Professional Learning Communities driving effective instruction at Worthing HS 

Before Worthing High School teacher Mike Judge sits down and begins to map out a classroom lesson for his students, he meets first with a group of teachers and administrators from his campus to examine data, collaborate and share expertise. The group meeting is called a PLC or a Professional Learning Community.

“Our PLCs are the foundation of effective teaching here at Worthing,” Principal Khalilah Campbell told HISD trustees at a board presentation Dec. 5. “When we sat down as a team and really examined our campus data to determine the root cause of our school’s struggles, it became clear to us that is was planning.”

Worthing, which is part of the district’s Achieve 180 initiative, now uses PLC communities to continuously examine student data to more effectively design and plan first-time instruction.  Instructional Excellence is one of six pillars providing the framework for the transformational working happening at the 45 campuses that are part of Achieve 180.

Because of the PLC work, Campbell says classroom lessons at Worthing are now tidier and are more directly focused on the skills and knowledge students are struggling to master. In addition, students are also keeping track of their own data so they aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Beyond examining data and discussing curriculum, PLC meetings at Worthing are also very focused on changing the mindset of students

“We spend a lot of time letting our students know that they we care, that they can do it,” Judge said. “Once they know that people care about them and want them to succeed, then teaching becomes easier.”

Worthing is also part of Collaborate A180, which pairs teachers from a struggling campus with those from a high-performing high school to assist with lesson planning and to give feedback on instructional delivery. Principals in Collaborate A180 are also partnered with a principal mentor to assess the effectiveness of their campus professional learning communities and to assist them in designing a plan to improve outcomes.

Judge, Campbell and other staff at Worthing are convinced that the school is on the right track and will show major progress in student scores by the end of the 2017-2018 school year.”

“I am very passionate about turning this school around, and all the teachers and administrators here share that same passion,” Judge said. “We are going to do this.”

Click here to view the entire Worthing High School Achieve 180 update presented to the Board of Education on Dec. 5.

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