Blog

How Hundred Day Plans Sustain a Culture of Continuous Improvement

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You’re feeling good – you have created demand for modeling your school as a PLC and have structures in place to answer the key questions. You are making progress along the PLC journey… Well, you think you are. Or perhaps your PLC is stagnant; you are not seeing progress or you are not sure about how to measure it. Or maybe your school is just beginning the PLC journey and you are questioning how to monitor the first stages, especially since small wins are essential in the beginning to sustain the momentum. Or perhaps you’re wrestling with when and how to lay out the next steps of your school’s improvement work and are trying to determine how it fits into the larger school improvement plan. Read more

Educators as Change Agents

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Change is hard! The funny thing is, one of the reasons I’ve stayed in education for 20 years and gravitated towards working with adults on school improvement is that I yearn to be an agent of change. Nobody likes it when change is thrust upon them, but I do love making change happen. Read more

Does a Change in a School’s Leadership Always Result in a Change of Direction?

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As two of the three co-principals of Mason Crest Elementary School preparing to leave the first ever DuFour Award–winning school (2016), we do so with an extremely optimistic view for its future. This optimism transcends all of the emails that have inundated our inboxes, text messages that have been sent, and concerned conversations over the last few weeks; well-meaning comments like, “no one will ever be able to fill your shoes” or “what will happen to the culture and processes we have for our student and adult learning if the new principals don’t understand the Professional Learning Community at Work (PLC) process?” Many of these conversations with parents and staff revealed a palpable fear that the culture will change... 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

A PLC Love Letter to the Left-Brained, Linear Thinker

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My Dearest Left-Brained Friends, Two years ago I began my quest to be Dad of the Year; if not on the planet, at least in my own home. My hero, my father, was turning 60 years old and his life-long dream was to visit Disney World before he was too old to enjoy it. With three young girls of my own, a family trip to “The Happiest Place on Earth” seemed like the perfect opportunity to celebrate my dad and show my daughters that they too could be a princess one day. Read more

What Have You Resolved to STOP Doing?

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Every year, we make resolutions for the new year about things we plan to do, and many of us have failed at these resolutions only a few weeks or months into the new year. This year, I’m planning on resolving to STOP DOING things that have become bad habits. If we think about this, most of us know that there are at least a few things we should eliminate from our professional list of ineffective behaviors. Read more

Developing Leaders in a PLC

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Being a leader in a PLC comes with tremendous responsibility as well as tremendous opportunity. There is a litany of responsibilities a leader must focus on to build a high-performing school or district. One of those very important responsibilities is develop leadership in the organization. The key is how you develop that leadership. Read more

New Year's Resolutions and PLC Goals

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How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? Have you been making it to the gym? Eating more vegetables? Setting new goals at the beginning of the year is a great way to push ourselves . . . Read more

Put Your Money Where Your Maxim Is: “Investing” in PLCs at the District Level

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Dictionary.com defines maxim as “a general truth or principle” or “a rule of conduct.” A few years ago when I was a high school principal leading the implementation of a PLC . . . Read more

Are You Married to Your PLC?

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Are you married to your professional learning community? Are you just flirting or dating? Maybe engaged? What is your level of commitment to the PLC process? These were the questions and . . . Read more

Sustaining and Maintaining: No One Answer

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Dear School Administrators, A question often asked during professional development workshops on professional learning communities is: “How do we sustain the PLC process from one year to . . . Read more

Inspire, Prepare, and Empower

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“Who in this group will I be able to trust to walk the bad bush with me?” Sitting on the third row in the auditorium of my alma mater, this was the first question I fielded from my . . . Read more

The Important Work of Self-Monitoring by PLC Teams

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In an effective professional learning community, all teachers take collective responsibility for ensuring all their students learn essential knowledge and skills. To achieve this goal, PLC team . . . Read more

Turning Vision Into Action

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I met with all of the grades 6-12 mathematics teachers in Elk Grove Unified (CA) this morning, while on my way to Grand Rapids to meet up with some great folks in Michigan. 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