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KABMS recognized for Exemplary Professional Learning Opportunities

Kelly A. Burlison Middle School (KABMS) has been named an Exemplary Professional Learning Community School by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

KABMS Principal Ken Lunsford, Assistant Principal Pam Hanner, Eighth Grade English Teacher Dana Meyers, SPED Teacher Emily Long and Sixth Grade History Teacher Mary Jo Johnson, attended the Missouri Professional Learning Communities Conference in Tan-Tar-A Jan. 29-30 to accept the plaque and banner identifying the school as an Exemplary PLC School.

“It was an exciting and proud moment for members of our leadership team to accept the plaque and banner on behalf of KABMS to be recognized for all the effort that was put in by all our administration, faculty, staff and students,” Hanner said. “We felt very proud of our accomplishment.”

“Exemplary PLC Schools is a recognition process provided through the DESE sponsored initiative, Missouri Professional Learning Communities,” DESE Communications Director Sarah Potter said. “In order to qualify for consideration as an Exemplary PLC Implementation Rubric, a school must show evidence of proficient or deep implementation in all 34 indicators of our MO PLC Implementation Rubric.”

“It has been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step,” Long said. “However, it was not said how steep some of those steps might get. Now that we have completed our journey and have reached the top we can look back at the steep steps and acknowledge that they were well worth the climb.”

KABMS’s PLC journey began over five years ago and according to Long the process taught leadership what it was like to be a struggling learner as they had to repeat year two of the PLC process.

“Rather than giving up and quitting, this created a greater sense of compassion as we understood how some of our struggling learners felt,” Long said. “We used this to drive us to finish the PLC process.” 

Hanner said the journey has been a struggle but with determination and perseverance they have overcame their obstacles and have full implementation of the PLC process in place.

Some of the components that set KABMS apart are:

  • The common collaboration time of core teachers.
  • A mission, vision and core values that were created by KABMS faculty and staff to fit the needs of students at the middle grade level.
  • Establishment of a PLC Leadership Team and collaborative teams that meet bi-weekly and work together for the benefit of the students.
  • Establishment of an Enrichment/Response to Intervention time in our master schedule to assist students that are struggling with core concepts, which is data driven to support our students to be successful.
  • Created a PLC Data Sheet in which to show student growth from pre-test to post-test.
  • Grade-level meetings so that the needs and wants of students can be discussed.
  • Increase in the Missouri Assessment Program standardized test scores.
  • Increase in student attendance.
  • The implementation of a behavioral program to better assist students in the building of expectations. 

“We have basically developed an academic system that identifies what we expect students to learn and data-based interventions to make certain all students master those standards,”  Lunsford said. “All kids master specified skills building the foundation for learning success.”

Hanner said the workshop presentations at the conference gave them new ideas and the chance to learn from other districts.

“The sessions we attended instilled in us some new ideas that we may want to slowly implement at KABMS to make our school even better for our students and their success,” Hanner said.

The district’s has been using the tools it has learned to help other schools throughout Southeast Missouri. Hanner said five different school districts have made multiple visits to observe and implement ideas and strategies which have been developed by the KABMS team and staff.

“These teachers and leaders have accepted the challenge of ensuring high levels of learning for all students,” Interim Commissioner of Education Roger Dorson said. “We appreciate their commitment to helping students succeed and congratulate them on this recognition.”

“I know the staff, Mr. Lunsford and Mrs. Hanner, have worked very hard to satisfy the goals and objectives of a Professional Learning Community,” Fredericktown R-I Superintendent Brett Reutzel said. “We are very proud of them and the award they received. This exemplifies the commitment of the staff to create and deliver effective instructional strategies to our students.”

Other schools recognized include Jana Elementary School, Viburnum High School, Viburnum Elementary School, Cedar Hill Elementary School, Dogwood Elementary School, Neelyville High School, Parkside Elementary School, Stonegate Elementary School, Peculiar Elementary School, Kratz Elementary School, Marion Elementary School, Seneca Intermediate School Seneca Elementary School, Southern Boone Primary School, Daniel Boone Elementary School, Rebecca Boone Elementary School, Ridge View Elementary School, Nellie Hart Sterling Elementary School, Williams Early Childhood Center and Piney Ridge Learning Center.

(Left to right) Kelly A. Burlison Middle School Assistant Principal Pam Hanner, Eighth Grade English Teacher Dana Myers, Principal Ken Lunsford, SPED Teacher Emily Long and Sixth Grade History Teacher Mary Jo Johnson accept a plaque and banner at the Missouri Professional Learning Communities Conference in Tan-Tar-a Jan. 29-30 identifying KABMS as an Exemplary PLC School.

(Left to right) Kelly A. Burlison Middle School Assistant Principal Pam Hanner, Eighth Grade English Teacher Dana Myers, Principal Ken Lunsford, SPED Teacher Emily Long and Sixth Grade History Teacher Mary Jo Johnson accept a plaque and banner at the Missouri Professional Learning Communities Conference in Tan-Tar-a Jan. 29-30 identifying KABMS as an Exemplary PLC School.

Here is the plaque awarded to Kelly A. Burlison Middle School for being a Missouri Exemplary Professional Learning Communities School.

Here is the plaque awarded to Kelly A. Burlison Middle School for being a Missouri Exemplary Professional Learning Communities School.

Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at vkemper@democratnewsonline.com

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