How PLCs Use Assessments


We received a series of questions from a school grappling with developing common assessments. I summarized the questions and attempted to provide a brief response for each… Read more

Adapting the PLC Framework for Small Schools


The professional learning communities approach (a collaborative focus on learning with the yardstick for success being the results obtained) resonates with so many educators right off the bat… Read more

Building Consensus for Change


Change involves managing the complex matrix of relationships and beliefs that exist in an organization and aligning them toward a mission of higher learning for all. In my career, there is no better example of this approach than when I recently implemented a new bell schedule to… Read more

Which School Improvement Approach Works?


It seems to me that there are three competing approaches to school improvement in the United States today that are based on very different assumptions… Read more

Self-Directed Teams Contribute to Sustainability


We received a question from a school where teachers were upset that the administration seemed to be dictating what was to occur at their team meetings. Teachers resented being micromanaged, and administrators felt… Read more

Join the Conversation With Rick and Becky DuFour


Just a reminder that this is the second day of our conversation which ends tomorrow. Click here and join in using VoiceThread. If you do not have an account, create one for FREE! Then you can . . . Read more

Special Education Used as Intervention

Isn’t the system of interventions what special education is designed to do? Some people think the PLC concept is just another version of special education. They suggest, “If the kids can’t cut it, why not just put them in special education? That’s why we have it… Read more

Tracking Team-Based Interventions


Preparing for our upcoming conversation with Rick and Becky DuFouron the steps that highly functioning professional learning communities take to provide enrichment and remediation opportunities for . . . Read more

Collaboration Empowers PLC Process


We received an inquiry from a teacher who was attempting to lead the implementation of the PLC process in her school. She wanted to provide each of the teams in her elementary school with possible . . . Read more

Book Review: Raising the Bar and Closing the Gap


In preparation for our upcoming conversation with Rick and Becky DuFour on the steps that schools can take to develop effective systems of intervention that reach beyond the classroom, I just finished reading their newest book, Raising the Bar and Closing the Gap. Here’s my review... Read more

Another Digital Conversation With the DuFours Starts May 19


Having worked in a professional learning community for almost six years now, I can tell you that nothing is more challenging for traditional schools than crafting a schoolwide system of . . . Read more

A PLC Approach to Merit Pay


The Race to the Top guidelines have sparked renewed interest in the topic of merit pay for teachers. In earlier blogs we outlined why we oppose the idea of merit pay for individual teachers because the concept is based on faulty assumptions and there is abundant evidence… Read more

What About the Whole Child?

Here is a question we often hear at our institutes: “All of this attention to academic achievement is a case of misplaced priorities. We need to address the needs of the whole child. What about the emotional needs of our children? What about… Read more

Neglecting the Gifted and Talented

Doesn’t PLC give attention to struggling students and emphasis on intervention result in neglecting gifted and high-achieving children? Educators who ask this question believe that focusing attention on needy, lazy, or low-performing kids… Read more



We received a question from a social studies department regarding leveling, or tracking. The school had taken steps to eliminate remedial courses, and in the first year of implementation, the department was questioning the loss of remedial social studies classes. Some members expressed… Read more