Blog

Legendary Lessons I Wish I’d Known My First Year of Teaching

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I recently spent time with my parents for our weekly lunch date. Amid our customary conversations about the state of our nation’s political system and where the best senior citizen lunch discounts can be found, we began to muse about life lessons that I had learned during my formative years. After much time had passed, these lessons (and the resulting consequences) are now looked back upon with some measure of fondness. But during the time they occurred, these lessons and consequences evoked the same emotional reaction as losing my favorite George Brett baseball card. Read more

Building Trust

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One of the more frequent questions that we receive from teacher and administrative teams as they begin the PLC journey is this: “How can we possibly plan, implement, assess, and reflect . . . Read more

Opening Doors Leads to Greater Learning

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This past month I have been working with collaborative teams to answer the second question of a professional learning community, “How will we know when they have learned the content?” (DuFour, Eacker, & DuFour, 2008). The teachers are analyzing more than how many students got the correct answer on a common assessment; they are focused on students’ depth of understanding of the content. Teams are analyzing student thinking and the habits of mind aligned to the essential learning standards. These often come from the process standards in content areas that describe the habits of mind teachers must develop in their students (e.g., ELA Capacities, Mathematical Practices, and Science Practices). (CCSS0, 2010 & NGSS, 2013). Read more

Gaining Ground for Students with Special Needs: Honor their Abilities and Strengths

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Tailoring instruction for students with special needs is often the most challenging instructional demand for collaborative teams to navigate. Teachers want their students to feel successful, yet . . . Read more

The Moment Everything Changes

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The first of the four critical questions of a Professional Learning Community process is, what is it we want our students to learn? This question underscores the need for teacher teams to identify . . . Read more

Leading With WHY

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When working with districts and schools, I’m often asked a question from site leaders something similar to this: “How do you get people to buy in to Professional Learning Communities? . . . Read more

New Year's Resolutions and PLC Goals

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How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? Have you been making it to the gym? Eating more vegetables? Setting new goals at the beginning of the year is a great way to push ourselves . . . Read more

Four Ways to Stop Ignoring the Forgotten Fourth Critical Question of a PLC

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One of the first pieces of common vocabulary educators acquire when learning about Professional Learning Communities are the four critical questions. These questions serve as both a big picture . . . Read more

What Next?

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Did you just attend a summer PLC institute and you’re all fired up to get back to school and start your journey? Are you thinking how can I do this alone? Who can help me? How? Are you . . . Read more

Dealing With Conflict on Collaborative Teams

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Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. Simon and Garfunkel. The 1977 New York Yankees. Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. What do these famous teams have in common? Yes, they were all highly . . . Read more

Professional Development Is Not a Spectator Sport

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As a principal I used to be frustrated by how indifferent many of my teachers acted toward professional development activities. After all, I had spent a great deal of time putting the presentations . . . Read more

Professional Learning Communities as the Foundation of a Competency-Based Educational System

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The commitment of our district (Sanborn Regional School District in New Hampshire) to build highly functioning professional learning communities in each school has been the driving force behind the . . . Read more

Put Your Money Where Your Maxim Is: “Investing” in PLCs at the District Level

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Dictionary.com defines maxim as “a general truth or principle” or “a rule of conduct.” A few years ago when I was a high school principal leading the implementation of a PLC . . . Read more

Are You Married to Your PLC?

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Are you married to your professional learning community? Are you just flirting or dating? Maybe engaged? What is your level of commitment to the PLC process? These were the questions and . . . Read more

Reading Recovery

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Rebecca DuFour was recently contacted by an interventionist at an elementary school just beginning the PLC process. A new master schedule has been created that includes (1) weekly time for team . . . Read more