Kathy Chavez, President
Denise Romero, Vice-President
Dr. David Schneider, Secretary
Catherine Smith, Member
Kenneth Griego, Member
The Governing Council is comprised of five Valencia County residents with a diverse professional background reflective of the ethnic make-up of the county. These five members constitute the voting membership of the council. In addition there are three ex-officio (nonvoting) members, one who is the school’s principal and two others who are the founders of the School of Dreams Academy.
The Governing Council is responsible for establishing policies, serving as the school’s Board of Finance, and managing the governance structure. Policies formulated by the Council will insure the school runs smoothly, efficiently and insure the protection of the school’s mission, vision, and direction. As the school’s board of finance, the Governing Council has the legal authority to employ personnel, contract for services, and accept and dispense funds. Additionally, the Governing Council ensures that it will act in accord with the school’s governance policies in a manner that assures the voices of the school’s various constituencies are heard. Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month. The meetings will take place on the school campus.
Accreditation is designed to help educational institutions boost their ongoing performance efforts for the benefit of their students. AdvancED insists on a relentless pursuit of excellence – for itself and for the institutions it accredits. This ethic of excellence ensures that institutions will find rich benefits from accreditation and that parents can confidently make informed decisions about their children’s education, knowing their child’s school is accredited. Accreditation matters because our students deserve the highest level of educational excellence possible.
Educational institutions that engage in AdvancED Accreditation will:
Students and their parents will:
Professional Learning Community (PLC)
“Educators committed to working collaboratively in ongoing processes of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve. Professional learning communities operate under the assumption that the key to improved learning for students is continuous job-embedded learning for educators.” Learning by Doing (2006)
What Are Professional Learning Communities?
It has been interesting to observe the growing popularity of the term professional learning community. In fact, the term has become so commonplace and has been used so ambiguously to describe virtually any loose coupling of individuals who share a common interest in education that it is in danger of losing all meaning. This lack of precision is an obstacle to implementing PLC concepts because, as Mike Schmoker observes, “clarity precedes competence.” Thus, we begin with an attempt to clarify our meaning of the term. To those familiar with our past work, this step may seem redundant, but we are convinced that redundancy can be a powerful tool in effective communication, and we prefer redundancy to ambiguity.
A Focus on Learning
The very essence of a learning community is a focus on and a commitment to the learning of each student. When a school or district functions as a PLC, educators within the organization embrace high levels of learning for all students as both the reason the organization exists and the fundamental responsibility of those who work within it. In order to achieve this purpose, the members of a PLC create and are guided by a clear and compelling vision of what the organization must become in order to help all students learn. They make collective commitments clarifying what each member will do to create such an organization, and they use results-oriented goals to mark their progress. Members work together to clarify exactly what each student must learn, monitor each student’s learning on a timely basis, provide systematic interventions that ensure students receive additional time and support for learning when they struggle, and extend and enrich learning when students have already mastered the intended outcomes.
A corollary assumption is that if the organization is to become more effective in helping all students learn, the adults in the organization must also be continually learning. Therefore, structures are created to ensure staff members engage in job-embedded learning as part of their routine work practices.
There is no ambiguity or hedging regarding this commitment to learning. Whereas many schools operate as if their primary purpose is to ensure that children are taught, PLCs are dedicated to the idea that their organization exists to ensure that all students learn essential knowledge, skills, and dispositions. All the other characteristics of a PLC flow directly from this epic shift in assumptions about the purpose of the school.
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