RAHWAY — Thursday, Sept. 2, provided all Rahway High School teachers with an opportunity to start the year with a focus on professional growth. The entire day was spent learning about and implementing Professional Development Communities as the framework for continuous school improvement.
This program, planned by the school’s Action Team, grew out of teacher input given last winter as part of the school’s Professional Development Plan. At that time, teachers brainstormed to create a school vision of student achievement.
- Students meet and exceed standards of local, state and national assessments.
- Students achieve concrete measurable improvement in performance that is commensurate with ability.
- Students have positive outcomes in social situations and student behavior/discipline.
- Students show a presence of self-respect and autonomy, academic social interactions with peers and adults.
- Students become responsible, independent, productive members of society.
In addition, at that time, teachers were surveyed about their knowledge of and experience with Professional Learning Communities, which had been piloted in the school the previous year. Professional Learning Communities (PLC) are the professional development model now required by the New Jersey Department of Education.
The school’s Action Team’s survey had shown that certain departments in the school, math and science, had had extensive external training and experience with the PLC model. Therefore, the Action Team was excited to have the science department provide a team to present their experiences to groups of teachers. Teachers also engaged in a team-building experience, watched a short video created by a national expert on the PLC model, and set up norms and goals for their departmental PLC. Being part of a PLC will enable teachers to collaborate on analysis of student data and to share teaching strategies with peers on a monthly basis in order to increase student achievement.
Physics teacher Michael Keat shares his experiences as part of a Professional Learning Community with his fellow teachers at Rahway High School.
Photos courtesy of Rahway High School
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