourth-grade teachers at PCES, SHES, TSES, and WCES will have time to work together to ensure all fourth-grade students in Spring Hill are receiving the best quality instruction.

This time will allow teachers to

  • Clearly identify learning outcomes for students

  • Determine what success looks like for those outcomes

  • How to effectively measure the outcomes

  • Analyze data to diagnose problem areas and identify solutions

  • Utilize data to inform instruction and curricular planning

Why don’t other professions use PLCs?

Actually, most professions do use some form of PLCs. It may not be called a professional learning community, but the process of teaming, collaboration, and data analysis to identify and solve complex problems is essential to all high functioning professionals. For physicians, it may be called a consult, for engineers, teaming, but most professionals have time to collaborate with peers. The challenge in the K-12 environment is the care and education of students throughout the workday. There is not a time during the school day when grade-level and content area teams are free to collaborate. If they aren’t teaching in their classroom, they are covering lunch duty, participating in an IEP, covering pick-up or drop-off, providing an extracurricular activity for student growth and so on.

What will this cost the district/taxpayers/parents?

The district, with a generous donation from the YMCA, will cover the cost of providing PLC-time services to families. We have added time to our paraprofessional educators’ schedule to provide assistance and supervision during the PLC-time for our students. The expertise of YMCA staff and our paraprofessionals will provide a comfortable and robust learning/activity time for students.

The cost to the district is much smaller than anticipated and is a very small piece of the overall budget. The costs are not finalized, but we expect the total cost of this project to be less than $10,000 for the district.

What is the process to sign a student up for PLC-time activities?

There will be an additional form for elementary parents to complete during the enrollment process to officially sign up for the PLC-time activities. In addition, a survey will be sent to all parents before the end of school asking about whether you plan to have your student participate in PLC-time or plan to have them go home. This survey will help with planning activities during PLC-time for the 2019-20 school year. Your participation is greatly appreciated.

For secondary students, there will not be a sign up as students can arrive throughout the morning. We will send a survey to middle school families to find out more about your plans for your student during PLC-time.

What is the process if I want to pick up my student during this time?

If you have an elementary student and we do not receive an enrollment form for PLC-time, we will assume that you are planning to pick up your student at 2:10 pm. Schools will follow up and communicate pick-up procedures for your student.

As mentioned, students at the secondary level may show up at any time prior to the start of school (between 7:45 - 9:05 am). Secondary schools will establish a procedure for communication of tardies and absences for these days.

What if I normally pick up my student, but I can’t one day?

Please communicate this to the school office as soon as you know that your student will be staying and we will include your student in PLC-time that day. Similarly, if your student normally stays during PLC-time and you want to pick him or her up, just let the school office know and they will make sure your student is ready to leave when you arrive. Each building will communicate exact pick-up procedures once we have results of the parent surveys.

If you did not register for the PLC-time during enrollment, and your student participates more than 4 times you will be asked to complete an application form.

How are PLC-time activities different than after-school Y-club?

Although we are still in the planning phase, the activities will be significantly different than the “whole group” time after school. For PLC-time at the elementary schools, students will begin the time in classrooms and move on a rotational basis to various scheduled activities. The activities will vary but will include such activities as

  • STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math)

  • Reading time

  • Character lessons

  • Team-building

  • Homework assistance

  • Physical fitness

For middle schools, this time will include breakfast (from 7:45 - 8:05 am) with a transition to character-building and team activities, academic and social clubs, and quiet study/homework time. The high school will have breakfast available in the morning and locations will be available for quiet study time if students choose to come early on those days.

Where will my student have PLC-time activities and who will be leading/supervising these activities?

For elementary schools, students will start in the classroom. Some smaller group activities will continue in the classroom setting while other activities may require larger spaces such as the commons, gymnasium and outside if weather permits. All elementary activities will be supervised and led by school district staff and the YMCA leaders.

Middle and high school activities will have designated spaces based on the club or activity. These spaces will be shared with parents and students at the start of the school year.

Will the nurse be available in case my child gets hurt or has a medical need?

Yes, nurses and other non-teaching support staff will be available to assist students who need these resources. The goal of this time is to provide a safe and secure environment for the students to continue to learn in a fun, educational setting as an extension of the school day.

Will Special Education teachers and Specials teachers be teaming/collaborating during PLC-time?

Yes, all certified teaching staff will participate in PLCs to improve the learning of ALL students.

Will preschool have PLC-time on Wednesdays?

No, the preschool team has a different schedule than the elementary schools and will have collaborative teaming, in addition to IEPs and student evaluations on Fridays. This is the current practice and will remain unchanged at least until the preschool moves to a new location.

Will high needs students be able to participate in PLC-time activities?

Yes, all students are welcome to participate in PLC-time and all students will be well cared for regardless of their special needs. Many students will see the same support staff who work with them during the school day. This will help ease the transition for our students.

Will my student fall behind because they aren’t getting enough class time?

Just the opposite, this process has been shown to increase student learning in schools who have implemented PLCs. It is not just about the amount of time that students will be in the class, it is about the types of learning that will take place during this time.  The PLC process will lead to better-informed instruction to better meet the needs of our students.

Additionally, each school must still meet the required amount of classroom time as designated by the Kansas State Department of Education.

If my student gets in trouble during PLC-time do they have the same consequences?

Our school administrative teams are working with the YMCA team to ensure that YMCA staff understand our discipline approaches in our schools so that the approach to student discipline during PLC-time is consistent with the approach throughout the school day.