The introduction of professional learning communities at Seaford Manor Elementary School has been creating a buzz among teachers this year. Principal Debra Emmerich and Assistant Principal Mary Ellen Kakalos said the goal is to model lifelong learning for students by having teachers immersed in self-directed professional development.
Ms. Emmerich and Ms. Kakalos said the idea was sparked by educational researcher John Hattie and his visible learning studies. Manor teachers were invited to join one of four PLCs based upon their interests and passions: visible learning, STEAM, mindfulness and Habits of Mind. Groups included teachers from every grade level and gave them an opportunity to share ideas, best practices and educational articles during their monthly meetings.
“We do so much of our own professional development,” Ms. Emmerich said. “All of our teachers are a wealth of knowledge. They’re such valuable resources for each other.”
At the school’s Feb. 28 faculty meeting, the four PLCs came together to share information with each other. Teachers were split into small groups, with at least one representative from each PLC, and rotated among eight different chat stations with discussion prompts. At one station, teachers shared helpful resources about their respective topics, and at another they discussed how PLCs helped them grow as learners.
Ms. Emmerich explained that when teachers are passionate about a subject, the shines through in their instruction, which excites and engages students. That’s why teachers were given the opportunity to pick what they wanted to learn, and how they wanted to learn about it.
New PLCs will be formed at Manor on different topics relating to Columbia University’s Teachers College for Reading and Writing Project, a second-year literacy initiative in the Seaford School District.
-Submitted by the Seaford School District