Clarity precedes competence: Remembering the essence of a true PLC

Contributing author: Annie Gagne Have you ever been in a meeting where people were using words, buzzwords, and you quickly understood that your colleagues did not have the same definition or . . . Read more

From Disaster to Success: Our Strategy Implementation Guide Design Story

When campus and district leadership started the journey on the strategy implementation guide (SIG) process, we saw the big picture. We knew it would help us guide our teams and provide specific . . . Read more

Social Media Influencers and Student Assessment Pushback

If you spend time scrolling through social media you have most likely seen a teacher or principal who has become a social media influencer, it is the newest “second job” for educators. . . . Read more

PLCs: Super Bowls and Super Systems


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

What is Your Why?


Many efforts at school improvement have been stymied despite the best intentions of those involved. Once schools are in the thick of things, and the change efforts schools are engaged in begin to inevitably face challenges and the initial excitement begins to wane, schools will be faced with a decision. Do we continue to push forward, despite the difficulties we are facing, or do we go back to what we have always done and what is, in many ways, easier? Read more

How Hundred Day Plans Sustain a Culture of Continuous Improvement


You’re feeling good – you have created demand for modeling your school as a PLC and have structures in place to answer the key questions. You are making progress along the PLC journey… Well, you think you are. Or perhaps your PLC is stagnant; you are not seeing progress or you are not sure about how to measure it. Or maybe your school is just beginning the PLC journey and you are questioning how to monitor the first stages, especially since small wins are essential in the beginning to sustain the momentum. Or perhaps you’re wrestling with when and how to lay out the next steps of your school’s improvement work and are trying to determine how it fits into the larger school improvement plan. Read more

Educators as Change Agents


Change is hard! The funny thing is, one of the reasons I’ve stayed in education for 20 years and gravitated towards working with adults on school improvement is that I yearn to be an agent of change. Nobody likes it when change is thrust upon them, but I do love making change happen. Read more

Getting Better at Getting Better


As I paid visits to schools at the beginning of this year, a teacher sent a question through the principal, “ask her when we are going to be good enough”. I knew the question came from a place of frustration: more new standards, another change in assessments, new technology, and other national, state, and district demands. Yet, the question itself took me by surprise. I had thought the principle of continuous improvement was ingrained in who we are; that all staff understood this was one of our district’s core beliefs. Read more

Dysfunctional Teams? Four Things that Don’t Help and One Thing that Does


All the promise of a PLC is called into question when teams are dysfunctional. Therefore, there is no greater mandate for a school than addressing dysfunction and providing teams with the support they need to become more effective. So, what to do, then, when your team is just playing at being a PLC? What fixes are there for co-blab-eration? What can we do for teams that are earnestly pursuing the wrong path week after week? Read more

Sustaining and Maintaining: No One Answer


Dear School Administrators, A question often asked during professional development workshops on professional learning communities is: “How do we sustain the PLC process from one year to . . . Read more

One Teacher Leader's PLC Journey


Note: This blog post has been adapted from an email that Joshua Curnett sent to the staff at his PLC. It's February, the time of year when I cannot remember my name. It's (picture me . . . Read more

Dealing With an Ineffective Team Leader


In Leaders of Learning, Richard DuFour and Robert J. Marzano point out that selecting and training teacher team leaders is one of the most important tasks that a principal must perform in order to . . . Read more

Spring Is a Great Time to Re-energize Staff and Score a Win!


While it may be tempting to blame staff members for a decrease in energy toward original goals, the time is right to go for some WINS! As Dov Seidman states, “We are now asking for so much . . . Read more

Focusing on the Work


Unlike the show Survivor, in education we do not have the option of voting tribe members off the island when they aren’t effective PLC members. Most PLCs function well, but for those with . . . Read more



Have you ever heard the reason for lackluster performance at a school is because the clientele has changed? This is a phrase, a reason, an excuse that is increasingly used by educators or the educational system to explain… Read more