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

The 3 Misconceptions of Collaboration

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A guiding coalition is formed, teachers are placed in collaborative teams, and the work begins. What could go wrong? Unfortunately, what often plays out is that the renewed enthusiasm is quickly eroded because educators charged with implementing the PLC process succumb to the misconceptions of collaboration. 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

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

A Tsunami Is Headed for Higher Education

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A tsunami is headed directly for American public colleges and universities. The wave of discontentment with public K-12 schools that resulted in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is now lapping at the doors of public institutions of higher education. There are clear warning signs. One only has to look at the increasing number of books and articles that are critical of America’s colleges and universities. Books with titles such as The Moral Collapse of the University, The Closing of the American Mind, Profscam, The University in Ruins, and Our Underachieving Colleges consistently send the message that our colleges and universities are in disarray. Read more

What Teachers Need, Part 2

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Teachers need to work in collaborative teams with their colleagues. Yet, traditionally teachers have worked in isolation. Never before in the history of American public education have teachers been asked—in fact, directed—to ensure higher learning... 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

Collective Merit Pay: Supporting Collaboration Over Competition

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Kildeer Countryside Consolidated School District 96 was engaged in contract negotiations throughout the 2009–2010 school year. The economic climate coupled with increased accountability requirements contributed to a different landscape than in years past… Read more

Do We Have Team Norms or “Nice to Knows”?

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Some teams do a great job of developing norms. Members agree and commit to them, even posting them on chart paper to be prominently displayed at every meeting. Elementary school teams often add… Read more

Do PLCs Enable Students to Act Irresponsibly by Asking Educators to Assume Greater Responsibility for Learning?

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Those familiar with our work know that we contend schools committed to helping all students learn provide students who are not being successful with additional time and support for learning in a way that is timely, directive, and systematic. This proposal is sometimes met with skepticism by… Read more

The Need for Crucial Conversations

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Becky and I recently participated in a VoiceThread hosted by our talented colleague Bill Ferriter. Educators from around the country asked questions and shared their experiences with implementing the PLC concept (you can hear the conversation here). One of the most frequently… Read more

Does Preparing Students for Success on High-Stakes Assessments Interfere With Their Learning and Rob Teachers of the Opportunity to Be Creative and Innovative?

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Current Reality: Teachers across the United States often express their concern that too much emphasis is being placed on state tests. In light of the sanctions being applied under NCLB on the basis . . . Read more