So, What is PLC? And What Does it Mean for BIC?

Erica Hurst , Writer

The 2019-20 school year marks Buffalo Island’s first year as a PLC, or Public Learning Community.  To most members of the community, this definition does not clear the mud as to what being a PLC entails.  So, what really is a PLC? And what does it mean for the future of BIC?


To begin, PLC is still a relatively new term floating around Arkansas.  However, the origins of PLC come from a company called Solution Tree, located near Chicago, Illinois.  The idea behind PLC is to help students perform at higher levels and, ultimately, work to close the so-called “achievement gaps.”  Public Learning Centers include remediation for students who may not be learning at the same rate as their peers, and enrichment for students who score average or above on academic assessments.  For BIC,becoming a PLC means an attitude change.


“What it really amounts to is, they have the mindset to where they’re going to ensure that more students are successful than what we’ve been doing.  It involves everyone. From every teacher, to every custodian, to every secretary, possibly even school board members and Mr. Taylor. No one’s out of reach from a PLC,” says Mr. Rose.


The faculty at BIC wants to ensure that no student is left behind in their academics.  These changes will be visible at both the high school and elementary campuses. Mrs. Nicole Stewart, Assistant Principal at the elementary, was actually the person behind the whole process.  She was asked by Mr. Gaylon Taylor, Superintendent, to be the PLC Coordinator for the whole district. According to Mrs. Stewart, the application took many long, strenuous days to complete.


“First, the state made districts who wished to apply complete a letter of intent.  Once that was approved the actual application was sent to those particular schools that made it through the intent process,” Stewart added.


After this, there was more elimination and narrowing of applicants, until the final fifteen-page product was ready for submission.  This was Mrs. Stewarts second attempt at this application. She gives the credit to many sources and helping hands that it took to get the work done.


Now that BIC has been approved as a school that can begin adjusting to the PLC program, there are many new changes that will be seen in the district, including collaborative teams within the staff, interactive learning, etc.


Mrs. Natalie Stricklin teaches several science classes at the high school, and she also coaches the Mustangs Soccer Team.  She says that students can expect more hands-on activities in her classes.


Mr. Rose himself will soon feel some personal effects of these changes.  Solution Tree has asked Mr. Rose if he would be interested in doing a documentary about his career as a principal.


“What their story is, is the backstory of why I became a principal, and how I’m going to help lead this PLC process.  It’s as much about this school that I happen to work in as it is how I run the school,” says Rose.


It’s needless to say that there are exciting things on the horizon for BIC.  The staff at Buffalo Island hopes to improve testing scores across the board within the span of the next three years.