Professional learning communities (PLCs) have been a marker of the educational landscape for some time. PLCs gained popularity in the 1990s after Peter Senge’s book The Fifth Discipline (1990) envisioned learning organizations as a reflective process for educators. More commonly orchestrated in the public K-12 school systems, PLCs focus on critical and collaborative opportunities for educators to revitalize their students’ learning opportunities. From there, promising new initiatives are implemented and a more student and staff-centered culture is enacted. Student advising has often been secondary in the PLC practice. Until now.
Vermont Adult Learning has identified the gap in professional learning and has created its first advising professional learning community (APLC) beginning March 9th. VAL’s APLC brings together education advisors across the state’s six adult education learning centers, melding while honoring their expertise in GED, high school completion, English language learning, college and career advising. In collaboration, the APLC will examine what advising is in general and what it means to our students. The APLC’s work will circulate around the following questions:
- “What do we want students to gain from advising?”
- “How will we know if our advising is impactful?”
- “What do I need as an advising professional to strengthen my practices?”
- “How does advising support VAL’s mission and influence on our communities?”
The APLC is an inclusive space where practitioners take a critical and creative look at advising. It is action-oriented, focused on results turning the group’s collective inquiry into action. More so, the APLC centralizes advising as a fluid process allowing for the revisioning and strengthening of direct-service methods. VAL’s commitment to PLCs is an opportunity to value collaboration with colleagues across the state, igniting a powerful process that enriches advising practices. In turn, the APLC will contribute to actualizing higher levels of student achievement and retention.
Written by Lisa Woronzoff, VAL Advising Coordinator – Chittenden Learning Center