Alecia Pulver: Stanley School PLC Update

By Alecia Pulver,

Each Wednesday, Stanley Public Schools releases students early to provide time for something called PLC’s, or professional learning communities.  Community members may be wondering what is happening at this time and how does it benefit our students.

PLC’s are groups of teachers engaging in an ongoing process to achieve better results for the students they serve.  Some PLC’s are formed by grade level, while others are arranged according to subject.

Members work together to clarify what each student must learn, monitor learning on a timely basis, provide interventions for students who struggle, and expand learning when students have already mastered the goal. Teachers spend time reviewing state standards and national assessments to what is critical for students to master. They develop assessments designed to measure students’ knowledge. The teachers then adjust their instruction based on students’ needs.

Stanley PLC
A group of Stanley teachers work collaboratively during a PLC session

Formative assessments developed in PLC’s are used to direct the instruction in the classroom before the students are tested on material. Teachers can determine if students need more time and practice with instruction, or if they have mastered the skill and are ready to move on. Summative assessments are more traditional tests – a student receives a grade and the teacher moves on to the next chapter. A medical analogy can help distinguish between the two: A formative assessment is checkup or yearly physical – you get an understanding of your health and what you need to change to improve your quality of life, such as changing your diet to lower your cholesterol. A summative assessment is like an autopsy. It is an assessment of how a person’s health was – it’s too late to make changes. The work teachers do in PLC’s helps them develop formative assessments that allow them to change instruction for your child before they take the final (or summative) test.

Stanley Public School teachers have been meeting for 14 weeks. Our PLC’s are at various stages, depending on the number of standards each group has to work through. Some groups have completed defining their “power standards” or standards that students should know to mastery level, and have started visiting with adjacent grades to work on developing a seamless continuum of learning. Some groups are working to implement their power standards and develop formative assessments. Other groups are in the process of determining what each standard means and what it looks like put in practice.

As the year progresses, our teachers will continue to develop formative and summative assessments to measure learning. We will work to close the gap between the information taught in class and what each student learns to mastery.

The PLC time each Wednesday is critical in our commitment to continuous improvement in the pursuit of academic excellence.

Alecia Pulver currently serves as the Assistant Principal (K-12) for the Stanley School District.

*Ian Grande is the Editor of the Stanley Gazette. If you have any comments or concerns please email

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