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What is a Professional Learning Community? Bill Nolte – Haywood County Schools.

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Presentation on theme: "What is a Professional Learning Community? Bill Nolte – Haywood County Schools."— Presentation transcript:

1 What is a Professional Learning Community? Bill Nolte – Haywood County Schools

2 Acknowledgement Thanks to Penny Caldwell for sending me Richard DeFour’s article, What Is a “Profession Learning Community?” The article is copyrighted and should not be distribute to groups. A link to an online copy of the article is: – f-8a2d-4f0b-9e70- e35b529cde55/uploads/What_is_a_PLC._D uFour_Article_2.pdf

3 What is a PLC? Richard DuFour begins his article with: –“People use this term (Professional Learning Community) to describe every imaginable combination of individuals with an interest in education—a grade-level teaching team, a school committee, a high school department, an entire school district, a state department of education, a national professional organization, and so on. In fact, the term has been used so ubiquitously that it is in danger of losing all meaning.” (Ed. Leadership – May 2004)

4 The key to long-term success. Dufour and other wise people understand the key to long-term achievement and success is understanding, using and maintaining a sound philosophy. Programs, technology, books and other tools help you implement a philosophy. However, without a sound underlying philosophical approach most education tools are worthless (Nolte).

5 Classic Philosophical Examples The one who adapts his policy to the times prospers, and likewise the one whose policy clashes with the demands of the times does not. (Machiavelli – The Prince) (1) What you are deeply passionate about (2) What you can be the best in the world at (3) What drives your organizational engine (Collins – Good to Great)

6 Classic Philosophical Approaches We don’t get real knowledge until we experience something first-hand. That’s why practice is truly the best practice. (Larry Bird) (1) Focus on learning rather than teaching (2) Work collaboratively (3) Hold yourself accountable for results (Dufour – What Is a Profession Learning Community?)

7 #1: Ensuring that Students Learn (Focus on learning rather than teaching) PLC Key questions –What do we want each student to learn? –How will we know when each student has learned it? –How will we respond when a student experiences difficulty in learning? PLC Key practices –Quickly identifying students who need help –Intervention (now) not remediation (later) –Don’t invite students to seek help … make mastery of skills part of what you do

8 #2: A Culture of Collaboration (Work collaboratively) Collaborative conversations about things that were traditionally not discussed openly among teachers (successful strategies, materials matching the curriculum, helping every student learn, concerns and results) Collaborative conversations that give every teacher someone to turn to and talk to in a trusting environment Collaborative conversations that are explicitly structured to improve the instructional practices of teachers individually and collectively

9 #2: A Culture of Collaboration (Work collaboratively) Beliefs that must to stop in order for PLCs to work –Believing that presenting standards to teachers automatically results in students learning –Believing that teaching (covering curriculum) automatically results in learning –Believing that some students cannot learn

10 #3: A Focus on Results (Hold yourself accountable for results) PLCs judge their effectiveness on results. PLCs work together to improve student achievement. PLCs identify the current level of student achievement, establish ways to improve achievement and work with all PLC members to improve achievement PLCs change the focus of the school from things (programs, software, books, etc.) to performance measures (EOG, EOG, graduation rate, etc.)

11 Go Forth and Build PLCs Focus on learning rather than teaching –Identify students who need help –Provide Intervention (now) not remediation (later) Work collaboratively –Develop collaborative conversations that improve instructional practices Hold yourself accountable for results –Focus on performance outcomes not programs or tools

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