Professional Learning Community @ SAC SCE

PLC Meeting February 2, 2018

At the February 2nd Meeting of the PLC, there were 16 teachers and Mr. Rob Jenkins present. Initial discussion at the meeting involved the new curriculum and the role of the PLC in developing formative writing assessments. An additional goal was for the spring semester, 2018 was to create writing rubrics that teachers could use to evaluate the writing assessments. The assessments would be collected in a writing portfolio that teachers could use to make decisions for promotions to the next ESL level. After discussion, the teachers formed teams by level to make a writing assessment for students in their classes. The teachers consulted the curriculum as well as other available textbook resources to find appropriate writing prompts and create the assessments. By the end of the meeting, all groups reported success in writing their formative assessments. The assessments were to be piloted in the teachers’ courses with reporting on their experiences at the February 23rd Meeting.



PLC Meeting October 13, 2017

The second Fall Meeting of the Professional Learning Committee was held on October 13th, 2017 from 2:00 to 4:30 pm. The goal of the meeting was to create pre and post writing assessments to improve academic outcomes among our ESL students. There were 17 teachers in attendance.


The meeting began with a review of the goals of the previous meeting by Mr. Rob Jenkins. There was substantial discussion regarding the role of the PLC in developing the assessments, and how these assessments may help teachers become more effective writing instructors. To this end, Ms. Monica Rojas gave a PowerPoint presentation on classroom “Play: Shapes The Brain; Opens The Imagination; Invigorates The Soul.” Monica discussed ways to increase classroom interaction and promote greater student participation. Some suggested strategies included: Field Trips; Humor; Storytelling; Sharing Food; Tossing a Ball for Vocabulary Practice; and Role Play. Finally, she emphasized the importance of creating community and a sense of belonging in the classroom. After Monica’s presentation on active learning strategies, teachers met in their groups by level to develop their writing assessments. Most teachers decided to gather data from their students by asking them to complete a short writing project. Teachers will return to the next PLC with the results of their projects to create their initial writing assessments. The results of these assessments will also inform the work of the ESL Department in tweaking and adjusting the new ESL Curriculum to become more responsive to student needs and improve academic outcomes.


PLC Meeting September 29, 2017

September 29

The first Fall Meeting of the Professional Learning Community (PLC) was held at Centennial Education Center from 2 to 4 pm on September 29, 2017. The next meeting is scheduled for October 13, 2017 from 2 to 4 pm.



There were 17 teachers in attendance including the PLC leader, Rob Jenkins. Rob established 5 goals for our Fall PLC:
(1) Identify gaps in student learning related to the newly-revised ESL Curriculum
(2) Identify effective instructional strategies to remediate those gaps.
(3) Create common formative assessments to measure progress.
(4) Test out the instructional strategies throughout the semester.
(5) Evaluate instructional strategies based on the assessment results.
After initial discussion of our goal framework, the PLC divided into groups based on ESL instructional level. Then teachers discussed writing pre/post test formative assessments. In addition, they ranked the importance of the writing tasks identified in the new curriculum according to greatest perceived need. The writing task of greatest importance was suggested as the primary focus for our pre/post formative assessments. After much useful discussion, it was decided to begin work on the assessments at the following meeting. Finally, PLC member, Monica Rojas, kindly volunteered to give a literacy presentation at the next PLC meeting as well as to take photos while serving as the PLC historian. Many thanks to Monica and Rob for their effective leadership and to ESL colleagues for their continued participation in Centennial’s Professional Learning Community.


PLC Meeting March 10, 2017

March 10, 2017
In this meeting, we first were privilege to hear from Dr. Eric Glicker, one of the PLC members who had done some research into writing strategies.  
The discussion morphed into a discussion about what might be done to meet the need of students with minimal to no literacy skills in their own language.  Garden Grove faculty mentioned how they have special literacy classes designated as A, B, and C.  They have had great success with this model.  In the program at the Santa Ana School of Continuing Education, literacy students are often combined with Beginning 1 which most agreed is not at all adequate to meet their needs.  _DSC9786
Monica Rojas, a Spanish Literacy teacher mentioned her success with preparing students for ESL classes by taking her class before they go to ESL.  We do very little of this cross disciplinary collaboration.  The discussion also moved toward identifying and working with students with learning disabilities.  Eric Glicker’s presentation and handout are available here. 1_Teaching_Writing_Toolkit
Also at this meeting, Ray Hernandez spoke about the Garden Grove curriculum and how their curriculum mirrors the model standards.  He discussed how adding elements of the College and Career Readiness Standards and the new English Language Proficiency Standards was challenging.
In preparation for the next meeting on March 24, a new binder was prepared that houses the following standards: RSCCD Course of Records, English for Multilingual Students (EMLS) from Santa Ana ESL program, and Garden Grove curriculum framework. 
Also included are CASAS content standards, level indicators, CB-21 rubrics, Common Assessment Initiative rubrics, the NRS rubrics, College and Career Readiness Standards and the English Language Proficiency Standards.  Rob agreed to obtain writing rubrics from ABE and HSS.  Each level in the room spoke to another level to identify what their expectations were for students advancing to their classrooms.  In the weeks to come, it is the goal of the PLC to create a rubric specific to our programs. 


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PLC Meeting February 28, 2017

PLC Meeting held on: February 28, 2017


This was the first PLC meeting in the pursuit of identifying writing expectations and developing writing strategies through classroom research for current and future ESL curriculum.


Garden Grove Adult School joined the team of 15 instructors to discuss writing.  In this first meeting, we discussed briefly different standards including CASAS and the College and Career Readiness Standards.   We compared our current curriculum with that of Garden Grove and met in groups of different levels of ESL to identify what was already happening in the classroom.


The discussions led to seeking common language when identifying sentences and paragraphs in student writing.  The group agreed that a continuum approach is essential when writing curriculum where students at each level need review of structures and skills of previous levels.  It was discussed how paragraphs may start in lower levels as loosely connected sentences from a model and progress at higher levels to more controlled and substantive writings.


It was also discussed how knowing where in adult education students might go after leaving ESL programs was essential.

Welcome to PLC 2015

Welcome to our PLC page. This year we will be moving more quickly through the steps so we can incorporate stategies in the classroom, assess them, and return and share.  The meeting dates for Spring are:

April 17th

May 1st, 15, 29

Room A – 114 at 1 PM

I encourage you to attend all the meetings, but I do understand that schedules are challenging and if you can’t attend them all, feel free to attend the ones you can.  You will earn flex or non-instructional rate for each two-hour meeting.

The PLC will be discussing ESL curriculum and strategies, but all comers are welcome.  In fact we encourage you to come to see what potentially can be done in any discipline.


Rob Jenkins

Teaching vs Learning

It has seemed to me as I have attended training on PLC’s and have listened and tried to understand how to apply the principles, that understanding the distinction between teaching and learning is crucial.  If I plan a professional development event and teachers attend to learn teaching strategies, are they learning to teach better or are they learning to help their students learn better?  I have slowly understood the difference, but can’t say I can grasp it totally.  At first I thought it was a state of mind, but now I realize that is more than that.  It seems to be how we approach our students.  Do we react to them and change our methods and processes based on how they are learning, or do we boldly and continually teach the same concepts in the same way and get similar results every time.  I believe I am a good teacher.  Does that mean I can ever be satisfied with my performance?  I say nay.  A good teacher is more concerned about student outcomes than his or her performance.  Are the students learning?  A good teacher is also open to hear what other teachers are doing.  It is only the arrogant who think they have all the answers no matter how good they are.

Richard Dufour in 2004 stated:

“To create a professional learning community, focus on learning rather than on teaching, work collaboratively, and hold yourself accountable for results.” (Richard Dufour, 2004)

He has also said:

In Hot Pursuit of the Wrong Questions

Eventually, after years as a principal, I realized that even though my efforts had been well intentioned—and even though I had devoted countless hours each school year to those efforts—I had been focusing on the wrong questions. I had focused on the questions, What are the teachers teaching? and How can I help them to teach it more effectively? Instead, my efforts should have been driven by the questions, To what extent are the students learning the intended outcomes of each course? and What steps can I take to give both students and teachers the additional time and support they need to improve learning?

This shift from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning is more than semantics. When learning becomes the preoccupation of the school, when all the school’s educators examine the efforts and initiatives of the school through the lens of their impact on learning, the structure and culture of the school begin to change in substantive ways. … teachers and students benefit when principals function as learning leaders rather than instructional leaders.

Richard Dufour (2002)

Let’s take the words of Dufour and apply them to our classes for a moment.

When learning becomes the preoccupation of the class, when the teacher examines the curriculum through the lens of its impact on learning, the structure and culture of the class begins to change in substantive ways. Teachers and students benefit when they function as learning leaders rather than instructional leaders.

Below is a chart I created that might help us see the difference between a teacher who is focusing on teaching and one who is focusing on learning.

Teaching Approach

Learning Approach


  •   Start with the objective:   What do we want students to know?
  •   Teach – focusing   on good established techniques and methodology with the intent of getting   though the curriculum on time.

  •   Start with the objective:   What do we want students to be able to do?
  •   Teach – focusing   on what students learn based on evidence from what they are ultimately able   to do.

  • The instructor makes sure students take full   responsibility for learning while maintaining a consistent instructional   delivery.
  • Student outcomes reflect how well the teacher gets   across the information and how willing students were to internalize it.

  •   The instructor   shares the responsibility for student outcomes with the students by adjusting   and changing the instructional approach to teaching based on student   performance (learner-centered Instruction).
  •   Student   outcomes reflect how well students internalize the information based on the   ability of the instructor to tap into student needs, schema, past experience   and personal learning modalities or styles.
Instructional   Presentations and Practice

  • Mostly lecture with student questions and answers.
  •   Mechanical   practice – memorize data, make lists, prove through exercises and activities   that the Information (knowledge)is understood.
  •   Activities are   mostly fill-in and multiple choice with a high percentage correct used to   identify comprehension.


Instructional   Presentations and Practice

  • Interactive presentations where context, student   schema, real-life application, and student learning styles are taken into   account.
  • Activities go from mechanical, to meaningful and   communicative leading to application and personalization to stimulate   learning.
  • Activities are varied and include multiple choice,   fill-in, role-plays, focused listening, critical thinking, etc. with observation   and teacher evaluation including the use of rubrics to identify students’   ability to communicate
What   Students Do with New Information

  • Take multiple choice standardized tests and prove   they can use the new information in controlled and mostly writing   environments.


Student   Learning

  • Perform in multiple environments (multiple measures)   including standardized tests and impromptu circumstances etc.