LEADING A PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITY
As the leader of her science department’s professional learning community, 2013 Knowles Teaching Fellow Kirsten Waldrop identified the use of practitioner inquiry as a means to increase opportunities for students to learn. She was awarded a Knowles grant to fund the purchase of supplies needed to improve the ease of collecting classroom data, including an Apple TV and a Bluetooth speaker, as well as food for monthly meetings to discuss the data that was collected. In the previous school year, none of the teachers brought data from their classrooms. During the fall semester of the 2016–2017 academic year, 100% of the eight teachers in the department brought classroom data to their meetings, which were focused on increasing students’ ability to interpret data. The teachers from the science department were also successful in administering their first common assessment to students across all grade levels, which provided meaningful data for them to examine. Kirsten looks forward to the opportunity to strengthen trust amongst the members of the professional learning community to produce gains for the 1,000 students at her school, as she moves into the third year of leading the group.