Blog

How Our Teams Can Reflect at a Higher Level

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Robert Marzano taught us many years ago that the school level factor that has the greatest impact on student learning is a guaranteed and viable curriculum. Given the bank of research supporting common formative assessments (CFAs), it is time we study whether CFAs are the team-level factor that most impacts student learning. Read more

Product Templates to Guide the PLC Process

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Becoming a highly effective collaborative team can look easy, but with some templates and guidance, teams may get just the boost they need to assist them in becoming part of an effective PLC school. Let’s presume your school has completed the challenging work of creating a shared mission, vision, values, and goals, and the culture of the school indicates readiness for the next steps in the PLC journey—the standardization of products, or for some templates to guide the work. Read more

Collective Inquiry and Building Shared Knowledge

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One of the factors that makes the PLC at Work model unique is the emphasis on building shared knowledge and building the professional capacity of practitioners. The traditional school model featured individual development, and the PLC model supports collective development. In fact, one of the key principles of the model is that learning for educators is the key to improving student learning (DuFour, DuFour et al. 2016). One of the most important responsibilities of a school leader is to invest in the capacity of those who influence student learning. In the PLC process, we call this activity Collective Inquiry. Read more

How Kids WIN Systematically

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My experience as a teacher was amazing! I loved teaching, my colleagues, my families, and my students; but I wish I could have a complete redo on my time in the classroom. Regrettably, as a teacher I never had the opportunity to function within a Professional Learning Community. Sure, I had amazing colleagues who became life-long friends. Yes, they were willing to share their “things” that worked for their kids in their classrooms. I definitely was able to get to know “their kids," just as they were able to get to know “my kids” because we shared them for periods of time throughout the week. We even shared data! If you’re reading this and thinking, “Why is Will suggesting he didn’t function within a PLC?”, let me explain. Read more

Doing the Right Things Right: Building Capacity, Quality Control, Fidelity, and Accountability

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“What drives your school improvement efforts—evidence of best practice or the pursuit of universal buy-in?” This question is posed by Dr. Richard DuFour in his article, . . . Read more

What’s the Plan?

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The ability of leadership teams to effectively answer this very simple question has either kicked off a great initiative or served as the catalyst for many difficult or frustrating conversations. . . . Read more

Let the Debate Begin

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Robert J. Marzano in What Works in Schools: Translating Research Into Action (2000) wrote that a “guaranteed and viable curriculum” (p. 22) is the school-level factor that most impacts . . . Read more

Give Your Teaching a Jump-Start

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Part of teaching in a professional learning community is having to confront not only our individual strengths, but also our weaknesses as teachers. By being accountable for common formative and . . . Read more

Ain’t Nothing Wrong With the Kids

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This blog title represents the response of teachers regarding their achievement of what some believe is a seemingly insurmountable feat—closing the achievement gap. During their recognition . . . Read more

Everyone WINs!

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As schools work to answer the question “How will we respond when some students do not learn?” they often start by looking for ways within their daily schedules to allocate time for . . . Read more

Data: More Than a Number

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Over the last several years, I have had the privilege of working with schools and districts as they develop and use common formative assessments to help assure that all kids learn at high levels. . . . Read more

Using Protocols to Support Collaborative Teams

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Over the course of the past summer I’ve had a number of opportunities to travel across our country speaking with school divisions, site leadership, and teacher teams about the tenets of . . . Read more

A Case of Being Curious: How Do You Know?

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“It always annoyed me how in the old fashioned detective story, the detective always seemed to get at his results either by some sort of lucky chance or fluke or else it was quite . . . Read more

Rethinking Failure

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I read Héctor García’s post from April 30 about how planning for small wins at this time in the school year can help inspire and motivate both staff members and students. It got . . . Read more

Innovation: The Key to Engagement and Enrichment

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Albert Einstein once wrote, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” Yet, a recent Gallup survey shows that nationally, only . . . Read more