Monday, February 27, 2017

Collaboration in community: new film feat. South Sioux City teachers

In Nebraska, we know teachers care about their students. From building deep relationships to understanding challenges at home to finding creative ways to connect with every kid and teach for his or her learning abilities, we know teachers go above and beyond the call of duty to support their students. And we know teachers do not do this alone – they work collaboratively.

For our next story, we’re looking at a program that showcases the power of teachers and how collaboration between a school’s staff creates an environment where every student can feel valued, challenged and encouraged to be his or her best. We want to demonstrate how the benefit of teamwork enhances teachers’ voice, allows them to lead and directly increases learning opportunities for every student. We found a program that’s seeing significant student growth and improvement in its school culture in South Sioux City Public Schools.


Like most Nebraska public schools, South Sioux City Public Schools structures professional development throughout the year for teachers and support staff. However what makes this northeastern Nebraska district special is its daily approach to Professional Learning Communities (PLCs).

PLCs are groups of teachers working together by grade level to increase the effectiveness of their teachings and to focus on individual student achievement. Typically, PLCs meet to discuss literacy and content goals, develop curriculum and identify standards to ensure consistency from class to class and from school to school.

At South Sioux City, these teacher-led groups meet every day to focus on curriculum and student growth. Here, they have control over designing the curriculum and assessment; they are making the instructional decisions that impact kids.


Our cameras will roll as we capture a PLC meeting in action to see how Cardinal Elementary and South Sioux City Middle School teachers take what they develop in the PLC group, implement it in the classroom, and connect it directly to student achievement.

We’ll interview teachers to see how PLCs have helped them grow in their profession, create a more collaborative school and better understand each student’s strengths and continuous growth history. Because their perspective is key, we’ll talk to students in a range of levels – from high-achieving students to students who need extra support – to understand how they’re being challenged and supported.

We’ll focus on the small moments between teachers that create this connected environment and we’ll see how these PLCs have strengthed the personalized approach to working with kids throughout the whole building and heightened its sense of community.

Our goal with this film will showcase how education isn’t a one-size-fits-all model. At places like South Sioux City, schools are adapting strategies and working together so each student can be successful. We are honored to walk the halls with these teachers and students and can’t wait to tell their story. Look for our South Sioux City film to premiere in May.