Greg Kushnir

Greg Kushnir is principal of Esther Starkman School in Edmonton, Alberta. He has worked in education for more than 20 years, serving as a teacher, an assistant principal, and a principal.

10 Steps to Creating a PLC Culture

As a Solution Tree associate for the last 7 years, I have had the privilege of working with many groups of educators as they try to develop their professional learning community (PLC). One of the things I try to make abundantly clear is that to become a PLC they must re-culture their school. Whether they are positive, negative or somewhere in between, all schools have preexisting cultures. The problem most schools face when beginning their journey is that the cultural ideals of a PLC are often in direct violation of their existing culture. As in the real world; when cultures clash there is often conflict. Change means stress and, as a result, school leaders can expect a certain degree of push-back. Whether this push-back is able to derail a school’s PLC efforts is dependent on the skill of the leadership team in supporting the desired cultural shift. I believe the schools that successfully move from conflict to collaboration have leadership teams that pay attention to 10 fundamental cultural building blocks.

1) Communication:

  • There is a clear core purpose, and it is communicated both verbally and through adult action.
  • A non-negotiable list is created to clarify staff expectations.
  • The language of “I” and “Try” is replaced with “We” and “Will.” The word “Will” is a commitment to action and “We” means no one person is responsible for accomplishing our goals.
  • Goals are created and publicly communicated. Publicly communicating goals makes them much more likely to be accomplished.

2) Commitment:

PLC schools don’t pick and choose. They commit to deep implementation of all PLC concepts. Doug Reeves put it this way, “We found that for many change initiatives, implementation that was moderate or occasional was no better than implementation that was completely absent.”

3) Participation and Shared Responsibility:

Professional learning communities find ways for all staff members to contribute toward the accomplishment of their stated goals. This means that office staff, custodians, part time employees, educational assistants and singleton teachers must all feel like their efforts are making a difference.

Collaborative teams must be allowed to make decisions related to their work. It is ill advised for school leaders to believe that shared responsibility can be developed in a school where the leaders control every decision. Helping to facilitate the work of collaborative teams is very different than telling them what to do.

4) Shared Accountability:

If a school is to close the achievement gap and actually accomplish the mission of high levels of learning for every student, the teachers must develop an  accountability to each other. Teachers have to take ownership for the results they achieve and must come to believe that their actions can change the result. When teams set SMART goals that align with school goals, develop common assessments, analyse and learn from data and are afforded the freedom to to be action oriented, mutual accountability is assured.

5) Respect:

Professional learning communities establish norms whereby they make collective commitments to each other. They understand that dissension is not a dirty word but exclusion might be. The rules they establish for themselves ensure respectful relationships develop and as a result, contribute to developing shared accountability.

6) Solution Orientation:

A professional learning community thinks differently, they move past identifying the problem to relentlessly pursuing the solution. They are action oriented and eliminate outside factors as a reason for not changing behaviour.

7) Honesty:

Professional learning communities embrace an honest evaluation of their current reality. They examine every action and will confront any behaviour that is not in line with their core purpose. Honesty builds trust which is an essential element of all professional learning communities.

8) Support:

Accomplishing something that has never been done (learning for all), means that we need to aggressively break down the culture of teacher isolationism. Professional learning communities realize that they can never accomplish their goals if they leave teachers behind. They understand that to establish a culture that continually improves teacher practice, they must find ways to support all teachers regardless of experience or expertise. Punishing people into improving doesn’t work.

9) Equity:

In every school, teachers make daily decisions regarding what to teach, how to assess and how to support struggling students. Even though we know that the quality of decisions made in these areas has a profound impact on student achievement, most schools allow teachers make these decisions in isolation. While usually well meaning, the result is an inequitable classroom experience for students from one classroom to the next within the same school. Professional learning communities leave nothing to chance, collectively they insure that equity is assured for every child in curriculum, assessment and intervention. Teams of teachers engage in processes to determine curricular essentials and align them throughout the school, they develop common assessments and collectively analysis the data they produce ,and they develop a system of intervention that guarantees all struggling students additional time and support.

10) Celebration:

A gain, no matter how small is still a gain. Professional learning communities recognize this fact and as a result, they celebrate each success that moves them one step closer to accomplishing their shared goals. They understand that success breeds more success!

A universal truth in becoming a professional learning community is that it doesn’t happen overnight. However, school leaders can shorten the journey and make the road much smoother by understanding the importance of paying attention to their school’s cultural development.

Comments

Jaclyn Rosenkrans

I really enjoyed reading your article and think that it should be required reading for all present and future educators. Our school building introduced PLCs last school year with great backing of administration. I was very pleased to read in your article that you believe that all staff should be able to play their part in the shaping of a school community. I also agree that that the introduction of PLCs requires a change in the school culture which can be difficult for staff member that are set in their ways and reluctant to change. What types recommendations do you have for encouraging promoting the benefits to change for reluctant staff members?

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Greg Kushnir

Hi Henyan50,

Thanks for the positive comments. I would love to help you develop a PLC in your school but I would need more information about your specific situation before I could make some reasonable suggestions. Some of the questions I have are:
1) What is your position in your school? Teacher? Administrator?
2) Does your administration know what a PLC is?
3) How receptive will the administration be to the concept?
4) Are they aware of the advantages for students and teachers by creating a PLC culture?
5) Are there staff in your school who you could collaborate with our are you a singleton (the only person in your school who teaches your subject)?
6) What are your goals? Do you hope to influence the entire school or just some of your colleagues?
7) How do your teachers collaborate now?
8) Is your current collaborative structure helping your school achieve its goals?

If you would like you can email me directly at gkushnir@share.epsb.ca. I would be happy to help once I know a little more about your specific situation.

Thanks for reading the blog,

Greg Kushnir

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Henyan50

Hi Mr. Kushnir,
Thanks so much for your insight on PLC's. Your blogs is helping me get through a college class right now where toe focus of our learning is on PLC's, but I have a question that I was hoping you could answer for me. As a lone educator in a state (Maine) that doesn't list any PLCs in your "PLC Locator" and coming from a district where we get very little collaboration time (30 min per week for subject matter and 1 hour a month for grade level meetings) what initial steps can I take toward starting a PLC in my school. In short, what can one teacher do to start changing the culture to one that is more receptacle to the idea of PLC's? Thanks again!

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camillebutcher

Hi Greg,
Your strategies and building blocks that you mentioned are very useful in ensuring student success in the classroom. Change is very hard for students and for teachers. In my current school, as in many schools, there has been a push back from teachers to the various changes that are occurring with the addition of PLCs and other school development changes. However, I believe that Professional Learning Communities are too valuable and thus, we need to change our habits in order for students to succeed in the classroom. As you stated in your blog, teachers and administrators need to be committed for PLCs to work. PLCs need to be collaborative and continuous. If PLCs are done in an effective manner, you will see improve instruction and learning in the classroom. By inquiring about our practices and sharing our beliefs, teaching strategies, and problems with our peers, educators will learn the best practices to inspire student learning.

Cheers,

C. Butcher

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welsh4lfie

I feel our school has dropped the ball on PLC's. I read DuFour's book and LOVED it . It was actually required reading at our school, but I tore ahead and read the book on my own ahead of my peers. I was excited about the prospect of having a community where kids would learn and succeed at all cost! I struggled as a student and got through school and learned in spite of some of my teachers. Now I can't wait for it to be over.
Our principal, who has our best interest at heart, named the collaboration team the Leadership Team. He hand picked a teacher from each grade level to be our leaders. This team has power over the other teachers and this has destroyed our moral and poisoned the notion of a PLC for many teachers. Power is a dangerous thing to hand out in a school and I feel that our Leadership Team has nothing to do with what PLC's are all about, what DuFours wrote about, children at our school and it has nothing to do with the mural I painted. I have nearly given up. I can't wait for it to be over!
I want to embrace the program and I had hoped that PLC's would lead to a brighter chance for kids to succeed, but we cannot get past a hand picked leadership team under the guise of PLC principles. I would like some pearls of wisdom. I would love to embrace the program, but I feel it has nothing to do with collaboration and everything to do with managing teachers.

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Greg Kushnir

Dear MGuese,

I hope that the blog post helped. Becoming a PLC is often a paradigm shift for leaders as well as teachers. Focusing on the 10 building blocks is a great way to ensure all staff reach your school goals.

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MGuese

My school is a year and a half into the PLC movement. Earlier someone had commented that they did not feel that their school was a "real" PLC. I have had similar feelings this year. There are still people reluctant to fully participate in various PLC teams, and others who just aren't willing to share out during meetings. We also seem to be floundering when it comes to moving from step number one (creating SMART goals and learning goals), to progressing to creating formative assessments. I believe this is due to lack of leadership and knowing how to correctly move forward.

However, I have seen many positive changes since the implementation of PLC's. Some examples are a shared responsibility for student learning, less finger-pointing because of shared accountability, and built-in collaboration times.

After re-reading the 10 fundamental building blocks, I feel rejuvenated to revisit them with my team. The positive comments written by those who are further into the process have also inspired me.

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Greg Kushnir

Hi Valeria,
There is no easy answer becoming a PLC takes hard work, commitment and resiliency. The fact that you are trying to regain your culture is a great first step. Good luck, let me know if I can help in anyway.

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Greg Kushnir

Hi Molly,
Currently the highest achieving school system in the world is in Finland. One of the characteristics of their school system that makes them effective is the fact that students go to school less so that their teachers can collaborate more. However, getting groups of teachers to sit together does not automatically translate into improved achievement, rather, it is the quality of collaboration that counts. A collaborative team in a professional learning community focuses on answering 4 questions.

1) What do we want students to learn? (Essential Learning Outcomes)
2) How will we know if they have learned it? (common assessments and data analysis)
3) What will we do if they don't learn? (systemic intervention)
4) What will we do if they already know? (differentiated instruction)

A collaborative team in a PLC constantly examines their practices in light of their impact on student learning. If your 60 hours of collaborative time is not leading to increased achievement perhalps you team needs to examine their collaborative processes. I hope this helps.

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Greg Kushnir

Hi mweere,
You are welcome, good luck building your PLC.

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Greg Kushnir

Hi Stephanie,

Two books that will certainly help you understand more about a PLC can be found by following the links. No one is better than Rick, Becky and Bob.
http://www.solution-tree.com/products/books/learning-by-doing.html
http://www.solution-tree.com/products/books/revisiting-professional-learning-communities-at-worktm.html

Here is my suggestion for PLC/RTI.
http://www.solution-tree.com/products/books/pyramid-response-to-intervention.html

Hope it helps.

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Scott A. Cunningham

cboyer,
Our lunch periods are 30 minutes, so we do not have a lot of time. However, the great thing about this is that the majority of the students only need a few minutes to finish their work. The students who need more time stay in until their work is completed. If it is more than a week, then they have to go to after school study tables. The amount of work is completely dependent on what they were assigned and how much they completed. Once their work is completed they can go back to lunch. Most kids turn the work in before lunch so they have time with their friends.
Take care
Scott A. Cunningham

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Molly

My school spends 60 hours per year on direct PLC collaboration time. Would students be better off having 60 more hours of instruction and classroom time? Are there any studies researching the teacher time in collaboration vs teacher-student time and the direct student results?

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cboyer

Scott-
I would be interested in hearing more about your program, "Academic Lunch". How long are the lunch periods in your school? Do students have a significant amount of work when they come to you? Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you
cboyer

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kwatson

I have had an opportunity to teach in four different states during my career. As I look back on the success and shortcomings of each school, the schools that possessed a structure similar to the PLC framework were the ones that were more effective and successful. Incorporating these values and components into a school's culture is validating and empowering to teachers. Teachers experience burnout when they see problems that they are unable to address or change and are not included in the overall goals of the school. I will definitley pass on these steps to my administrators in an effort to improve student learning as a team.

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Greg Kushnir

Hi Suzilutke,

Perhaps the best way to introduce this idea to your staff is to ask two questions. What if creating a school where ALL students learned at high levels was actually possible? Would we be willing to make the behavioral changes necessary to make it happen? In every school where teachers live the ideals of a PLC they do accomplish gains in student learning that were deemed undo able before. Presenting the evidence of actual schools who have done this from the evidence of effectiveness section of this website will provide the proof you need. I hope you try, your students will thank you.

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Greg Kushnir

Hi Penny,

The situation you are describing is definitely not a PLC. Sorry but i have no magic wand that will improve your situation, however, perhaps the best approach might be to introduce your principal to some of the PLC literature. Maybe a copy of Learning by Doing may help.

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Greg Kushnir

Hello acunningham,

I'm glad that you enjoyed the blog. The task of ensuring that ALL students learn seems like a daunting task and if you ask most teachers they will tell you that it is educational utopia. However, it is very possible, schools that live the tenets of a PLC truly do achieve this goal. It is possible for any school where the teachers commit to making it happen. If I can be of any assistance please let me know.

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Greg Kushnir

Hi Frances,
I would encourage you to pursue building a PLC in your school. One thing that may help is to explain to your colleagues that creating a PLC means reculturing your school so that all stakeholders win. The students learn more, the teachers are more successful and more satisfied with their career and the parents are more respectful of their school and it's teachers. However, they will also need to know that becoming a professional learning community is not a one year venture. It requires the adults in the building to engage in continuous job embeded professional development so that the teachers become the biggest learners in the school. If the teachers are learning the students will too. If there is anyway I can help please let me know.

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Scott A. Cunningham

A great system that we have been using the past five years at Norton Middle School that I metioned in a previos thread is an intervention we call “Academic Lunch”. If a student is missing any assignment, homework or class work they are given a small form to fill out with the following information: Name, Date, Lunch period, and missing assignment. The information is added to an excel spread sheet that we post on our school drive for teachers to access the information. If students don’t finish the work by lunch the next day they meet with our counselor or an administrator during their lunch until their work is complete. As soon as they finish, they can go back to lunch. Most students finish before lunch. This serves several purposes.
1. I can see the type and quality of the work being assigned and also the quality of work the students are returning.
2. This stops zeros because students will finish their work, we hold students accountable to finish the work that has been assigned to them. We do not enable students by giving them zero’s. We allow them the time they need to finish assignments.
3. We start to see the frequent flyers and work to provide more interventions such as study tables or tutoring for the students needing extra help.
4. This system will dramatically reduce failure rates, because students finish their assignments. Most kids fail because they didn’t do their work, not because they can’t do the work.
Norton Middle School is a recognized as a model PLC school. We have a poverty rate of over 70 percent, and an ESL population from 20 different countries. We are rated "Excellent" by the Ohio Department of Education. Please email me if you would like to learn more specifics about this program or any others that we use.

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bhoesel

When I did my internships in the school I work in now we were under different leadership. The principle at the time was an incredible person and an amazing administrator. The steps mentioned in your post of creating a PLC culture are not unfamiliar to me. He has since moved on and we are now working under another administrator. This is my first year as a hire and this principles second at our school. The community we once had is now rapidly dwindling. The unity one felt as a building and grade level is gone. I realize this is expected under different leadership, but I cannot help but wonder if it will be for the better. We are a small district with two elementary schools. Both of our schools received new principles the same year. The other school seems to be on the up and up. I am hoping for the best. As a student getting my bachelors, I was excited at the team work that was going on in the building. Now that I am a first year, I have had little help from administration or my grade level team. The team work is no longer there. Unfortunately, I am seeing it in other grade levels as well.

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mwerre

When I began teaching at my current school seven years ago, we followed the PLC model. We read the DuFour books and had professional development around effective PLCs. This PLC environment helped all the members on my team learn how to increase student achievement, how to intervene when students were not making progress, and how to improve our teaching through the ideas and practices of all teammates. After three years, our leadership changed. Until I read this post, I did not realize that the leadership change was a big reason why the PLC environment we've had since then has not been helpful at all. No one wants to come to the meetings and I think the biggest reason is that we have no leadership support. Our leader does not seem to care about student achievement and does not even know how to teach elementary age children. I think if we are going to try to get our PLC environment "back", we need to start looking at this list of building blocks and start supporting each other regardless of leadership. Thank you for all the ideas!

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Stephanie Poulos

Greg,
Thank you for such an insightful explanation of what a successful PLC should look like. I am a Grad student at Walden University and I am just learning about what PLC's are, as well as the importance of collaboration between peers. I did not realize that teaching was such an isolated career, but now that I'm aware of it i think that I can incorporate what I have learned from you and my current studies into my future profession. I really like the idea that collaboration can benefit student's learning because I myself have always been a social person and look for help on life issues from others. How else could finding solutions be possible? I am wondering if anyone knows or come across any books or literature that further explains the PLC process. I am also very interested in the PLC and RTI collaboration and agree that they should go hand in hand. Does anyone know other websites or books/journals where I can read or bring to my school as a guide? Thanks for everything!

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suzilutke

I too am from a school system who does not have a PLC. I have no complaints about our collaboration and professionalism, however,from reading about the PLC, I can tell that we would benefit greatly. I would love to present Greg's goals to our staff for discussion. Our school has been going through many changes especially in how we evaluate our students' progress. Between the new assessments and technology, I have noticed much anxiety among the teachers who have been in the school for a while. I believe that a PLC would be beneficial to our staff as we could read about and discuss some of the new strategies our school is introducing. I am in my third year of teaching , but my first year at this school. I would love some suggestions for how someone new should introduce this idea.

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penny

Greg,

I have currently working on my masters and the class I am currently taking stresses a PLC environment. I am teaching for a private school that has placed me at an off-site about 50 miles from the main school. It has been reinforced to me that I am not part of the public school where I am placed. The only time that I have been included in any discussions with the main campus is for yearly MANDT training, twice for a math training, and have just recently been added to a phone conference for half an hour discussing curriculum, which I found of little use as the main campus has grade levels and teach one to three subjects. I teach all my grade levels, including one that needs a life skills curriculum. How do you suggest that I encourage my principal to include me in more on campus meetings for collaboration?

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acunningham

Hi Greg!
These steps are very insightful. After looking at all of the benefits and positive outcomes of PLC's, I'm stuck wondering why my school has not yet already established one. Currently, my school does not have any grade-level Professional Learning Communities, but I'm going to mention the benefits of one and possibly see if we can get a PLC established sometime in the near future. You mentioned shared accountability, commitment, respect, solution orientation, etc., all of which help to build a better school and teacher collaboration. One day soon, I hope to be a part of a PLC, so that I can set goals with other teachers, and share my thoughts and insights on education in order to improve student participation and achievement. Great post!

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frances

I agree! I have been researching PLCs and have seen their benefits. I am hoping my research my colleagues to try a PLC for "real".

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frances

My school did a PLC last year unfortunately, I do not think all of my colleagues were on board. With so many test requirements, BATs, IFCs, and new evaluations to concentrate on it was hard for everyone to fully devote to the PLC. This year we are trying another PLC and I have been researching PLC's this week in my graduate class. My research has showed me how beneficial they can be. I am going to take my research back to my colleagues in hopes that it will motivate them to try and build a community of learners at my school.

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opiamaria

I found this information to be very interesting. In my school district PLCs are refered to often. However, when I compare what my school district calls a PLC to the official PLC structure outline, I am aware that we do not have true PLCs. In my group I find time is mostly wasted because most do not want to share.

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luvlee18

The idea of PLCs is new to me. Until today, I had never heard of it. The steps that you posted to create a PLC culture were very helpful. I am a new graduate and hope to incorporate PLCs so that they can help my professional development and those around me. I hope that the school that end up working for has PLCs in place. If not, maybe I could help get one started. Thanks for the information.

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bobisheng

Greg,
These 10 steps are show how simple and yet effective PLCs are. Your emphasis on changing the school culture is very true- the culture of a school really dictates what can be done and how important professional development, staff meetings, teacher happiness and especially the existence of a PLC can be.

My school currently does not utilize PLCs but perhaps this will change in the near future. Thank you for posting this!

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margret

I am very interested in starting a PLC at my school. It is a very small school with only three teachers all preschool teachers. I love these 10 steps, and I am going to show this to my colleagues tomorrow when I bring it up to our principal.

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valerie Wilson

I think that is great Valeria that you all are working to regain what you once had. It is hard with all the cuts, and having some many veteran teachers to retire or just given the pink slip. I like to think of this as the old and new. The older teachers have a lot to offer and so do the new fresh minded teachers. A great mixture is to have the two groups come together with the latest standards and best practice. This mixture should make a great learning community.

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Valeria

Four years ago, I transferred to a new school where PLC's (Professional Learning Communities) were fully in effect. We meet as grade-levels, Kindergarten through eighth grade, every Wednesday afternoon as well as twice a month. Also, we meet as vertical teams (K-8th) at least two to three times a month. During these times teachers worked together to accomplish common goals which included but not limited to lesson planning or finding solutions that arose while implementing new strategies. When we came together, we were supportive, respectful, honest, and ready to work. We celebrated both the small and huge gains.

Due to budget cuts at our district, the staff has completing changed and teachers who were willing and excited to work in PLC are no longer at our school. New teachers who are now at our school site are not as willing to work in PLC. They do not understand the importance of these professional learning communities. The teachers that have remained continue to work in PLC and are trying to change the minds of the new teachers. Together as a staff we are trying to regain the wonderful PLC that were once a part of our school and helped us become better teachers. I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions that will help rebuild the amazing professional learning communities that once existed.

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Marlene Alvarez

As an educator of a newer school in my district, our school site has found PLC's (Professional Learning Communities) extremely helpful and useful. Not only were the teachers committed to a common goal, but we genuinely have respect for one another and shared accountability and responsibility. We are always collaborating within our grade levels on a daily basis and through vertical teams (K-8th) at least two to three times a month which helps us to find solutions to problems that might arise from our implementing of new strategies for the school. We are all supportive and help one another when needed. We are honest during our discussions and we celebrate small and large accomplishments.

I have truly grown professionally because of PLC's and am a huge supporter of them. It is true, that many were hesitant in the beginning. However, due to our wonderful work as a staff and school, the district and other school sites are following our example. This gives us great pride. I hope to continue to learn from PLC's for the rest of my career. Truly!

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valerie Wilson

The state of Mississippi has also adopted the Common Core Standard. This will go into effect in the year of 2014. However many is not ready for that change. I feel that the Common Core Standard is great, by providing our students with the same education that they can take into another state. This helps with students been able to adjust in new school districts and new states. Parents do not realize that schools are on different level. When moving from state to state or town to town it has an effect on the childs education.

One thing that I am currently working on is trying to get parents prepared for this change. I am trying to build the support in the parents to be more involved in their child's education. To get parents to reinforce classroom activities at home and to ask questions with the teachers. Also to share their concerns of their child's learning process and anything that may hinder the child. I feel that it is important that the community play a role in the school system. By having community leaders attending school functions and school functions to be held outside the school can build a better relationship for the students.

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Jared

We have made great strides in the area of collaboration at my school. 5 years ago our school was introduced to a professional learning community called ”Kid Talk,” which is a multi-disciplinary collaborative problem solving team. Here is how it works. The school is separated into six teams that represent each grade level (K-5). Related arts teachers and support staff are placed into one of the six teams as well. During our meetings teachers bring up students they feel are in need of an intervention. The issues addressed range from academic struggles to behavioral problems. Each team discusses the student(s) and works together to devise a plan to help them. The related arts teachers and support staff then meet with their own individual teams to discuss the interventions made for the student(s) who were brought up. The administration meets quarterly with each grade to analyze data from student assessments. These meetings help the teachers move children around based on their instructional level to better fit their needs. Teachers also have monthly team meetings that serve as a forum to discuss progress of students, share new ideas or strategies, and to plan future events.

This year the State of Maryland Board of Education put what is called “The Common Core State Standards” into effect for English/Language Arts and Mathematics. These standards will be aligned with the new Maryland Common Core Curriculum that will be created by Maryland educators. My school has been selected as one of the pilot schools for the Common Core Curriculum. Since October, our staff has been participating in training sessions twice a month with math and reading specialist from our county to help our school transition into the Common Core Curriculum. Each training session provides the forum for our teachers to brainstorm, problem solve, and create new ideas to facilitate the implementation of the Common Core Standards and apply them effectively. I believe that the 10 steps that you listed will be essential in understanding and applying the Common Core Curriculum.

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Case

This is my second year of teaching and the PLC that I have been a part of has had a huge influence on improving my teaching practice. We spend a lot of our time designing units and common assessments but we also spend time looking at student work. With the student work we try to assess whether our teaching is actually helping the students learn. When it is, we look for new ways to challenge students. When it’s not, we try to determine where they are getting lost and how we can support them.

Having this time to collaborate with my peers is invaluable. I know that it has made me a better teacher and I believe it has increased our effectiveness as educators school wide.

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Renwick Johnson

Michele, We are required to meet once a month with our PLCs then communicate to our principal. We are grouped together by departments and each person is responsible for creating ways to better our student's education. Then collectively as a whole we then cypher and decide on what information is valid.

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MicheleBeschen

Hello Renwick, I am very interested in how your school brings teachers together for your PLCs. I am disillusioned because I also believe PLCs can be successful. The district I work for gave the teachers a choice of books to read and discuss. That was the extent of the instructions. The books given had nothing to do with our school curriculum or community. One book (which unfortunately my group voted on to read) was an instructional book on how to make and run literacy centers. As important as this may be to teachers, I was hoping for something with a little more meat to it. Collaborating with my colleagues and bringing a viable asset to my classroom is what I thought the PLC would do. So, getting back to your wonderful success, how was your PLC started and implemented?

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acwheeler

I feel PLC (Professional Learning Community)would benefit my school greatly. Currently,my school has a PLC group which consist of a team leader from each grade level that meets with administration every Monday morning at 7:30. Our team leader is suppose to meet with our grade level on Monday afternoon to discuss what they went over in the meeting. However, this never goes over well. The administration is constantly nagging on what the "teachers" need to do more of, or what the "teachers" should be focusing more on. It is never a "we" need to work on this. There is constant negativity throughout the meetings and the school as a whole is suffering, feeling the stress of preparing our low poverty 99% hispanic students for "the test". This is my only second year of teaching and my first year at this school, so I feel I cannot stand up and say what I feel or explain another approach that we as teachers should take to save our students. I would love to share the idea of our school working to become a professional learning committee to my principal, along with the 10 fundamental cultural building blocks. However, I feel that it would not go over well expressing my feelings and ideas since I am new to the school system. I would love some advice or tips on how to overcome this non community culture.

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saemily

Greg,
My school district is currently, and has been for the past couple years (before I came on the scene), working on becoming a professional learning committee with each school and grade level having their own PLC’s. We have district directed PLC meetings, we have building PLC meetings, and then grade-level PLC meetings. All meetings are formal in structure as they have an agenda and everyone is expected to bring something to the table for discussion and sharing. Our students are now apart of a learning environment that is getting recognized as being part of the top 5% in achievement in the state, and I believe our PLC culture has helped get us there.

Also, we have a new superintendent who is continuing our PLC work and adding a system of RTI (Response to Intervention). This RTI idea has created a lot of change in our strong PLC communities, which I believe has benefited our PLC meetings because we are talking about more specific things and delving into deeper conversations and research. Your 10 steps to creating a PLC culture are all things that our school district is striving to do currently as we are redefining our culture with a new leader. I would like to share your ten steps with my principal and superintendent as it could reinforce the goals we have at our school and our district. We all need a little affirmation that others from different places believe in same the things.

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Renwick Johnson

My school district has benefited from PLCs. Our kids are learning and are engaged more than ever. The state test scores have risen by 25% since the implementation of the professional learning community.

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Renwick Johnson

PLC(Professional Learning Community) are great asset to the classrooms. It is not only the one person but a GROUP who comes together for the better of the school. I love the statement about shared accountability. Working together as a team and striving to keep the waves of communication open. should be the goal of PLCs. It's amazing how much work is gets done when no one receives the credit. I for one am for the use Professional Learning Communities within the school system. "Two heads are always better than one."

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