LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education, in partnership with Solution Tree, is pleased to announce a new program to develop and expand the Professional Learning Communities at Work™ process across Arkansas. Eleven schools and one district have been selected to serve as working models for the Professional Learning Communities process, conducting action research and sharing best practices with other schools throughout the state. As part of the program, the awardees will receive up to 50 days of training, coaching and support to build and sustain a strong culture of collaboration that will enhance student learning.

The schools and district were selected through a rigorous application and evaluation process. A panel of educational professionals knowledgeable of the PLC at Work process reviewed 83 applications, and ADE selected the following to receive support from Solution Tree, a national professional development provider that specializes in professional learning communities.

Ballman Elementary School in the Fort Smith School District

Bragg Elementary School in the West Memphis School District

Douglas MacArthur Junior High School in the Jonesboro School District

Eastside Elementary School in the Greenbrier School District

Frank Mitchell Intermediate School in the Vilonia School District

Joe T. Robinson Middle School in the Pulaski County Special School District

Monticello Middle School in the Monticello School District

Morrilton Intermediate School in the South Conway County School District

Premier High School of Little Rock

Prescott School District

Rogers High School in the Rogers School District

Spradling Elementary School in the Fort Smith School District

"These schools and district submitted outstanding applications that demonstrate their commitment to student-focused learning," ADE Commissioner Johnny Key said. "The intensive work to build collaborative teams this school year will not only improve communication and the sharing of resources among teachers, it will result in student progress. When educators share best practices and work together to address areas that need improvement, our students have endless opportunities to grow and learn. These schools are committed to ensuring Arkansas leads the nation in student-focused education."

The PLC at Work process centers around three big ideas that drive work inside each school: focus on learning, build a collaborative culture and create a results orientation. PLC at Work schools and districts are distinguished by the process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve. When the PLC at Work process is implemented with fidelity, schools experience dramatic improvement in learning results by both students and adults.

Those selected will be part of a collaborative evaluation process between Solution Tree and the state legislature and agencies that gather data regarding student achievement, teacher practices and effective professional development. Participants will be matched with a certified PLC at Work associate from Solution Tree. These associates will provide intensive on-site training, observation, coaching and other job-embedded staff development as school and district personnel implement, deepen and sustain the PLC at Work process. The schools and district selected will create action plans that focus on increasing student achievement through aligned curriculum, formative assessment and proven instructional strategies.

Act 427 of 2017, which amended Arkansas Code Ann. § 6-20-2305(b)(5), provides funding for the pilot program, which is free for those selected. For more information about the pilot program, please visit the ADE website at http://www.arkansased.gov/divisions/special-projects/professional-learning-communities-in-arkansas and follow ADE on social media using #PLC4AR.