Blog

What Does Your School’s Success Rest On? The Four Pillars in Action at East Pointe Elementary

Editor’s note: This entry is a joint publication by Jonathan G. Vander Els and Dr. Josh Ray. Testimonials from Dr. Ray, the principal at East Pointe Elementary School, are noted with the . . . Read more

On a Mission: Building a Culture of Continuous Growth

Before Morrilton Intermediate School was selected to be a part of Cohort One of the PLC at Work® process in Arkansas, we had common planning times, but there was no expectation of . . . Read more

'But They Don't Speak English!'

thumb

When our daughters were 7 and 9 years old, being a military family (my husband was a naval officer), we received orders to move to Bahrain in the Middle East. This would be our next “new . . . Read more

Pit Bulls and Fallen Trees: A Message to Principals

thumb

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

'Equitable' Means 'All'

thumb

As a fledgling educator in Dallas Independent School District, where the majority of my students were English Language Learners, I quickly realized a few things: much like my family’s . . . Read more

Leading the PLC Journey at the District Office

thumb

School districts have the unique opportunity and challenge of educating the diverse population they serve. We know there is compelling research on the impact that professional learning communities have on student achievement. As a result, shouldn’t all school districts take on the challenge of doing this work at the district level to ensure all of their schools are on this journey? Read more

Giving All Teachers the Coach They Deserve

thumb

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

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

thumb

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

Leading a Culture of Collaboration

thumb

When we began the 2018–19 school year, we knew as administrators that we were beginning a journey that would change the way that we do things at East Pointe Elementary. We understood that the work toward becoming a true professional learning community was going to be hard but that the effort to maximize learning for every student would be worth it. What we didn’t completely realize was the depth to which we would experience those difficult moments nor the magnitude to which we would appreciate those hard earned victories. Read more

PLC: The Catalyst for Change at Eastside Elementary

thumb

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

thumb

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

Are you a tutor or teacher?

thumb

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

Coordinate, Manage, Lead

thumb

These three words all have something to do with making something happen. Yet in the PLC at Work® culture, there are very important distinctions among those words that can have a profound impact on the way your building operates to ensure high levels of learning for all students. Read more

Starting the PLC Journey

thumb

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

The Misunderstood Pillar

thumb

Much in the same way that building a solid foundation is so critically important to any building, so is creating a solid foundation for a PLC at Work® school to stand upon. The authors of the PLC at Work process refer to this foundation as the Four Pillars. Read more