A Clearinghouse for Martensdale-St. Marys Community Schools Professional Development

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Whatever It Takes, Chapter 4

Chapter 4 of Whatever It Takes delves deeper into the logistics of implementing the kind of interventions and programs discussed in chapter 3. Taking a week to process the content of your discussions surrounding the PLC responses at Stevenson High School will give you and your group a strong grounding as you synthesize the ideas in the book with knowledge of your classroom, grade level, content area, and district as a whole. While there is only one discussion question for this chapter in the study guide, you will also need to work with your group to complete the handout given to you during the large group discussion earlier today. Take the time and energy needed to complete this assignment as it will provide the groundwork for implementing professional learning communities district wide at MstM in the near future. Thanks for your hard work this year; we are well on our way to becoming a PLC school!

1. This chapter describes how Stevenson staff addressed some of the barriers they confronted when attempting to provide students with timely, directive, systematic interventions. List some of the barriers you will confront in your school.

2. Use “Where Do We Go From Here?” Worksheet #1 (distributed earlier today) to develop a plan for creating a system of interventions in your own school.


  1. Brian, Terah, Kim, & Rana
    1. Barriers we discussed, tradition: it is hard to change things in a community and school when "it's always been that way...", there is never enough time, and parents can cause barriers. Everyone has to be on board, all parents, all teachers, community for a change to fully succeed.

  2. Members present: Joe Franey, Jodi Noga, Brenda Halverson, Sara Kuhns, Jan Devore, Amy De Waard

    1. List the barriers in our school.
    *staffing, block scheduling, number of students in study halls, budget,

  3. by Mollie, Sara F., Dianne, Amanda P., Jen P.

    1. Barriers are like those we read about. There is a lack of time to schedule the advisory program, lack of space, lack of teachers to serve as advisors, contractual obligations need changed, funding for additional staff, not enough hours in the day to utilize upperclassmen as mentors due to scheduling, and it would change our formal grading system and the time it takes to report grades. We could tackle these things one at a time and possibly come up with a plan. These obstacles wouldn't be fixed overnight.

  4. PLC Group #1: Caleb, Don, Noel, Paula

    We don't have study halls for high school to free up time for teachers to help intervene. This is another reason that time will always be a factor. Teacher's simply don't have much free time in order to implement adequate intervention.

    Using upperclassmen to help mentor isn't really an option either as we don't have extremely long class periods.

  5. Teachers’ contracts would be a barrier. There are several contractual issues such as time, staff, and expectations. Staffing – what teacher would want to be a part-time teacher like in the book? It sounds very impractical. Also, a lot of the strategies take time that we don’t have and would put us over contractual time obligations.

    - Barb, Tish, Amanda, Kate, Kara

  6. John Amfahr, Ron Peterson, Don Hatcher, Steven Goodale, Mike McAlexander.
    1. Some of the barriers that exist in this school that stand in the way of effective interventions:
    Shortage of staff, # of different subjects taught by individual teachers, finances, planning time, time restraints.

  7. Members: Chuck, Jed, Christy, Amy, Josh, Justin

    1. Conflicts with interventions:
    -Staff availability and scheduling of blocks

    -Supervision of large groups (100)

    -Incentives and loss of privileges, such as only seniors driving to school. It would be a conflict for parents if students other than seniors were able to drive.

  8. Administration: Administration listens to teacher input but usually has/wants the final decision.
    Study Hall: Each student/teacher has a set period for study hall in the Stevenson schedule. We don’t have that time to modify in their schedules.
    Free period: Where will students go? We don’t have a lot of extra space or supervisors to watch kids during a free period.
    Contract: What does our contract say about teaching time? Should advisor/advisee time be included in “teaching time”?