Professional Learning Communities or PLCs, are communities of schools that share common attributes such as pedagogy, location, affiliation, or vision. schools within a PLC can view each other’s curriculum. schools and educators use this visibility to share best practices, identify new and better ways to approach shared problems, and communicate ideas, resources, or professional development opportunities. Examples of some types of Professional Learning Communities include:
- Joint Research and Planning Office (JRPO)schools
- State of Hawaii schools
- Episcopalian schools
- International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme
- International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme
- International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme
- Sacred Heart Network schools
When a school decides to join an Atlas PLC, typically all curriculum maps of all Teachers in the school are made visible to the other schools participating in the PLC. If you are looking for samples or to connect as an individual Teacher, you may find items of interest in the selected curriculum made available by other Atlas schools in the Exemplars and Public Sites sections of the Communities tab.
Exemplars are subject-specific collections of individual units submitted by Teachers who choose to participate. The purpose of the Exemplars program is to showcase and share best-practices and outstanding, high-quality units. Teachers independently submit the units and thus, their relevance to the overall Course or in the larger context of the school’s broader curriculum and processes may not be apparent.
Atlas PLCs are school-wide communities with a common focus, where most, if not all, of a participating school’s maps are shared. The PLCs’ purpose is more process-oriented, with the big picture curriculum being visible rather than what is perhaps “ready” to share with colleagues outside of the internal Atlas system. Given this, it’s understood that each participating school’s maps will be in various stages of development.
schools as a whole join a PLC, as opposed to the Exemplars, which is made up of contributions from individual Teachers around the world. As the schools in a PLC share common attributes such as pedagogy, location, or affiliation, each PLC has differing requirements for eligibility. Some examples are:
- Joint Research and Planning Office schools: school is part of the Benchmark Research JRPO group.
- Catholic schools of Hawaii: school is a member of the Catholic schools of Hawaii organization schools: school’s curriculum and/or history are steeped in the Episcopalian faith.
- Sacred Heart Network schools: school is a member of the Network of Sacred Heart schools.
- International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme: school must be authorized or an approved candidate, to offer the IBO’s PYP curriculum.
- International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme: school must be authorized or an approved candidate, to offer the IBO’s MYP curriculum.
- International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme: school must be authorized or an approved candidate, to offer the IBO’s DP curriculum.
In addition to those PLCs listed above, there are many “closed” or “private” Atlas PLCs. These often have a regional focus that narrowly defines eligibility. Frequently they are schools or districts served by a particular educational service district or other collective or cooperative educational service organizations.
The decision to participate in a PLC should be made by school Leadership, as participation in a PLC includes sharing with the PLC community your school’s curriculum maps that match the PLC’s focus. For example, if your school is authorized to offer the IBO’s Diploma Programme and decides to join the Diploma Programme PLC, most, if not all, of your school’s DP maps would be shared in the PLC.
The PLC opportunity is provided through Atlas at no additional cost. To participate in a PLC, an authorized representative needs to sign and return an addendum to the licensing agreement we currently have on file for your school. To obtain this addendum, please Email Atlas Support.
When your school has joined a PLC, you’ll be able to access the PLC through a link in the Communities tab in your Atlas system. In the PLC you can browse, conduct searches, generate scope and sequence reports and chart results to compare and contrast selected curriculum from different schools just as you would in your unique Atlas system,
There is nothing extra you have to do in a PLC, as it simply provides visibility to your fellow PLC schools of the mapping work that you’re already doing. Maps in the PLCs are updated automatically and in real-time, so as soon as a unit is updated on a participating school’s Atlas site, the change is reflected immediately in the PLC.
To suggest a new PLC, please Email Atlas Support.
Please do keep in mind that because the PLCs are school-wide communities, and participating schools share most of, if not all, their curriculum maps in the focus area of that PLC, it often takes considerable time to find additional schools willing to share their curriculum to that degree of transparency with peers outside their faculty. We do keep track of suggested PLCs so that we can let interested schools know when the requested PLC or a similar community is available to join if it is created at some point in the future.
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