Professional development retreat

Last month, the Florence Elementary School teaching staff, along with elementary Principal Neil Hall and district Superintendent Ben Niehaus, had the opportunity to attend the Professional Learning Communities at Work Institute in Minneapolis. A professional learning community, or PLC, is an ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively to achieve better results for their students. During this three-day training, staff attended keynote speaker sessions and a variety of inspiring breakout sessions by some of the top minds in education who have successfully led schools through the PLC process. The staff in attendance were also able to reflect and collaborate as a large group during team time to discuss takeaways from breakout sessions and keynotes, as well as plan and prioritize for the upcoming school year. Going forward, teachers will form PLCs during teacher inservice week and will collaborate to form common goals and action plans. These PLC groups will also continue to meet throughout the school year for discussion and evaluating progress. Florence County High School teachers successfully began their work as a PLC with the 2016-17 school year after attending the institute the previous two summers. Pictured, from left, front row are Chevonne Merhalski and Neil Hall; middle row are Mary Derwinski, Kent Walstrom, Pat O’Donnell, Tracie Johnson, Elyse Nygard, Heidi Nault, Stacy Bruno, Chelsey Holsworth, Andrew Kangas, Anne Leschke and Bruce Premo; and back row Stephanie Tomczak, Angela Oller, Becky Wilcox, Ben Niehaus, Kim Cook and Vanessa Schimmelpfenning.