Mattos to give public talk in Bloomington on PLCs

Let’s take a break from depressing posts about the Indiana legislature and focus for a minute on reform efforts driven by schools.

Anyone who’s been to a Monroe County Community School Corp. board meeting in the past year or so has heard the buzz about Professional Learning Communities, the collaboration model that MCCSC leaders have embraced. But what exactly are Professional Learning Communities? How do they work? Will they make a difference or are they just another fad?

Here’s a chance to learn more. Mike Mattos, a PLC expert, author and former high-school principal, will give a public presentation on Professional Learning Communities Thursday (April 28) from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Bloomington High School South auditorium. (See: Mike Mattos April28 flyer-April 28 2011 ).

Mattos, who is affiliated with Solution Tree, the Bloomington education publishing and professional-development company, spoke to MCCSC teachers and staff last fall. He gives a lively and inspirational presentation.

‘Community school’ model implemented in Evansville

An article this week in Education Week focuses on the “community school” model of reform as practiced in Evansville, Ind., specifically in the K-8 Lincoln School.

The school “relies on ties between its district … and churches, social service agencies, nonprofit community groups, and other local organizations that have built a web of support to nurture schoolchildren across the entire district from ‘diaper to diploma,’” Mary Ann Zehr writes.

A $2.5 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Full-Service Community Schools Program is making the program possible for the 23,000-student Evansville Vanderburgh school district.

Education Week says Evansville Vanderburgh has made significant academic gains since implementing the program. But data on the state Department of Education website suggest the jury is still out on whether the approach is turning around low-performing schools.

Still, if the Evansville community is pitching in to meet the social and physical needs of kids at Lincoln School — where more than 90 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches — that’s unquestionably a good thing.