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Professional Learning Communities - The What, Why, and How

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James Hall

on 16 August 2013

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Transcript of Professional Learning Communities - The What, Why, and How

The 3 Big Ideas
The Success
School Administration
The PLC Tree
They grow and thrive when all parts work together.
What do healthy schools and healthy trees have in common?

The soil must be prepared before the seed can grow. If you take great strategies and plant them in a toxic environment that's full of politics and human garbage, how do you expect that seed to grow? - Anthony Muhammad

Accelerated Reader
Breakfast in the Classroom
Great Expectations
What do you need to plant a seed and see it grow?
I have never seen a school overcome bad administration, but I have seen good administration turn a whole school around - Rick Dufur
That's a nice tree, but what does it really mean? Do I need to become a gardener now?
If they try to make me plant some trees...I swear...I have too many papers to grade for this.
You must have healthy soil.
Professional Learning Communities
Embrace Learning
Professional development created in collaboration by:
Performance Data
Data should be collected and analyzed regularly
Standardized testing is not the only form of data
Rubrics can be used to analyze on a more rigorous and relevent level
Data does not always need to be score related
Conquer the Fear of Data
Data is not intended to identify low performing teachers

Strengths as well as weaknesses should be discussed

Data should be used to measure success and find points of concern
Celebrate Successes!
Always include success stories backed by data

Make the invisible visible

Do not base pay or incentives on results
Far too many teams casually accept goals that are neither
demanding, precise, realistic, nor actually held in common….
Teamwork alone never makes a team.
- Katzenback and Smith, 1993
Measurable Goals
PLCs should create common, measureable and achievable goals
The primary focus should be on classroom/student results
• Specific goals convey a message directly to teachers that they are capable of improvement.

• Specific goals provide a basis for rational decision making, for ways to organize and execute their instruction.

• Specific goals enable teachers to gauge their success.

• Specific goals promote professional dialogue.
Goals should be limited in number
Focusing on
• Remarkable gains in achievement.

• Higher-quality solutions to problems.

• Increased confidence among all school community members.

• Teachers’ ability to support one another’s strengths and to accommodate weaknesses.

• The ability to examine and test new ideas, methods, and materials.

• More systematic assistance to beginning teachers.

• An expanded pool of ideas, materials, and methods.
Teams Get Results
Lack of common goals can
lead to isolation

Common goals allow for
dialogue and discussion
PLC Big Idea #1: Ensuring that students learn
"The professional learning community model flows from the assumption that the core mission of formal education is not simply to ensure that students are taught but to ensure that they learn. This simple shift - from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning - has profound implications on schools.
Richard DuFour, 2004

What will we do for the students that have already mastered it?
What do we want
all students to learn?
How will we know if
they have learned it?
How will we respond if
they don't learn it?
PLC Big Idea #2: A Culture of Collaboration
"We can acheive our fundamental purpose of high levels of learning for all students only if we work together. We need to cultivate a collaborative culture through the development of high performing teams."
Becky DuFour, 2007

Collaboration by teachers has been proven to produce better results
Teachers learn best from other teachers.
Goal setting and action planning: what goals are we going to take and when are we going to take them.
How must we behave to be the school we want to become?
PLC Big Idea #3: Focusing On Results
"We assess our effectivness on the basis of results rather than intentions. Individuals, teams, and schools seek relevant data and information and use that information to promote continues improvement.
Becky DuFour, 2007
Soil = School Culture
If doctors can work together to exchange ideas and save lives, can teachers work together to exchange ideas and save children?
Hmmm....sounds familiar
It's Common Core!
The Networked Teacher


We Must
Points of Discussion
Why? - Why should our school become a PLC
What? - What is an effective PLC
How? - How do we implement the strategy
The Why, What and How
Jessica Watts
Charla Balfanz
Kimberly Everett
Deanna Whitten
Tiffanie Gray
Heather Alred
James Hall
What is your ideal school?
What are the obstacles to becoming this school?
How much do we control?
Do we control enough to make a difference?
Our school is ultimately in our hands.
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