Blog

The Life-Changing, Life-Saving Work of PLCs

For fifteen of my twenty-eight years in education, I have been an elementary school principal. I have worked with affluent, middle-class, and poverty clientele. The last ten years have been . . . Read more

The Three Big Ideas That Drive the Work for Lead Learners

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“The most powerful and effective role the principal assumes is that of lead learner, not expert or ‘all knowing one.’” (Kramer & Schuhl, 2017, p.9) Phew...now . . . Read more

Pandemic Provides New Lens for Clear Mission

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Over the past 17 years, I have had the distinct pleasure of working with a wide variety of schools. Some of them were public, others private or charter schools. Some were comprised of students from . . . Read more

PLCs: Super Bowls and Super Systems

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Now that football season is officially over and Tom Brady has permanently secured his place as the greatest quarterback of all time, I cannot help but think of the plethora of parallels that exist . . . Read more

Mrs. Gorman Changed My Life

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Not in an awe-inspiring, mind-blowing, hoping-Disney-buys-the-movie-rights type of way. But she was a life-changing teacher nonetheless. She was my English teacher in 1985, during my 7th-grade year at Richardson North Jr. High School in Texas. Read more

Moving from a Belief to an Action

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In the summer of 2015, I met Dr. Sharon Kramer, Professional Learning Community, continuous school improvement guru and a mentor of mine. She asked the question: What do kids get? I was knocked off my feet as I could not necessarily answer her question. Read more

Assessing the Remote Learner

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Shifting to remote learning over a weekend and then starting the fall semester remotely has been a challenge for many teachers. Read more

An Elementary School Schedule that Promotes Student Learning

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[Editor's note: Refer to Table I and Table II above for a visual representation of the author's scheduling practices.] Spring is a great time to consider some high-leverage work that . . . Read more

Comprehension Challenge

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Students who read below grade level do not think below grade level. Again: students who read below grade level do not think below grade level. If we hold that misconception to be true, then . . . Read more

Helping Data Analysis Take Root

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Data analysis. It is a concept that spurs rich reflection from many, but eyerolls or quizzical looks from too many. Some teachers feel that the data analysis they do is just to satisfy someone else’s administrative need or to show that, yet again, the same set of kids in their class struggled. Read more

PLC: The Catalyst for Change at Eastside Elementary

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Change and education go hand in hand. As Principal of Eastside Elementary, I can attest to the positive change from the two years as a PLC pilot school partnering with Solution Tree and Arkansas Department of Education. President Obama stated, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” This quote rings true for my staff, because they have truly embraced the process. If you were to ask an Eastside team member, they would say change has taken place by our work becoming more clear and focused. Read more

The Forgotten Question

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If Dufour, Dufour, Eaker, Many, and Mattos wrote that professional learning communities have four essential questions to answer, there must be a good reason. Of course, there is a good reason: all four questions are essential. All four questions need to be answered to ensure all students are learning at the highest level possible. Read more

No Need for a Fifth Question: How A Collaborative Team Improves Instruction In A PLC

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Collaborative teams in a PLC are asked to engage in weekly job-embedded professional development and build shared knowledge in the areas of curriculum, assessment, data analysis, intervention, and . . . Read more

The Beauty of the PLC Process

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The beauty of the PLC process is that the more our educators learn about best practices and implement those practices, the more our students will learn and grow. Over the past couple of years, we started to see an uptick in unwanted behaviors in our school. The great thing about reaching out to my entire staff was that I had several people who had previous experience implementing the PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Support) process. Read more

Put the “R” back into RTI by Reconnecting to the PLC at Work™ Model

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Many schools are frustrated by their attempts to answer Question 3 of the PLC at Work™ process, “How will we respond when students don’t learn it?” In many cases, this frustration is caused by the fact that they are attempting to answer Question 3 before answering Question 1, “What is it we want all students to know and be able to do?” In other words, what do we want all students to learn? Read more