Blog

Voicethread Tips for DuFour Conversation

thumb

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

thumb

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

thumb

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

thumb

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?

thumb

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

thumb

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

Three Rules Help Manage Assessment Data

thumb

We live in the Information Age, when never before has so much data on student learning been so readily available. It is the best of times... And yet, to harried principals struggling to make sense of the mountains of assessment data, the Information Age may feel like the worst of times... Read more

Should Homework Be Graded?

thumb

I received an interesting question from a teacher regarding recommendations for whether or not homework should be graded. He described a scenario in which a student demonstrates proficiency on every quiz, test, and exam but refuses to do homework each day. If, on a daily basis, the student… Read more

Getting the Most Out of Common Assessments

thumb

Like most schools that begin implementing PLC practices, the faculty at Pioneer Middle School learned about the importance of common formative assessments and decided to utilize this powerful tool to help us focus on learning. Unfortunately, as time progressed… Read more

Is This Candidate a Good Fit for a PLC?

thumb

We received a question from an educator interested in the kinds of questions she might use to determine if a candidate is a good fit for a professional learning community. We suggest that you ask . . . Read more

Tech Tools for Teams: Using Voicethread

thumb

I've got an interesting admission to make: I'm a HORRIBLE guy to have on a learning team! Kind of strange, isn't it? I mean, how could a trained Solution Tree associate and author who has written about the beauty of professional learning communities for years possibly be… Read more

Wide Range of Abilities

thumb

This is the time of year when we move into interview mode in schools. Having just exited one of these, something the candidate said caused an aha! moment for me. The question to the candidate had to do with… Read more

A Rose by Any Other Name: Professional Learning Communities

thumb

When visiting a school in the early stages of developing Professional Learning Communities (PLC), I heard the principal explain, "Our PLC teams meet twice a month." He continued proudly, "When our… Read more

Teachers Key to Reversing High Failure Rate in Math

thumb

We received a query from a high school principal about the failure rate in algebra in his school. At the end of the first quarter, 44 percent of students were receiving grades of D or F. At the end of the first semester, the rate had increased to 55 percent. When the administration met with the teachers to offer support, teachers took the following positions... Read more

I’m the Only One Teaching This Course. How Do I Collaborate?

thumb

One of the most frequently asked questions we hear is, "I am the only one teaching this course. How can I be part of a collaborative team?" This question has been addressed numerous times in previous blogs, yet the uncertainty remains pervasive… Read more