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Making Professional Learning Communities work

Ensuring the success of Professional Learning Communities especially given the current climate of education.
by

Jennifer Carrick

on 23 February 2014

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Transcript of Making Professional Learning Communities work

How does Bill 115 impact Professional Development and Professional Learning Communities?
To explore strategies of how to implement professional learning within our current political environment (ie."McGuinty Mondays")
Goal
As an administrator, you have planned a professional development session, in collaboration with the school leadership team. It is a session that was specifically designed to build upon a previous session of learning, it is linked to the SIP (School Improvement Plan) and has been developed through teacher inquiry. It is dynamic and purposeful and necessary to move thinking forward.

You have just received an email from the school union steward regarding "McGuinty Mondays" which asks teachers not to participate in any school-based or system-based meetings before, during or after the school day. Additionally, any meetings that have been scheduled for the Monday cannot be rescheduled for another day.(etfo.ca).
How do you ensure that this professional learning continues?
Think About...
http://www.controlyourfuture.ca/etfo_news/elementary-teachers-push-the-pause-button-on-voluntary-activities-and-begin-‘mcguinty-mondays’-in-response-to-draconian-legislation/

"If there is anything that the research community
agrees on, it is this: the right kind of continuous,
structured teacher collaboration improves the
quality of teaching and pays big, often immediate,
dividends in student learning and professional morale
in virtually any setting. Our experience with schools
across the nations bears this out unequivocally"
(Schmoker, 2004. via http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/literacynumeracy/inspire/research/PLC.pdf)
We would like to continue with the professional learning and PLCs which are outlined in our SIP to support student learning.
Gap Analysis
Consider some resources
Sustained school improvement
efforts have been attributed to PLCs (DuFour & Eaker, 1998).
By participating in PLCs, teachers may experience a variety of
benefits
that contribute to improved student achievement, including:
Reduction of isolation
Increased commitment to the mission and goals of the school
Shared responsibility for student success
Greater job satisfaction and higher morale
Lower rates of absenteeism (Hord, 1997)
Leads to higher likelihood of fundamental, systemic change
Benefits of PLCs
Staff learning processes in Ontario have become quite sophisticated and we now routinely include teacher moderation putting student work on the table, case management of individual student achievement, learning networks focussed on a question of inquiry across several schools, collaborative exploration of teaching/learning through what we call a critical pathway or through the exploration of a teaching/learning cycle. …this experience is generating a renewed interest in professional learning. This interest also sets the stage for deeper forms of collaboration such as a co-learning experience and coaching by and for peers. Indeed, intentional co-learning experiences can move collaboration from rather abstract conversations about learning to new forms of tangible co-labouring and reflection about what learning actually took place for both the teacher as learner and the student as recipient of the learning process.

Beate Blanche, A road of reform well travelled ,2012.
Co-Work
School Improvement Plan (SIP)
So what does the Collective Agreement state?
Reflection...
What are some additional considerations to be mindful of as we embark on PLCs in this current climate?
E 16.1:

Regular staff meetings shall be scheduled by the Principal in consultation with the teaching staff and upon consensus whenever possible.
Regularly scheduled staff meetings shall be held no more than once per month on average. Each meeting shall be no more than 75 minutes in length. The dates of the regular staff meetings shall be set within the first month of the school year and communicated to all teachers.
Regularly scheduled staff meetings may include administrative/

organizational issues, professional development, training and other matters aligned with school and board goals.

Teachers are expected to attend regularly scheduled staff meetings.
For many of the schools, the professional learning that is responsive to the SIP SMART Goals has been put on hold. The dilemma for us as administrators is how do we move forward in the current climate.
Use the chart paper at your tables. Create a T-Chart ~ one side entitled Future, the other Present
Step One:
Identify a future state. (ie. PLCs running effectively and within the guidelines advised by ETFO. Be specific.
Step Two:
Identify the present state. Give specific details featured in the future state but in present terms.
What are the gaps between the present and the future?

What are the barriers or obstacles in achieving the future?
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