Not so much, huh.
Well, Geneva High School educators were smart enough to ask the question of whether they might make that time more valuable for students and teachers, and they implemented a plan that started a few weeks ago with the advent of the 2013-14 school year.
It's called PLC and there are really two planks to it: Personal Learning Choices for students and Professional Learning Communities for faculty. It's a "continuous improvement model" that has a lot of upsides, which you'll see under the "FAQs on PLCs" subhead below.
If you're a parent, you probably already know about some aspects of the learning centers, but if you're like most parents, you probably don't get a super-detailed explanation from your high-school-age kids about their school-day activities.
Plus, if you're a parent of a middle schooler or grade-schooler, you might be interested in what's ahead. And, of course, if you don't have kids in school, it's always interesting to know what's going on in the education field — if only so you don't mention "home room" and get a look like you grew up in the Paleolitic Age, which you might spell as "Palaeolithic Age" if indeed that was when you grew up.
But I digress.
FAQs on PLCs(Courtesy of School District 304, with a few minor changes by Nagel, including the word "heck.")
What the Heck Are PLCs?
Geneva High School is using the PLC abbreviation in two different, but related, ways to benefit students:
(1) GHS students participate in Personal Learning Choices on Thursdays throughout the year. This PLC period runs from 7:40-8:25 a.m. During the PLC period, a variety of opportunities will exist for students to enrich their learning, collaborate with their peers, receive extra help on assignments, and participate in different activities.
Some specific activities that will be available include:
- Tutoring centers providing academic assistance in multiple subjects
- Library and computer lab time for research, homework, and projects
- Making up tests/quizzes in a Test Make Up Center (instead of missing class)
- Areas for students to work on group projects
- Presentations on a variety of important topics including the college search process, social emotional topics, and career awareness
- The PE Department will also be running PE make ups during this time
- The PLC period will also provide time for student-run clubs to meet.
In addition to these choices, there will be some mandatory sessions for specific grade levels held during the PLC time. Attendance will be taken at these mandatory sessions and consequences will be issued for unexcused absences. The dates of these mandatory sessions as well as additional information about Personal Learning Choices are included in the PLC schedule published on the GHS website.
(2) GHS faculty will be engaged in Professional Learning Communities, which is a model of teacher collaboration that focuses on the critical questions of student learning.
During the PLC period on Thursdays, teams of teachers will be working together on a variety of initiatives. Some PLC teams will form around common courses (i.e. Geometry), while other groups will form around course level (i.e. Core, College Prep, Honors, Advanced Placement).
Why are PLCs being implemented at GHS?
Educators have learned from the business and health care fields that systematic collaboration is essential for a high performing organization. Because of the desire to meet the needs of all students, the GHS faculty has committed to implementing PLCs.
What will the school schedule be on PLC Thursdays?
Personal Learning Choices — 7:40-8:25 a.m.
Period 1 — 8:30-9:14 a.m.
Period 2 — 9:19-10:03 a.m.
Period 3 — 10:08-10:52
Period 4 — 10:57-11:19 a.m.
Period 5 — 11:24-11:46 a.m.
Period 6 — 11:51 a.m. - 12:13 p.m.
Period 7 — 12:18-12:40 p.m.
Period 8 — 12:45-1:07 p.m.
Period 9 — 1:12-1:56 p.m.
Period 10 — 2:01-2:45 p.m.
Are PLC days held every Thursday?
Yes, with a few of exceptions. Personal Learning Choices will not take place on Thursdays that are:
- Scheduled half days (institute days, parent conference, etc.)• Final Exam Thursdays
- PLC Thursdays will not be rescheduled to a different day in the event of a snow day or school cancellation.
Will students be required to attend during this PLC time?
Students should plan to arrive by 7:40 a.m. to take advantage of student resources or by 8:30 a.m. for the start of first period on Thursdays. However, some Thursdays will require certain groups of students to arrive at 7:40 a.m. and attendance will be taken.
All special programs and required attendance dates will be communicated to students and parents. In order to participate in the various options on Thursday mornings, students need to be at GHS at the normal time of 7:40 a.m.
Students arriving between 7:40 and 8:25 will be directed to the cafeteria for study hall.
Where can I find out which PLC activities are required for my son or daughter to attend?
The PLC schedule of activities is posted on the main page of the GHS website at www.geneva304.org/ghs. The schedule clearly identifies which activities are required, in addition to the various other opportunities that are available during this time.
My child takes the bus to school. How will they get to school since I can’t drive them on PLC days?
The buses for the high school will run at the same time as they do on normal days. On a PLC day, for example, buses arrive at GHS between 7:10 and 7:25 a.m.
Will the school day end at the same time?
Yes, GHS will dismiss at the normal time of 2:45 p.m.
If the teachers are working in PLC teams on PLC days, who will be supervising students?
Administrators, teacher assistants, rotating teachers, and other existing employees are among the adults that would be working in a supervisory capacity during the PLC period each Thursday.
Does Homeroom still exist?
No. In past years, GHS had a modified schedule every Thursday to accommodate a Homeroom period. The Homeroom schedule that existed previously has been replaced by the PLC schedule.