Blog

Clarity precedes competence: Remembering the essence of a true PLC

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 understanding of the words used during . . . Read more

Learn from My Mistakes

When our school district took our first step on the PLC journey, I remember thinking, “ I wonder if anyone who has done this before could tell us what pitfalls to avoid?” I quickly . . . 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

Leading and Monitoring the Work of Teams While Incorporating Virtual, Face-to-Face, and Blended Instruction

When I began my new journey as a secondary school principal in the summer of 2019, everything was relatively normal—meeting new staff, identifying great things happening at the school and . . . 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

Why a Strategic Implementation Guide is a Must for a PLC

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When I first was introduced to the concept of professional learning communities, it just clicked. This is how we should lead our campuses. Read more

An Administrator's Perspective for PLC Meetings

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There is an age-old question—If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to see it, does it make a sound? Here’s another question—If a collaborative team meeting takes . . . Read more

Finding Your Team's Foundation With Fundamentals

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Fundamentals are never fun. Fundamentals are never exciting. But fundamentals are necessary. NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan summed up the importance of fundamentals when he said, “The . . . Read more

Develop a Collective Commitment Calendar to Ensure PLC Success

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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

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

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

Do the Right Work: Develop Your PLC Road Map

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Highly-effective PLCs understand that collaboration is inherently neutral, and for the process to generate outcomes, collaborative teams must do the right work with a results orientation. The key is getting tight on the right things. Toward that end, schools and districts must remain focused on the following essential questions to promote accountability and ensure reciprocal accountability. 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