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

PLCs: The Path to Educational Equity

At Alisal, we know that being a Professional Learning Community means focusing on efforts on the four crticial questions. We know that we use data, not feelings, to drive what takes place in our . . . Read more

Pandemic Proved Importance of PLCs

At the start of the pandemic, our teachers struggled to know what to teach, how to teach, and most importantly, how to ensure high levels of learning for their students in a remote format, despite . . . Read more

Intervention: The Critical Safety Net

I've got to be honest, when I see people engage in recreational hobbies like free-climbing, I get extremely nervous. Perhaps the biggest reason is due to my severe fear of heights. I tend to . . . Read more

Pandemic Provides New Lens for Clear Mission


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

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

Put the “R” back into RTI by Reconnecting to the PLC at Work™ Model


Many schools are frustrated by their attempts to answer Question 3 of the PLC at Work™ process, “How will we respond when students don’t learn it?” In many cases, this frustration is caused by the fact that they are attempting to answer Question 3 before answering Question 1, “What is it we want all students to know and be able to do?” In other words, what do we want all students to learn? Read more

How Kids WIN Systematically


My experience as a teacher was amazing! I loved teaching, my colleagues, my families, and my students; but I wish I could have a complete redo on my time in the classroom. Regrettably, as a teacher I never had the opportunity to function within a Professional Learning Community. Sure, I had amazing colleagues who became life-long friends. Yes, they were willing to share their “things” that worked for their kids in their classrooms. I definitely was able to get to know “their kids," just as they were able to get to know “my kids” because we shared them for periods of time throughout the week. We even shared data! If you’re reading this and thinking, “Why is Will suggesting he didn’t function within a PLC?”, let me explain. Read more

Doing It or Doing It Well? Using Data for Learning


About five years ago, I decided that it was time to get in shape. An infomercial caught my eye and I found myself ordering a video program, weights, bands, nutritional guide, and pull-up bar while wating impatiently for my new life to begin. After the second day of inserting a DVD into my computer and following along, I realized this commitment was not going to be easy. With persistence, in about a month, I felt I was actually making progress and able to do the exercises. However, just as I began to swell with pride, I caught a glimpse of myself in the fireplace glass and gasped. While I thought I looked like the trainers on the DVD, I suddenly realized I wasn’t even close! Read more

Book Review: Raising the Bar and Closing the Gap


In preparation for our upcoming conversation with Rick and Becky DuFour on the steps that schools can take to develop effective systems of intervention that reach beyond the classroom, I just finished reading their newest book, Raising the Bar and Closing the Gap. Here’s my review... Read more

Another Digital Conversation With the DuFours Starts May 19


Having worked in a professional learning community for almost six years now, I can tell you that nothing is more challenging for traditional schools than crafting a schoolwide system of . . . Read more