Richard DuFour

Richard DuFour, EdD, was a public school educator for 34 years. A prolific author and sought-after consultant, he is recognized as one of the leading authorities on helping school practitioners implement the PLC at Work™ process.

Learn About PLCs by Doing What PLCs Do!

Here is a great story from an elementary school in Schaumburg, Illinois that moved quickly to implement PLC concepts.The staff is seeing improved results almost immediately, and the success they are experiencing has fueled momentum for continuing efforts. Their experiences reinforces the idea that the schools that make the most progress on the PLC journey are those who roll up their sleves and do the work. Celebrating small successes is critical to sustaining the PLC effort.

I am principal of Anne Fox School in Schaumburg D54 and I really wanted to share with you some of our data results from our winter MAP administration. We spent last year, my first year at Fox, developing our mission, vision, commitments and getting teams to function interdependently using some common assessments. Over the summer, we really made whole scale changes to our master schedule and built in our intervention and enrichment block based off of Becky’s model from Boones Mill. Our students now receive 45 minutes of targeted literacy intervention in small groups each day while proficient students are receiving extension and enrichment instruction. We also put into place an accelerated math section in each grade level in 3rd-6th basing our student class lists off of our common assessment results.

The attached tables demonstrate that we are making great progress. Our staff utilizes spring MAP proficiency targets, which correlated almost perfectly with ISAT last year, for determining students meeting or exceeding state standards. These targets are where we want all of our students to be in May (of course it is wonderful when they get there quicker).

What we are seeing right now is incredible growth in math and great gains in reading. As I shared with my staff last night at our staff development meeting, we are achieving in January where we were achieving in May a year ago in terms of the percentage of our students that are proficienct. I am particularly excited about this result because it is not just one or two grade levels observing this trend -- it is ALL of our grade levels in ALL of our subject areas. Teachers are now seeing the results of their efforts and are hungry for more success!!!

Thanks for all of the support you have given us at Fox and in D54 the past two years. While we aren’t where we want to be yet, the future sure looks bright and I can sense great optimism in a school that was not providing students with what they needed to be successful in the past. I know that my teachers are now seeing that even the most troubled kids can and have made considerable gains. I can’t even tell you how many "individual" student success stories we have this year - kids that were well below the national norm in reading and have now surpassed it in a three month window. We didn’t do it with gimmicks or canned programs, we did it by working together in proactively intervening with every child not achieving impressive results.

MAP Reading Performance Over Time

(% of Students Meeting or Exceeding SPRING Grade Level Proficiency Targets.)

Current Grade Level Fall 2005 Spring 2006 Fall 2006 Winter 2007
2nd Grade 35% 59% (+25%)
3rd Grade 56% 66% (+10%)
4th Grade 59% 75% (+16%) 64% 74% (+10%)
5th Grade 54% 63% (+9%) 50% 61% (+11%)
6th Grade 56% 64% (+8%) 59% 63% (+4)**
** Nine students are 1(5) or 2(4) RIT points from meeting the spring proficiency target

MAP Math Performance Over Time
(% of Students Meeting or Exceeding SPRING Grade Level Proficiency Targets.)

Current Grade Level Fall 2005 Spring 2006 Fall 2006 Winter 2007
2nd Grade 44% 54% (+10%)
3rd Grade 55% 69% (+14%)
4th Grade 63% 87% (+24%) 73% 86% (+13%)
5th Grade 68% 72% (+4%) 57% 71% (+14%)
6th Grade 62% 71% (+9%) 61% 77% (+16%)

We will keep building off of this!!!
Nick Myers, Principal



The quote, "It is virtually impossible to create and sustain over time conditions for productive learning for students when they do not exist for teachers", by Seymour Sarason, Yale University, has once again reminded me of the need for consistent and implicit time teachers to collaborate. As I finish my second year of PLC Leadership Training, I am concerned that we, as a district, are only giving lip service to this pedagological model. We pencil in time once a month during staff meetings to "do PLC's", but when something more urgent comes along on that staff meeting day, we skip our PLC time. If we are seriously going to implement PLC's in all of our buildings, we need to have a shared vision for what we want, time for reflective practice, time for collaboration to examine both teacher and student work, and a focus on understanding the results.

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I am looking for a year-round school that uses the PLC format. I would like to ask permission to visit the school for a week during my summer holidays this year. If anyone knows of such a school, could you please send me the name and also the name of the principal.

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Placing teachers in professional learning communities with the lens of looking at student work is vital in the instructional pedagogy and outcomes of student success. Insights, puzzles, opportunities for thinking, reflections of practice, and wonderments are a few big ideas that will be generated from a lens on formative assessment in day-to-day routines as well as overarching outcomes when teachers collaborate. However, continuous new knowledge needs to promote the sustainability of the work as well as The structure in place is explicit, instrumental, goal directed, a few steps, used over and over, useful across a variety of contexts, and promotes individual as well as group practices.

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