Writing Improvement is the Goal at Stanlick
PLC groups work to improve scores for grades 3-5.
One of the Jefferson Township Board of Education’s JT Goals 2015 is to improve writing scores. The professional learning community (PLC) groups at Arthur Stanlick School have taken that goal to heart, and made it the objective of its PLCs.
In this continuing series, Jefferson Patch takes a look at the PLC groups in all Jefferson’s schools, what they are doing and how they are doing it. We’ve looked at the middle school and high school, and now Arthur Stanlick School, which houses third, fourth and fifth grade students in the Lake Hopatcong section of the township.
“We have three PLC teams in the school, and each year we’ve tried to do something a little bit different,” said Stanlick School principal Dr. Kelly Cooke. “For example, last year we grouped our teachers across grade level, and this year, we’ve changed that to group the teachers by grade level.”
Cooke said he is finding that keeping the teachers grouped by grade level has been beneficial.
“There’s more cohesion this year,” he said. “The teachers tend to collaborate more, because they are in classrooms near each other and they eat lunch together. They spend more time together than teachers at different grade levels.”
Besides that time, each PLC meets after school twice a month, one as part of the monthly designated faculty meeting.
However, Cooke noted that it’s not just same grade level teachers that collaborate.
“We have great teachers here who do a lot of work behind the scenes,” Cooke said. “They make copies of what they’re working on for each other, pass around ideas and help each other out all the time.”
All of the groups are looking at baseline writing scores and how the curriculum they teach overlaps with the district’s goals. They consistently review student essays to determine the best way to score them, Cooke said.
More specifically, the third grade goup is working on raising scores 5% from the baseline by raising writing quality.
The fourth grade group is looking to increase scores by increasing compositional risk. The group wants to help students use quotes, transitions, analogies, similes and metaphors to improve their writing.
In the fifth grade, the PLC group is looking to expand student proficiency in expository writing. They are using writing prompts to improve student skills.