At the start of this school year, Catholic schools in the Diocese of Erie adopted the Professional Learning Community (PLC) model. The PLC model emphasizes the importance of educators coming together in school-based Professional Learning Teams (PLTs) to engage in meaningful discussions about how to best support all students’ learning needs.
Recently, teachers across the diocese have come together to focus on mathematics. The teachers serving on school-level mathematics PLT are working collaboratively to explore math standards and curriculum, analyze student assessment data, and explore best-practices and new instructional strategies.
In each of our schools a teacher has volunteered to be the PLT Curriculum Lead. The work and leadership these teachers are providing is impressive. They have risen to the challenge and are facilitating discussions, participating in ongoing professional development trainings, and learning about the new NWEA Map Growth student assessment data.
Currently, the PLTs are in the process of reviewing and organizing the most essential mathematics standards by grade level to ensure students are getting the foundational skills they need to be successful mathematicians. Also, the PLTs are analyzing student data from our new NWEA MAP Growth Assessment and using this information to guide their daily instruction.
According to building administrators and teachers, the work of the mathematics PLTs has already begun positively impacting change. Curriculum Leads also have been collaborating with the CSO directors and other lead teachers in the diocese through monthly networking sessions. During these sessions, Curriculum Leads have an opportunity to connect, pose questions, give and receive feedback about their progress, and gather the tools necessary to continue moving the work of their PLTs forward.
In just a few short months, the PLTs have made important and positive progress toward meeting the common Middle States accreditation goal of ensuring each school’s mathematics program is at a level where students are making a minimum of one year’s growth or are at benchmark for grade level by the 2027 school year.
To meet the individual needs of Catholic schools across the Diocese of Erie, the Catholic Schools Office (CSO) is updating its professional development model. The CSO is restructuring when and how these opportunities will be offered. Over the last several years, teachers participated in August workshops and a Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Day (CIA Day) in the spring. Moving forward, administrators and teachers will participate in professional development focused on meeting the diocesan Middle States goals and on the components of the Formula for Student Achievement and Growth. Additionally, the CSO has developed a three-year plan that will provide support for individual schools to identify and receive professional development specific to their needs.
Comparable to each diocesan school, the CSO directors also have created their own PLT. The CSO PLT meets weekly to ensure each member, in their role, is supporting all schools in the successful implementation of their mathematics PLTs. Each week the CSO directors work collaboratively to determine the best ways to provide meaningful professional development, resources, and collegial support so that our schools can successfully implement the school-level PLTs.
According to Jim Gallagher, “Implementing the PLT model in the office has reinvigorated my love for education. It reminds me of why I became a teacher in the first place ???? to focus on student learning and make a difference. The way in which my team can collaborate in the PLT and have the opportunity for meaningful conversation about mathematics education is refining the focus of our work. I am excited to see the positive outcomes in all of our schools.”