PLC Collaboration: District and School Leaders
Our district went through an organizational reorg during the 2018-2019 school year. As we morphed into the school year, we wanted to work on improving PLCs. Each level in Jefferson County Schools has a team of district resource teachers to provide support for schools. We have been working with the schools on becoming highly effective PLCs. Our ELA resource teacher created a learning walk tool, PLC Check In, we could use when visiting collaborative teams. My administrative assistant and I looked at the weekly reports to monitor what was taking place during the week.
Supporting PLCs at the District Level
Districts that are committed to the PLC process support PLC work with resources, training, and guidance, but how often do district leaders provide specific feedback to collaborative teams? Because I know that the work of PLCs will advance my 25 middle schools, it is important to me that my team and I spend time in collaborative teams and provide meaningful feedback to principals after collaborative team visits. Each time one of our team members visits a collaborative team, they complete a Google form created by one of our resource teachers who has extensive experience in PLC work and taught at a Model PLC School. The survey includes the four Critical Questions with subcategories to record the ways in which teams are doing the work. Visitors can choose from a drop-down box under each of the four Critical Questions, or they can check a box that indicates that none of the PLC components were observed. There is also an opportunity to provide narrative comments.
Plan: What do we expect our kids to learn?
- Backwards unit planning
- Creating common assessments
- Establishing or referencing essential standards
- Using essential standards to develop learning targets
- Developing project-based or performance rubrics
Do: How do we teach it?
- Planning high-yield instructional strategies
- Collecting and sharing instructional resources
Study: How will we know when they’ve learned it?
- Analyzing formative assessment data
- Quality work protocol with summative performance tasks
- Calibrating scoring
- Analyzing MAP data
- Monitoring of progress toward essential standards
Act: How will we respond if they haven’t? How will we respond if they have?
- Planning for extended time/support
- Planning for re-teaching
- Spiraling in standards to future learning
- Identifying and following up on named/claimed students
- Planning for differentiation
- Developing accelerated learning/learning contracts
Making It Your Own
The activities are customized to align with our unique district programs, initiatives, and areas of focus. For example, our students complete a MAP assessment three times a year. When thinking about how to roll out a feedback tool in your district, consider working with district leaders to identify the district-specific work or vocabulary that aligns with the four Critical PLC Questions. This is an opportunity to calibrate at the district level around the work of PLCs and how the district is supporting that work through clarity of purpose and supports.
The feedback tool benefits the principal and collaborative team as additional information in coaching sessions, but, just as importantly, it keeps district leaders focused on the work that leads to increased student achievement, and it gives teachers an opportunity to see that PLC work is valued and supported by district leaders.