Private donors advance PLC initiative at USC

Upper St Clair Twp School District  |  Posted on
photo usc graduate

The PLC model allows us to place student learning at the center of our school’s mission and has enabled us to address the learning needs of all students.” – Mark Miller, principal

A $42,320 contribution from a local donor family will enable Upper St. Clair School District to host a national Professional Learning Communities at Work Institute in July 2017. The donor’s contribution underwrites the registration cost for 80 USC teachers. More than 900 educators from across the nation are expected to attend.

“This opportunity will significantly advance one of the district’s five goals within the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan as well as a goal of the USC school board,” said Dr. Sharon Suritsky, deputy/assistant superintendent. “The PLC Institute at Work conference is an intensive and expensive staff development experience that we would never have been able to provide at this magnitude. Training 80 USC educators at one time will have a transformational and lasting impact on our educational program.”

Registration for the two-and-a-half-day institute is typically $689 per person plus travel expenses as other trainings are offered in Arizona, Nevada, Missouri, Texas, Georgia, Florida, California, Minnesota, Illinois, Washington, Utah and Iowa. In addition to eliminating travel expenses, Upper St. Clair receives a reduced registration fee by serving as the host site.

According to Solution Tree, the organization that founded and provides training in PLCs, “professional learning communities operate under the assumption that the key to improved learning for students is continuous job-embedded learning for educators.” Within a PLC, teachers meet regularly by grade level, team and/or discipline to discuss student needs, share expertise and work collaboratively to improve student learning.

“The PLC model allows teachers – the real experts on students and their learning – intentional time to plan, collaborate and continue to refine their practices,” said Mark Miller, Eisenhower Elementary principal and supervisor of elementary education. “The model allows us to place student learning at the center of our school’s mission and has enabled us to address the learning needs of all students.”

Over the past 12 years, 20 Upper St. Clair faculty and administrators have attended a national PLC Institute outside of the district. The donor family’s latest gift will increase that number to more than 100 while refining the initiative at the district’s middle schools and expanding it to the high schools. Learn more at http://www.uscsd.k12.pa.us/Page/10168.