Blog

Assistants as Members of the PLC

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Schools across the country are generally staffed with highly trained professional administrators, teachers and content specialists. In my work assisting schools with building PLCs, the staff members closest to the instruction are usually the ones that first come to mind when discussing who the “professionals” are that make up a PLC. However, in my experience as a building principal, I very quickly realized that the work of instructional assistants can be crucial in helping a school meet goals and sustain success. Read more

The Case for Coaches in Professional Learning Communities

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Instructional coaching is a balancing act of working with teams to help ensure the fidelity of the three big ideas of a PLC and also provide the time and support to individual teachers who need it. If members of a collaborative team become worried about individual teacher performance, then they can get derailed from focusing on the four critical questions that should be guiding their work. Read more

The Answer is in the Room—But Who is in the Room?

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In a professional learning community, working collaboratively is a way of life. This component of the work is fairly well-known and understood by many. And you may have even heard one of these phrases, “The answer is in the room,” or “None of us is as smart as all of us.” But who is included on your collaborative team? Who are we referring to when we say “us”? Read more

Clearing Things Up With the Cloud

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The team leader taps away furiously at her computer. “I know we decided this last spring in our release day. Don’t you remember?” Her teammates watch with a variety of expressions . . . Read more

Team Within a Team

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The Lakeland Joint School District serves 4,100 students in 11 schools. Our journey as a PLC has helped us focus on the three big ideas: learning, collaboration, and results. One of our greatest . . . Read more

The Forest or the Trees: Navigating Substantial Cultural Change at the School Site

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In my career, I have found that some people are “big picture” people and others are not. Helping a large staff navigate the big picture of a PLC can be a daunting task, but . . . Read more

Is Departmentalization an Approved Practice in the PLC at Work™ Process?

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Educators who embrace the PLC at Work™ process as the best hope for sustained and substantive improvement, know the first “big idea” is to ensure learning for all—students . . . Read more

A Physics PLC: Collaboration at a Distance

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This year my school district, like many others, implemented PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) as the driving force behind how we collaborate to help students learn. The directive was that all teachers should… Read more

Both Sides of the Pyramid: Behavior and Academics

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“It’s hard to do the collaborative work of a professional learning community if your school is struggling with student behavior and school climate issues,” commented a teacher at . . . Read more

Let’s Not Stop With Pockets of Excellence!

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Schools throughout the country engaged in the PLC at Work™ process have been creating effective teams focused on student learning. However, all too often we have seen these schools struggle... Read more

Common Core Implementation in a PLC - Part 2 of 3

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The role of the principal is key in helping a school move forward with Common Core (CC) implementation. As an elementary school principal now in my third principalship assignment , I recognize principal leadership as an opportunity and a responsibility... Read more

Q&A: Scheduling Collaboration Time for Multiple Teams

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The following question was sent into AllThingsPLC.info: If a high school teacher has two or three preps, how does he or she serve on more than one collaboration team? I presume teams usually meet at the same time... Read more

How Can Elective Teachers Participate in the PLC Process?

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I received the following letter from the chairman of a fine arts department. The question she raises is one facing all elective teachers: “I have a question that I was hoping you could help me with... Read more

Team Meetings: Converting the Middle School to the PLC Middle School

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In conversations with many middle school teachers and administrators over the last few years, I’ve noticed a certain perception and tension that exists when some middle schools are presented . . . Read more

Riverside County Office of Education Uses PLCs to Support Special Education

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The Riverside County Office of Education was awarded the 2010 Golden Bell Award for the implementation of professional learning communities to support students with severe disabilities. The . . . Read more