Guiding questions for this presentation What is a Professional Learning Community? What are the critical questions of a PLC? Why should Schenevus Central School become a PLC? What is the role of the Principal in a PLC? How does a school change as it becomes a PLC? How do we become a PLC?
What is a Professional Learning Community? A focus on learning A collaborative culture with a focus on learning for all Collective inquiry into best practice and current reality Action orientation: learning by doing A commitment to continuous improvement Results orientation Administrator assurances and teacher commitments (DuFour, 2006)
What are the Critical Questions of a PLC? What is it we want our students to learn? How will we know if each student has learned it? How will we respond when some students do not learn it? How can we extend and enrich the learning for students who have demonstrated proficiency? (DuFour, 2006)
Why should Schenevus Central School become a PLC? “Good is the enemy of great.” (Collins, 2001)
Richard DuFour Robert Eaker Jonathon Saphier Philip Schlechty Thomas Sergiovanni Mike Schmoker Michael Fullan Richard Marzano Larry Lezotte Roland Barth Rick Stiggins Dennis Sparks Barbara Eason-Watkins Douglas Reeves Some of the researchers who endorse the PLC concept.
American Federation of Teachers Mid-Continent Regional Educational Laboratory National Association of Elementary School Principals National Association of Secondary School Principals National Board of Professional Teaching Standards National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education National Council of Teachers of English National Council of Teachers of Mathematics National Education Association National Science Teachers Association National Staff Development Council North Central Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest Educational Development Laboratory Some of the organizations that endorse the PLC concept.
Why should Schenevus Central School become a PLC? (continued) AllThingsPLC.org PLC Blog and Discussions Evidence of Effectiveness Tools and Resources
What is the role of the Principal in a PLC? “One of the great ironies in education is that it takes strong and effective educational leaders to create truly empowered people who are capable of sustaining improvement after the leader has gone”. DuFour (2006)
What is the role of the Principal in a PLC? (continued) Link the change initiative to current practices and assumptions when possible Focus first on the “why” of change, then focus on the “how” Align actions with words Be flexible on implementation but firm on the essence of the initiative Build a guiding coalition and move forward without unanimity Expect to make mistakes and learn from them Learn by doing Supervision (DuFour, 2006)
The Essentials of Systemic Change A challenging Vision Skills to reach the vision Incentives to motivate staff toward the vision Resources to support implementation Plan yields Change Skills to reach the vision Incentives to motivate staff toward the vision Resources to support implementation Plan yields Confusion A challenging Vision Incentives to motivate staff toward the vision Resources to support implementation Plan yields Anxiety A challenging Vision Skills to reach the vision Resources to support implementation Plan yields Gradual Antagonistic Change A challenging Vision Skills to reach the vision Incentives to motivate staff toward the vision Plan yields Frustration A challenging Vision Skills to reach the vision Incentives to motivate staff toward the vision Resources to support implementation yields False Starts and Constant Reorganization
Race Car: Professional Learning Community Status Quo Teacher and Student Empowerment Continuous Improvement Tires: Educational Leaders Drivers: Students Gas: Data Engine: Collaborative Teams
How does a school change as it becomes a PLC? A shift in fundamental purpose A shift in the use of assessments A shift in the response when students don’t learn A shift in the work of teachers A shift in professional development A shift in school culture
A shift in fundamental purpose From a focus on teaching … to a focus on learning From coverage of content … to demonstration of proficiency From providing individual teachers with curriculum documents … to engaging collaborative teams in building shared knowledge regarding essential curriculum
A shift in the use of assessments From infrequent summative assessments… to frequent common formative assessments From individual teacher assessments … to assessments developed jointly by collaborative teams
A shift in the response when students don’t learn From remediation … to intervention From individual teachers determining the appropriate response … to a systematic response that ensures support for every student From one opportunity to demonstrate learning … to multiple opportunities to demonstrate learning
A shift in the work of teachers From isolation … to collaboration From each teacher clarifying what students must learn … to collaborative teams clarifying essential learning From individual teachers attempting to discover ways to improve results … to collaborative teams of teachers helping each other improve From decisions made on the basis of individual preferences … to decisions made collectively by building shared knowledge of best practice
A shift in professional development From workshops and individual courses … to job-embedded learning in collaborative teams From presentations to entire faculties … to team-based action research From short-term exposure to multiple concepts and practices … to sustained commitment to limited, focused initiatives
A shift in school culture From independence … to interdependence From a language of complaint … to a language of commitment From infrequent generic recognition … to frequent specific recognition and a culture of celebration that creates many winners
How do we become a PLC? Answering the Critical Questions of a PLC. What is it we want our students to learn? How will we know if each student has learned it? How will we respond when some students do not learn it? How can we extend and enrich the learning for students who have demonstrated proficiency?
References All Things PLC. Retrieved November 12, 2007, Website: http://www.allthingsplc.org Asking the Right Questions: A Leader’s Guide to Systems Thinking about School Improvement. (2000). McRel. Balanced Leadership: What 30 years of research tells us about the effect of leadership on student achievement. (2003). McRel. Collins, Jim. (2001). Good to Great. New York. Harper Collins. DuFour, Richard. (May, 2004) What is a “Professional Learning Community”? Educational Leadership. V.61 No. 8: pgs 6-11. Dufour, Richard. (2006). Learning by Doing: A Handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work. Solution Tree. Guide to Using Data in School Improvement Efforts. (2004). Learning Point Associates. Marzano, R.J., Waters, T., & McNulty, B.A. (2005). School Leadership that Works: From Research to Results. Alexandria, Va. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Schmoker, Mike. (February, 2004). Tipping Point: From Feckless Reform to Substantive Instructional Improvement. Phi Delta Kappan. V.85 No.6: pgs 424-432.