Blog

What Is the Role of the Library Media Specialist in a Professional Learning Community?

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Recently we received a letter from library media specialists who objected to one of the proposals we offered to give teachers time to collaborate in our book, Learning by Doing. We suggested that… 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

Are Smaller Learning Communities (SLCs) Synonymous with Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)?

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Education thrives on acronyms: IEP, UBD, RTI, ESL, SES, LD, NCLB, AYP, API. Sometimes this abbreviated attempt to communicate can create confusion. Recently, we received a query from a high school . . . Read more

How Will We Respond When Students Don’t Learn?

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It is essential to implement both professional learning communities (PLC) and response to intervention (RTI) because these complementary processes are considered research-based best practices to . . . Read more

Who Should Decide the Agenda for Collaborative Team Meetings?

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Our school district is using the book Whatever It Takes as our guide to establishing PLCs. Should administrators tell PLC groupings what to discuss at their weekly meetings, or should the needs of . . . Read more

Moving From a Tradition of Isolation to a Culture of Collaboration

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Some faculty and staff may undoubtedly have a difficult time moving from a culture of isolation into learning communities. How may other faculty and staff help these professionals make that . . . Read more

What Trumps Learning

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Virtually no one disagrees with the proposition that having all students learn at high levels is a worthy mission. It is rare to hear someone say, "Well, I’m just not sure about that  . . . Read more

Team SMART Goals vs. Smart Students

There are two assumptions we can make about teaching and learning. One is that students will learn according to their effort and ability and that their teachers and their school have no impact on their learning. The other is that… Read more

What’s the Difference Between a PLC, a Collaborative Team, and a Task Force?

We recently received an email from a high school math teacher who attended a three hour PLC overview session we provided for all of the staff members of his K-12 school district. Prior to hearing . . . Read more

Collecting and Analyzing Common Assessment Data

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While most teachers recognize the value of analyzing assessment data they often struggle with collecting the data. It is not sufficient to know how many questions each student answered correctly or . . . Read more

Common Formative Assessments and the Question of Pacing

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We received a blog query from someone who expressed concern that the way common formative assessments were being implemented in his district required teachers to have identical pacing -- same page . . . Read more

The Role of an Elective Teacher in a PLC

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A frequent question that surfaces when schools attempt to implement the PLC concept is, "What about the electives. Where do they fit?" If an elective teacher is the only person in the school who… Read more

The Case for Common Formative Assessments

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We received a question from a principal of a high-performing middle school who wrote: "Although we have made significant growth in many of the core components of a professional learning community we continue to struggle with the perception of teacher autonomy as a result of… Read more

We’re Already a “Good” School; Why Do We Need to Improve?

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I recently engaged in a spirited discussion with a high school faculty that was balking at the idea of the implementing PLC concepts. Two of their concerns were: 1) “It is an affront to our . . . Read more

Team Structure in PLC

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We have heard the concern expressed that the PLC concept only allows for course-specific teams at the middle and high school level or grade level teams at the elementary level. This is not the case… Read more