Blog

Preparing for the School Year with a Focus on Learning

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I have mentioned before that I met a mentor of mine, Dr. Sharon Kramer, in the summer of 2015. After going through what we did or did not have in place as a district, she asked the question . . . Read more

Introducing Our New Two-Part Documentary on PLCs

The professional learning community (PLC) process has become increasingly recognized as a powerful strategy for sustained, substantive school improvement. But do you know where PLC began and how it . . . Read more

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

PLCs: Super Bowls and Super Systems

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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

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

Game On

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My phone rang that Sunday and, on the line, I heard my 18-year-old son’s quivering voice say, “Dad, Kobe died.” I sat in the car stunned. I turned on the radio to find out . . . Read more

The 10 Deadly Sins of Improvement

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As an educator for more than 27 years in the heart of California, I have learned a great deal about the challenges educators face to improve outcomes for students. I have spent my entire . . . Read more

Community and Relationships: Creating Strategic Support Systems

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“Happily ever after isn’t a destination, it’s a daily commitment.” —Karen Finn I am often asked “What is the key to improving schools” or “Why . . . Read more

Redesigning Our Schools: How Can We Do That?

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I recently had the opportunity to attend the RTI at Work Institute™ in Edmonton, Canada. One of the great things about attending a Solution Tree Institute is the opportunity to learn alongside educators from all over North America. The opportunity to hear different perspectives and ways of thinking around the school improvement process is an invaluable learning experience. Read more

PLC: The Catalyst for Change at Eastside Elementary

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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

Coordinate, Manage, Lead

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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

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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

Maybe It’s Time to Press the Reset Button

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There are many schools throughout the country that are committed to doing the “right work” and are demonstrating evidence of tremendous growth in both adult and student learning. There are many more schools, also with dedicated and hard-working educators, that have not been enjoying increased gains in student achievement and yet claim to be “doing PLCs.” Read more

Keeping the Ball Rolling: Maintaining Momentum and Urgency in a PLC

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The generation of innovative ideas and practices are often propelled through attendance at professional learning sessions where engaging practitioners and experts share their knowledge. Participants leave energized and excited; ready to get back to their schools to implement the new learning. All too often, without a systematic and consistent approach present within the culture of their schools, much of this enthusiasm diminishes when day-to-day obstacles arise. Read more