Blog

Finding the Opportunity in the COVID-19 Crisis

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The 2019-20 school year will certainly go down in history as unprecedented. The COVID-19 pandemic turned all aspects of society, including school systems, upside-down. As schools were mandated . . . 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

Seven Norms for Collaborative Teams

During our first year working in the district office, we had monthly district grade-level meetings led by teachers who set agendas, provided oversight to the meetings, and facilitated . . . Read more

CFA Data Inquiry Helps Foster Collective Teacher Efficacy

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In a school with strong collective efficacy, all of the faculty feels they have a hand in helping each child excel. Students are valued for the diversity of their learning profiles, and teachers . . . Read more

Pit Bulls and Fallen Trees: A Message to Principals

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It’s the Monday after Thanksgiving break. As a busy elementary school principal, I spent the previous four days resting, relaxing, and gearing up for the mad dash to winter break. I renewed . . . Read more

Joyful Noise

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The framework, process, and structure of professional learning communities often consume our thoughts and actions as we strive to increase student achievement by constantly focusing on answering . . . Read more

'Better' Doesn't Happen All By Itself

My granddaddy used to say, “Tighten up every little chance you get. ‘Better’ doesn’t happen all by itself.” And my granddaddy was always right. (With the exception . . . Read more

Understanding the 'What'

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While I was a school principal, our teams went into the PLC process with the aim of meeting each and every student where they were. Our mission was to collectively support all learners in moving . . . Read more

The PLC Journey Starts With Community

“What is labeled as ‘fluff’ is more often the stuff of leadership and culture.” —Terrence Deal, Kent Peterson, Shaping School Culture While the word . . . 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

Collaboratively Designing and Delivering Lessons: The Instructional Diamond

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Since the work of Madeline Hunter, a lot has changed in education. We now have ample resources and robust technologies that can provide engaging, vivid experiences for students. More important, we have much more research about teaching and learning than we ever have previously. We know more about how students learn. Even with all these changes, the framework for building lesson plans and delivering instruction has not evolved. Read more

On What Kind of PLC Journey Are You: Learning...or Doing?

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Becoming a PLC is a journey of transformation. It requires that we nurture and cultivate a collaborative culture anchored around a shared commitment of one thing: learning. However, it is amazing how many times I see folks engaged in what they believe to be the work of a collaborative team in a professional learning community. Yet, through their conversations about their work, they demonstrate the only thing that has really changed is what they call their meeting time. Read more

Are you a tutor or teacher?

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In one of the schools where I work, the principal once commented that it makes a difference if you believe yourself to be a tutor or a teacher. We discussed it further, and she shared her belief that living as a PLC helped pave the way for many of her teachers to make the shift. Read more

Starting the PLC Journey

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There are many paths that lead an educator, a school, a district, or even a state to the PLC journey. Some are led to the path through a state or district initiative, others through the vision of their principal, others by a guiding coalition of teachers at their school. And some, like myself, discover the path through their individual journeys and growth as educators. The truth is that the ways educators come to the PLC journey are as numerous as the individuals on the path. However, one common influence we all share at the beginning of the journey is a prevailing sense of hope—the expectation and desire for something different, something that can change things for the better. Read more