Blog

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

Creating a Culture of Collaboration After COVID

As Robert John Meehan so eloquently stated, "The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other. Without collaboration, our growth is limited to our own perspectives."  . . . Read more

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

Social Media Influencers and Student Assessment Pushback

If you spend time scrolling through social media you have most likely seen a teacher or principal who has become a social media influencer, it is the newest “second job” for educators. . . . 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

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

From Theory to Practice: A Jigsaw Approach to an Elementary Master Schedule

Creating a highly collaborative school culture and high performing teams is multifaceted and can take many years to establish. Creating and maintaining a system of excellence is a hard job! Schools do not become great overnight and they certainly do not remain great without constant evaluation of systems and practices. The fundamental purpose of a school is learning, not teaching. 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

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

Why This, Why Now, Why Bother

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One question I am often asked by classroom teachers is, “Why should we care about PLCs, Bill?” We are almost always skeptical when our bosses bring something new back to our building and try to convince us that it is worth investing in. But when they are done right, PLCs answer my three why questions better than anything I’ve seen in over 25 years of full-time teaching. 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

Keep the Focus on Learning

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“Only half of the students in our school were proficient on last year’s end-of-level test, and our teachers seem satisfied with that!” This was the frustrating observation of a school principal that he shared with me in a recent conversation. My first response to him was that perhaps it’s time to revisit why you exist—to go back to your school’s mission and vision—to revisit the first big idea of a professional learning community: an unwavering focus on student learning. Read more