This year will mark the first year the Comox Valley School District will implement Valley-wide Professional Learning Community (PLC) days.
These days — 15 are scheduled on Wednesdays throughout the school year, will give teachers time to collaborate with each other, with the goal of improving learning for students, according to superintendent Sherry Elwood.
On PLC days students will be dismissed 90 minutes early, and Elwood says busing schedules will correspond to the early dismissals. As well, she says after-school activities will be available for students, noting the district has partnerships set up with organizations like the Boys & Girls Club and Courtenay Recreation.
“So there’ll be opportunities for students to be engaged, particularly at the elementary level in recreational programs,” she continues. “And of course, at the secondary level, there’s been a variety of tutorial programs that are supporting student learning during that time.”
The first PLC day will be on Sept. 11 and parents can visit school websites for more information specific to their school.
Comox District Teachers’ Association president Steve Stanley says teachers are excited about PLC time.
“Teachers will have time during their working day a couple of times a month to get together and talk about curriculum changes, and talk about innovation and new ideas that can improve student learning, so we’re looking forward to that,” he says.
Elwood notes nearly 170 teachers came out to an optional two-day PLC professional development workshop, held last week.
“It’s optional, but they’ve chosen to attend,” she continues, noting the turnout indicates teachers’ enthusiasm to collaborate district-wide via PLC time. “We’re just thrilled to have that many people choose to come.”
Meanwhile, Elwood urges parents and students to check their school’s website for changes to daily schedules this school year.
She notes parents and students were notified in May and June of any changes to bell schedules at their schools.
“But, it’s always the moment of reckoning in September,” she says. “So, we’re hoping that parents will look on the websites of our individual schools just to make sure that they’re aware of any changes to scheduling.”
She also says the school websites will have information about what the first week of school will look like. She points out some secondary schools, for example, will start Grade 8 students earlier than other grades so they can go through orientation activities.
“So it’s really important that people have a look, or send their children to the website to make sure they know,” she stresses.