Benton Middle has done something no other school in Louisiana has done before, and is being recognized on a national stage for its achievement.

BMS has attained the distinction as a “Model Professional Learning Community,” one of only 132 schools in the United States to reach this educational pinnacle and the first in the state.

The PLC model represents a set of core principles and the school’s implementation of each of them. Those three tenets include: ensuring all students learn; a culture of collaboration and a focus on results.

While it may sound simplistic, shifting the focus from ensuring that students are taught to ensuring they learn is paradigm and has profound implications for a school. Four critical questions that drive the work within a professional learning community are:

  • What do we want each student to learn?
  • How do we know each student has learned it?
  • How do we respond when the student has not learned it?
  • How do we respond when the student has learned it?

Promoting a culture of collaboration and working in teams is another critical component that leads to higher levels of student achievement, as well as judging a school’s effectiveness on the basis of results derived from utilizing data and other relevant information.

“The rise and fall of this practice depends not only on the merits of the PLC concept itself, but on rather the most important element in the improvement of any school, and that is the commitment and persistence of the educators within it,” said Dr. Kyle Machen, Principal at Benton Middle School. “I am so proud of our entire team and their daily commitment to excellence on behalf of every one of our students.”

Professional Learning Communities are the crux of Bossier Schools Superintendent Scott Smith’s vision to put every student in the parish on a trajectory for academic success.

“We could not be more excited that Benton Middle School has been singled out as a national leader for progressively implementing the PLC strategies with fidelity, excellence and a unified commitment to strive for student success,” Smith said. “I am eager to see how this will further fuel positive outcomes, not only for the children attending Benton Middle School, but all Bossier Parish Schools as Dr. Machen and his team share their insight with our entire team of principals and educators. Congratulations to them!”

Benton Middle was chosen as Louisiana’s first “Model Professional Learning Community” after participation in a rigorous national PLC review panel that assesses a school’s overall commitment, successful implementation and achievement of PLC core concept for at least three years.