Blog

Addressing Differences

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In my previous blog, Two Different "Schools" of Thought, I reported that one of my fans has made it quite clear that his perspective on the purpose of schooling, the responsibilities of educators, and the indicators of a quality school are very different than those I espouse. How might we explore… Read more

Two Different "Schools" of Thought

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The most frequent question we hear at our PLC workshops and institutes is, "How should we respond to skeptical colleagues who resist any effort to implement the PLC concept?" The answer we provide is… Read more

Where Will You Put Your Energy?

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I received an email from a teacher opposed to engaging in the PLC process at her school. She took the position that the concept represents an experiment and that she should not have to participate in experiments. Her rational is, "How do we know that this process works better than… Read more

Which Quartile Should We Focus On?

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We received a question from a high school administrator who asked which group of students the school should focus on in order to improve the school's achievement on the high-stakes tests administered by the state. He wrote, "We have received conflicting information about… 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

It's Not a Meeting; It's a Way of Being!

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I want to share the temporary soap box that I got on last week when addressing a group of teachers and administrators about the term professional learning community. If we continue to use the term PLC in the way that it is being used in many quarters, then it truly has lost… Read more

Does Merit Pay for Individual Teachers Align With the PLC Concept? Part I

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The idea of merit pay for individual teachers has been touted as a way to improve student achievement. One state, for example, proposed a merit-pay system that would designate up to 25 percent of teachers in a district for a 5 percent merit-pay bonus on the basis of student achievemen… Read more

DuFour Conversation Starts Today!

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Here it is, Radical Nation: The first day in our four-day conversation on the nuts-and-bolts of restructuring schools as professional learning communities with Solution Tree authors and school change experts… Read more

What Is the Sequence of Goal Setting in a PLC?

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We received a question about goals from someone who wanted to know if district goals had to be established before school goals could be created, and if school goals were necessary before team goals could be developed. He also asked how to establish a goal that would address… Read more

Voicethread Tips for DuFour Conversation

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As regular readers know, we're in the middle of planning for an asynchronous Voicethread conversation with school change experts Rick and Becky DuFour (see here and here) who will be helping us to think through the nuts and bolts of restructuring schools as professional learning communities… Read more

Revisiting Professional Learning Communities at Work

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It’s still hard for me to believe that we’ll be spending four days in September (the 8th through the 11th) exploring the nuts and bolts of professional learning communities with Rick . . . Read more

Upcoming Conversation on PLCs with the DuFours

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About two years ago, I had one of the singular most exciting moments of my professional career. At a dinner meeting designed to introduce the members of our State's Board of Education to the core principles of… Read more

Bottom-Up Leadership Put to the Test

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At Elizabeth Vaughan Elementary School, the effectiveness of our bottom-up leadership depends on high-quality, top-down leadership direction and support. This past year, a series of unexpected challenges really put our bottom-up leadership to the test, and our teachers' initiatives proved to be outstanding! Read more

What Are the Necessary Leadership Responsibilities in a PLC?

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There is nothing like the beginning of the school year. Everywhere you look, new opportunities are popping up, new ideas are being developed, and school leaders are planning to best meet the needs . . . Read more

Team Leaders in a Professional Learning Community

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Collaborative teams are the engines that drive professional learning communities. It is simply impossible to ensure high levels of learning for all students if teachers are working in isolation. The quality of work performed by teams depends on team leaders who… Read more