|Q: What are Priority Learning Targets (PLTs)?
A: The District 129 Priority Learning Targets are a focused curriculum. They do not encompass all of the teaching and learning that occurs in our classrooms, but they are a collection of items that we are going to place a special emphasis on. We will design specific assessments to measure whether students are learning the PLTs, and we will provide additional teaching as necessary. They were identified from the Illinois State Standards, Performance Descriptors, and Assessment Frameworks.
Q: How were the Priority Learning Targets identified?
A: The Teaching and Learning Leaders, a group of teachers from all levels and content areas were assembled by the superintendent to evaluate the curriculum of the district and help create the Teaching and Learning Plan. This group was trained in a process to identify our Priority Learning Targets, and then content area groups of teachers were organized to complete this work.
Q: What is most important to learn?
A: Skills and concepts that:
- are foundational in nature; that need to be understood before building on this knowledge at higher levels.
- benefit students over the course of their schooling, such as learning to be a proficient writer.
- provide leverage for learning across other content areas, such as learning about charts and graphs in math – a skill which will help students understand concepts in science, social studies,
Q: How will using the Priority Learning Targets better educate our children?
A: Teachers will:
focus on what is most important to learn,
teach these concepts multiple times and in different ways, and
carefully assess whether students have learned these concepts.
Research on this process of adopting a focused curriculum and frequently assessing student learning indicates that has a positive effect on student achievement at all levels of learning. Students who need more time and assistance to learn specific skills and concepts will receive it. Children who are successful at mastering the content identified by the Priority Learning Targets will have opportunities to learn about these concepts at higher levels.
Q: Is this process complete?
A: We consider the Priority Learning Targets to be a work in progress. We plan to revisit our identification process and make adjustments using data from our state and local assessments, and we hope that teachers and parents will continue to make suggestions to improve this process.