Building learning communities requires a shift from the paradigm of schools as bureaucracies to a vision of schools as communities.
– Roberts & Pruitt, 2009
I attended a private Catholic school for both my elementary and high school education. I remember how, back then, parents have little involvement in the planning of activities. They were allowed to air out opinions only during Parent-Teacher Conferences and the closest thing to a home-school partnership was every quarter during Report Card Day.
As a teacher now, I can say that parents have become more involved in their children’s education. Sure, there are still Parent-Teacher Conferences and Report Card Days where they are expected to attend. But nowadays, parents now have their own family council which help foster a strong home-school partnership. In my school, events and seminars are regularly organized by the school and by the family council, either joint or individually.
Due to the current shift in curriculum, parents have also been actively updated by the school and a system of transparency is more evident. Parents, alumnae, as well as retired personnel are also often invited as guests and resource speakers in many of the school-wide activities held throughout the shool year.
This contributes to the sense of community spirit that pervades the academe as this promotes a sense of inclusion of all stakeholders: administrators, faculty, staff, auxiliary personnel, parents, students, as well as the nuns who originally run the school and the board of trustees down to the retirees.
As part of the faculty, we are given formation sessions that allow us to grow spiritually, personally, and professionally. Sharing of best practices is encouraged and is typically part of workplace conversation. Recently, we have looked into the conduct of action research to help guide instruction, especially as we prepare for the opening of the senior high department next year.
All this creates our own brand of a professional learning community that seeks to carry out the school’s mission and vision of a transformative Christianized education.
Roberts, S. & Pruitt, E. Z. (2009). The professional learning community: An overview (Chapter 1). In Schools as professional learning communities: Collaborative activities and strategies for professional development (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press, pp. 1-25. Available from http://www.corwin.com/upm-data/27683_Roberts_Chapter_1.pdf