Kinard Middle School Selected as a National Professional Learning Community Model
Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School is one of three Colorado schools to be recognized by Solution Tree for its quality and success in creating a professional learning community (PLC). Kinard was first recognized as a national model for professional learning communities in 2012, and that status was reaffirmed in 2015 by allthingsplc.org.
Professional Learning Communities at Work are schools and districts in which educators recognize the key to improved learning for students is the on-going, job-embedded learning for the adults who serve those students. The three foundational elements of PLCs include:
1. Learning as the fundamental purpose of the school.
2. Establishing a collaborative culture combined with job-embedded professional development.
3. Basing the school’s effectiveness on results, not intentions.
Responding to news of Kinard's first recognition in 2012, founding principal Joe Cuddemi said, “We are humbled and honored to be recognized as a National Model of a Professional Learning Community at Work. Our work is regenerating a collaborative culture focused on continuous improvement and sustaining high performance for adult and student learning.”
Schools are recognized based on strict criteria, including demonstration of a commitment to PLC concepts, implementation of these concepts for at least 3 years, and clear evidence of improved student learning over that period. Once measurable results can be seen, the school’s practices, structures, and culture are explained and submitted for consideration by the PLC Review Committee at AllThingsPLC.info.
Recognized model PLC schools are listed on AllThingsPLC.info website so that they can share their implementation strategies, structures, and performance with other educators interested in improving their schools. The site also includes tools for team collaboration, articles and research about PLCs, blog posts, and other related resources.
Kinard has been implementing the PLC at WorkTM process for 12 years and has continued to see tangible results. In reading, writing, math and science, Kinard is the top performing PSD middle school in student achievement on Colorado standardized tests. In the fine arts, Kinard has continued to earn a superior rating from the state, and students have award-winning artwork displayed locally. The school has been recognized by the National Core Knowledge Foundation as an “Official Core Knowledge School” and, for all years it has been awarded, has been presented with the “John Irwin School of Excellence Award” from the Colorado Department of Education for outstanding academic achievement. As an Energy Star Award school, Kinard has been designated “Most Energy Efficient School” in the state of Colorado and was recognized by the governor’s office with the “Colorado Environmental Leadership Award” for its student leadership in composting and recycling.