Professional Learning Communities (PCLs) were first implemented in the Emery County School District (ECSD) in the 2016-17 school year in an effort to both improve teaching strategies and enhance student growth within the schools.
Teachers would organize into groups and meet quarterly during the school day to discuss the Utah core standards, student improvement and common assessments. Throughout the past three school years, schools within the ECSD have sent groups of administrators, staff and teachers to a Solution Tree PLC at Work Institute in an effort to grow opportunities and guidance.
Through success and progress within this past year, teachers have requested more embedded time within the day to collaborate with a more consistent schedule and process.
“As elementary leaders of all six elementary schools in Emery County, in conjunction with our district leadership, we want to see our schools excel together,” shared JR Jones, ECSD Elementary Supervisor.
With the request in mind, the last school year was spent researching the best practices, visiting other schools within the state and speaking with faculty and staff to determine the logical next step to increase engagement and learning within the students’ lives. From the data and input, it was decided that a weekly early release day was the best option.
“Providing schools dedicated time each week to meet, review data and plan for students’ success is the best practice in the education world and we are excited that our school board understands and supports this vision,” Jones shared.
Beginning in the school year of 2020-21, elementary schools will begin an early release Wednesday. The program will be piloted for one year and has oversight as well as support from the ECSD Superintendent and Board.