Terri Martin

Terri L. Martin, EdD, an author and a consultant, is a former administrator, statewide professional developer, and director of school improvement initiatives for the state of Missouri.

In a PLC, Leadership Is Not Lonely!

Even though some students learn regardless of the teacher assigned to them, we know that strong teachers impact the learning of all students. Can the same be said for teachers and leaders? Even though some teachers are great regardless of the leadership, all teachers can improve under strong leadership. Students need effective teachers. Teachers need effective leaders.

Being an effective leader is very synonymous to being an effective teacher in a PLC. The skills for leading are already embedded in the process itself. By taking each of the 3 Big Ideas and looking at them through a leadership perspective, we can identify immediate steps a person can take to lead teachers and students to greater success.

Big Idea #1: Focus on Learning

Show yourself as a learner by learning alongside your teachers: don’t have all the answers, assist with finding the right ones.

  • Turn faculty meetings into learning meetings or extra time for teams
  • Use newsletters to share with parents the learning that is happening in schools
  • Use faculty memos to highlight team or whole-school progress toward increase student achievement

Big Idea #2: Create a Collaborative Culture

Often times, there appears to be confusion between a collaborative team and a collaborative culture. The teams are just a part of the culture. The culture itself allows for teams to explore, create, and define their work.

  • Be positive, not punitive
  • Promote action research with results
  • Allow teams an all-school forum for sharing their work and their results

Big Idea #3: Focus on Results

If we continuously weigh our actions against the ultimate success of students, we find ourselves much more focused. The things that can often clutter a leader and a teacher’s day are relegated to the back of the list. It doesn’t mean things don’t get done, but oftentimes the things with little impact are taken care of by focusing on the things with the greatest positive impact on learning.

  • Be transparent about school data
  • Be a part of data meetings, from assisting with accessing to analyzing
  • Develop school-wide support for interventions

This is a short list for getting started. Once a leader begins thinking through the lens of promoting each of these big ideas, the ideas can grow at a rate faster than any one person can accomplish. So, here is a caution and a reminder. The caution is to always evaluate the idea against the question, “Will this idea produce results that will increase student success?” The reminder is that collaborative teams are a large part of a PLC. No one has to do the work alone. In a PLC, leadership is not lonely!



My principal implemented Professional Learning Communities in my school two years ago. I have loved the opportunities of meeting with my team to reflect on our teaching methods and ways we can collaborate to reach every student. It has been beneficial to see how other teachers are approaching the same subject matter.

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PLC has not been implemented in my district. This is the first time I have ever heard of it I am sad to say. I really think that my students would benefit greatly, collaboration is a great tool.

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Genny W

My school is currently in our second year of using PLC's. It is very helpful to see the 3 "Big Idea's" to help our PLC's grow and become more effective. It is great to see some of the ideas we are already working on, and then there are the area's for improvement so we can become a better functioning school.

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My school is currently looking toward building a PLC. I appreciate the three steps for a successful PLC and believe that it would be helpful in our work toward building a collaborative community in our school. I am planning to share this blog with my administrator.

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The center I work for does not have PLC's and could definitely benefit from implementing PLC's. The curriculum director has a monthly meeting with the teachers once a month and all ten meetings are the same. Every three months, a graph is printed out showing the progress the students in each classroom are making. PLC's could improve our meetings to make them meaningful, different, and to teach us. They could also help the teachers to increase student learning.

When goals are not meet, the results are often punitive, which leaves many teachers asking, "What can we do to improve?" A forum could help achieve goals by teachers collaborating with each other.

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Lori Cogdill

This is the first year that PLC's have been implemented in my school district. However, I feel we are lacking leadership within the learning community. Taking on the role of leadership can be a daunting task. It assumes responsibility for others as well as one's self. I am impressed by the focus on the 3 Big Ideas and the suggestions offered with each. Looking at these ideas through the perspective of leadership opens up a new world of possibilities.

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In a PLC, Leadership is Not Lonely! | AllThingsPLC | Educational Leadership 21st Century | Scoop.it

[...] In a PLC, Leadership is Not Lonely! | AllThingsPLC Find the latest research, articles, tools and other education resources for building a PLC ? professional learning community. Collaborate with teachers and administrators on our frequently updated blog, written by PLC and education professionals. Source: www.allthingsplc.info [...]

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