Entries by Richard DuFour

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

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

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

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

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


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

Addressing Differences


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


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?


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?


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


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


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