In 2015, The Budd Center piloted Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) for its nonprofit partners within The School Zone (TSZ) as a vehicle for expanded data use, coaching and collaborative action.

PLCs are a fixture within pre-K through 12 education. The School Zone’s PLCs take an innovative approach to this established structure and are primarily composed of nonprofit program staff – those on the frontlines providing direct service to children and families.

By placing adult learners from mission-similar organizations in collaborative settings, nonprofits:

- engage in candid dialogue and idea-sharing;
- examine data;
- openly tackle persistent and systemic challenges;
- develop and monitor interventions for students with high needs; and
- develop practices to support improved student outcomes.

Each PLC convenes eight times during the academic year. During four of these sessions, the PLCs take a deep dive into data with intervention specialists from The Budd Center. During the other four sessions, participants cultivate collaborative relationships, explore interventions and report progress on shared objectives. Intervention specialists from The Budd Center also provide coaching and technical assistance to individual nonprofits between sessions to ensure partners can effectively implement and monitor high-impact interventions.

About Our Professional Learning Communities

Leadership PLC

The newly formed Leadership PLC is composed of current TSZ PLC leaders. These leaders share a compelling mission to delve deeper into the research and best practices in the areas of collaborative leadership, systems thinking, and developing a sustainable collective impact model.

Early Childhood PLC

The Early Childhood PLC offers early childhood providers and community organizations interacting with families of young children a forum for collaboration. Participants work together to achieve school readiness outcomes and give young children access to high-quality early childhood education – which includes support at home, in school and in the community.

AY2017-18 SMART goal:  By May 2018, the West Dallas EC PLC will have an average daily attendance rate of 98% across all agencies and schools.  

Participants: AVANCE Dallas, Catholic Charities of Dallas, ChildCareGroup, Educational First Steps, Head Start of Greater Dallas, Mi EscuelitaLiteracy Achieves, West Dallas Community School, Wesley-Rankin Community Center, Lorenzo de Zavala Elementary School and Sidney Lanier Expressive Arts Vanguard.

Academic Support PLC

The Academic Support PLC brings together in-school and out-of-school educational nonprofits to address common issues and implement solutions to better serve students and families.

AY2017-18 SMART goal:  By May 31, 2018, 75% of Tier 3 students (K-3) served by TSZ’s Academic Support PLC partners will increase their reading score by 10 points (ISIP Overall Score). By May 31, 2018, all students (PreK-12) served by TSZ’s Academic Support PLC partners will increase average daily school attendance to 98%.

Participants: BridgeBuildersCatholic Charities of Dallas, Dallas Afterschool, Education Is Freedom, Education Opens Doors, Readers 2 Leaders, Reading Partners, Serve West Dallas, Trinity River Mission, Voice of Hope Ministries and Wesley-Rankin Community Center.

Social & Emotional Health PLC

The Social & Emotional Health PLC provides training and professional development to partners in the Early Childhood and Academic Support PLCs. The Budd Center believes social and emotional learning should be integrated into the pre-K through 12 educational experience both in school and out of school. This approach supports the holistic development of individuals (students, parents, teachers and service providers) and enables students to graduate from high school ready for college and career.

AY2017-18 SMART goal: By May 30, 2018 the SEH PLC will: (a) research and select a reliable and valid measure of SEH that is aligned to evidence-based SEL indicators, (b) conduct a cost and feasibility analysis, (c) determine a process (and, implement, if needed) to ensure confidentiality of results, and (d) collect baseline data on students served. These steps are needed in order to find a measure of SEH that is meaningful, malleable and will allow the PLC nonprofit partners to develop a common SMART goal to evaluate and monitor their collective impact. 

Participants: All-Stars Project of DallasAnthem Strong Families, ARK, Big Thought, Dallas ISD Youth & Family Services, Mercy Street, Momentous Institute, NTARuPT, Pastoral Counseling Center, Rainbow Days, The Concilio and The Family Place.