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With the implementation of the Professional Learning Communities at Work® process, Bernice Ayer Middle School (BAMS) in San Clemente was recently recognized by Solution Tree for its sustained success in raising student achievement, the school announced this week.

The school credited the use of the Professional Learning process, or PLC, as a major contributing factor in the improved achievements of the students at BAMS.

PLCs, according to BAMS, are schools and districts in which educators recognize the key to improved learning for students is ongoing, job-embedded learning for the adults who serve those students.

The three big ideas of a PLC call upon educators to focus on learning, build a collaborative culture and create a results orientation. Only about 200 schools and districts in the U.S. and Canada receive the honor from Solution Tree.

“We are honored to receive this prestigious national recognition, but what is more rewarding to our staff is the individual learning of each of our students,” BAMS Principal Nick Stever said in a press release.

“BAMS’ efforts as a PLC would not have been possible without the support of CUSD leadership and our amazing school community here in San Clemente,” he continued in the release. “Additionally, the entire staff at BAMS deserves acknowledgement and praise for their continual pursuit of improvement, which has resulted in four consecutive years of awards.”

Those awards include the 2017-2018 National Schools to Watch; 2018-2019 California Distinguished School; 2019-2020 Platinum PBIS; and 2020-2021 Model Professional Learning Community at Work.

Schools are recognized based on strict criteria, including demonstration of a commitment to PLC concepts, implementation of these concepts for at least three years, and clear evidence of improved student learning over that period, the school explained.

Once measurable results can be seen, the school must explain its practices, structures, and culture and submit its application for consideration to the PLC Review Committee.

According to the Champions of PLC at Work®, educators in the schools and districts selected for this recognition have shown “a sustained commitment to helping all of their students achieve at high levels. They have been willing to alter the structure and culture of the organization to reflect their commitment.”

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