Professional Learning Communities in LaFayette
May 31, 2019
Dear Parents and Guardians:
Starting in September, all schools will dismiss early on Mondays to allow teachers to participate in collaborative team meetings focused on improving teaching and learning throughout our school district. These collaborative team meetings are called Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) and focus on four essential questions:
What do we expect our students to learn?
How will we know that our students are learning?
How will we respond when our students do not learn?
How will we respond when our students already know it?
Dismissal times for the schools are as follows: 1:45 PM dismissal for Grimshaw Elementary and the Onondaga Nation School, 2:00 PM dismissal for LaFayette Jr/Sr High and Big Picture School. While I realize that sending students home early places a challenge on working families, there are after school programs available:
The LaFayette After School Program (LASP) is available for students who attend Grimshaw Elementary. There is a cost for students to attend this program. Please feel free to contact the main office at Grimshaw for additional information.
The Onondaga Nation After School Program at the field house, operated by Ed Shenandoah, is available for students at the Onondaga Nation School.
Students who participate in athletic programs in grades 7-12 at the Jr/Sr High School will have the availability of a sports study hall.
Over the past three months, our school district has undertaken a comprehensive analysis looking at ways to better the school experience of our students in LaFayette. We have accomplished many great things together, such as: improved early literacy performance for elementary students, a 96% graduation rate for high school students, and offering students an increasing number of college credits in high school. While we have much to be proud of, we also have areas where we need to improve.
Back in February, I wrote an article in the Green Sheet about our school accountability status. The New York State Education Department has identified the LaFayette Central School District as a Targeted District due to the fact that we have two schools that have been identified as Comprehensive Support and Intervention (CSI) Schools. Both the LaFayette Jr/Sr High School and the Onondaga Nation School were identified as CSI schools based on lack of participation and student results on the 2018 NYS Math and ELA exams for students in grades three through eight.
As a result of this designation, we encouraged more students to participate in the recently administered 2019 NYS Math and ELA exams, formed school improvement teams at all schools, conducted school and classroom visits with the assistance of the New York State Education Department, surveyed and talked to focus groups that included students, parents, and staff. This information will be gathered and used to complete our District Comprehensive Improvement Plan (DCIP) and our School Comprehensive Education Improvement Plans (SCEIP) at each school. These improvement plans will have six goals focused on improving the school experience of our students:
? One goal focused on improving the performance of our students in English Language Arts
? One goal focused on improving the performance of our students in Mathematics
? One goal focused on improving the overall attendance of our students
? One goal based on feedback from the school climate surveys
? Two goals based on feedback from stakeholder groups
In order to accomplish these goals, we need our staff to engage in continuous, deep, and meaningful conversations focused on improving teaching and learning. We are working to recruit and train teacher leaders, called Professional Learning Community Facilitators, to help support collaborative teams of teachers in addressing our school improvement goals and improving outcomes for students.
I realize that we are asking a lot of our students and parents by dismissing early on Mondays. Please know that our intention is to use this time with our staff to focus on the overall school experience for all our students in all our schools. Thank you in advance for your understanding and support as we work together to make LaFayette Central School District a place where we “inspire, empower, and prepare all students to achieve excellence.” If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at 315-677-9728 (office), 315-529-9550 (cell), or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeremy L Belfield
Superintendent of Schools
LaFayette Central School District