Blog

Develop a Collective Commitment Calendar to Ensure PLC Success

Rick DuFour details the litany of expectations thrust on today’s teachers and administrators in his book, In Praise of American Educators. Unfortunately, many educators grapple with punitive . . . Read more

Walking the Walk (Even When You Stumble)

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“I swear we just said goodbye to our students in June just last week!” “It’s probably because the polar vortex added extra days to the end of last year, but this summer . . . Read more

There is an 'I' in TEAM

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Like many educational terms, we throw them around and often use them loosely. I find we often use the term “team” in this manner. “We are a great team.” “I . . . Read more

PLC Collaboration: District and School Leaders

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Our district went through an organizational reorg during the 2018-2019 school year. As we morphed into the school year, we wanted to work on improving PLCs. Each level in Jefferson County Schools has a team of district resource teachers to provide support for schools. We have been working with the schools on becoming highly effective PLCs. Our ELA resource teacher created a learning walk tool, PLC Check In, we could use when visiting collaborative teams. My administrative assistant and I looked at the weekly reports to monitor what was taking place during the week. Read more

Giving All Teachers the Coach They Deserve

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Meeting the needs of every teacher can be a daunting task for even the most experienced instructional coach. So, how does a principal ensure that all teachers get the coach they deserve? Read more

Assistants as Members of the PLC

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Schools across the country are generally staffed with highly trained professional administrators, teachers and content specialists. In my work assisting schools with building PLCs, the staff members closest to the instruction are usually the ones that first come to mind when discussing who the “professionals” are that make up a PLC. However, in my experience as a building principal, I very quickly realized that the work of instructional assistants can be crucial in helping a school meet goals and sustain success. Read more

The Case for Coaches in Professional Learning Communities

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Instructional coaching is a balancing act of working with teams to help ensure the fidelity of the three big ideas of a PLC and also provide the time and support to individual teachers who need it. If members of a collaborative team become worried about individual teacher performance, then they can get derailed from focusing on the four critical questions that should be guiding their work. Read more

The Answer is in the Room—But Who is in the Room?

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In a professional learning community, working collaboratively is a way of life. This component of the work is fairly well-known and understood by many. And you may have even heard one of these phrases, “The answer is in the room,” or “None of us is as smart as all of us.” But who is included on your collaborative team? Who are we referring to when we say “us”? Read more

Clearing Things Up With the Cloud

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The team leader taps away furiously at her computer. “I know we decided this last spring in our release day. Don’t you remember?” Her teammates watch with a variety of expressions . . . Read more

Team Within a Team

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The Lakeland Joint School District serves 4,100 students in 11 schools. Our journey as a PLC has helped us focus on the three big ideas: learning, collaboration, and results. One of our greatest . . . Read more

The Forest or the Trees: Navigating Substantial Cultural Change at the School Site

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In my career, I have found that some people are “big picture” people and others are not. Helping a large staff navigate the big picture of a PLC can be a daunting task, but . . . Read more

Is Departmentalization an Approved Practice in the PLC at Work™ Process?

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Educators who embrace the PLC at Work™ process as the best hope for sustained and substantive improvement, know the first “big idea” is to ensure learning for all—students . . . Read more

A Physics PLC: Collaboration at a Distance

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This year my school district, like many others, implemented PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) as the driving force behind how we collaborate to help students learn. The directive was that all teachers should… Read more

Both Sides of the Pyramid: Behavior and Academics

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“It’s hard to do the collaborative work of a professional learning community if your school is struggling with student behavior and school climate issues,” commented a teacher at . . . Read more

Let’s Not Stop With Pockets of Excellence!

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Schools throughout the country engaged in the PLC at Work™ process have been creating effective teams focused on student learning. However, all too often we have seen these schools struggle... Read more