The teachers in the Kindergarten Professional Learning Community (PLC) at Knowles Elementary School agree that the time they spend as a group is an empowering way to ensure their students are receiving the best instruction possible.

The teachers begin the year by identifying “essential outcomes” for their students based on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), including lifelong learner and academic skills. Then, they analyze data from the previous year.

“They want to guarantee that 100 percent of our kids are going to be able to leave the school year being able to do those essential outcomes,” said Sandy Handrick, instructional coach at Knowles ES. “In this case, in Kindergarten, identifying all letters and sounds by the end of December.”

Once the essential outcomes are set, the group breaks down the process and identifies useful resources.

“Being able to come together and get ideas and share things is really helpful,” said Erin Gaines, Kindergarten teacher at Knowles ES. “I think it’s also validating, not only when we struggle, but when we’re succeeding. It’s validating to know that what’s working in my room is also working in this room.”

This particular PLC group is unique in that it includes Supplement Reading Program teachers. Handrick said that collaboration is an example of working with one another to find the experts on campus who can help when needed, and ultimately, to work together as a unit to better the learning environment for students.