Professional Learning Councils: Translating Data Into Action

By Melanie Brown, Steve Rodecker and Shelly Valdez.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The California Partnership for Achieving Student Success (Cal-PASS) is a state¬wide consortium of data¬-driven Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) committed to using data as the driving force from which innovative instructional practices are developed. In the last few years in the United States, the secondary educational system focus has begun shifting toward a more collaborative model. Working within the PLCs and meeting in a collaborative group fits this model and creates more group responsibility, synergistically
building on the strengths of the whole group. The South¬ Bay Science Council (PLC) is very unique. We are located about five miles North of the US-Mexico Border in Chula Vista, California. We have a vertical team of science professionals including elementary school through university teachers and professors. Chemistry, physics, computer science, biology, geology and physiology are the curricular areas we represent, along with four different school affiliations. Our council has created three innovations, with the fourth one currently being created. The first three innovations have already been adapted for use in our high school district. The current innovation is aimed at an elementary school district and will be in place in 2011. These are based on the data ¬driven trends in our state, county and city. Our issues are correct biology placement, interventions and support in math¬-heavy science classes, vocabulary and kinesthetic applications for ELL (English Language Learners) learners.

Keywords: Professional Learning Councils, Professional Learning Communities, Vertical Teams, Student Placement, Interventions, Student Success, Data Driven, Research, Cal-PASS

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.253-262. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 453.171KB).

Melanie Brown

Co-Chair, California Partnership for Achieving Student Success, Sweetwater Union High School District, San Diego, California, USA

Melanie Brown, M.A. NBCT Melanie Brown (M.A.Science Education) has passionately devoted herself to the“Education of the Sciences” for two decades. Ms. Brown is currently Chairperson of the San Diego Cal-PASS Science PLC and currently serving on the Board of Directors for two San Diego countywide science organizations; The San Diego Science Alliance and Expanding Your Horizons. A former San Diego County Science Teacher of the Year, Sweetwater Union High School Teacher of the Year and a Fulbright Teacher Scholar. Melanie was appointed in 2009 by the California State Board of Education to the Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee. She has taught middle school through university and is a teacher trainer with the VPSS program. Currently Melanie is a member of the Sweetwater Union High School Districts’ Academic Support Team, focusing on new models for effective instructional practices, as well as supporting PLC’s across the county.

Steve Rodecker

Sweetwater Union High School District, San Diego, California, USA

Steve Rodecker, M.S Stephen B. Rodecker (M.S. Biology) has been active at all levels of science education for 30 years, including teaching at junior high, high school and community college levels. In addition to several other articles on science education, he has authored three science activity texts. He has made numerous local, state, and national conference presentations as well as receiving several grants including TAPESTRY, TAPP,GTE, and DOE. In 1995, he was awarded Disney’s The American Teacher Awards “Nation’s Outstanding Science Teacher” and was a Tandy Technology National Champion in the Classroom. He is currently a member of the San Diego Cal-PASS Science PLC, a science specialist with the Sweetwater Union High School District, and a teacher at Chula Vista High School in Chula Vista, California.

Shelly Valdez

California Partnership for Achieving Student Success (Cal-PASS), San Diego, California, USA

Shelly Valdez, Ed.D. Dr. Valdez serves as the Director of Education Collaboration for the California Partnership for Achieving Student Success (Cal-PASS), working statewide and across the nation with Regional Coordinators and Cal-PASS Professional Learning Councils to align curricula and develop cooperative approaches to improving instruction. She began teaching at the post-secondary level in 1975, has taught both communication and leadership studies and has served as a communication and education consultant working with high schools and colleges on student success and student learning outcomes.