By Max Hrenda
Although school security and consolidation are the hot topics in education right now, the county’s Education Committee chose to focus primarily on … education.
During his presentation to the committee on Wednesday morning, Interim Director of Schools Kevin Ward discussed his plan to alter the way Carter County Schools handles its students.
“This is, along with the security, the top priority of the school system,” Ward said. “We are looking at doing things differently to try to improve test scores.”
When Committee Chairman Steve Lowrance asked about the current state of the students’ test scores, Ward said there had been some improvements, but not enough for the school system’s liking.
“We saw some areas in which we had been stronger than in the past,” Ward said. “What we’re wanting is to see a steady improvement on a yearly basis in all areas.”
To that end, Ward said he plans to implement a new policy that would reconstruct the way the school system approaches education.
This program, known as the Professional Learning Community, operates on the idea that teachers, principals, and administrators increase their effectiveness through enhanced communication and collaborative efforts.
According to the non-profit think-tank SEDL – Social/Emotional Development & Learning – “the professional learning community is seen as a powerful staff development approach and a potent strategy for school change and improvement.”
“I am sold on PLCs,” Ward said. “If we implement this program right, we would see an increase in test scores throughout our county. There is no doubt in my mind.”
By its nature, a PLC has several different methods of implementation. For Carter County Schools, the PLC would involve the formation of several groups of teachers and administrators within the schools themselves, to foster communication and supportive relationships.